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Kyiv Says Situation Is Difficult Along Entire Frontline

Drones have become a common weapon in Russia’s attacks on Ukraine, and particularly its energy infrastructure.

November 9, 2022
11 minutes
minute read

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine has reported that fighting continues to be intense along the entire front line in the south and east of the country. This follows solid gains made by Ukraine in recent months, although the war appears to have reached a stalemate.

"The situation is difficult all across the front. Fierce positional battles are still ongoing in some areas. And it is especially difficult in Donetsk region, as it has been. The occupiers are suffering extremely large-scale losses, but their order to move to the administrative border of Donetsk region has not changed. We are not surrendering a single centimeter of our land there," he said in his nightly address Tuesday.

Ukraine has made significant progress in its counteroffensives in both the east and south of the country. Around Kharkiv, the Ukrainian forces have made significant gains, pushing back the enemy forces. In the southern Kherson region, the Ukrainian forces have also made significant progress, making significant gains in the east in particular.

The fighting in Ukraine appears to have reached a stalemate in recent weeks, with neither side making any significant advances. However, fighting remains intense around the Bakhmut and Avdiivka areas of Donetsk, as Zelenskyy mentioned last night.

Ukraine's air defense forces said they destroyed five Iranian-made drones during an attack on the city of Dnipro Wednesday. No casualties were reported.

On November 9, the enemy attacked Ukraine from the temporarily occupied territory of the Zaporizhzhia region with Shahed-136 attack UAVs. Five drones were destroyed by the air defenses of the Air Command East, the command of the Ukrainian Air Force said on Telegram.

The Ukrainian Air Force destroyed a Russian Orlan-10 operational and tactical UAV with its anti-aircraft units.

Drones have become a common weapon in Russia’s attacks on Ukraine, and particularly its energy infrastructure. Last weekend, Iran admitted that it had sold drones to Russia, although it said it had done so before the war started. This claim is disputed by Ukraine.

This poses a problem for Ukraine, as Russia can purchase these drones more cheaply. While they lack the sophisticated maneuvers and larger explosive payloads of conventional missiles, they can be deployed in swarms and are more difficult for radar systems to detect.

The low cost and high destructive power of these weapons make them a perfect tool for Russia to use in order to damage Ukraine's energy networks and cripple the country ahead of winter.

According to a Kherson Regional Council deputy, Russian forces have blown up bridges on the right bank of the Dnipro River in the Kherson region and are removing Russian flags from public buildings in Kherson city’s center.

Serhii Khlan told a press briefing Wednesday that the occupiers blew up not only the Darivka and Tiahynka bridges, but also the bridge at the exit from Snihurivka towards Kherson across the canal, the bridge in Novokairy, and the bridge in Mylove.

"The occupiers are destroying all the bridges on the right bank of the Kherson region," he said.

Khlan said that Russian forces were blowing up bridges as they prepared to retreat from the partially-occupied Kherson region in southern Ukraine. He added that this was likely done in order to slow down a Ukrainian counter-offensive.

He said that Russian flags had also disappeared from public buildings in the center of Kherson, including the Maritime College, the Maritime Academy and the Trade Unions House. Earlier, in Kherson, the Russian flag was removed from the building of the occupied regional state administration, Ukrinform reported.

Khlan reportedly said that the Russian military had strengthened their presence in the villages of Kozatske and Vesele, on the approaches to the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant. Both Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of planning an attack on the dam in order to flood settlements in the surrounding area.

CNBC was not able to independently verify the information in the report. However, Western officials have previously believed that Russian forces could be preparing to withdraw from the right-hand side of the Kherson river. Additionally, Russian-installed authorities in the region have been evacuating residents to the left-hand side of the Dnipro.

Last week, Russian authorities transferred U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner from a detention centre outside Moscow to an undisclosed penal colony. On Wednesday, her legal team confirmed that she is on her way to the new location.

On February 17, 2014, two-time Olympic gold medalist Yulia Efimova was arrested at a Moscow airport for possession of vape cartridges containing cannabis oil. Efimova was found to have the cartridges in her luggage a week before Russia invaded Ukraine. Cannabis oil is banned in Russia, and Efimova's arrest led to her being banned from competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

On August 4, Griner was sentenced to nine years in a penal colony on charges of possessing and smuggling drugs. She had pleaded guilty, but said she had made an “honest mistake” and had not meant to break the law.

She was transferred from a detention centre near the Russian capital on Nov. 4 in order to be taken to a penal colony, but neither her current location nor her final destination are known, her legal team said in a statement. This lack of transparency raises serious concerns about her wellbeing and underscores the need for her immediate release.

Her attorneys and the U.S. Embassy should be notified of her arrival in accordance with Russian procedures, but it may take up to two weeks for that to happen, according to sources. Reuters has requested comment from Russia’s federal prison service on Griner’s whereabouts.

As the U.S. midterm election results come in, both Ukraine and Russia are closely watching the vote, in order to gauge how it could impact the war and global geopolitics.

Some believe that Moscow is hoping for a Republican victory in the upcoming midterm elections, in the hopes that it will lead to a change in the United States' foreign policy towards Ukraine. This could potentially deepen the divide among Republicans over the financial support that the US is giving to Kyiv to fight Russia.

Some signs point to waning bipartisan support for such immense and ongoing aid, with prominent Republicans increasingly questioning how long the U.S. can continue to be generous, especially against a backdrop of inflation, potential recession, and rising living costs.

Although Russia may hope that a change in power after the midterm elections will lead to a more favorable attitude towards Ukraine, analysts believe that Moscow is likely to be disappointed unless former leader Donald Trump is able to return to power. Trump has indicated that he may announce a plan to run for president again in 2024 next week.

Ukraine's armed forces believe that Belarus is forming units of attack drone operators as part of a wider border troop force. This is a concerning development, as it could lead to increased tensions and even conflict between the two countries. Ukraine is calling on Belarus to halt these activities and de-escalate the situation.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has announced that it is forming units of drone operators within Belarus' border guards. This comes as tensions between the two countries continue to rise.

«The Republic of Belarus continues to support the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, providing it with infrastructure, territory and airspace,” the update noted. The formation of Russian-Belarusian troops in Belarus continues, indicating that Belarus is still committed to supporting Russia's aggression against Ukraine.

The information in the report could not be verified by CNBC.

The Kremlin said on Wednesday that U.S. midterm elections would not improve the "bad" relations between Moscow and Washington, as it dismissed allegations Russia was meddling in the U.S. vote. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by Russian state media as saying that the Kremlin does not interfere in other countries' elections and that the allegations are "absolutely unfounded."

"These elections are important, but we should not overstate their importance in the short and medium term for our relations," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

"These elections cannot change anything essential," he added. "Relations still are, and will remain, bad."

Peskov said that Moscow is so used to hearing people say that Russia interferes in U.S. elections that it is not paying any attention to new rounds of allegations.

The Kremlin spokesman also told reporters that it is too early to talk about a dialogue with the United States on extending the New START nuclear arms treaty.

President Zelenskyy said that although news updates on Ukraine's progress in fighting Russia may have decreased of late, the fighting remains intense.

"There has been a decrease in the number of news reports coming from the frontlines," Zelenskyy said in his nightly address Tuesday. "However, this does not mean that the intensity of the fighting has decreased."

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