Today’s D Brief: Winter cold has hit Ukraine; imaginary problem of Russia; China’s new missile; Iran strikes targets in Iraq; And a little more.

The cold season has officially arrived in Ukraine. Officials are urging citizens of liberated cities to evacuate in the hope of spending this winter elsewhere in the country — hopefully somewhere with electricity and heat. The first snow fell in the capital Kyiv on Thursday. After a cold weekend, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Verashchuk on Monday promised “transport, accommodation, [and] medical aid” for the evacuation of residents of such cities as Kherson, in the south of Associated Press reports from Kiev.

President Uladzimir Zelensky maintained an optimistic tone in a recent address to compatriots on the Day of Dignity and Freedom of Ukraine. “We can run out of money. Without gasoline. Without hot water. Without light. But not without freedom,” he said said in a speech on Monday. “It can be dark on our streets. We can be cold,” he continued. “There are many changes [from Russia’s invasion], but did not change the most important thing. After all, the main thing is not outside, but inside. And it remains unchanged. And that’s why we will endure. We will endure.”

Rise development: Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet terminals help facilitate food deliveries from donors like chef José Andrés, who shared his gratitude Sunday on Twitter after a train from Kiev carrying food for the needy in the recently liberated southern city of Kherson.

According to the British, “both defensive and offensive capabilities of Russia are still being held back a serious shortage of ammunition and qualified personnel,” they write in their latest daily publication assessment. Of course, it’s not clear how long that can last, as the estimated 300,000 or so mobilized civilians who have been inducted since late September could help shift the momentum in Moscow’s favor in the coming months.

They donated MRAP in Ukraine? They are not doing so well now that the coming cold season has turned the ground into mud in several places, including this one noted by Russia watcher Rob Lee.

Last week we learned that Russia has begun purchasing commercial satellite images from “usual commercial suppliers” through front companies because Moscow cannot cut it on its own, according to Jack Watling of the Royal Joint Services Institute. This “would mean that their own capabilities at the sovereign level are not quite what they need,” Watling told Dmitry Alperovich in his “Geopolitics Decanted” podcast late last week.

Read more: Watling and his RUSI colleague Justin Bronk published review Ukraine’s air defense capabilities and shortcomings in light of the Russian invasion; it makes for incredibly timely reading, given that a Russian airline left a quarter of Ukrainians without electricity or heat ahead of winter.

See the location of some Ukrainian power plants that were allegedly damaged by the recent Russian strikes through this The map was created using data collected by Brady Africa of the American Enterprise Institute.

At the end of last week, the second meeting of the national directors of arms of Ukraine took place in the Pentagon. in which officials from 45 European and NATO countries participated, and was chaired by William LaPlante, the main arms buyer of US President Joe Biden. According to the Ministry of Defense to readLaplante’s Friday meeting focused on four things (and note #2 in light of the two graphs immediately above):

  • Ground, distant fires;
  • Air defense systems;
  • Air-ground capabilities;
  • And maintenance support.

How does Russia use bloggers in its interests? Analysts at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War addressed the issue in their latest assessment Sunday night. One quick takeaway: “The prominence of the milliblogging community is likely a direct result of the Kremlin’s failure to establish an effective Telegram presence stemming from [Vladimir] Putin’s general inability to prepare his people for a serious and protracted war.” Read the rest here.

Related reading:

From Defense One

Ukraine is getting nervous about Elon Musk // Patrick Tucker: Kyiv seeks alternatives to Musk’s Starlink internet terminals and worries about growing misinformation on Twitter.

The commander-in-chief of the Polish army said that Russia is tightening NATO’s borders // Patrick Tucker: After missile debris kills Poles, Ukrainian officials say ‘air shield’ talks underway with allies.

China launched a new missile after Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, according to PacFleet // Caitlin M. Kenny: The weapons were part of a missile fire and live-fire drill designed to show disapproval of a US visit to the self-ruled island.

Brief information about the defense business // Markus Weisgerber: Defense Business Brief: Lockheed and Microsoft in ‘Iconic’ Partnership; Army Restocks Missiles; USAF Funds Hypersonic Tests; and more.

Special operators lack ‘seat at table’ at Pentagon after counterterrorism, SOF chiefs say // Elizabeth Howe: While U.S.-trained Ukrainians are showing their mettle, SOF is getting lost in the transition to big-power competition, says the assistant secretary of defense for special operations.

The Foreign Policy Lessons of Muhammad Ali // John B. Alterman: Like the great boxer, America needs to know when and where to engage.

Welcome to this Monday’s edition of The D Brief, brought you Ben Watson with Jennifer Hlad. If you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do so now here. And check out the others Defense alone newsletters here. On this day in 2013 protests flared up in the Ukrainian capital, when then-President Viktor Yanukovych suspended the signing of an agreement known as the Ukraine-European Union Association Agreement, which would have brought Kyiv closer economically to Brussels rather than Moscow.

Developing: Turkish jets according to reports drop bombs on northern Syria again today in retaliation for the deaths of two people earlier on Monday in Kurdish militia strikes. New attacks occur a day after that Wall Street Journal is called a “broad series” of Turkish airstrikes on Sunday in northern Syria and Iraq against Kurdish militias; Turkey believes that this group is responsible for the loss of life bombing pedestrian street in Istanbul on November 13. Reuters has more here.
Iranian drones and missiles hit Kurdish groups in northern Iraq on MondayReuters reported separately. The Iranian government has accused “dissidents” in the region of inciting riots following the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish woman who was arrested by morality police for improperly wearing a hijab.
The head of US Central Command, General Michael “Eric” Kurylo, condemned the “cross-border” attacks on Iraq in a statement On Sunday, saying: “Such indiscriminate and unlawful attacks put civilians at risk, violate Iraq’s sovereignty and threaten the security and stability of Iraq and the embattled Middle East.”
Update: More than 100 unmanned vessels to be deployed in Persian Gulf by a US-led task force, Kurila said Saturday at dialogues in Manama, Bahrain. AFP covered announcement about Task Force 59; Kurylo said that “at least 80 percent” of these drone ships will belong to partner forces.
“Collectively, these unmanned systems will operate on a single cellular network, feeding a mass of data to an artificial intelligence program that sorts it all, makes sense of it, and communicates important information to analysts in real time. These analysts share this information with partner forces, all of whom share the same threat picture and the same information. This is where CENTCOM is headed with innovation.”
If this sounds familiar, that could be because our colleague Caitlin Kenny reported on the effort earlier this year. find it here.

Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin is in Cambodia for the 9th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting. While there, he is expected to meet personally with his counterparts from Cambodia, Vietnam, India and the Philippines. He also spoke to the press for nearly half an hour during a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart, Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto. Watch it in replays, via DVIDS, here.

And finally today: State media of North Korea revealed dictator Kim Jong Un daughter for the first time in a series of pictures released late last week in honor of Pyongyang’s latest ICBM test. Its disclosure may signal the next leader of the isolated country, NKNews writes with reference to a source who used to live in North Korea.
Additional literature: Today’s D Brief: Winter cold has hit Ukraine; imaginary problem of Russia; China’s new missile; Iran strikes targets in Iraq; And a little more.

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