Region of Concern: Ukraine; Russia
Written By Mridul Mahendroo; Edited by Amy McGee
Date: December 17, 2022
Sumy Region, Ukraine
Event: On December 16, 2022, the Ukrainian Sumy Region was hit 79 times by shelling. These events were reported on Facebook by Dmytro Zhyvytskyi, the regional governor. He claimed that Russian forces were targeting the Bilopolska, Esmanska, Mykolaivska, Seredino-Budska, and Khotynska communities located in the northern part of the region. This region borders Russia and is targeted by daily shelling. Russian forces have used heavy artillery, grenade launchers, and drones to perpetrate these attacks.
Significance: It is likely that high frequency shelling is used to overload Ukrainian defenses and to deter the Ukrainian military from advancing toward Russian territory. It is likely that this high shelling prevents Ukrainian troops from creating a strategic line of defense at the border. It is also likely that this shelling aims to destroy the region’s economic capabilities and further threaten the Ukrainian economy. This threat is likely to result in civilian casualties and damage to critical infrastructure leading to power cuts and difficulties in transporting commercial and military goods. It is likely that Russia will need to increase its production and purchase of military equipment due to the high consumption of ammunition and diversity of weapons used.
Recommendations: The Ukrainian military forces should stay at a safe distance from the Russian border to avoid exposing military units to avoidable threats. However, precautions must be taken to avoid any risk of Russian advance if the shelling ceases. A defensive line should be created to protect border regions from being targeted by heavy shelling. Humanitarian organizations need to provide essential supplies, medicine, and psychological aid to civilians residing in the Sumy Region. Civilians in high risk areas should be evacuated by military forces to safe locations further from the Russian border. Medical establishments in the region which have not been damaged by shelling should be prepared for an increase in wounded patients by replenishing their medical provisions. Emergency teams should be mobilized and ready to act in the case of power cuts and shelling of infrastructure. Extra troops and engineers from Ukraine can help in the repair of critical infrastructure in the case of extensive damage. In the event of further Russian production and purchase of weapons, Ukraine must focus on the establishment of air defense systems such as anti-drone weapons, in risk-prone areas and should obtain additional defensive weapons from England, France, or the USA.
Governor: Russia strikes Sumy Oblast 79 times on Dec. 16, The Kyiv Independent, December 2022, https://kyivindependent.com/news-feed/governor-russia-strikes-sumy-oblast-79-times-on-dec-16