Russian forces launched another massive series of missile and drone strikes across Ukraine on February 10. Ukrainian military sources reported that Russian forces launched over 100 missiles against critical and civil infrastructure throughout Ukraine including S-300 surface-to-air missiles in ground attack mode and air and sea-based Kh-101/Kh-55 and Kalibr-28 cruise missiles. The Ukrainian General Staff noted that Russian forces also launched seven Shahed-type drones and that Ukrainian air defense intercepted 61 of the cruise missiles. Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat noted that Russian forces struck Kharkiv Oblast with S-300 missiles from the direction of Belgorod Oblast and Tokmak, Zaporizhia Oblast. Russian milbloggers widely lauded the wave of strikes and claimed they hit energy infrastructure in Kyiv, Khmelnytskyi, Dnipropetrovsk, Pavlohrad, Vinnytsia, Zaporizhia, Odesa, Mykolaiv, Poltava, Zhytomyr, Kirovohrad, and Kharkiv oblasts. Russian claims of the scale and effectiveness of the strikes are overblown in comparison to official Ukrainian statements, and Russian forces continue to expend already limited stocks of precision munitions on such strikes.
Russian missile overflights of NATO territory are highly unlikely to prompt an escalation, and ISW continues to assess with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin is unwilling to risk a direct conflict with NATO. Russian forces fired two cruise missiles from the Black Sea that reportedly crossed Romanian and Moldovan airspace before entering Ukrainian airspace. Russia’s ongoing campaign of missile strikes in support of its illegal invasion of Ukraine will continue to generate peripheral risks outside of Ukraine, such as these overflights or the risk of air defense incidents (as in Poland on November 15, 2022). However, ISW assesses that NATO (and individual member states) are in full control over its responses and the degree to which it chooses to escalate in response to accidental or intentional Russian overflights or other provocations. ISW also continues to assess with high confidence that Putin does not seek a war with NATO and is unlikely to directly risk an escalation.
Recent footage of a failed Russian assault near Vuhledar, Donetsk Oblast has become the latest point of neuralgia in the Russian information space. Milbloggers latched onto the footage to launch several critiques of Russian military leadership. Russian milbloggers claimed that the same Russian commanders who oversaw highly attritional assaults by the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade on Pavlivka (near Vuhledar) in November 2022 are responsible for the effort to capture Vuhledar, and argued that the video illustrates that these commanders continue to make the same costly mistakes. One Russian milblogger specifically stated that Eastern Grouping of Forces commander Lieutenant General Rustam Muradov is responsible for Russian tactical failures around Vuhledar. Another Russian milblogger called for public trials to punish high-ranking officers who repeatedly fail on the battlefield and argued that Russian forces will continue to repeat the same mistakes if these commanders remain in their positions. Footage shows these Russian forces engaging in highly dysfunctional tactics that are far more indicative of the fact that the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade is likely comprised of poorly trained mobilized personnel than of poor command. Russian milbloggers likely blamed Russian commanders to downplay the fact that the systemic poor training of Russian mobilized personnel will likely continue to result in similar tactical failures throughout Ukraine. Russian milbloggers have routinely accused Russian commanders of being responsible for tactical failures throughout the war, likely to shift the overall Russian military failure in Ukraine from the Russian military as an institution onto individuals.
- Russian forces launched another massive series of missile and drone strikes across Ukraine.
- Russian missile overflights of NATO territory are highly unlikely to prompt an escalation, and ISW continues to assess with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin is unwilling to risk a direct conflict with NATO.
- Recent footage of a failed Russian assault near Vuhledar, Donetsk Oblast has become the next point of neuralgia in the Russian information space and demonstrated the systemic poor training of Russian mobilized personnel.
- Russian forces continued offensive operations northwest of Svatove and around Kreminna.
- Russian forces continued offensive operations in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka-Donetsk City areas as well as in western Donetsk Oblast.
- Russian forces reportedly conducted a limited ground attack in Zaporizhia Oblast.
- Russian authorities are likely placing restrictions on movement in and out of Russia to support crypto-mobilization efforts.
- Russian officials and occupation authorities are intensifying measures to integrate children in occupied territories using government-funded civic organizations.