Today's D Brief: Water problems in Kyiv after Russian strikes; Moscow exits Black Sea grain deal; DISA's new program; Somali attacks kill 100; And a bit more.
Day 250 of Russia’s Ukraine invasion: After a barrage of new airstrikes, 80% of Kyiv is without running water to start the week Monday. The wave of Russian strikes hit critical infrastructure sites at several of Ukraine’s most populous cities, and also knocked out electricity yet again for families across the eastern European nation.
This latest barrage began at around 7 a.m. local, and involved “more than 50 Kh101/Kh-555 cruise missiles” allegedly launched from Russian Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers flying “north of the Caspian Sea and from the Volgodonsk,” or Rostov regions of Russia, Ukraine’s military said Monday.
“Missiles and drones hit 10 regions, where 18 objects were damaged, most of them energy-related,” Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Facebook Monday. But “thanks to the heroic and professional work of the Air Defense Forces, 44 of the more than 50 missiles fired at our territory were shot down,” he said. The military noted 18 of those cruise missiles were shot down in central Ukraine, a dozen to the south, nine in the east, and another five were allegedly shot down in Ukraine’s western region.
The strikes hit just before Czech leaders visited Kyiv, the Associated Press reports from the capital. Some missiles even targeted the far-western city of Lviv, but those were allegedly among the 44 shot down.
New: Russia withdrew from the UN- and Turkey-brokered grain deal, which had freed up some nine million tons of grain for transit to markets around the world since August. The price of wheat jumped 6% on the news, according to Reuters, reporting Monday. Moscow’s decision followed an apparent drone attack on Russia’s Black Sea naval fleet in the occupied Crimean peninsula. The BBC has a bit more on that incident. Tweeters geolocated several related videos purporting to show the attacks, and you can see that whole Twitter thread over at @GeoConfirmed, here.
In occupied Kherson, to the south, Russian forces are dismantling cellular communication towers that feed Donetsk oblast while military units appear to be preparing to evacuate in greater numbers from Kherson, across the Dnipro river, Kyiv’s military said Monday. That includes pontoon crossings and barges near the damaged Antonivsky Bridge, which had been a key supply line for Russian elements coming from the south, around Crimea.
Coverage continues below…
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Welcome to this Monday edition of The D Brief, brought to you by Ben Watson with Jennifer Hlad. If you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. And check out other Defense One newsletters here. On this day in 1941, and at about 5:30 in the morning, the American Navy destroyer USS Reuben James (DD-245) was torpedoed and quickly downed by a Nazi German U-boat near Iceland—becoming the first U.S. Navy ship sunk by enemy action in World War II. One-hundred of the ship's 144-person crew perished that day, including all seven of the officers.
Developing: About a third of Russia’s new recruits have made it to Ukraine, but “they have made relatively little difference on the battlefield,” analysts for the Institute of the Study of War wrote Sunday evening. That would seem to suggest Russia will likely “continue to conduct conventional military operations well into 2023 rather than escalating to the use of tactical nuclear weapons or scaling back its objectives in pursuit of some off-ramp,” ISW writes.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin seems to be targeting “the collapse of Western support for Ukraine” sometime this winter, according to ISW. For this reason, “Ukraine and the West should be operating on the assumption that Ukraine will continue to have many months in which to regain control of strategically vital terrain, for which it will also continue to require continued large-scale Western support.” Read the rest, here.
Diminishing support for Putin’s war: According to new Russian opinion polling, a growing number of respondents want to begin peace talks with Ukrainian officials, while a dwindling number of Russians want to continue with the invasion, which officials continue to insist is merely a “special military operation.” That’s according to the BBC’s Russia Editor, Steve Rosenberg, who shared those findings on Twitter on Saturday.
Get a better handle on the difficulty of sanctioning Russia so far. “The value of [Russia’s] exports actually grew after it invaded Ukraine,” the New York Times illustrated in a data-visual economics explainer published Sunday. And that finding alone “underscores how deeply intertwined Russia is with the global economy, allowing Moscow to generate substantial sums of money as it enters its ninth month of war.”
See for yourself just how much India, China, and especially Turkey have gained in terms of both imports from and exports to Russia, in 18 adjacent charts comparing those three nations with nine NATO members, as well as Saudi Arabia, Brazil, South Africa, Sweden, and South Korea. There are several notable dependencies on Russian exports, including “International car makers [that] still depend on Russia for palladium and rhodium to make catalytic converters,” and “French nuclear plants [that] rely on Russian uranium,” according to the Times.
What lies ahead: A European Union ban on Russian oil shipped by sea; that’s planned for December. By February, a ban on all Russian petroleum products is set to take effect for the EU as well. Read on for the Times’ economic forecast in 2023, here.
- “Russia to Suffer Worst Slowdown of Any Major Economy,” the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing new forecasts from Moscow’s own central bank;
- And don’t miss: “Inside a US military cyber team’s defence of Ukraine,” the BBC reported Sunday.
Lastly: Two car bombings in Somalia on Saturday killed at least 100 people and injured almost 300. And it happened in the same spot where one of the worst truck bombings in history killed more than 500 people five years ago, AP reported this weekend from Mogadishu.
Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attacks, which targeted the Somali Ministry of Education—a building the terrorist group called an “enemy base” that’s “committed to removing Somali children from the Islamic faith.” U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan condemned the attacks in a statement this weekend. View that, here.