November 3, 2023

Institute for the Study of War: Russia fires 48 drones at civilian infrastructure, Ukraine downs more than half

Institute for the Study of War

Russian forces conducted a notably larger series of drone strikes throughout Ukraine on November 3. The Ukrainian Air Force reported that Russian forces launched four dozen Shahed-131/-136 drones from Kursk Oblast and Primorsko-Akhtarsk, Krasnodar Krai, and a Kh-59 cruise missile from occupied Kherson Oblast at targets in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Air Force reported that Ukrainian air defenses shot down the Kh-59 cruise missile and 24 of the Shahed drones. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Ukrainian forces intercepted over half of the roughly 40 drones that Russian forces launched at Ukraine. Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces struck targets in Kharkiv, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Odesa oblasts, and Zelensky stated that Ukrainian air defenses activated in Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Kyiv, Kirovohrad, Vinnytsia, Khmelnytskyi, and Lviv oblasts. Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces primarily struck civil infrastructure, and Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast Military Administration Head Svitlana Onyshchuk stated that Russian forces struck an unspecified military facility in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces launched small groups of Shaheds to identify the locations of Ukrainian air defenses and then launched several waves of drones to complicate the Ukrainian response. Ukrainian officials, including Zelensky, stated that Russian forces plan to launch more damaging strikes throughout Ukraine as winter approaches.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced new military aid packages to Ukraine on November 3, primarily aimed at strengthening Ukraine’s air defenses. The US DoD announced an aid package of military materiel support for Ukraine valued at $125 million, including munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) and HIMARS; 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds; Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) anti-tank missiles; Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor systems; and over three million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades. The US DoD will also allocate $300 million to the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) to strengthen Ukraine’s air defenses over the long term. The US DoD will provide Ukraine laser-guided munitions to counter UAVs under USAI.

Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast on November 3. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in the Bakhmut and Melitopol (western Zaporizhia Oblast) directions. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Russian forces repelled eight Ukrainian assaults in western Zaporizhia Oblast and several Ukrainian attacks near Bakhmut from October 28 to November 3.

Key Takeaways:

  • Russian forces conducted a notably larger series of drone strikes throughout Ukraine on November 3.
  • The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced new military aid packages to Ukraine on November 3, primarily aimed at strengthening Ukraine’s air defenses.
  • Russian milbloggers continued to criticize the Russian military command for failing to establish long-term training capabilities because it is keeping skilled commanders and soldiers at the front and leaving inexperienced careerists to train new recruits and officers.
  • Alleged long-time allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin are reportedly financing two Russian Ministry of Defense–subordinated private military companies that have subsumed former Wagner Group operations in Africa.
  • Wagner elements in Syria will reportedly transfer Russian Pantsir-S1 air defense systems that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has agreed to provide to Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah.
  • Dagestani officials claimed they would punish those who participate in and organize alleged future demonstrations, in contrast to calls for leniency for those participating in the October 29 antisemitic riots.
  • Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov’s continued appeals to Chechen nationalists likely aim to solidify domestic support without disrupting his appearance as a steadfast supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, near Vuhledar, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and advanced in some areas.
  • Kremlin-affiliated milbloggers began advertising recruitment into an “elite regiment” in Moscow Oblast and offering recruits one-million-ruble (about $10,900) salaries.
  • Kremlin-appointed Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova continued attempts to discredit information about Russia’s deportation of Ukrainian children.
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