#UKRAINERUSSIAWAR. NASAMS system destroyed, Russians advance north of Soledar. Zelensky concerned about ineffectiveness of sanctions


With regard to the Neue Zurcher Zeitung’s reports in recent days that US CIA chief William Burns offered Russia and Ukraine a peace plan in January, which included ceding about 20% of Ukrainian territory to Russia in exchange for an end to the military operation, Moscow and Kiev denied that this had been done. And the White House called the media reports false. Newsweek writes that the Biden Administration called the reports on this matter ‘inaccurate’ and the CIA ‘completely false’. Peskov called the media’s claims that the US had proposed a plan involving Ukraine ceding 20% of its territory ‘a hoax’.

Confirmed instead are reports that the Ukrainian Interior Ministry has begun forming assault brigades of military, police, and border guards to take over Crimea and the Donbass, said Acting Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko. President Zelensky complained that Russia adapted more quickly to the sanctions than expected. Ukrainian Defence Minister Reznikov says that Kiev guarantees that partners will not launch attacks on Russian territory if long-range missiles are provided. As a reminder, the minister is being asked to resign for corruption. A petition can also be found online. Finally, it is confirmed that the terrorist Abdul Hakim Shishani (Ruslan Azhiev) obtained Ukrainian citizenship as soon as he joined Zakayev’s ‘OBON’ battalion.

Azhiev founded the terrorist group Ajnad al-Kavkaz (Soldiers of the Caucasus), a Chechen-led Islamic fundamentalist jihadist group active in northern Syria, mainly in the mountainous and forested areas of the Latakia governorate. Although formed by former fighters of the Caucasus Emirate and provisionally linked to the organisation, Ajnad al-Kavkaz operated autonomously from the beginning and later cut its ties with the Caucasus Emirate. In 2022, the group intervened in the Russian-Ukrainian war on Ukraine’s side.

Putin discussed the fight against terrorism with the Russian Security Council, emphasising the particular importance of the issue for internal security, meanwhile the high terrorist threat level was set indefinitely in the Bryansk region often affected by attacks by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. A combat training centre was established in Astrakhan for those wishing to become SSO volunteers. Finally, we learn from the pro-Russian social sphere that Crimea has nationalised the properties of Akhmetov, Kolomoisky and other Ukrainian politicians and businessmen, totalling some 500 properties. In all likelihood, the properties will be redistributed to those fighting at the front.

The Russian Defence Ministry has announced that the area of responsibility of the Southern Military District has been extended to the DNR, LNR, Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. New weapons are on their way to the Russian frontline, confirmed by the Rostec State Corporation’s high-precision complex holding company the shipment of the first batch of BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles in 2023, as part of a state defence order. The BMP-3s produced in Kurganmashzavod are equipped with Sodema main gunner-operator sights and additional protection kits – armoured shields and grids. And again on 3 February it was confirmed via social media the arrival of the first four Marker robots that will carry out work in the special operations zone, the executive director of the developing company, Russian NGO Android Technics, Yevgeny Dudorov, told RIA Novosti on 3 February. This robot is tasked with intercepting artillery strikes and destroying them before contact with Russian assets.

On the morning of 3 February, the Russian Defence Ministry announced that the Russian Armed Forces destroyed the Norwegian NASAMS (National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System) air defence system for the first time during a ground-based missile attack, and Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev stated that the Russian Armed Forces are regularly and fully supplied with different types of missiles. He told the press: ‘Deliveries of all types of AMS will increase significantly in 2023. This will make it possible to inflict a severe defeat on the neo-Nazi Ukrainian power, which has been greased with its weapons by a variety of Western scum’.

Beginning in the late afternoon of 2 February, Wagner’s PMC fighters occupied the Mykolayivka settlement north of Soledar in the DNR, press service Eugene Prigozhin reported. The liberation of Mykolayivka and Sacko and Vancetti makes it possible to launch an assault on the next Ukrainian line of defence – Fedorivka-Razdolovka, where the forces of the 10th OgshbR DShV of Ukraine hold their positions. The advance in this direction will allow them to approach the Seversk agglomeration from the south, cut off supplies to the Ukrainian units located on the Verkhnekamenskoye – Vyemka – Ivano-Daryevka line and threaten the Ukrainian formations in Seversk itself.

And now a look at the status of the Russian military operation in Ukraine updated at 24:00 on 2 February.

In the Lyman sector, Russian Armed Forces units supported by artillery are attacking Ukrainian positions near Balka Zhuravka.

In the south, Russian troops broke through the Ukrainian defence lines and established control of strongholds in the direction of Yampolivka.

At the same time, assault groups of the Russian Armed Forces are advancing on enemy positions south-west of Dibrova.

During the fighting near the Serebryansky Forest, the Ukrainian formations retreated with losses in the reserve lines. In the Soledar sector, PMC Wagner units assaulted enemy positions near Mykolaivka and also advanced in the direction of Fedorivka.

The liberation of the settlements will allow PMC Wagner units to advance towards Sivers’k from the south. Fighting continues in Bachmut. Wagner assault groups are engaged in heavy fighting in the eastern and southern parts of the city. Russian artillery is continuously engaging Ukrainian units in the central areas. Russian forces continue to break through the Ukrainian defensive lines at the gates of Krasnyy and Stupochki.

If there is further progress in the area, Russian forces may establish control of the Chasov Yar – Bachmut highway and jeopardise the survival of the Ukrainian Bachmut grouping.

The situation in the Vuhledar sector remains constantly tense. Fighting in positions and artillery clashes continue. The Ukrainian command continues to bring in men from other directions to reinforce the defensive grouping.

There are no significant changes in the direction of Zaporizhizhia. The sides are deploying additional forces to the front line and conducting mutual reconnaissance. Nevertheless, active shelling continues along the entire line of contact with the use of cannons and artillery rockets.

Graziella Giangiulio

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