Worsening fall weather conditions in Ukraine have not stopped the fighting, but they are slowing the situation for Ukrainian and Russian troops on an already stagnant battlefield. The famous “muddy season” has arrived in this war-torn country.
Ukrainians call muddy seasons “bezdorizhzhia,” which means “roadlessness.” This Ukrainian armored vehicle making its way through thick mud is a good example of why it’s called that:
Weather conditions are also making Ukraine’s mine clearance efforts more difficult.
Russian troops are also mired in mud and snow near Avdiivka, Donetsk oblast.
“An American HMMWV of the Ukrainian army, gurgling fervently in the mud after freshly fallen snow,” is how the Russian Military Informant Telegram channel described the scene. “It can be argued that under such conditions, large-scale offensives involving the equipment of both sides on most sectors of the front will either ultimately fail before the terrain hardens, or will reduce their intensity several times.”
“Winter has come to the Luhansk region, or rather the first snows have fallen,” wrote the Russian channel Wrapped in Z War Telegram. “He lay on the unfrozen ground, slippery like butter, where KAMAZ and the Urals get bogged down in ruts. Now the most difficult thing is precisely everyday difficulties: dirt, humidity, cold, myriads of mice, water pouring from the ceiling of the dugout, crunching underfoot in the communication passages, one-kilo pieces of earth sticking to the boots. They probably did the right thing before, go to winter quarters during the cold season, giving the war the right to rest.
According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Ukrainian officials noted that muddy roads have slowed logistics on both sides near Avdiivka.
“Ukrainian officials and military said rain and mud in Donbas hampered the speed of ground maneuvers and fog and rain complicated Russian and Ukrainian aerial reconnaissance efforts,” the ISW said Monday in an evaluation.
A Ukrainian military official noted that “fallen leaves also complicate efforts to hide equipment and personnel, and the Ukrainian military has also observed that Russian air force has been less active in southern Ukraine in due to the poor condition,” the ISW said.
Russian military bloggers “claimed that recent heavy rains had reduced bombing and that high winds were interfering with Russian drone operations.” The ISW continues to assess that fall weather conditions will slow the pace of Russian and Ukrainian operations, but not completely halt them. “Rain, fog and mud are slowing the pace of operations in Ukraine, and both sides will continue to fight throughout the fall and winter,” the ISW said.
As colder, wetter weather throttled battlefield operations, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Ukraine today. His visit comes as uncertainty grows over funding and arms shipments to Ukraine.
Speaking to reporters in kyiv after meeting with Ukrainian officials, Austin said Ukrainian forces were “prepared for combat in winter and they certainly did a great job last year.” This year we expect them to be, based on what President Zelensky said, to be even more aggressive. In this last discount package that I just mentioned, we have also included winter equipment. We provided winter equipment last year.
Before moving on to the latest updates from Ukraine, The war zone readers can find our previous continuing coverage here.
Elsewhere on the battlefield, both sides gained little ground.
Russian forces carried out offensive operations in several areas, the ISW noted in its latest assessment. The Russians advanced along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, as well as west and southwest of the city of Donetsk, in the oblast border zone from Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia. They also attacked in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast and advanced slightly in some areas.
Despite the lack of major progress, Austin said the United States “will continue to support Ukraine.” We talked about the things we’re going to continue to do to make sure they have what they need to succeed on the battlefield.
Austin pointed to the 51st Presidential Withdrawal Authority military aid package to Ukraine announced by the Pentagon on Monday as further evidence of enduring U.S. support. The package, valued at $100 million, provides additional air defense capabilities, artillery munitions, anti-tank weapons, cold weather gear and other equipment. He understands:
- Stinger anti-aircraft missiles;
- A High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and additional munitions;
- 155mm and 105mm artillery shells;
- Tube-launched, optically tracked and wire-guided (TOW) missiles;
- Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor systems;
- More than 3 million cartridges for small arms;
- Demolition ammunition to overcome obstacles;
- Cold weather gear; And
- Spare parts, maintenance and other auxiliary equipment.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Austin for his continued support.
Last week, however, he pointed out that deliveries of 155mm artillery shells from Western allies “have really slowed down” since the latest war between Israel and Hamas began on October 7, according to the newspaper. . Independent from Kyiv.
Zelensky added that the United States has not officially declared that it will stop or decrease the flow of artillery shells to Ukraine, but that “everyone is fighting for (the stockpiles) themselves.”
“It’s life. I’m not saying it’s positive, but it’s life, and we have to defend what’s ours.”
Earlier on Monday, the US mission to NATO posted a tweet with the following message: “We are focused on creating the conditions for a just, lasting and lasting peace.”
A few hours later, however, he sent another message, offering more clarity.
Zelensky said the number of mobile “drone hunting” units trained to combat Russian suicide drones had increased. We introduced these units almost a year ago in an article that you can read here.
Ukraine continues to flood the front with its own drones.
The first 3,000 FPV (First Person View) drones have been delivered to frontline units via Operation Unita joint fundraiser UNIS24, @BackAndAlive And @monobankua. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov said that Ukraine produces tens of thousands of drones of “certain categories” every month.
“Russians have been investing in the drone market for many years. We started developing it only a year ago,” he told Ukrainian television. “Now we have a market economy, many businesses are emerging, and over time we will not only be able to catch up, but also get ahead of the Russian Federation.”
Armenia will transfer Tochka-U tactical ballistic missile systems and Osa-AK air defense systems to Ukraine, according to the Kremlin-connected Rybar Telegram channel. Rybar claims that agreements on this matter may have been reached during a meeting between Armen Grigoryan, secretary of the Armenian National Security Council, and the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, Andrii Yermak, with the help of the United States. Rybar did not specify how many of each system there were. The war zone cannot independently verify these claims.
Armenia’s relations with Russia, however, have deteriorated over the years. Armenian officials have accused Russia of being too preoccupied with the war in Ukraine to ensure their security. At the same time, Armenia criticized Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh for failing to do their job.
The Ukrainian Defense Intelligence Directorate (GUR) claims to have attacked Russian radar systems in Russia via a drone.
“On November 18, 2023, an enemy radio position was discovered near the settlement of Dmitriev, Kursk region,” GUR said on its Telegram channel on Monday. GUR said that “two expensive Russian radar stations were hit.” One was a 55Zh6 “Sky” radar and the other was likely a “Gamma-S1E,” according to GUR, which did not specify how they were attacked.
“The total losses of the enemy are being clarified,” GUR said.
The US State Department has imposed travel restrictions on two Russian military officers and their families for human rights violations.
Russian Col. Azatbek Omurbekov, also known as the “Butcher of Bucha,” and Guard Cpl. Daniil Frolkin, were sanctioned for their “involvement in gross human rights violations, namely the extrajudicial executions of unarmed Ukrainian civilians in Andriivka, Ukraine,” the State Department announced Monday.
A well-known Ukrainian military blogger and reserve officer, known under the pseudonym Tatarigami, has provided his analysis of the number of Ka-52 Hokum attack helicopters still operational. In a Twitter thread he posted Friday, Tatargami estimated there were at least 25 operational Ka-52s. The helicopters had a major effect during Ukraine’s first push into the counter-offensive, which you can read more about here. But many have been shot down or damaged in the nearly two-year-old war. Attrition and limited support due to sanctions have also taken a toll on Russia’s tactical aviation fleet. Additional Ka-52s were recently lost in the first known ATACM strike against forward operating bases in eastern Ukraine. Estimates vary, but it is believed that between 125 and 145 Ka-52s were in the Russian inventory before the start of the war.
The Bradley fighting vehicle is once again being praised by Ukrainian troops for its ability to provide protection to its crews compared to Soviet models, something we noted in January and which was a large part of what it would bring in Kiev.
The war in Ukraine was hell for tanks on both sides. This video shows one of Russia’s advanced T-90M Proryv-3 (Breakthrough-3) main battle tanks being wiped out, possibly by a mine. According to the open source tracking group Oryx, Russia lost at least 50 T-90Ms, including 29 destroyed, eight damaged, 10 damaged and abandoned, and three captured. The actual number could be higher since Oryx only lists equipment it can visually confirm.
There was another deadly Russian missile attack on the city of Kherson on Monday, killing at least two people according to Ukrainian officials.
Finally, despite the horrors of war, Ukrainians still find time to save animals.
That’s all for the moment. We will update this story when there is more news to report on the war in Ukraine.
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