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Russia’s war on Ukraine. 28.08.2023

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 enemy conducted offensive actions along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, on the Avdiivka-Donetsk line, in the west of Donetsk Oblast, and advanced in certain sections of the front.

General conclusion: 

  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces continued their offensive operations on at least two sectors of the front, advancing in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. The width of the advancing zone of the Defense Forces in Zaporizhzhia Oblast has nearly tripled in the past few days, reaching 20 kilometers. 
  • The command of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping skillfully develops the offensive not only in the direction of Novodanylivka – Tokmak but also on the flanks, compelling the enemy to progressively deploy more reserves into the operation in a decentralized manner.
  • Russian forces have increased the number of airstrikes on the Zaporizhzhia direction, indicating the enemy’s inability to halt the advance of the “Tavriya” Operational Group with other forces and means.
  • The Russian command hastily transfers airborne units to the Tokmak direction. They can move faster than regular motorized infantry units, which is critically important in the current circumstances.
  • The command of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping periodically changes sectors and directions of the main thrust both at the tactical and operational levels.
  • The Russian military command inaccurately assessed the need for forces and resources supply to conduct a defensive operation on the Zaporizhzhia direction, resulting in a shortage of operational reserves within the “Vostok” grouping.
  • The choice of operational approach by the Russian military command is significantly influenced by political factors. The categorical demand “not to surrender any settlements under any conditions” is dictated not by military expediency, but by the political necessity of shaping a media image of “elections” in the occupied territories. 
  • The attempt by the Russian command to organize and carry out a large-scale offensive on the Kupyansk and Lyman directions, along with the concentration of the main bulk of their reserves around Bakhmut for its defense, has put the Russian military command in a situation of resource shortage to conduct a defensive operation on the Zaporizhzhia front. This indicates strategic planning miscalculations by the [Russian] aggressor’s military headquarters in the Southwestern Theater of Operations.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • Over 34 combat engagements took place in different directions.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, Russian forces concentrated their offensive efforts in southern Synkivka; attacked Ukrainian positions near Novoyehorivka and Bilohorivka, repelled the attacks of the Ukrainian Defense Forces near Synkivka, Novoselivka, Dibrova, Torske and Serebryansk forests.
  • Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 10 Russian assaults near Novoyehorivka.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces conducted an unsuccessful assault near Klishchiivka and Kurdyumivka.
  • Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations near Orikhovo-Vasylivka and Klishchiivka, poorly counterattacked near Ivanivske and Dubovo-Vasylivka. In the area of Bakhmut, Russian forces typically initiate assaults with special assault detachments, sometimes without artillery support, which are then followed by attacks from regular units.
  • Both sides are rotating in the Bakhmut area and deploying reinforcements there.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, Russian forces repelled two Ukrainian attacks in the Pervomaiske and Nevelske areas, continued the offensive in the Avdiivka-Donetsk section, but did not advance. They unsuccessfully attacked near Stepove and Maryinka.
  • Zaporizhzhya direction:
    • Tokmak direction (Robotyne): “Tavriya” Operational Grouping advances in the direction of Novoprokopivka, Mala Tokmachka, and Ocheretuvate. It has made progress in the area of Robotyne, achieved success on the Melitopol direction, attacked near Kopani, and advanced towards Verbove.
    • Russian troops repelled the attacks of the “Tavriya”  Grouping near Robotyne and Balka Uspenivka, unsuccessfully counterattacked in Robotyne.
    • Berdyansk direction (Velyka Novosilka): Russian troops counterattacked on the outskirts of Vuhledar but did not succeed.
    • “Tavriya” Operational Grouping advanced in the area of Urozhaine and achieved success in the Staromayorske area.
  • Kherson direction: Units of Ukrainian Defense Forces operate on the islands in the Dnipro River delta and continue strengthening their positions on the islands.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov naval operational area, there were 6 Russian ships, including 1 “Kalibr” cruise missile carrier with a total salvo of up to 4 missiles; 1 in the Sea of Azov; 8 in the Mediterranean, including 2 cruise missile carriers. The total salvo is 24 Kalibr cruise missiles.
    • Russia continues to violate the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974 (SOLAS) by disabling automatic identification systems (AIS) on civilian vessels in the waters of the Azov Sea.
    • Units of the air and naval forces from both Russian and Ukrainian sides clashed around gas and oil platforms in the Black Sea. A Russian aircraft fired upon a Ukrainian boat operating near the platform in the northwestern part of the Black Sea. The Ukrainian Navy struck several platforms controlled by the Russian Federation.

Change in enemy disposition:

  • The Russian 4th Tank Division of the 6th Tank Army of the Western Military District is conducting offensive operations in Luhansk Oblast and has only one tank regiment in its composition. Units of the 80th Tank Regiment of the 90th Tank Division of the Central Military District continue combat operations in the direction of Svatove – Kreminna. 
  • Units of the Russian “Moscow” volunteer battalion manned by airborne forces veterans, football fans and other athletes operate near the Serebryansk Forest. The battalion commander previously served in the 45th Separate SOF Brigade of the Airborne Troops of the Russian Armed Forces.
  • The 70th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division (58th Army) operate in the Orikhiv direction.
  • The Russian command began the operational deployment of the 76th Air Assault Division of the Russian Airborne Troops in the Tokmak direction. The 104th Air Assault Division, relocated from Kreminna, Luhansk Oblast, is transitioning to defense southeast of Novoprokopivka.

Possible operation situation developments: 

  • The Russian command will continue active actions on the Kupyansk direction to compel the command of the Ukrainian Defense Forces to deploy a portion of its strategic reserves specifically to this sector.
  • The success of the Russian defense on the Berdyansk direction will depend on the outcomes of battles in the area encompassing Urozhaine-Novodonetske-Kermenchyk-Zavitne Bazhanya.
  • In the event of a breakthrough by the forces of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping into the Staromlynivka defensive sector, one can anticipate actions by the Russian 336th Separate Marines Brigade towards Remivka-Volodyne, as well as movements by the 5th Separate Tank Brigade in the direction of Novodonetske-Kermenchyk.
  • Russian forces might attempt to regain initiative within the context of the offensive operations of the Ukrainian Defense Forces, initiating their own offensive operation aimed at advancing westward towards the Oskil River and establishing a buffer zone around the occupied Luhansk Oblast.
  • Russian forces could initiate an offensive operation involving the efforts of 2-3 armies on the Kupyansk and Lyman directions over the course of the next two months.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 28.08.23 

Personnel – almost 261,310 people (+490);

Tanks – 4,400 (+4);

Armored combat vehicles – 8,562 (+8);

Artillery systems – 5,425 (+22);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 730 (+2);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 499 (+1);

Vehicles and fuel tanks –7,866 (+12);

Aircraft – 315 (0);

Helicopters – 316 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 4,383 (+5);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,415 (+4);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).

Humanitarian, general, occupied territories:

  • According to information provided by the MOD’s Situation Center, over the past day, Russian forces shelled 10 regions of Ukraine. 141 towns and villages and 56 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. There are dead and wounded civilians.
  • During the night of August 28, Russian forces launched an attack on Ukraine using a total of 6 sea- and air-launched missiles. Ukrainian defense successfully intercepted and destroyed 2 cruise missiles and 2 guided X-59 air-to-surface missiles. An industrial facility in Poltava Oblast was struck, resulting in the loss of three lives and injuries to five civilians with varying degrees of severity. The search for one missing person is currently underway.
  • As of the morning of August 28, 2023, based on official data from juvenile prosecutors, 503 Ukrainian children have lost their lives due to the full-scale armed aggression of the Russian Federation, and over 1,117 have sustained injuries of varying degrees of severity.
  • According to assessments by experts from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, the casualties of Ukrainian civilians caused by the Russian invaders in Mariupol are estimated to be around 100 thousand people. Multiple sources have contributed to confirming this figure, and the necessary evidence will be provided to the International Criminal Court for validation.
  • As of August 28, the Russian occupants in Crimea have unlawfully imprisoned at least 186 Ukrainian citizens, with 123 of them belonging to the indigenous Crimean Tatar community, as reported by the Office of the President’s Representative to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
  • Members of the religious group “Jehovah’s Witnesses” continue to face persecution in Crimea. In the past week, [Russian occupation] law enforcement apprehended the leader of the Dzhankoy branch. The occupying authorities have unjustly launched a criminal case against him for his involvement in the regional “Jehovah’s Witnesses – Syvash” group.
  • An international sanction working group, led by Andriy Yermak, the Head of the Presidential Office, and Ambassador Michael McFaul, Director of the Freeman-Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), has determined that approximately two-thirds of the essential components required for Russian drones are supplied by China.

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