Russian forces increase their activity in Lyman direction. Column by Serhiy Zgurets
In recent days, Russian occupying forces have increased their activity in the Lyman direction. Unlike before, when there were minimal attacks, a substantial portion of assault activities is now concentrated in this area. Russian forces have become more active in the area of Terny, Yampolivka and Bilohorivka
Situation at the frontline
The Steel Frontier offensive guard brigade is operating in the Lyman-Kupyansk direction. Ivan Shevtsov, head of the press service of the 15th Mobile Border Guard Detachment of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, Lieutenant Colonel, spoke about Russia’s activity in their area of responsibility.
"We are carrying out both combat operations on the contact line and guarding a certain section of the state border within the Kharkiv region. The situation here remains steadily tense, the enemy continues to try to storm the positions of the Ukrainian Defense Forces. Over the last day alone, the enemy launched 27 attacks. In the Kupyansk direction, the enemy was most active near the village of Synkivka," he said on Espreso TV.
The brigade has been in the Lyman-Kupyansk direction for over six months. The soldiers took part in the liberation of Klishchiivka, in the battles near Bakhmut and are now actively defending settlements near Kupyansk.
According to Shevtsov, despite the weather conditions, Russia’s tactics do not change. There are constant artillery attacks on the positions of the Ukrainian Defense Forces, shelling of border settlements, as well as assault actions against the positions of the Ukrainian Defense Forces.
Russia is actively using “kamikaze” drones and reconnaissance drones in the Kharkiv region. In the previous month, the daily usage was up to 20 drones, and this has now surged to 50-60 drones per day. Over the past day alone, Russian forces used unmanned aerial vehicles, namely “kamikaze” drones, 54 times.
Mine clearance of Ukrainian territories
The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Emergency Service of Ukraine are developing plans for demining the territory for 2024, together with the Ministry of Economy. The Ministry of Agrarian Policy plays a huge role, and it is always a joint effort to achieve the goals.
"As of now, we have identified over 500,000 hectares of priority land to be cleared and returned to use in 2024," said Ihor Bezkaravaynyi, Deputy Minister of Economy of Ukraine, coordinator of humanitarian demining.
This year marks the first allocation of designated funds for compensation in the field of demining activities through the Ministry of Economy's program. Under this initiative, farmers will be reimbursed for the expenses incurred in demining efforts.
The state's expenditures on demining mainly relate to the salaries and equipment of sappers of the State Emergency Service (SES) and the State Special Transport Service (SSTS). Support from international partners is mainly aimed at purchasing heavy machinery, expensive equipment and support for the SES and SSTS.
New technological solutions to speed up demining processes
"We are working to invent a technology for remote scanning, remote inspection of the territory. Currently, the most effective way to speed up the survey of the territory, the identification of explosive objects, is to analyze high-resolution images taken by satellite or quadcopters, and thus identify what lies on the surface. What is in the tall grass or buried underground can currently be detected only by indirect evidence," Bezkaravaynyi said.
Today, the draft technical regulations are set for approval, having reached the final stage. These regulations mandate that a machine must be constructed to meet specific criteria and withstand explosions from explosive objects and anti-tank mines. The issue of the instruction manual is also in its concluding stages.
Umerov's visit to France canceled
Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov was scheduled to visit France. It was supposed to be the launch of the Artillery Coalition, led by France and the United States and involving nearly 20 countries. The visit was canceled for security reasons. However, this artillery initiative, of course, remains a priority in order to provide more weapons for Ukraine, as well as supplies of artillery systems, their repairs and maintenance.
French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecorneau shared details about what was to be discussed at this meeting. In particular, he mentioned Caesar howitzers. The Ukrainian Armed Forces already use almost 20 units of such means.
France will be able to produce 78 Caesar howitzers for Ukraine
Lecorneau said that this year France will produce 78 Caesar self-propelled howitzers for Ukraine. At the same time, Ukraine is ready to partially pay for the production and has already purchased 6 such units at its own expense to launch this artillery initiative.
France will also increase the monthly volume of ammunition supplied to Ukraine. Previously, they supplied about 1,000 rounds per month. Since last February, the supply has increased to 2,000 shells per month. Starting in February 2024, the supply will be 3,000 155 mm caliber shells for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. In fact, 3,000 is the daily norm for our artillery. According to experts, the average need for the Ukrainian Armed Forces is between 200,000 and 500,000 per month.
France to provide Ukraine with AASM bombs
Every month, starting in February 2024, and throughout the year, France will provide Ukraine with 50 high-precision air-to-ground AASM bombs, which have a range of up to 100 km and a warhead weighing from 250 kg to a ton, depending on which bomb is equipped with a technological guidance system. The French Defense Minister said that they have managed to adapt these bombs for use from Soviet-model aircraft. The bombs will be used with MiG-29, Su-27, Su-24, and later with F-16.