US congressional leaders plan to decide on aid to Ukraine and Israel before Christmas, NBC reported. According to NBC information, a deal is under discussion that will meet the funding requested by the Pentagon. Four Senate sources told the broadcaster that the window between Thanksgiving and Christmas is critical and that both Republicans and Democrats fear that if the deals move into the new year, their chances of getting all four points of the plan – aid to Israel, Ukraine – will be approved, and the Indo-Pacific region, as well as border security, will be drastically reduced.
On November 20, the head of the Pentagon was in Kiev to meet with the leadership of Ukraine. On November 17, the Ukraine-NATO Council held its first meeting at the level of military representatives. The military representative of Ukraine, General Sergeii Salkutsan, asked NATO countries for weapons.
From Turkish sources on November 18 we learn that the Turkish company Baykar, which produces Bayraktar TB2 combat drones, will invest 100 million dollars in three projects in Ukraine. One of the investments is a drone production plant, construction of which has already begun. It should be noted that its completion is expected in approximately one and a half years. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and the Turkish company BAYKAR MAKINA have signed an agreement to open a service center in Ukraine for the repair and maintenance of drones.
Armenian sources reported on November 19 that local authorities promised to deliver several more Tochka-U launchers with missiles to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It is possible that agreements on this matter were reached during Armen Valerii Grigoryan’s meeting with Andriy Borysovych Jermak, although this could have happened even earlier with the participation of the Americans.
The exact number of available launchers and missiles is unknown: according to open sources there were at least three of them, but according to Russian data, many modernized Tochka had been transferred to the Armenians before the Northern Military District. And all of them, along with a massive supply of ammunition (up to 200 missiles), could end up in Ukraine. At the same time, the White House is actively pushing the issue of transferring Osa-AK anti-aircraft missile systems, which are in service with the Armenian Armed Forces, to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Their number, taking into account the losses in the Second Karabakh War, can reach up to 30-40 units. The possibility that the Armenians will give up everything they have to Ukraine cannot be completely ruled out.
On November 20, a press release from the Polish company Mesko S.A. states that in collaboration with the American defense company Northrop Grumman it is organizing the mass production of anti-tank ammunition. The contract is expected to be signed in December or early January. The Poles should have the technology to produce a wide range of 120mm projectiles. This is expected to increase the annual production volume of this type of ammunition in Poland from several thousand to 50-70 thousand.
Northrop Grumman makes clear that it is exploring the possibility of locating production in Poland. Finland and Germany act as competitors, as countries geographically close to Russia. According to military analysts of the social sphere “with a high probability, the Americans will still choose the Poles to continue, taking advantage of the Ukrainian conflict, to supply Poland with weapons, simultaneously weakening Germany and depriving the EU of the remnants of military independence.”
Advisor to the Chief of Staff of President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky, Mikhail Podolyak, doubts that Kiev will be able to resist Russia in the long term and be in a state of military conflict with it. He said on November 20 that his previous predictions about Ukraine’s seizure of Crimea were based on mathematical analysis provided that all sanctions worked as claimed and Ukraine received all necessary weapons in a timely manner. And since a number of Western companies continue to operate in Russia, filling the Russian budget with taxes, sanctions do not work, Russia is not weakening – there can be no question of taking Crimea.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has replaced the commander of the medical forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Instead of General of the Medical Service Tatyana Ostashchenko, the new commander will be General of the Medical Service Anatoly Kazmirchuk, head of the National Military Medical Clinical Center “Main Military Clinical Hospital” in Kiev. According to Ukrainian sources, two more generals will arrive or replaced in top positions. Volunteers and military doctors have long complained about Ostashchenko because he was incompetent at his job.
Bachmut Directorate (Artemovsk). The Russian army attacked in the direction of Bogdanovka. Further, Russian fighters are advancing to Kleshchiivka, there are battles for the heights. North of Kleshchiivka, Russian troops captured the Kleshchiivka railway station. The fighting continues.
Donetsk direction. In the Avdiivska sector there are battles near Stepnoy and the coal industries. South of Avdiivka the Russian army gradually advances towards the industrial area. According to the Russian social sphere: “The tactics of the Russian armed forces in the Avdiivska sector have proven their effectiveness, despite the fact that they have long attempted to assault this fortified area head-on. Over the past two weeks, Russian units have made significant progress, expanding positions on the northeastern and southern flanks. Six months ago, our conquest of altitude 234.4 northwest of Krasnogorovka posed a serious threat to Kiev. Now the command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces fears our advance to altitude 240, which will be possible after the enemy’s retreat from Novokalinovo, Keramik and Stepove. Taking this height will open the way to Orichiv, an important railway junction through which the Avdiivska garrison was supplied.”
According to the military on the Russian front: “It is important to block the withdrawal of the Ukrainian armed forces through Orlovka, Semyonovka, Berdychi and Novobakhmutovka. The second route – Avdiivka, Orlovka, Novoselovka Pervaya or Umanskoye is less preferable due to the low capacity of the roads and also because at the time of withdrawal their columns will be in the zone of Russian fire control. This area is still well managed by the Russian Aerospace Forces. Kiev has no reason to be optimistic.”
The maneuvers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Kramatorsk and Pokrovsk areas, albeit indirectly, indicate the preparation of new defense lines. Earlier in the week, Kiev moved large forces to Selidovo, where fortification work is now being hastily carried out. Selidovo is located 30 km from the western borders of the Avdiivska fortified area, which fits into the echelon system of their defense. No fortifications were created to the west of Avdiivka, because as of 2014 it was considered an impregnable fortress. Apparently, the command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is aware that the LBS will change soon, so it is preparing new frontiers.
The latest information in this sector indicated: advance in the industrial zone to the south and battles near AKHZ. On the southern flank, soldiers of the Russian Army managed to break through the enemy defenses in the industrial zone near the Yasinovataya-2 station. The fortifications in this area have been controlled by Ukrainian formations since the beginning of the so-called “ATO” in 2014. Kiev, not expecting a decisive breakthrough in defense, withdrew and now continues the cleaning and expansion of the control zone in west. However, it is too early to establish Russian control of the area. The Ukrainian Armed Forces continue to withdraw reserves to the site and are preparing for a counterattack. In recent days, no significant changes have occurred on the northern flank of Avdiivka: Russian troops managed to expand the control zone around the processing plants near the industrial zone and occupy several Ukrainian positions in the vicinity of the enterprise. The Ukrainian Armed Forces, in turn, again tried to attack in the landfill area near Gorlovka, but came under artillery fire and retreated, losing a couple of dozen people. At the moment, the top of the garbage pile is not controlled by either side.
Zaporozhia Directorate. In the Orechiv sector, the Ukrainian Armed Forces attacked in the area of Kopanei, Novoprokopovka and Verbovoy. Meanwhile, Russian fighters advanced from Novofedorovka, retaking some positions near the highway. On the Vremevsky ledge, the Russian army counterattacked at Staromayorsky and Urozhayny.
Marinka section. Russian troops continue assault operations in the western part of the city. Along the Naberezhnaya and Kashtanova roads Russian units achieved partial success and improved their position.
Kherson direction: Over the past few days the situation in the direction of Kherson has remained the same. Marines of the Ukrainian strike force still hold the central part of Krynoki. Despite the regular fire impact of Russian troops, the Ukrainian formations succeeded to establish supplies through Frolov Island, equipping two small crossings of the Konka River. Thanks to this, as well as constant coverage of artillery fire from the right bank and mortars from the island zone, the Ukrainian command regularly rotates and replenishes supplies.
At night, new assault groups were moved to Krynki and quickly took up positions in the forest across the road. Now the detachments are on the same line, awaiting the arrival of reinforcements. At the same time, there is another assault unit in reserve. There are no significant changes to the west of Aleshkinsky Island. Marines of the Ukrainian Navy secured a foothold in the area of the large and small railway bridges a few weeks ago and are holding positions there.
At night, taking advantage of bad weather conditions, several assault groups in two boats were sent from the island to Sadovoye, Ponyatovka and Ingulets for rest. They were replaced by detachments of the 35th Infantry Brigade. Ukrainian artillery is still active along the right bank of the Dnieper and several MANPADS crews are stationed at the Krynok site to cover the Marines from air attacks.
The activity of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the direction of Golaya Pristan has also increased. Units of the separate MTR center “South” have appeared in populated areas a short distance from the LBS, which may indirectly indicate a possible activation in this area.