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Russia’s war on Ukraine. 31.08.2023

To watch: ‘We’re not going to make stupid mistakes’: Fmr. Ukraine defense minister responds to counteroffensive criticism

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 conducted offensive actions on the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, on the Avdiivka-Donetsk line, in the area along the border between Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts, and the western part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast. They conducted unsuccessful offensive actions near Maryinka and Staromykhailivka in Donetsk Oblast and Verbove in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. The enemy is suffering significant losses in personnel, equipment, and vehicles. They are repositioning their units while deploying reserves.

General conclusion: 

  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces continue offensive actions on at least two sections of the front, advancing in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • The Russian command is unable to stop the expanding penetration of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping into the first position of their main defensive line.
  • In the near future, the pivotal element for the enemy’s defense of the line cvering Staromlynivka from the northwest will be the battles for Pryiutne. The enemy’s retention of Pryiutne by the week’s end gains crucial tactical significance.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • There have been 40 combat engagements on various fronts. 
  • On the Kupyansk direction, Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive actions with the 15th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade near Novoyehorivka and with the 127th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 2nd Army Corps in the vicinity of Bilohorivka. The enemy’s 25th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade and the 347th Motorized Rifle Regiment attempted to advance near Petropavlivka, and the 26th Tank Regiment of the 47th Tank Division sought to expand its success toward Yahidne. The most intense area of engagement is around Raigorodka, where the enemy’s 15th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade is attacking, and Kovalivka, which is controlled by the 21st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade.
  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces launched attacks near Synkivka, Serhiyivka, Novoyehorivka, Serebryansk Forest, and Bilohorivka.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the most intense combat actions occur near Bakhmut, Kurdyumivka, Yahidne, and Andriivka. Assault groups of the Defense Forces attacked Russian positions near Klishchiivka and Andriivka. 
  • Russian forces launched a counterattack near Kurdyumivka, allowing them to expand their control zone within Kurdyumivka and push back the Defense Forces units towards the Siversky Donets-Donbas canal. 
  • The adversary conducted unsuccessful attacks in Kurdyumivka, Ozaryanivka, and Bohdanivka. 
  • On the Avdiivka direction, Russian forces continued their advance on the Avdiivka-Donetsk line but did not gain new territories. They renewed their offensive on Maryinka, yet all attacks on Maryinka and Novomykhailivka were repelled.
  • Zaporizhzhia direction:
    • Tokmak direction (Robotyne): “Tavriya” Operational Grouping forces advanced to the northwestern outskirts of Verbove and launched an attack on enemy positions there. They achieved success in the directions of Novodanylivka – Novoprokopivka, Mala Tokmachka – Verbove. They attacked near Robotyne, took control of key heights northeast of Novoprokopivka, and continued to advance along the first line of the enemy’s main defense line. They are expanding their penetration front between Robotyne and Verbove, which now measures 9 km. 
    • The right flank of the enemy’s 42nd Motorized Rifle Division, reinforced by the 201st Motorized Rifle Regiment, is retreating southwestward, thereby enabling the vanguard units of the Ukrainian “Tavriya” Operational Grouping to maneuver the enemy’s defensive node in Novoprokopivka from the east.
    • In Verbove and westward, the adversary was compelled to engage the 417th Separate Ranger Battalion, the 1429th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Territorial Forces, as well as the 1st, 11th, and 14th “BARS” detachments and the 100th Separate Ranger Brigade, into the operation.
    • Southwest of this sector, the 3rd “BARS” detachment, in coordination with the 210th Motorized Rifle Regiment, is attempting to prevent the advance of the forward units of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping to the east of Novoprokopivka in the direction of Ocheretuvate. 
    • Units of the Russian 70th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division, reinforced with remnants of the 1430th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Territorial Forces, are striving to hold Novoprokopivka under any circumstances and organize a defensive line at the breakthrough section of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping. 
    • Berdiansk direction (Velyka Novosilka): Forces of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping advanced towards Volodyne, forcing Russian troops to withdraw from several heights due to the threat of tactical encirclement. The advanced units of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping are increasing pressure on the Pryiutne – Staromayorske defensive line. 
    • The Russian command has almost completed the withdrawal of the 394th Motorized Rifle Regiment and the 247th Air Assault Regiment units to the Pryiutne – Zavitne Bazhannia line, preventing excessive losses during this maneuver.
    • The enemy attacked near Vuhledar, west of Staromayorske; units of the enemy’s 155th Separate Marines Brigade of the Pacific Fleet were engaged in combat near Mykilske. 
    • Units of the enemy’s 60th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, currently defending in the Zavitne Bazhannia area, are preparing to repel attacks from the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping from the direction of Staromayorske. They are attempting to hold their battalion defense area along the Mokri Yaly River on the road from Urozhaine to Staromlynivka. The enemy has deployed separate units of the 136th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade and the 336th Separate Marines Brigade in a secondary echelon on this direction, essentially duplicating the defensive line between Pryiutne and Zavitne Bazhannia. 
  • Kherson direction: The Defense Forces conducted local raids on the eastern coast of Kherson Oblast, landed northwest of Pidstepne, and on an island in the delta of the Dnipro River.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov Sea operational area, there were 4 enemy ships on combat duty in the Black Sea and 1 enemy ship in the Azov Sea. In the Mediterranean Sea, there were 8 enemy ships on combat duty, including 2 cruise missiles “Kalibr” carriers with a total salvo of up to 24 missiles. 
  • The enemy is taking measures to defend the Kerch Strait Bridge from sea attacks, and has deliberately sunk 6 barges near the approaches to the bridge to reinforce naval barriers.

Change in enemy disposition:

  • On the Novodonetsk-Kermenchyk direction and east of Zavitne Bazhannia and Staromlynivka, the 37th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade is operating in the first echelon. This brigade is reinforced by units from the 131st Rifle Regiment of the 1st Army Corps and the 34th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade. In the second echelon, the 5th Separate Tank Brigade is deployed. 
  • In the Novomayorske area, the 40th Separate Marines Brigade of the Pacific Fleet is defending; at the junction with the 5th Army – the 125th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade and the 114th Motorized Rifle Regiment. 
  • Operational reserves of the 34th and 110th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigades and the 5th Separate Tank Brigade are concentrated in the defense sector of the 36th Army. 
  • The 291st Motorized Rifle Regiment has been moved to the reserve near Ilchenkove. 
  • On the Tokmak direction, the 76th Air Assault Division is being deployed.

Possible operation situation developments: 

  • The adversary’s command will continue active attempts on the Kupyansk direction to compel the Defense Forces’ command to deploy a portion of its strategic reserves specifically to this direction.
  • Russian forces will seek to seize the initiative amidst the Defense Forces’ offensive operation by initiating their own offensive operation with the forces of 2-3 armies. Their aim is to advance westward to the Oskil River and establish a buffer zone around the occupied Luhansk Oblast over the next two months.
  • The Defense Forces’ advance to Andriivka from the northwest and southwest directions creates conditions for a breakthrough beyond the railway line, posing a threat of encirclement to the enemy in the Klishchiivka area.
  • The liberation by the Defense Forces of the Kurdyumivka area (including Zelenopillia, Ozaryanivka, and Andriivka) will disrupt the adversary’s defensive line communication between Bakhmut and Horlivka and complicate the maneuverability of the adversary’s “Yug (South)” Operational Group.
  • The liberation of the Kurdyumivka area by the Defense Forces (including Zelenopillia, Ozaryanivka, and Andriivka) will disrupt the enemy’s rocade communication between Bakhmut to Horlivka and complicate the maneuverability of the adversary’s “Yug (South)” Operational Grouping. This liberation will also result in isolating the southern approaches to Klishchiivka – Zaitseve and Klishchiivka – Opytne, while simultaneously providing a tactical advantage for the Ukrainian Defense Forces units engaged in combat near Klishchiivka.
  • In the event of a breakthrough by the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping forces into the Staromlynivka defense sector, one should anticipate actions by the enemy’s 336th Separate Marines Brigade towards the direction of Remivka – Volodyne, and by the 5th Separate Tank Brigade towards the direction of Novodonetske – Kermenchyk.
  • The enemy will hold at any cost the battalion defense areas established in Novozlatopil and Novomykhailivka, allowing them to maintain control over the Novozlatopil – Lyubimivka – Orlynske – Staromlynivka – Kermenchyk – Novomykhailivka rocade line.
  • The adversary is conducting reconnaissance of Ukrainian infrastructure objects and may initiate a large-scale series of missile and UAV strikes by the end of September or October. Future missile strikes will be limited to 10-30 missiles and will be accompanied by a significantly larger number of combat Shahed-131/136 UAVs. These UAVs will be employed for strikes against energy infrastructure, primarily targeting power substations.
  • The Russian military command has established formidable flanking groups with the aim of halting the progress of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping within the zone of the first position of the main Russian defensive line in the area of Kopani and on the Novopokrovka – Novofedorivka line. For this purpose, the enemy has deployed the 810th Separate Marines Brigade, the 503rd Motorized Rifle Regiment, units from the 4th Military Base, the 56th and 108th Air Assault Regiments of the 7th Airborne Assault Division, and the detachment from the 22nd separate SOF brigade. The enemy will attempt to use two tactical groups formed on the flanks to strike the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping, which is currently advancing between Novoprokopivka and Verbove.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 31.08.23 

Personnel – almost 263,020 people (+610);

Tanks – 4,436 (+13);

Armored combat vehicles – 8,604 (+8);

Artillery systems – 5,507 (+31);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 734 (+1);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 500 (0);

Vehicles and fuel tanks –7,976 (+23);

Aircraft – 315 (0);

Helicopters – 316 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 4,417 (+22);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,445 (+26);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).

Humanitarian + General:

  • According to information provided by the MOD’s Situation Center, over the past day, Russian forces shelled 8 regions of Ukraine. 164 towns and villages and 23 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. There are killed and wounded Ukrainian civilians.
  • Russian forces attacked the city of Slovyansk in Donetsk Oblast at night; in the morning, they fired at the urban-type village of Borova in the Izyum district of Kharkiv Oblast. One person was killed, and another was wounded.
  • As of August 29, 2023, 1,624 objects of cultural heritage in Ukraine were damaged, almost a third of them were destroyed, the press service of the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy informs.
  • In the torture camp in Bilyaivka village, Kherson Oblast, the Russian occupation authorities illegally held captive at least 20 men between April 5 and the end of September 2022. Among them, two individuals died in the torture camp, and two died after liberation, one by committing suicide, reported the coordinator of the war crimes documentation department of ZMINA, Elizaveta Sokurenko.
  • Starting September 1, schoolchildren of grades 5-11 in the temporarily occupied Crimea will undergo military training courses, “Krym.Realii”, a Radio Liberty project, reports.
  • In the temporarily occupied Crimea, representatives of the occupation military commissariats hand out summonses to Muslims at the exits of mosques. This happens on Friday when many Muslims visit mosques for prayer, NGO CrimeaSOS reports.

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