Russia can mobilize up to one million more troops for the war in Ukraine, Bruno Kahl, head of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND), told Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland. In the fall of 2022, after the announcement of "partial" mobilization, about 300 thousand people were mobilized, some of them are still being trained. According to Kahl, the further mobilization potential of Russia is a reserve of up to a million people, if the Kremlin considers it necessary. At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin is not ready for negotiations and seeks to win as many advantages as possible at the front, so that in the future, perhaps, he can dictate the world on his own terms.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) drew attention to the fact that Putin's statement about the suspension of Russia's participation in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-3) attracted more attention than the rest of his address. According to analysts, the Russian president may have made the announcement to reintroduce nuclear rhetoric into the media space and divert attention from the lack of substance in the rest of his speech. Russia has used nuclear rhetoric before to discourage Ukraine and the West, and to compensate for Russian failures on the battlefield.
Despite the fact that Putin spoke about the suspension of START, the Russian Foreign Ministry clarified that for the duration of the Treaty, Russia will continue to comply with the restrictions stipulated by it. It turns out that even the suspension is of a formal nature and the statement could indeed perform a distracting function. Formally, the treaty cannot be suspended, Pavel Podvig, an expert on nuclear security at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, confirmed to The Insider. He recalled that in August Russia already suspended the possibility of conducting an inspection at its facilities, explaining this by the fact that Russian inspectors have difficulties with access to American facilities. That is, there has already been a certain suspension, it occurred after a two-year pause in inspections related to the coronavirus epidemic.
The situation in the Bakhmut area remains tense: the suburbs and most of the village of Berkhovka are under the control of the Wagner PMC, heavy fighting continues in Yagodnoye, Russian military commander Alexander Simonov writes in his Telegram channel "Bruce's call sign". At the same time, the day before, it was reported about the capture of the Yagodny PMC, but the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not confirm this information. In the area of the Meat Processing Plant, Wagner PMC units lined the front along Zarechnaya Street, Simonov notes.
As military expert Roman Svitan told The Insider, there is an advance of Russian troops northeast of Bakhmut , 200–500 meters along the right bank of the Bakhmutka. The main line of defense now is the left bank of Bakhmutka. According to him, the Russians are advancing at the cost of a large number of dead, throwing bodies at the enemy. This applies not only to the north, but also to the east and south, there are positional battles in the area of the industrial zone and the private sector, the Russians advance to 3-4 streets, and then they are thrown back to positions by artillery, aviation and special groups.
The Propaganda Telegram channel “Older Edda” claims that on the Svatovo - Kremennaya section, there is no offensive now, as other channels write, but in fact “active defense with little advancement.” The authors demanded to call a spade a spade, so as not to fall into the trap of "their own propaganda."
According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Russian troops concentrated their main efforts on an attempt to advance in the Kupyansky , Limansky , Bakhmutsky , Avdeevsky and Shakhtyorsky directions. Now the Russian Federation is increasing the number of personnel there. The Armed Forces of Ukraine also claim that Russian troops use the infrastructure of the occupied part of the Zaporozhye region for the purpose of their own enrichment. At a service station in the city of Tokmok, the Russian military mends its military equipment and dismantles cars taken from the local population for parts for later sale.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine shelled the village of Pervoe Tseplyaevo in the Shebekinsky urban district of the Belgorod region, Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov said. According to him, three people were injured, three households were also damaged by shells: windows were broken, facades and fences were cut. One man received shrapnel wounds and was taken to the hospital in critical condition. The media publishes a photo of a burning shopping center.
The governor of the Kursk region, Roman Starovoit, said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine again fired at the border areas today. According to him, 16 "arrivals" were recorded in the Sudzhansky district in the vicinity of the villages of Guevo and Gornal. There were no casualties or damage. Eight more hits fell on the territory of a sugar factory in the village of Tyotkino, Glushkovsky district. The production buildings were damaged, windows were smashed out, walls were cut, and a through opening was pierced in one of them. He posted a photo of the aftermath on Telegram.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine also reported on the shelling in a summary on its Facebook page. According to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, during the day the Russian army launched nine missile strikes, four of them on Kharkiv. There were also ten airstrikes and more than 20 attacks from multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS).
Arms supplies to Ukraine
The United States will transfer JDAM-ER extended-range precision bombs to Ukraine, Bloomberg reported , citing an industry official who asked to remain anonymous. The source said that as part of the military assistance package, which was announced on December 21, the United States transferred to Ukraine a modification of the JDAM-ER (Extended Range) bombs with an increased range - up to 72 km of flight when dropped from a height of 14 km.
JDAM-ER allows the bomb to glide to the target over a long distance with the help of "wings" that open in flight. According to military expert Roman Svitan, JDAM is not really a bomb, but body kits for a free-falling bomb. They are hung on a standard 250- or 500-kilogram bomb: drop-down wings are hung on the central part of the bomb, and a control system with four stabilizers on the tail that controls the flight of the bomb.
“In fact, these are such plastic grips with a control system. They take our good old OFAB-500 or OFAB-250, of which we have thousands, after which these bombs with body kits are hung on the Su-24 bomber. The Su-24, depending on the speed and height of the drop, can drop them [to fly over a distance] from 24 to 70 kilometers, that is, from 15 to 45 miles. There should be a height of about 10 thousand meters and a speed of about 2 thousand km / h. The higher and faster it accelerates, the farther the bomb can fall. The maximum range is 70–72 kilometers. This is an ordinary air bomb, which is dressed in a cocoon of wings and stabilizers, and the GPS receiver displays it in free fall and it plans in flight.”
According to Svitan, such bombs will be used against warehouses, supply chains, command posts, accumulations of manpower and equipment. If it is OFAB-500 or OFAB-250, then there is a lot of weight, and the GBU-39 gliding bomb (an integral part of the GLSDB system) weighs only 90 kg. It is launched using HIMARS, in which case it can fly 150 and 160 km with the same control system.
At the same time, JDAM will not reach the Crimea, GLSDB can reach the northern part of the peninsula, Svitan emphasizes. Theoretically, the new bombs can strike 160 km deep and reach all airfields and military bases of Russia or Belarus near the border.
Probably, tonight the shelling of Mariupol was carried out for the first time using the GLSDB (Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb) - a ground-based small-diameter bomb. The propaganda Telegram channel “Military Observer” writes that, according to unconfirmed information, the Armed Forces of Ukraine could launch GLSDB towards Mariupol and other cities of Donbass, timing the launch to coincide with the speech of US President Joe Biden in Poland.
The Gray Zone Telegram channel associated with PMC Wagner admitted that the Russian Armed Forces lacked Iskanders, so officially decommissioned Tochka-U complexes were actively used, but the use of Iskanders was reported upstairs.
“In the Kharkiv region, from the Belgorod and Kursk regions, Iskanders flew every night in the direction somewhere there. And where is the result? Zero result. But for some time (I don’t know how now), the Iskanders were replaced by Tochka-U due to the lack of such a number of missiles, but they further reported on the use of Iskanders, since the Tochka-U was decommissioned, this is also rolled when the not very accurate Tochka-U itself, coupled with our not very accurate reconnaissance, flew somewhere in the wrong place, you could say that it was (Ukrainians).”
Prigozhin, photos of corpses and problems with weapons
One of the founders of PMC Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin, continues the conflict with the Ministry of Defense, accusing the department and the military leadership of the deaths of military personnel due to lack of ammunition. The repost of the photo with the corpses of PMC fighters was made by his press service in Telegram.
“We will not leave Bakhmut, we will simply die twice as many until all the Wagnerites run out. And when all the Wagnerites run out, then, most likely, Shoigu and Gerasimov will have to take machine guns, ”said Prigozhin.
Former Minister of State Security of the "DPR" Alexander Khodakovsky said that the problem was not that PMCs stopped receiving ammunition, but that they "began to receive them, like everyone else."
“To be honest, we envied the Wagners in a good way when they had their own front-line aviation, the daily rate of two Iskanders and one Caliber, when they signed applications for two and a half thousand anti-tank guided missiles < Anti-tank guided missile, - approx. . The Insider> for educational (!) practice, when prisoners were dragged to them from all over the country ... They envied, but they understood that you could not give such a supply to everyone - and he would give the same result as they did. The result is composed not only of quantity.
According to him, the Russian group near Ugledar before the offensive reduced the daily consumption to a minimum in order to accumulate a supply at least on the first day of the offensive. The consequences were not long in coming, Khodakovsky notes.
The day before, Prigozhin accused Chief of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of trying to destroy the Wagner PMC by forbidding the supply of ammunition and even sapper shovels to the formation.
Read also The Insider’s summary of the main events of the war on February 21: “Prigozhin accused the Ministry of Defense of destroying the Wagner PMC, a possible front in Moldova, Bakhmut is being covered from the north. What's going on at the front .