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Russia’s war on Ukraine. 11.08.2023. Friday extended brief

Operational situation

The Defense Forces continue their offensive operation on the Melitopol and Berdyansk directions, consolidating their positions at achieved frontlines and engaging in counter-battery warfare. The adversary concentrates their main efforts on the Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, and Avdiivka directions.

General conclusion: 

  • The Defense Forces continue their offensive operation on the Melitopol and Berdyansk directions and are consolidating their positions on the achieved frontlines;
  • The enemy’s command is conducting troop rotations in Bakhmut, releasing forces from the 1st and 2nd Army Corps of the 8th Army;
  • The enemy’s artillery on the Zaporizhzhia direction is forced to maneuver constantly, reducing the intensity of the shelling.
  • The deployment of the 56th air assault regiment and the 95th motorized rifle regiment in the second echelon on the Melitopol direction signals the enemy’s readiness for a potential withdrawal to the Vasilyivka–Peremozhne line.
  • The enemy lacks sufficient forces and capabilities to establish a functional coastal observation and defense system along the Verkhnya Krynytsia–Rybalche section.
  • The maneuvering of the 34th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 49th Army on the Berdyansk direction emphasizes the challenge regarding the enemy’s reserves for the enemy in this direction.
  • The relocation of the “Wagner” PMC detachments from Belarus to the Krasnodar Krai has begun.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • More than 34 combat engagements occurred across various fronts.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, the enemy’s attempts to attack in the areas of Synkivka and Ivanivka were unsuccessful. However, they are striving to maintain the initiative and are advancing near Masyutivka, Vilshana, and Lyman Pershyi. They have reached a position 10 km from Kupyansk in the vicinity of Synkivka, progressing towards Kamianka and Dvorichna. The enemy is holding captured positions 4 km from the P79 road connecting Kupyansk and Dvorichna, while also attempting to seize positions along the Synkivka – Petropavlivka – Kucherivka line.
  • In order to minimize risks for the civilian population, the military-civilian administration announced the mandatory evacuation of residents from 53 towns and villages in the Kupyansk district of Kharkiv Oblast.
  • On the Lyman direction, the enemy advanced to the south of Kreminna and attempted to break through in the area of Serebryansk Forest. Their assault on the positions of the Ukrainian Defense Forces near Nadiya and to the south of Novoselivske was unsuccessful. 
  • Russian forces repelled the Ukrainian Defense Forces’ attacks near Novoselivske, Terny, and Bilohorivka.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the enemy attempted unsuccessful offensive actions in the vicinity of Bohdanivka in Donetsk Oblast. Extended battles occurred near Klishchiivka, Berkhivka, Druzhba, and Andriivka.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to hold back the Russian forces’ advance in the areas of Avdiivka, Maryinka, Severne, Pobieda, Novokalynove, and Novomykhailivka.
  • Zaporizhzhia direction:
    • Melitopol direction (Pyatykhatky): positional combat took place near Pyatykhatky and Zherebyanky. Units of the Ukrainian 128th Separate Mountain Assault Brigade advanced north of the T0812 road, bypassing Zherebyanky from the north. In response to this, the enemy deployed the 45th separate SOF brigade to the defense sector of the 429th motorized rifle regiment north of Hrozove.
    • In the area of Shyroke – Peremozhne, the battalion of the 56th air assault regiment of the 7th air assault division is transitioning to defense in the second echelon, and units of the 95th motorized rifle regiment are deploying in the vicinity of Pidhirne.
    • Tokmak direction (Robotyne): “Tavriya” Operational Grouping is advancing deeper into the enemy’s defense near Robotyne and Novopokrovka, while attacks near Verbove did not yield results.
    • Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive actions to the south of Novodanylivka, and units of the 291st motorized rifle regiment unsuccessfully counterattacked in the direction of Robotyne – Novodanylivka the positions of the 47th Separate mechanized brigade of the “Tavriya” Grouping.
    • Berdyansk direction (Velyka Novosilka): The enemy attempted unsuccessfully to regain the lost position in the area of Staromayorske in Donetsk Oblast, and their counterattack to the east of Urozhaine was also fruitless. Units of the enemy’s 60th separate motorized rifle brigade retreated from the northern and central parts of the village. Intense close-quarter battles are ongoing near Pryiutne, and the enemy’s command is exerting efforts to hold the territories north of the Pryiutne – Zavitne Bazhannia line.
    • The “Tavriya” Operational Grouping pushed back the enemy’s 37th separate motorized rifle brigade from its positions and advanced to a line 4 km north of Kermenchyk, a key enemy defense point. A battalion of the 125th separate motorized rifle brigade has been swiftly relocated to the 37th separate motorized rifle brigade sector.
    • Ukrainian forces have crossed the Mokri Yaly River and advanced eastward toward the southwestern outskirts of Urozhaine, achieving partial success to the south and southeast of Staromayorske.
  • Kherson direction: On the Nova Kakhovka – Mala Lepetikha sector, units of the 205th separate motorized rifle brigade and the 126th separate coastal defense brigade are holding defensive positions. Their tactical density is below the norm, and their positions are stretched. The Dnipro River’s banks are densely mined, with a significant number of observation points and firing positions set up. However, not all of them are occupied by troops. Reconnaissance tasks are carried out by reconnaissance groups from the 10th separate SOF brigade and the 25th separate SOF regiment. In the Oleshky – Nova Kakhovka area, the enemy’s group has concentrated reserves, consisting of two battalions from the 7th Military Base.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov Sea maritime operational area, the following enemy ships were on combat duty: in the Black Sea – 5 enemy ships, including 1 carrier of cruise missiles, in the Azov Sea – 1 ship, in the Mediterranean Sea – 8 ships, including 2 carriers of cruise missiles. The total salvo of Kalibr cruise missiles is 28 rockets.

Change in enemy disposition:

  • On positions in the northern and eastern parts of Bakhmut, the enemy is deploying units of the 1428th, 1486th, and 1443rd Motorized Rifle Regiments of the Territorial Troops. Units of the enemy’s 85th separate motorized rifle brigade have arrived in the area of Berkhivka to reinforce the combat formations of the Russian grouping on the direction of Bohdanivka – Berkhivka.
  • The 137th parachute airborne regiment of the 106th airborne division has taken up combat positions in the area of Pidhorodnie, and the 102nd Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 150th Motorized Rifle Division of the enemy has positioned itself in the vicinity of Opytne.
  • In the area of Kozachi Lageri village, in addition to units of the 205th separate motorized rifle brigade, the enemy’s military command has deployed separate units of the 56th air assault regiment of the 7th air assault division. Units of the 404th motorized rifle regiment of the Territorial Troops have been observed in the vicinity of Nova Mayachka village.

Possible operation situation developments: 

  • The introduction of units from the 137th parachute airborne regiment of the 106th airborne division and the 102nd motorized rifle regiment of the 150th motorized rifle division on the Bakhmut direction can be expected, either towards Yahidne–Bohdanivka or towards Khromove.
  • The withdrawal of the enemy’s 60th separate motorized rifle brigade from Urozhaine can be anticipated in the near future.
  • On the Kherson direction, the enemy forces will attempt to break through from the northern outskirts of Oleshky towards Dachi village. This maneuver aims to compel the frontline units of the Defense Forces to abandon the bridgehead on the left bank of the Dnipro River in the area of Antonivskyi Bridge.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 11.08.23 

Personnel – almost 252,780 people (+580);

Tanks – 4,290 (+12);

Armored combat vehicles – 8,315 (+15);

Artillery systems – 5,043 (+15);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 713 (+2);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 471 (+2);

Vehicles and fuel tanks –7,511 (+16);

Aircraft – 315 (0);

Helicopters – 313 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 4,197 (+18);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,377 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).


  • More than 1,596 children were killed and injured in Ukraine as a result of the full-scale armed aggression of the Russian Federation. As of the morning of August 11, 2023, according to the official information of juvenile prosecutors, 499 children died and more than 1,097 sustained injuries of various degrees of severity.
  • According to information provided by the MOD’s Situation Center, over the past day, Russian forces shelled 9 regions of Ukraine. 159 towns and villages and 109 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. At least 3 people were killed and 50 injured as a result of Russian shelling of the Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Kherson Oblasts on August 10, as reported by Oblast Military Administrations. 
  • On the evening of August 10, Russian forces attacked Zaporizhzhia with an Iskander-K cruise missile hitting a civilian infrastructure object; at least 1 person was killed, and 16 people were injured. Denise Brown, the humanitarian coordinator of the UN in Ukraine, said that the strike had damaged the hotel “Reikartz”, where UN employees and volunteers usually stay.
  • Around 10:00 a.m. on August 11, the occupiers hit a residential building in the Kolomyya district of the Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast in the west of Ukraine with aeroballistic missiles. The rocket hit a private house where a family with three children lived. An 8-year-old boy died as a result of the attack.
  • 175 political prisoners from the occupied Crimea are held in the prisons of the Russian Federation, including 117 representatives of the Crimean Tatar people. In 6 months of 2023, 101 detentions were recorded, including 66 representatives of indigenous people, the head of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, Eskender Bariev, said. Also, according to Bariev, in 6 months, human rights defenders recorded 156 cases of violation of the right to a fair trial, including 103 related to the Crimean Tatars.
  • In the detention facilities of the self-proclaimed “LPR,” the Russian occupying forces have initiated preparations to deploy prisoners to the frontline, as stated by the Luhansk Regional Military Administration. Registers of those deemed fit for service have been forwarded to Russian authorities. Nearly all individuals, excluding those severely ill and specific groups of prisoners, will be deployed for combat duty.

International aspect. August 7-11, 2023

In a strategic move aimed at engaging countries of the Global South, Ukraine took the lead in organizing a high-level assembly of officials from forty-two nations to deliberate on the Ukrainian Peace Formula. Saudi Arabia threw its weight behind the initiative and showed excellence in hosting the event. As one of the key states of a rather vague Global South grouping, Saudi Arabia tries to keep a fine line between the warring parties and the biggest world players.

Saudi Arabia and Russia are allied in the OPEC+ oil cartel, and their concerted oil production cuts caused a 12% price jump over the past month only. So far, Riyadh has been ignoring calls from Washington D.C. to boost the upstream, thus curtailing Russia’s access to a substantial portion of its oil revenues it spends on the war effort in Ukraine. 

On the other hand, Riyadh was among the mediators who helped to release 255 Ukrainian POWs and ten foreign POWs, including five U.K. and two U.S. nationals, from Russian captivity in September 2022. It was Saudi Arabia that, for the first time in history, invited the Ukrainian President to the Arab League summit on 19 May 2023. Saudi Arabia provided Ukraine with $400 million in humanitarian assistance. 

Good services of the Middle Eastern nation serve a dual purpose: reconciling relations with the United States and nurturing aspirations of enhanced global prominence for its leadership. It comes as little surprise that the announcement of the Jeddah meeting coincided with the visit of the U.S. President’s National Security Advisor. As the WSJ reported, the two countries are discussing a historic deal, which would provide Saudi Arabia with security guarantees, access to civil nuclear technologies, and a solution to a Palestinian state in return for recognition of Israel, distancing from China and Russia. The other possible elements of the deal are limitations on China’s Huawei technologies use in the country and oil trade in U.S. dollars, not Chinese currency. 

In the meantime, with more than a quarter of its oil exports, Saudi Arabia is China’s primary oil source. China began investments into Neom, the Crown Prince’s pet project. Beijing has provided Riyad with ballistic missile technologies and helped mend relations with Iran.

Once a predominant oil supplier, Saudi Arabia ceded this position as New Delhi redirected its focus to Moscow, which now accounts for 51% of India’s crude oil imports, fulfilling 45% of the country’s domestic requirements and exporting oil products to international markets. Nonetheless, both nations exhibit a vested interest in jointly advancing their objectives, a commitment that extends to their involvement within the G20 framework.

The Ukrainian side promoted its ten-point Peace Formula, encouraging participating nations to endorse the entire framework or the specific points they find alignment with. The Formula was presented at the G20 summit in November and called for:

  • radiation and nuclear safety, given Russia’s nuclear saber-rattling and reckless behavior at the illegally seized Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the largest in Europe;
  • food security, which is undermined by Russia’s exit from the Black Sea Grain Initiative and deliberate destruction of Ukraine’s port and agriculture infrastructure;
  • energy security, including restoring Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, which has been destroyed by the Russian deliberate missile and drone attacks;
  • release of all POWs and deportees, including kidnapped Ukrainian children, which caused the ICC warrant for Vladimir Putin and his children “ombudsperson.”
  • restoring sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in its internationally recognized borders in line with the U.N. Charter;
  • withdrawal of the Russian invasion forces troops and cessation of hostilities; 
  • justice, including the establishment of a special tribunal for the Russian war criminals;
  • prevention of ecocide, including restoration of water infrastructure destroyed by Russia (the Nova Kakhovka dam); 
  • prevention of escalation of conflict via a new security architecture in the Euro-Atlantic area and security guarantees for Ukraine;
  • conclusion of the war via a document signed by the involved parties.

It is the principle of “respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity,” which was agreed by participants to be at the core of further discussions and a desired peace plan they may support. Among the thorniest issues, as highlighted by Ukraine’s Presidential office chief of staff, was the pursuit of justice – a critical demand centered on holding those responsible for war crimes and acts of aggression accountable, alongside seeking reparations for the inflicted damages. However, this Ukrainian official remains optimistic about bridging support gaps by elucidating Ukraine’s nuanced perspective on justice in greater depth. 

The participants agreed to meet again in September. Ukraine hopes to consolidate positions around peace formula points, so it would be possible to hold peace conferences dedicated to each point of the Plan and, as an ultimate goal – would result in a Global Peace Summit with the promise of conclusively terminating the ongoing war.

Concrete details regarding the discussions in Jeddah have been relatively scarce, making the forthcoming meeting a pivotal indicator of the progress achieved. Yet, the mere fact of organizing a gathering that brings together Western powers and key participants from “the rest” marks a significant success in its own right. The backseat role of the United Nations underscores the waning influence of international bureaucracy, a body that is much more preoccupied with maintaining an equidistance between the aggressor and the aggrieved party, failing to forestall the conflict or broker its resolution.

One of the features of the meeting was the participation of Chinese peace envoy Li Hui. However, his role was largely confined to passive observation and revisiting a comprehensive twelve-point Chinese stance on the “conflict.” In essence, the “plan” is a message to the U.S. to mend relations with China rather than a proper peace plan for Ukraine. Its initial announcement in February received a chilled reception because the “plan” lacked a clear demand for Russia to withdraw from the internationally recognized territory, instead calling for a ceasefire, which would effectively mean a new status quo. This stance grants Moscow a significant upper hand in negotiations, bolstered by its control over substantial swathes of Ukrainian territory. 

The absence of any shift in Beijing’s stance was highlighted by Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who, in a phone conversation after the Jeddah meeting, reaffirmed to his Russian colleague that China would be an “objective and rational voice” at any international multilateral forums and “actively promote peace talks.”

India’s National Security Advisor has said that the country remains an active, willing partner to find a lasting, comprehensive solution to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. “Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity by all states must be upheld without exception,” Ajit Doval said.

Participants from South Africa and the Comoros were also engaged in the conference. Leaders from both nations, accompanied by their counterparts from Zambia, Egypt, and Senegal, embarked on a joint tour of Kyiv and Moscow in June, presenting their proposals for peace. Central to their plan was the crucial issue of food security. The initiatives were doomed on a Ukraine–Russia part for the same reason that the Chinese were. And the peace ideas also failed to solve the “bread issue.” Since then, Russia has abandoned the Black Sea Grain Initiative and destroyed grain-related port infrastructure, thus increasing food prices and the scale of hunger on the continent. 

Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa and Azali Assoumani also took part in Russia – Africa summit on 27 July. During this summit, Vladimir Putin attempted to manipulate the gathering by misrepresenting the underlying causes of food insecurity and sought to entice certain African nations with the offer of free grain shipments. Captain Ibrahim Traore, a military officer who seized power in Burkina Faso last year, was gladly met by Vladimir Putin. Russia has supported Nigerien coup d’état. 

With Wagner PMC’s grip over the Sahel and looming wide-scale conflict, possibly involving ECOWAS, France and other Western states, the rest of African leaders may finally come to a conclusion that it’s in their national interests to side with the West that is trying to stop Russia in Ukraine and is interested in denying Moscow ability to deteriorate Africa. 

Beyond pandering to the self-serving interests of the Kremlin’s elite, Russia views Africa as a strategic tool to undermine the established rules-based international order, exploiting the continent’s vulnerabilities as leverage against Western powers. While the anti-colonial rhetoric propagated by Russian propaganda may resonate within African countries, the unmistakable reality is that Moscow’s de facto policies bear a striking resemblance to neo-colonialism. 

Economically, Russia’s offerings are paltry, as evidenced by its meager $10.3 billion in trade with African nations last year. In stark contrast, Turkey boasted a trade volume of $32.8 billion, the U.S. $68.2 billion, China an impressive $212.8 billion, and the European Union a staggering $412.2 billion.

Russia is a disruptive force in the international arena and may be stopped in Ukraine should the Global South realize the threat Moscow poses to the international community as a whole. However, it will take time and a few more shockwaves caused by the Kremlin’s actions. The Jeddah meeting may be of use for the nations of the Global South to start thinking about it.

Centre for Defence Strategies (CDS) is a Ukrainian security think tank. We operate since 2020.

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