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Massive Russian missile strikes on Ukraine, Russian grouping trapped on the Kinburn Spit. What's happening on the front line?

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After the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) liberated the city of Kherson, Russia mounted a massive missile strike on Ukrainian territory, launching a total of over 90 missiles. Maps published by OSINT investigators have also confirmed that Russian forces have occupied the settlement of Maiorsk on the outskirts of Horlivka in the Donetsk region.

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the Russian Defense Ministry's increasingly frequent statements about occupied territories in the Donetsk region may indicate that Russia will become more active in this area after the withdrawal of troops from the right bank of the Dnipro river in the Kherson region.

Large-scale missile attack on Ukraine

On the afternoon of November 15, Russia shelled Kyiv and a dozen other Ukrainian cities and regions. There were missile strikes in the Kharkiv, Kirovohrad, Vinniytssa, Volyn, Poltava, Sumy, Khmelnytskyi, Dnipro, Rivne, Lviv, Ternopil, and Chernihiv regions. Most of the missiles were shot down by air defenses, but there were hits on residential buildings and critical infrastructure facilities, leaving some districts and regions without power.

Oleh Synyehubov, head of the Kharkiv Regional Civil-Military Administration (HOVA), said that the region was almost completely de-energized. A total of 15 energy infrastructure facilities were affected, said Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine.

Most of Russia’s strikes hit critical infrastructure, with some hitting residential buildings. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, at least 85 missiles were launched, and 20 more were expected to be launched at the time of his video address. Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ignat said on a telethon that November 15 saw the most massive shelling since the war began – Russia launched 84 missiles on October 10, while the current attack numbered close to a 100. Kalibr missiles were launched from the Black Sea, X-101 and X-555 rockets were fired from the Caspian Sea and from the Rostov region. According to the Ukrainian Air Force, 73 of the 90 missiles launched were shot down, along with 10 Shahed-136 kamikaze drones. Russia used 14 Tu-95 strategic missile-carrying airplanes, ships of the Black Sea Fleet and Iranian drones for the strikes.

Ukraine's energy minister called the shelling of the country's power system the largest since the beginning of the war:

“This attack could affect not only the energy system of Ukraine, but also the energy systems of some of our neighbors. The entire energy system of Ukraine is being hit: both the generation facilities and the power transmission system.”

After the shelling, Moldova stopped receiving electricity from Romania.

Russian propaganda war correspondents published a map showing the cities affected by the strikes.

In Kyiv, two rockets hit residential buildings, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine. Pro-Russian military correspondent Yuriy Kotenok claimed that Russia “hit targets” in the Kyiv, Odesa, and Cherkasy regions of Ukraine.

Following Russia's shelling of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), led by the Kyiv City Prosecutor's Office, launched a pre-trial investigation into the violation of laws and customs of war involving premeditated murder (part 2 of Article 438 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code), reported Ukraine’s Office of the Prosecutor General. According to the investigation, on November 15, the Russian Armed Forces, ignoring the norms of international law, carried out a rocket attack on the civil infrastructure of Kyiv, which resulted in one death and damage to several residential apartment buildings.

Rockets fall on Polish village near Ukrainian border

According to preliminary reports, two missiles fell on Polish territory during Russia’s missile attacks on Ukraine. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called an urgent meeting of the Council of Ministers Committee on National Security and Defense in response to the incident. Polish Radio ZET reported the explosions in the village of Przewodów in the Lublin Voivodeship near the border with Ukraine. According to these reports, two people were killed.

Radio Lublin quoted the local police as saying that the incident in Przewodów occurred around 3:40 p.m. at at the transfer scales at an agricultural facility, where tractors with cargo are usually weighed. According to preliminary findings, the tractor, which drove into the scales, suddenly exploded. The Associated Press reported, citing a high-ranking intelligence source, that Russian missiles had crossed into Poland. The Pentagon said it could not confirm these reports.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban also called an urgent meeting of the Security Council due to the apparent missile strike on Poland and amid reports that Ukraine had stopped pumping oil through the Druzhba pipeline towards Hungary.

The Estonian Foreign Ministry tweeted amid reports of missiles falling in Poland that it was ready to defend “every inch” of NATO land.

Russian grouping trapped on Kinburn Spit

The Kinburn Spit in the Mykolayiv region is still occupied by Russian troops. According to reports from Ukraine’s Operational Command South, Russia is striking at Ochakiv with Grad multiple rocket launchers (MLRS), as well as water areas and piers, from the direction of the spit. The day prior, the pro-Russian Telegram channel Romanov live reported that the spit had come under Ukrainian control. However, the Russian propaganda channel RT rebutted the claim, claiming that the location was still under Russian control.

Military expert and AFU reserve colonel Roman Svitan told The Insider that the Kinburn Spit is located just over one kilometer from Ochakiv, meaning the city can easily be shelled by any artillery. To ensure the safety of the city, AFU tactical groups have been deployed to the spit to destroy Russian weapons capable of striking Ochakiv.

“The Kinburn Spit is on the left bank of the Dnipro. The AFU tactical groups go in there, destroy the Russians and go back to Ochakiv. This kind of movement is perceived as an offensive, moving to the left bank and liberating it, but if you look at the map, this spit is almost out to sea and cannot serve as a bridgehead for an offensive. It is just a single action of our tactical groups to destroy the enemy. Moreover, the Russians' entry on this particular spit makes them an excellent target, as it’s impossible to take cover or fortify there, and we are practicing strikes mainly on armored boats.
The town of Oleshky will be liberated and so will the entire left bank from the Antonov Bridge. There is only the sea on the other side of the spit, and we take advantage of the fact that the Russians come out there with their Grads and electronic warfare equipment, and ours just destroy them. Most of our units used to be occupied by other parts of the front, but now there are units that can perform these tasks. Earlier, the Russians did not work from this point, as there was no point in going under direct attack, they could work from Kherson, from there they would hit Nikolaev. Now we have liberated Kherson, and they have no other point except the Kinburn Spit to work on Mykolaiv and Ochakiv, so they trampled a path there, and our forces began to destroy them there, because they themselves get into such a trap.”

According to Svitan, two groups will be enough to achieve Ukraine’s objectives in that direction. One will go in and not let the Russians leave the spit, while the second one destroys the grouping and weapons. There is also another option, according to Svitan, in which the group that blocks the retreat from the spit covers the soldiers with artillery from Ochakiv, but the Russian troops have no choice but to advance, because they have “orders to shell Mykolayiv and Ochakiv.”

“There are hundreds of these ‘Chornobaivkas’ [Svitan is referring to the dozens of Ukrainian attacks against Russian forces near Kherson airport, which caused heavy casualties and equipment losses] all over the front. The Russians attack with a kind of fierce hatred – they’ll keep coming, and we’ll keep destroying them. They’ll die doing the task set and drawn up by someone. That’s why so many Russians die. The area’s marked – it’s already been shot at, and we know where to aim our guns. The Kinburn Spit is a well-marked area. But you cannot understand Russia with your mind, they have a completely illogical approach to the fulfillment of [military] objectives.”

According to Svitan, in the near future we should expect fighting in the Kherson region, as almost 80% of the potential of the Ukrainian right-bank grouping remains unused – millions of shells and dozens of guns, including HIMARS systems. The AFU will start advancing in the Donetsk area or will liberate the left bank from the side of Orikhove to Melitopol, says Svitan.

“Most likely, this untapped potential will pour out on the left bank grouping. There are almost three entry points there – from Orikhove to Tokmak and Melitopol, Kakhovka and Oleshky. If our command decides to develop a bridgehead, these three points – Orikhove, Kakhovka and Oleshky – will be used for a further offensive and de-occupation of the [Dnipro’s] left bank.”

What’s happening in the Kherson region?

According to military analysts, in the Skadovsky and Henichesky districts of the Kherson region, separate Russian units are abandoning populated areas and leaving in the direction of Russian-occupied Crimea. The AFU’s Operational Command South reports that Russia is completing its regrouping of troops on the left bank of the Dnipro river, and continues to arrange defensive borders and fire missiles and artillery at AFU positions and settlements.

In turn, the AFU are striking Russian positions on the seized left bank of the Dnipro river, Natalia Humeniuk, a representative of Operational Command South, said on Espresso TV.
As a result, Russian servicemen are being forced to move 15-20 kilometers deeper into the territory from their defensive structures. The AFU is establishing fire control over logistics routes, and it will be difficult for Russian troops to supply their grouping, Humeniuk noted.

“There is activity of enemy troops on the left bank of the Dnipro with respect to (movement) 15-20 km deep from the [river] bank.”

According to Humeniuk, Russia can threaten to shell liberated Kherson, and the AFU is now using counter-battery means to push back enemy units.

During the retreat from Kherson, the Russian military released convicts from local detention centers and prisoners, a Hromadske correspondent reported. The emergency evacuation “administration” of the pre-trial detention center opened the gates for detainees as they left the facility. The Ukrainian military found cases on 457 convicts in the detention center, of whom 15 were sentenced to life imprisonment. After the Russians fled, all of the convicts fled – so far only one prisoner, who was serving a life sentence, has been found.

The Moscow-installed occupation administration of Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region, as well as employees of “state and municipal institutions,” have left the city following the retreat of the Russian army from Kherson, according to a Telegram post issued by the “administration’s” press service. Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti published a similar report.

The Telegram post said that the city was “under fire from large-caliber artillery and mortars of the Ukrainian army,” adding that life in Nova Kakhovka had become “unsafe.” The pro-Russian administration also claims that thousands of the town's residents had also left their homes.

On the evening of November 14, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the recently liberated city of Kherson and addressed Ukrainian security forces. The Kremlin declined to comment on the Ukrainian president's visit to the area, which Russia annexed at the end of September.

Russian losses

According to the AFU, 82,080 Russian servicemen have been killed since the start of the war. The AFU has also destroyed 2,861 tanks, 5,773 armored combat vehicles, 1,850 artillery systems, 393 MLRS, 208 air defense assets, 278 aircraft and 261 helicopters since February 24. In addition, Russia has reportedly lost 1,511 operational-tactical UAVs, 399 cruise missiles, 16 ships, 4,351 vehicles and tanker trucks and another 160 pieces of special equipment during the invasion.

On October 12, investigative outlet iStories, citing an FSB officer and a source from the Russian special services, reported that Russia's irrecoverable losses in the war with Ukraine could amount to more than 90,000 people. The Russian Defense Ministry has reported on the deaths of Russian servicemen three times since February 24. In the most recent announcement, dated September 21 – the day Russia announced its “partial” mobilization – Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu confirmed that 5,937 Russian servicemen had been killed since the start of the so-called “special operation.”

Read more in The Insider's summary of November 14's news: Abandoned Chechen bodies, Pavlivka captured at the cost of 500 Russian troops, Zelensky in Kherson. What's happening on the front line?

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