Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 23.08.2023

Operational situation

Ukrainian Defense Forces continue their offensive operation on the Melitopol direction, consolidating their positions on the achieved frontlines and engaging in counter-battery warfare.

The adversary concentrates its primary efforts on the Kupyansk, Bakhmut, Tokmak, and Berdyansk sectors.

General conclusion: 

  • Ukrainian Defense Forces continued offensive actions on at least three sections of the front, advancing along the Avdiivka-Donetsk line and in the western part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • The enemy launched massive attacks on the logistical facilities of the Defense Forces and infrastructure along supply routes in the Kupyansk direction.
  • The transfer of all three regiments of the Russian 7th Air Assault Division from the Kherson direction to the Zaporizhzhia direction indicates the degradation of the Russian Federation’s grouping in this sector.
  • Counterattacks in the Robotyne area suggest that the enemy’s 22nd and 45th Separate SOF Brigades have positioned themselves behind the first, and possibly the second, defense lines. They are being engaged in counterattacks and are experiencing losses.
  • The lack of operational reserves of the enemy’s “Vostok” Operational Grouping, limited troop transfers to the western part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, and monitoring of enemy forces deployed on the second defense line indicate that the second line of Russian defense might be significantly less fortified.
  • Over the past month, Russian forces notably increased the scale of engineering support for positions near Chervonoselivka.
  • Russian forces are strengthening their positions on the Perekop Isthmus and constructing three lines of defense in this area, which suggests the Russian military command’s uncertainty about the success of their defense operation.
  • In Crimea, Russian forces have formed four groupings as part of their preparation for a Ukrainian offensive.
  • The deployment of the Russian 810th Separate Marines Brigade, the 201st Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 2nd Army Corps, and the main forces of the 7th Air Assault Division in the Tokmak direction indicates a lack of combat-ready troops on the enemy’s first defense line.
  • The insertion of the advanced units of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping between Robotyne and Verbove into the enemy’s battle formations have opened up the possibility for Ukrainian forces’ further successes deep within the enemy’s operational structure.
  • The enemy’s command is compelled to defend Novoprokopivka while simultaneously preventing the breakthrough of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping beyond their first positions on the main defense line in the direction of Verbove. This requires resources the enemy lacks. Successful defense necessitates at least two full-strength brigades/regiments.
  • Further restrictions in the Kerch Strait could complicate the logistical support not only for the enemy’s grouping in southern Ukraine but also in Syria.
  • The construction of defensive structures around the Kerch Strait Bridge will increase delays for civilian maritime traffic to Russia through the Kerch Strait.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • More than 30 combat engagements took place on various fronts.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, the enemy is trying to advance broadly along the Synkivka – Vilshana – Kyslivka line. The Russian 25th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade and the 347-1 Motorized Rifle Regiment have advanced southwest of Vilshana, near Synkivka, but were unable to capture the village. Units of the enemy’s 98th Airborne Division advanced from the area of Serebryansk Forest toward the Siversky Donets River and have commenced operations to cross it. The enemy’s 76th Air Assault Division continues to advance from Dibrova toward Serebryanka. Units of the 331st parachute airborne regiment of the 98th Airborne Division entered Torske, where combat is ongoing within the town limits. The 55th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade is positioned on the outskirts of Yampolivka. 
  • Ukrainian Defense Forces launched attacks near Petropavlivka, Synkivka, Novoselivske, Raigorodka, Kreminna, Torske, Serebryansk forestry, and south of Dibrova.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, Ukrainian Defense Forces continue offensive operations, achieving limited success near Andriivka by displacing units of the 72nd Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 3rd Army Corps of the enemy. They launched attacks near Berkhivka at positions held by the 200th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 14th Army Corps of the Northern Fleet. 
  • The enemy’s 83rd Separate Airborne Assault Brigade held unsuccessful offensive actions near Klishchiivka, while the 51st Parachute Airborne Regiment of the 106th Airborne Division’s efforts to counterattack near Kurdyumivka proved ineffective. 
  • On the Avdiivka direction, Russian forces futilely attacked near Avdiivka, Maryinka, and Novomykhailivka.
  • Zaporizhzhia Direction: 
    • Tokmak Direction (Robotyne): The forces of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping have advanced to the northern and eastern outskirts of Novoprokopivka, where the 56th and 108th Air Assault Regiments of the 7th Air Assault Division of the enemy are defending. The “Tavriya” Grouping is progressing towards the main defense hub of the enemy in this sector (Novoprokopivka village), both from the north and by maneuvering around it from the northeast. The engagement of the Russian 201st Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 2nd Army Corps slowed the advance of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping but did not halt it. 
    • The 47th Separate Mechanized Brigade of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping breached the multi-tiered enemy defense near Robotyne, entered the village, and successfully evacuated civilians. 
    • The enemy repelled an assault by units of the “Tavriya” Grouping in the area of the Uspenivka ravine. The units of the Russian 56th Air Assault Regiment of the 7th Air Assault Division, along with units of the 108th Air Assault Regiment, have deployed to Novopokrovka. To the west, the 810th Separate Marines Brigade of the Black Sea Fleet has transitioned to a defensive stance.
    • Units of the 1430th and 1429th Motorized Rifle Regiments of the Territorial Forces and the remnants of the “BARS” detachments of the enemy were moved to the first position of the main defense line. Units of the 291st Motorized Rifle Regiment have been withdrawn to the area of Ilchenkove village.
    • Berdyansk Direction (Velyka Novosilka): The “Tavriya” Operational Grouping is conducting constant assaults near Pavlivka and Mykilske. They attacked near Staromayorske and Urozhaine. The Grouping attempts to encircle the enemy’s 394th Motorized Rifle Regiment near Pryiutne.
    • The Russian 394th and 71st Motorized Rifle Regiments are gradually retreating in a southeast direction from north of Pryiutne, engaging in rear-guard battles.
    • On the northeastern outskirts of Staromlynivka and in positions along the road from there to Kermenchyk, units of the enemy’s 114th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 1st Army Corps and separate units of the 34th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade are fortifying additional positions to counter the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping’s attacks towards Staromlynivka.
    • Following the withdrawal from Urozhaine, the 218th Tank Regiment has a limited number of operational tanks remaining.
  • Kherson Direction: Ukrainian Defense Forces’ reconnaissance and sabotage groups (DRG) continue to operate near and on the islands in the Dnipro River delta. They have conducted landings on an island southwest of Kherson and established an observation post. These actions help maintain the controlled escalation regime and keep the enemy’s headquarters and forces under pressure, creating threats on various fronts. 
  • The enemy’s units of the 205th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade and the 1445th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Territorial Forces were unable to eliminate the defense footholds of the Ukrainian Defense Forces on the left bank of the Dnipro River west of Kozachi Lahiri village. 
  • The primary positions of the first line of defense established by the enemy run along the Oleshky-Nova Kakhovka road along the Dnipro River bank.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov Sea maritime operational area, there were on combat duty: in the Black Sea – 10 enemy ships, including 2 cruise missile carriers; in the Azov Sea – 2 ships, including 1 cruise missile carrier, and in the Mediterranean Sea – 8 ships, including 2 carrying cruise missile systems. The total salvo of Kalibr cruise missiles was 44 rockets.
  • To defend the Kerch Strait Bridge from waterborne attacks, the enemy intends to sink at least six ferries and place barriers between the sunken vessels to create a defensive barrier in front of the bridge.
  • Russian inspections of civilian vessels have resulted in a queue of 30 to 40 ships forming near the Kerch Strait passage.

Change in enemy disposition:

  • On the Kupyansk and Lyman directions, Russian forces have concentrated over 45,000 personnel, 500 tanks, 500 BMPs (infantry fighting vehicles), 300 artillery systems, and 150 multiple rocket launchers.
  • In the vicinity of Maryinka, the 103rd Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 150th Motorized Rifle Division of the 8th Army is deployed.

Escalation indicators:

  • Russian forces have destroyed or significantly damaged the main river crossings over the Oskil River in the Kupyansk area, including the road bridge in Kupyansk, the railway bridge near Kivsharivka, and the crossings near Senkove and Borova.

Possible operation situation developments: 

  • The enemy’s command will continue attempts of active actions on the Kupyansk direction, aiming to compel the Ukrainian Defense Forces command to allocate a portion of its strategic reserves precisely to this direction.
  • The enemy will exert efforts to maintain its positions on the Bakhmut direction, even at the expense of reducing the intensity of combat operations on the Avdiivka and Maryinka sectors.
  • The enemy’s command is compelled to relocate at least 2-3 Separate Motorized Rifle Brigades or one Motorized Rifle Division from other Operational Groupings, primarily the “Yug (South)” Grouping, into the operational zone of the “Vostok (East)” Grouping to establish operational reserves.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 23.08.23 

Personnel – almost 258,820 people (+480);

Tanks – 4,373 (+11);

Armored combat vehicles – 8,488 (+12);

Artillery systems – 5,318 (+22);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 722 (+1);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 491 (0);

Vehicles and fuel tanks –7,745 (+23);

Aircraft – 315 (0);

Helicopters – 316 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 4,324 (+12);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,406 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).

Humanitarian, general news:

  • According to information provided by the MOD’s Situation Center, over the past day, Russian forces shelled 10 regions of Ukraine. 131 towns and villages and 40 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. 1 civilian is reported killed, and 7 injured over the past day, according to the information made public by Oblast Military State Administrations at the morning roundup. 
  • On the night of August 22-23, Ukrainian air defense destroyed 11 out of 20 attack drones launched by Russian forces in the sky over Ukraine; 9 drones were downed over Odesa Oblast and 2 UAVs over Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • On August 23, at 10:05 a.m., a Russian “Shahed” UAV hit a school in the town of Romny, Sumy Oblast, killing the school principal, deputy principal, secretary and librarian, Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko reported. The Oblast Military Administration added that the school’s building had been completely destroyed.
  • Another Russian attack on the Danube ports on the night of August 23 destroyed 13 thousand tons of grain and damaged the grain and port infrastructure. Agricultural products destroyed in the port of Izmail were destined for Egypt and Romania, said the Deputy Prime Minister for Reconstruction of Ukraine – Minister of Community Development, Territories and Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov.
  • According to Kubrakov, this marks the eighth assault on the port infrastructure subsequent to Russia’s withdrawal from the Grain Initiative. In total, 270,000 tons of grain were destroyed during the month of attacks on ports. Only during the past night, the export capacity of the port of Izmail reduced by 15%; before that, 35 thousand tons of grain were destroyed in the port of Reni. 
  • According to the recent survey conducted by the “Rating” sociological group between August 16-20, 2023, 59% of respondents use Ukrainian in their daily lives. Additionally, 31% of Ukrainians employ both Ukrainian and Russian languages. A mere 9% of survey participants indicated Russian as their primary language spoken at home. At the same time, 82% of respondents consider Ukrainian their native language, 16% – Russian. It’s important to note that the survey included internally displaced persons (IDPs) and Ukrainian refugees residing abroad. The use of the Russian language in everyday life has been noticeably decreasing since March 2022. For comparison, in July 2012, only 41% of Ukrainians used Ukrainian, and 37% used Russian.
  • According to the survey findings, a substantial 85% of Ukrainians have a warm attitude towards IDPs, another 10% have a neutral attitude, and only 5% have a cold attitude. The attitude towards residents of the occupied territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts is also very positive: 83% are warm, 11% are neutral, and only 5% are cold. 46% have a warm attitude towards the residents of the occupied Crimea, 23% have a neutral attitude, and 31% have a cold attitude. 59% have a cold attitude towards the residents of the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, 18% – neutral, and 22% – warm.
  • The survey conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology reveals that an absolute majority of citizens, a total of 89% of respondents, actively support the independence of Ukraine. Additionally, 63% of Ukrainians hold Independence Day in high regard, considering it their favorite and significant holiday. Notably, a small percentage, 1% to be precise, still holds aspirations for unification with the aggressor country, while 9% remain uncertain about their stance.

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