Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 20.08.2023

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 continued offensive operations in at least three sections of the front, advancing on the Avdiivka-Donetsk line and in the west of Zaporizhzhia Oblast;
  • Russian troops carried out offensive actions on the Kupyansk – Svatove – Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, on the Avdiivka – Donetsk line, in the east of the Zaporizhzhia region and advanced in some areas;
  • The advancement of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping near small villages in Zaporizhzhia Oblast holds tactical significance due to the defensive line structure of the enemy. This will enable operations in areas with lower densities of mine and explosive barriers, thereby accelerating the pace of the offensive;
  • The command of the enemy’s “Vostok” Operational Grouping has initiated a partial withdrawal of units of the 291st Motorized Rifle Regiment to an area northwest of Ilchenkove. This regiment had been engaged in combat operations on the Tokmak direction for nearly a month;
  • The 108th Air Assault Regiment concentrated in the Novoprokopivka area but was never fully engaged in battle. The enemy’s command is likely awaiting the completion of the concentration of the 56th Air Assault Regiment in the same direction;
  • The success of the Russian defense in the Staromlynivka area will depend on the level of coordination between the 60th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 5th Army and the 37th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 36th Army;
  • The Russian command has to react to the deteriorating tactical situation in the Pryiutne area, prevent the advancement of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping towards Kermenchyk, and pull out their units holding positions north of the Pryiutne-Zavitne Bazhannia line in time from potential encirclement.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • Over 32 combat engagements took place in different directions.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, Russian troops conducted unsuccessful offensive actions near Synkivka and Ivanivka, continued reconnaissance and strike activity in the area of Kupyansk, but did not achieve significant success. Russian units of the 6th Army continued their offensive in the direction of Vilshany. Russian forces advance at a speed of 1 to 1.5 km per day along the Oskil River. The Russian military repulsed the attacks of Ukrainian Defense Forces in the vicinity of Novoselivske, Torske and south of Kuzmyne and the Serebryansk forest area.
  • Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled the attack of the Russian Armed Forces on Bilohorivka. Fighting continues at the Raihorodok-Karmazynivka line.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, Russian troops repelled the attacks of Ukrainian Defense Forces near Vesele, Berkhivka, and along the Klishchiivka-Andriivka-Kurdyumivka line. The Ukrainian attack on the positions of the Russian 4th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 2nd Army Corps and the 346th Separate SOF Brigade near Klishchiivka continues. To the west of Soledar, pseudo-volunteer formations of the Russian Armed Forces “Alexander Nevsky” and “Volki (Wolves)” repelled several attacks of Ukrainian Defense Forces.
  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces successfully repelled attacks by the 39th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 68th Army Corps of the Russian Pacific Fleet (moved here from Maryinka) both to the north and south of Klishchiivka, to the north of Bohdanivka, to the east of Bila Hora, and near Toretsk.
  • The 137th Air Assault Regiment of the 106th Air Assault Division of the Russian Airborne Forces defend south of Bakhmut.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, Ukrainian Defense Forces advanced to the east of Nevelske.
  • Russian forces repulsed the attacks of Ukrainian Defense Forces near Krasnohorivka and Nevelske, and conducted unsuccessful offensives near Novokalynove, Avdiivka, Krasnohorivka, and Maryinka.
  • Zaporizhzhia direction:
    • Tokmak direction (Robotyne): the troops of the “Tavria” operational grouping advanced north of Robotyne.
    • The units of the 1430th and 1441st Motorized Rifle Regiments of the Territorial Troops and the 810th Separate Marines Brigade of the Black Sea Fleet are trying to prevent the advanced units of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping from liberating Robotyne and to prevent them from advancing south of the line between the strongholds of Robotyne and Kopani.
    • Berdyansk direction (Velyka Novosilka): Russian forces unsuccessfully tried to restore lost positions near Urozhaine, Russian 247th Air Assault Regiment of the 7th Air Assault Division unsuccessfully counterattacked near Pryiutne and Staromayorske.
    • The forces of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping are increasing pressure in the direction of Zavitne Bazhannia, to the east of Urozhaine, and near Pryiutne. After liberating Urozhaine, they not only managed to secure their positions there but also advanced southward from this village towards the bend of the Mokri Yaly River, along which the Russian units that had retreated from Urozhaine to Zavitne Bazhannia took up the defense.
  • Kherson direction: Ukrainian Defense Forces are forming conditions for future maneuvers on the left bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast with counter-battery actions, focusing on detecting and destroying Russian speed boats that can interfere with operations on the Dnipro.
  • Russian troops control the left-bank part of Kherson Oblast near Kozachi Laherya.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov naval operational area, there were 6 Russian ships in the Black Sea, 1 in the Sea of Azov, 8 in the Mediterranean, including 2 cruise missile carriers. The total salvo is 24 Kalibr cruise missiles. 
  • The Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Armed Forces is unable to ensure control over maritime traffic in the Black Sea. At least six civilian ships leave Ukraine in the direction of the Mediterranean Sea through temporary corridors created by Ukraine in the Black Sea.

Change in enemy disposition:

  • The enemy deployed the 201st Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 2nd Army Corps southeast of Robotyne in order to reinforce the combat formations of the 1429th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Territorial Troops, whose combat readiness was reduced.
  • A detachment from the 22nd Separate SOF Brigade has been relocated to the defense sector of the 71st Motorized Rifle Regiment of the enemy between Verbove and Novopokrovka to respond to the recent events occurring in the vicinity of Novopokrovka and between the H08 and T0815 roads.
  • The Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, M. Mishustin, has signed a decree to establish the Donetsk Higher Military Command School under the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, with the aim of further integrating the military formations in the occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions. After the reformation, the “Donetsk Higher Military Command School” will have a total of 3,436 military personnel and staff. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation is trying to prevent participants of illegal military formations of the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR, who are engaged in combat operations, from leaving for Russia.
  • A drone strike on the “Soltsy” airbase (Novgorod Oblast, Russia) damaged at least two Tu-22M3 strategic bombers. The only undamaged bomber of the Russian Aerospace Forces was relocated to the “Olenya” airbase in Murmansk Oblast.

Escalation indicators:

  • A Ukrainian UAV attack on the Russian Soltsy air base.

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.
  • The Russian command is compelled to relocate at least two Separate Motorized Rifle Brigades and 1-2 Separate Motorized Rifle Regiments from the composition of other operational groupings, mainly the “Yug(South)” Operational Grouping, into the operational zone of the “Vostok (East)” Operational Grouping.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 20.08.23 

Personnel – almost 257,470 people (+460);

Tanks – 4,346 (+6);

Armored combat vehicles – 8,435 (+11);

Artillery systems – 5,1245 (+33);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 717 (+3);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 489 (+3);

Vehicles and fuel tanks –7,680 (+15);

Aircraft – 315 (0);

Helicopters – 316 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 4,304 (+22);

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 9 regions of Ukraine. 142 towns and villages and 245 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. There are dead and injured civilians. 
  • Sixty-three countries at the level of ambassadors have already engaged in discussions regarding the implementation of the Ukrainian Peace Formula, as stated by President Zelensky.
  • While visiting the Netherlands, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that 42 F-16 fighter jets “will be in Ukrainian skies.” He thanked the Dutch Prime Minister. The Danish Ministry of Defense confirmed the information.  
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed 222 de facto “judges” in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, the National Resistance Center of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported this with reference to Putin’s decree No. 607.
  • Russian occupation authorities have drafted a “development plan” for the temporarily occupied Mariupol, providing for a population increase of around 300,000 through migration from the Russian Federation, the National Resistance Center reported. The planned demographic changes are to be implemented by 2035. To incentivize this migration, the Kremlin has initiated a program offering preferential mortgages to Russian Federation citizens. In addition, the invaders are relocating wage earners and public servants from economically depressed areas of Russia to these occupied territories. At the same time, local residents are forcibly deported to the territory of the Russian Federation, as highlighted in the report.

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

We publish this brief daily. If you would like to subscribe, please send us an email at cds.dailybrief@gmail.com

The CDC Daily Brief is produced with the support of the Kyiv School of Economics https://kse.ua/

Please note, that we subscribe only verified persons and can decline or cancel the subscription at our own discretion

We are an independent, non-government, non-partisan, and non-profit organization. More at www.defence.org.ua

Our Twitter (in English) – https://twitter.com/defence_centre

Our Facebook (in Ukrainian) – https://www.facebook.com/cds.UA

Our brief is for information only and we verify our information to the best possible extent