Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 19.08.2023

Operational situation

The Ukrainian Defense Forces continue their offensive operations on the directions of Bakhmut, Melitopol, Tokmak, and Berdyansk. The enemy concentrates its main efforts on the Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, and Avdiivka directions.

General conclusion: 

  • Ukrainian Defense Forces continue their offensive operation on the Melitopol and Berdyansk directions, consolidating their positions at achieved frontlines.
  • The active actions of the Defense Forces on the Kupyansk direction indicate the loss of tactical initiative by the Russian command.
  • The situation on the southern flank of Bakhmut remains tense, despite the overall reduction in the intensity of combat operations in this area.
  • The Russian “Vostok” Operational Grouping lacks a sufficient number of armored fighting vehicles (AFVs) for conducting mobile operations, effectively impeding the ability to conduct mobile defense simultaneously on two or more fronts. The presence of 16 “BARS” formations within this Operational Grouping and a significant number of “volunteer” formations complicates command and control.
  • The enemy’s command relies on prepared defensive lines, a branching system of engineering obstacles, air superiority, and a potent artillery grouping to achieve success in defensive operations.
  • The “Tavriya” Operational Grouping’s advancement to within a few kilometers of Melitopol would place critical automobile and railway routes, which are crucial supply lifelines for the Russian Armed Forces, under the control of Ukrainian firepower. This move would substantially weaken the “Vostok” Operational Grouping’s capability to sustain their use of these supply routes.
  • The offensive of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping on the Zaporizhzhia direction will consist of an extended and nonlinear sequence of operations unfolding at different paces.
  • Russian military logistics continue to rely on the M17 highway Armyansk – Oleshky route through the “Armyansk” checkpoint.
  • Russian claims that the Ukrainian Navy could have launched a maritime drone from a civilian vessel are an attempt to justify the further escalation of Russia’s aggressive stance in the Black Sea and establish a narrative that could potentially justify forthcoming Russian actions targeting civilian vessels navigating the Black Sea.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • There have been over 36 combat engagements on various fronts.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, the enemy conducted several unsuccessful attacks near Synkivka, Kyslivka, and Bilohorivka. To advance towards Bilohorivka, the enemy’s command engaged “Storm Z” units composed of convicts. 
  • Ukrainian Defense Forces attempted to improve their tactical positions in the areas of Synkivka, Vilshany, Mankivka, Novoselivske, Berestove, Hryhorivka, Dibrova, and Torske. Battles are ongoing in the Serebryansk Forest. 
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the enemy carried out unsuccessful offensive operations in areas northwest of Dubovo-Vasylivka, near Bohdanivka, east of Bila Hora and Toretsk, and repelled an attack by the Defense Forces near Klishchiivka. 
  • Ukrainian Defense Forces continued offensive actions south of Bakhmut and consolidated on new positions.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, the enemy conducted unsuccessful offensive operations in the areas of Novokalynove, Keramik, and Avdiivka. Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to contain the Russian forces’ advance in the areas of Maryinka and Krasnohorivka.
  • Zaporizhzhia direction:
    • Tokmak direction (Robotyne): battles are ongoing to the south of Robotyne. “Tavriya” Operational Grouping forces maintain positions in the northern part of Robotyne and conducted attacks near Novopokrovka. 
    • Berdyansk direction (Velyka Novosilka): “Tavriya” Operational Grouping forces advanced southeast from Urozhaine along the T0518 road Velyka Novosilka-Staromlynivka. They attacked near Urozhaine and progressed to Kermenchyk. Combat operations are ongoing near Pryiutne, Urozhaine, and Zavitne Bazhannia.
    • Russian forces unsuccessfully attempted to recapture the lost positions near Urozhaine and Novodarivka.
  • Kherson direction: The Kerch Bridge still cannot consistently accommodate transportation. The Russian occupation authorities maintain special schedules and occasionally block road and rail traffic through the bridge to avoid overloading.
  • Russian forces are trying to use pontoon crossings on the Chongar and Henichesk bridges to transport heavy loads since the bridges currently cannot withstand large amounts of cargo.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov Sea Maritime Operations Area 15 enemy ships were on combat duty: in the Black Sea – 6 enemy ships; in the Azov Sea – 1; in the Mediterranean – 8, including 2 carriers of cruise missiles, with a total of 24 Kalibr cruise missiles.

Change in enemy disposition:

  • On the Southern front, the enemy’s “Vostok” Operational Grouping is conducting a defensive operation. It consists of forces from the 58th, 5th, 29th, 35th, and 36th Armies, partially from the 49th Army, 68th Army Corps of Coastal Forces of the Pacific Fleet, units and formations from the Russian Airborne Troops and marines from the Baltic Fleet, Pacific Fleet, and Caspian Fleet. The “Vostok” Operational Grouping comprises approximately 105,000 personnel, 470 tanks, 1,410 armored vehicles, 950 artillery pieces, mortars, and multiple rocket launchers, and 12 Iskander missile system launchers.
  • Units of the 83rd Separate Airborne Assault Brigade of the Russian Airborne Troops are operating near Klishchiivka.

Possible operation situation developments: 

  • On the Kupyansk direction, the adversary will operate with two operational-tactical groupings: a northern one formed from the forces of the 6th Army, and a northwestern one consisting of units from the 1st Tank Army and the 11th Army Corps.
  • On the Kherson direction, the adversary’s forces will attempt to break through from the northern outskirts of Oleshky towards Dachi village, aiming to compel the forward units of the Defense Forces to abandon their foothold on the left bank of the Dnieper River in the area of the Antonivskyi Bridge.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 18.08.23 

Personnel – almost 257,010 people (+500);

Tanks – 4,340 (+8);

Armored combat vehicles – 8,424 (+14);

Artillery systems – 5,212 (+19);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 714 (0);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 486 (0);

Vehicles and fuel tanks –7,665 (+7);

Aircraft – 315 (0);

Helicopters – 316 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 4,282 (+6);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,406 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).


  • According to information provided by the MOD’s Situation Center, over the past day, Russian forces shelled 11 regions of Ukraine. 125 towns and villages and 123 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. Among the attacked Oblasts were Khmelnytskyi in the west of Ukraine and Zhytomyr in the center. Overall, 17 people in Khmelnytskyi, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Kherson Oblasts were reported injured, according to 9 a.m. Oblast Military Administrations’ roundup.
  • On Saturday, August 19, at about 11:30 a.m., the Russian military launched a rocket attack on the center of Chernihiv. The attackers targeted a public event, likely with a ballistic missile. Following the search and rescue mission, Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Ihor Klymenko, confirmed 7 fatalities and 129 injuries, including 15 children and 15 police officers.
  • In Chernihiv, the Taras Shevchenko Chernihiv Regional Academic Music and Drama Theater was destroyed by a missile strike by Russian forces, and the Pyatnytskyi Church, an architectural monument of national significance, was also damaged, the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy reported. 
  • More than 1,602 Ukrainian children suffered as a result of the full-scale armed aggression of the Russian Federation. By the morning of August 18, 2023, official records from juvenile prosecutors indicated that 502 children had lost their lives, while over 1,100 had incurred injuries of varying degrees of severity.
  • In the areas of Zaporizhzhia Oblast that are temporarily under occupation, the occupying authorities plan to initiate mobilization right after the illicit elections set for early September, as stated by the duly elected mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov. Starting August 29, they are going to hold the first test mobilization days. Over the past six months, the occupiers have been compiling a list of potential conscripts to be utilized by the unlawful “military commissariat”.
  • Due to the efforts of the Mariupol resistance, a roster of deceased children in the Donetsk region for the year 2022 was acquired. Mariupol children were registered in the morgues of the temporarily occupied Mariupol, Mangush and Novoazovsk. Data confirmed by the occupation authorities are 101 Mariupol children who died in Mariupol during the bombing of the city by the Russian invaders. Out of these, only 87 could be positively identified. It’s plausible that the actual count might be even more significant.

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