November 11, 2023

Institute for the Study of War: Russia targets Kyiv with missiles, Ukraine attacks railways, arms plants inside Russia

Institute for the Study of War

Russian forces launched a large-scale missile and drone strike series against Ukraine on the night of November 10 to 11, targeting Kyiv Oblast for the first time in 52 days. Ukrainian military sources reported on November 11 that Russian forces launched 31 Shahed 131/136 drones, two Kh-59 missiles, one Kh-31 missile, one P-800 Onyx anti-ship missile, and an S-300 missile against various targets in Ukraine, and specifically targeted Kyiv Oblast with either an Iskander-M or an S-400 missile. Ukrainian air defenses downed 19 Shaheds (primarily targeting front line areas), one Kh-59 missile, and used a Patriot air defense system to destroy the ballistic missile targeting Kyiv Oblast. Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces were targeting an air defense system at the Boryspil Airport near Kyiv City. The Kyiv City Administration stated that it has been 52 days since Russian forces last launched a missile strike against Kyiv Oblast.

Ukraine’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) was reportedly involved in at least one of three strikes on Russian territory on November 10-11. Ukrainian outlet Suspilne Crimea reported that sources in the GUR stated that the GUR orchestrated an explosion of railway tracks in Ryazan Oblast that caused 19 railroad cars of a freight train to derail on the morning of November 11. The GUR source stated that the explosion will complicate Russian military logistics for the near future. A prominent Russian milblogger claimed that the train was carrying mineral fertilizer. Moscow Railways stated that the situation did not affect passenger and commuter trains and that Russian Railways created a headquarters to coordinate any disruptions caused by the derailment. Russian state news outlet RIA Novosti stated that the derailment was due to an “intervention of unauthorized persons.” The Main Directorate of the Ministry of Emergency Situations for Tambov Oblast also stated that a fire covering 300 square meters broke out in a gunpowder factory near Kotovsk on the night of November 11. Eyewitnesses reportedly heard explosions before the fire ignited. BBC Russia stated that this is the second such incident at this gunpowder factory after a fire there killed five people in June 2023. GUR spokesperson Andriy Yusov stated on November 11 that he cannot officially confirm or deny information about events in Russia, such as the explosion at the gunpowder plant near Tambov or the train derailment but that such strikes will continue. Geolocated footage published on November 10 also shows smoke coming from a building in Kolomna, Moscow Oblast. Russian sources claimed that locals heard explosions near the Machine-Building Design Bureau, a Rostec state corporation in Kolomna that specializes in missile systems. Russian sources also claimed that Russian forces downed one or more drones over the Machine-Building Design Bureau, and a Russian insider source claimed that a drone crashed into the building. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Russian air defenses shot down two Ukrainian drones over Smolensk and Moscow oblasts on the night of November 10, and a prominent Russian milblogger similarly claimed that Russian air defenses intercepted several air targets over Smolensk Oblast and Kolomna, Moscow Oblast in the night. Ukrainian officials have not commented on the Kolomna strike as of the time of this publication. Ukrainian Minister of Energy Herman Halushchenko notably stated in an interview published on November 11 that Ukraine would answer Russian strikes on Ukrainian critical infrastructure in the winter with reciprocal strikes on Russian energy infrastructure, including oil and gas infrastructure.

Key Takeaways:

  • Russian forces launched a large-scale missile and drone strike series against Ukraine on the night of November 10 to 11, targeting Kyiv Oblast for the first time in 52 days.
  • Ukraine’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) was reportedly involved in at least one of three strikes on Russian territory on November 10-11.
  • Continued Russian milblogger discussion of widespread Russian infantry-led frontal assaults highlights the challenges Russia will face in using massed infantry assaults to offset the problems contributing to the current positional warfare identified by Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi.
  • Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov appears to be increasingly sidelining his eldest son, 18-year-old Akhmat Kadyrov, in favor of his younger son Adam Kadyrov.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and advanced near Avdiivka.
  • Russian authorities have reportedly launched another large-scale crypto-mobilization wave.
  • Russian authorities continue efforts to fill out the workforce and artificially alter the demographics of occupied Ukraine.
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