Day 285: Multiple Blasts at Russian Airfields; 8M Ukrainians to Live Below Poverty Line by Year's End

On Monday, for the first time in nine months of war, multiple blasts were reported deep in Russian territory. While Ukrainian attacks have routinely targeted munition depots and fuel tankers in the Russian border regions of Bryansk, Kursk and Belgorod, Monday's blasts were reported

Day 285: Multiple Blasts at Russian Airfields; 8M Ukrainians to Live Below Poverty Line by Year's End
Image credit: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images [via The Guardian]

Facts

  • On Monday, for the first time in nine months of war, multiple blasts were reported deep in Russian territory. While Ukrainian attacks have routinely targeted munition depots and fuel tankers in the Russian border regions of Bryansk, Kursk and Belgorod, Monday's blasts were reported hundreds of miles within Russia's borders.
  • One blast was reported at the Dyagilyaevo airfield in the region of Ryazan where a fuel tanker reportedly exploded, killing three people and injuring six others. The second struck the Engels airfield in the Saratov region, reportedly damaging two Tupolev Tu-95 bomber jets. An unspecified number of servicemen were said to be injured. Both attacks are suspected to have been carried out with drones, though this is yet to be confirmed.
  • A further Ukrainian attack was reported in the western Luhansk city of Alchevsk on Monday. An official from the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) said at least ten civilians were killed in what they said was a HIMARS rocket attack.
  • In Russian attacks, one civilian was killed in the city of Kupiansk in Kharkiv region on Monday. One civilian was also killed and three more were injured in attacks on the city of Kryvyi Rih in the Dnipropetrovsk region, while two more civilians were injured in Donetsk. Strikes were also recorded in the regions of Sumy, Chernihiv and Zaporizhzhia without reports of civilian casualties at this stage.
  • Meanwhile, the US Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, on the weekend told the Reagan National Defense Forum in California that the war in Ukraine is running at "a reduced tempo," and that both Russia and Ukraine are expected to "refit, resupply and reconstitute" in the winter months before renewed fighting in the spring.
  • However, that assessment was challenged by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a US military think tank, which said: "Senior US government officials are mistakenly identifying the optimal window of opportunity for Ukraine to conduct more counteroffensives as the spring rather than winter, despite Ukrainian officials’ statements to the contrary."
  • Elsewhere, Anna Bjerde, Vice Pres. of the World Bank, told Austrian publication Die Presse that, according to their figures, 8M people in Ukraine will be living below the poverty line by the end of 2022 — an increase from 2% to 25% of the population in the last year.

Sources: Pravda, Tass, Ukrinform, Associated Press, and Understanding War.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Associated Press. As the winter months continue to set in, the tempo of fighting will reduce. Both Russia and Ukraine will use the opportunity of the coming Winter months to replenish their armies before the commencement of further offensives in the spring.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Understanding War. Winter will not see a decline in this conflict, as frozen ground enables heavy vehicles, previously restricted by the autumn mud, to advance. Ukrainian forces will not pause fighting, as such cessation would enable Russian troops to restrengthen. All indicators point to offensives ramping up in the cold weather.
  • Narrative C, as provided by The Guardian. As winter arrives and temperatures continue to plunge, the most important question is not that of the relative strategic advantage of fighting in winter months. The key to this conflict will become which force has better morale and is best equipped to fight effectively in the bitter weather.

Predictions