• Storm-Z units plan to throw prisoner recruits at Ukrainian guns in Avdiivka
  • AFU shoots down a Sukhoi jet near Avdiivka, as Russian troops advance there
  • As in Avdiivka, Russia boosts its boots-on-the-ground numbers in Bakhmut
  • Ukrainian units meanwhile continue to make gains near Bakhmut
  • Putin points finger at Ukraine and US for antisemitic riot at Russian airport
  • Forces trade wins and losses in the Luhansk region
  • WATCH: missiles fly into Crimea

Who is to blame for Russia’s airport pogrom on Sunday? The West, of course, says Putin

Faced with the international shame of a hunt for Jewish people in one of Russia’s airports on Sunday, Kremlin spin doctors opened their playbook to a well-worn page on Monday and blamed the anti-Israeli riot in Dagestan on Ukraine, the US, and the West in general.

“The events in Makhachkala last night were instigated through social networks, not least from Ukraine, by the hands of agents of Western special services,” Russian dictator Vladimir Putin said with a straight face on Monday, in a televised meeting with top leadership of his Security Council.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that Russian security forces have identified more than 150 participants and detained about 60 in connection with Sunday’s incident in the mostly Muslim republic of Dagestan, where rioters stormed an airport and forced their way to the runway to encircle a plane that had flown in from Israel. AFP puts the figure of those detained at more than 80. The mob of rioters confronted passengers whom they judged to be Israeli and/or Jewish-looking.


“Who is organizing the deadly chaos and who benefits from it today, in my opinion, has already become obvious...” Putin said. “It is the current ruling elites of the US and their satellites who are the main beneficiaries of world instability.”

Russian sources said that nine police officers were injured in the attack, where rioters threw stones at security forces that responded.

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Here is another video recap of the chaos:

Operations: Bakhmut

According to The Independent, a Ukrainian military commander claimed that Moscow has committed an increasing number of troops to fronts around Bakhmut, where units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) have made significant gains over the past week at least.

“In the Bakhmut area, the enemy has significantly strengthened its grouping and switched from defense to active actions,” General Oleksandr Syrskyi, a Ukrainian commander of the ground forces, wrote on Telegram messenger, The Independent reported.


On Sunday, the AFU was said to have breached an important railway line about 10 kilometers south of the contested city, in Andriivka. Russian invaders overtook the city in May and Ukrainian troops have since liberated much of the surrounding territory, particularly in October.

On Monday, the ISW reported, that geolocated footage shows that the AFU has advanced northeast of Kurdyumivka (10km southwest of Bakhmut), while additional footage posted Sunday indicates that Ukrainian units have marginally advanced west of Robotyne.

Moscow has also doubled down on its commitment to the Avdiivka front, as reported over the weekend, where Russian casualties have reached record levels and continue to rise.

Operations: Avdiivka

Colonel Oleksandr Shtupun, spokesman for Ukraine’s Tavariisk Group of Forces, said on Monday that Russian forces in in Avdiivka area are preparing to use “meat assaults” from Storm-Z units to attack AFU troops without backup artillery, the ISW reported.

“Meat assaults” are the term used for infantry attacks, generally using prisoner conscripts, to attack mostly on foot so as not to alert the Ukrainian defenders as to their position, as could be the case with artillery attacks and heavy machinery.


One Russian military blogger expanded on the strategy, explaining that “when two Russian regiments conduct ‘meat assaults’ side by side, the seam between the areas of responsibility of both regiments remains unsecured and vulnerable to Ukrainian counterattacks,” the ISW analysts wrote.

Another Russian blogger claimed that Storm-Z assault detachments, on average, lose between 40-70 percent of their personnel. A lot of that, the Russian blogger wrote, is due to the difficulty of retrieving the wounded in such attacks, and the fact that these missions are usually carried out without much reconnaissance beforehand. The ISW has frequently stated that such attacks by Storm-Z units are typically ineffective.

On Monday, AFU sources noted, Ukrainian forces shot down another Russian Su-25 jet over Avdiivka, making it the sixth such plane shot down in this area since Oct. 10. No Ukrainian advances in the area were confirmed.

Meanwhile, Russian regiments continued to make gains around the heavily contested city on Monday, with geolocated footage showing a Russian TOS-1A thermobaric artillery system operating in Novoselivka Druha (5 km northeast of Avdiivka), confirming that Russian forces hold the town.


Russian bloggers also claimed that Russian units advanced in the “Khimik” micro-district south of Avdiivka, and near Berdychi (7 km northwest of Bakhmut), and also captured a quarry near Sjeverne (5 km directly west of Avdiivka).

Operations: Luhansk region

Russian forces reportedly made marginal gains along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line on Monday, claims backed up by geolocated footage showing Moscow’s forces advancing towards Torske (about 8 km southwest of Kreminna, just over the Luhansk regional border with Donetsk).

According to the ISW: “Ukraine’s ‘Steel Cordon’ border guard assault brigade spokesperson Ivan Shevstov stated that the most active part of the Kupyansk front is near Synkivka and Ivanivka, and that Russian forces are using groups of between 10 and 30 people in attacks towards Kupyansk. Shevstov noted that Russian forces continue efforts to occupy the left bank of the Oskil River.”

There were also reports of Russian forces, including airborne (VDV) elements, advancing towards Kupyansk and near Kreminna.

Some Russian sources, however, conceded that AFU made some limited gains in counterattacks along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna area on Monday, reconquering their previous positions near Raihorodka (12 km west of Svatove) in the Luhansk region.

Footage pops up of Ukrainian aerial attack on Crimea

As reported in Kyiv Post on Monday, Ukrainian forces launched air strikes on positions in occupied Crimea, at one point hitting a Russian air defense post along the Black Sea.


A video from a Ukrainian observer shows missiles flying over Sevastopol:

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