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Russia’s war on Ukraine. 02.09.2023

Operational situation

The Ukrainian Defense Forces continue their offensive operation on the Melitopol direction, south of Bakhmut. They are consolidating their positions on the achieved frontlines and conducting counter-battery combat. Since the beginning of the advance in the Southern operational zone, the Ukrainian Defense Forces have liberated over 280 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory from the occupiers.

The Russian forces carried out offensive actions on the Kupyansk – Svatove – Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk front, on the administrative border between Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts, and in the western part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

General conclusion: 

  • Ukrainian Defense Forces continued offensive operations on at least two sections of the front, advancing in Zaporizhzhia Oblast;
  • A tactical pause continues in the Berdyansk direction.
  • The withdrawal of the Russian 201st Motorized Rifle Regimen from the outskirts of Novoprokopivka reduces the chances of the 3rd and 14th BARS detachments to hold the first position of the main Russian defensive line between Novoprokopivka and Verbove. Their position, as well as the position of the 71st Motorized Rifle Regiment, is further complicated by the retreat of the 1429th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Territorial Troops, which failed to hold on to the first position of the main defense line to their right.
  • To bolster the defense line of the 71st Motorized Rifle Regiment, the enemy command can only deploy the 104th Air Assault Regiment of the 76th Air Assault Division, which is evidently inadequate for the task.
  • The Russian command will also be compelled to deploy the 291st Motorized Rifle Regiment into the operation in the Novoprokopivka – Verbove sector. Delaying this deployment would enable the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping to advance into the rear of the Russian 42nd Motorized Rifle Division (58th Army), thus hindering any potential counterattack from the direction of Kopani.
  • The maneuvering of Russian tank units near Kermenchyk should be considered as preparations by the 5th Separate Tank Brigade for a potential counterattack. Additionally, there is a possibility that these tanks belong to either the 34th or 37th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigades of the enemy.
  • The enemy command is counting solely on holding Novoprokopivka and Verbove to sustain their defense until the arrival of operational reserves in this area, with a primary focus on the 76th Air Assault Division of the Russian Airborne Troops.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • 45 combat engagements took place in different directions.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces took advantage of the withdrawal of the Russian 76th Air Assault Division and successfully attacked in the area of Lyman Pershyi and the Serebryansk Forest. They tried to improve their tactical position near Torske.
  • Russian troops conducted unsuccessful offensives near Novoselivske, Novoyehorivka, Synkivka, Vilshana, Petropavlivka, and stormed Bilohorivka without results.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the Ukrainian 3rd Separate Assault Brigade finally liberated Klishchiivka and Andriivka from the [Russian] occupiers. Ukrainian Defense Forces are gradually developing an offensive on Odradivka, Opytne, and Mykolaivka.
  • Russian troops launched an unsuccessful offensive near Kurdyumivka and counterattacked near Kurdyumivka, Ozaryanivka, and Klishchiivka to stop the Ukrainian advance.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations near Severne, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, and Novomykhailivka. They are attempting to secure their positions near the Trudivska coal mine.
  • Zaporizhzhia direction: 
    • Tokmak direction (Robotyne): Russian 201st Motorized Rifle Regiment is attempting to consolidate on the northeastern and eastern outskirts of Novoprokopivka after withdrawing from the heights to the northeast of the village.
    • The unexpected introduction of the Ukrainian 82nd Separate Airborne Assault Brigade into the operation forced the 417th Separate Reconnaissance Battalion to retreat in the Verbove area. On the “Surovikin line,” the 108th Air Assault Regiment of the 7th Airborne Assault Division was effectively defeated during its deployment. The “Tavriya” Operational Grouping effectively uses artillery, combining precision and cluster munition fire, inflicting significant losses on the Russian forces.
    • Berdyansk direction (Velyka Novosilka): The movement of several groups of Russian tanks, 3-4 vehicles each, was recorded northeast of Kermenchyk. The Russian military is preparing a counterattack on Novomayorske or Novodonetsk areas, where units of the Russian 40th Separate Marines Brigade of the Pacific Fleet are concentrated south of the village.
    • The regrouping of the Russian troops continues at the Pryiutne-Zavitne Bazhanya line, with the 247th Air Assault Regiment being withdrawn to reserve. The 60th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade will need to expand its sector of defense and further decrease the density of its combat formations. The brigade will likely be reinforced with units from the 136th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 1st Army Corps and tanks from the 218th Tank Regiment.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov Sea operational area, there were 7 Russian ships on combat duty. In the Azov Sea, there was 1 enemy ship on combat duty. In the Mediterranean Sea, there were 8 enemy ships on combat duty, including 2 Kalibr cruise missile carriers. The total salvo is up to 24 Kalibr cruise missiles. 

Change in enemy disposition:

  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces have introduced the 82nd Separate Airborne Assault Brigade into the operation in the Verbove area.
  • The Russian volunteer battalion “Ispaniola,” primarily composed of sports enthusiasts, is active near Bakhmut.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, the enemy has deployed units from the newly formed 25th Army of the Eastern Military District, replacing units from the 41st Army of the Central Military District. Units of the 41st Army have begun a slow relocation to an unspecified area south of Ukraine. The newly formed 25th Army will not be ready to perform tasks until December 2023.

Escalation indicators:

  • The intensity of combat clashes increased more than twice over the past day.

Possible operation situation developments: 

  • The Russian 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 regain 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 liberation of the Kurdyumivka area (including Zelenopillia, Ozaryanivka, and Andriivka) by the Ukrainian Defense Forces will disrupt the enemy’s rocade communication between Bakhmut and Horlivka, complicate the maneuverability of the adversary’s “Yug (South)” Operational Grouping, and isolate the southern approaches to Klishchiivka – Zaitseve and Klishchiivka – Opytne. This will open up a tactical perspective for the Ukrainian Defense Forces units engaged in combat near Klishchiivka.
  • The enemy’s battalion defense areas, equipped in Novozlatopil and Novomayorske, will be held by the Russian forces at any cost, allowing them to maintain control over the corridor rocade Novozlatopil – Lyubimivka – Orlynske-Staromlynivka-Kermenchyk-Novomayorske.
  • The Russian command must take measures to immediately form a tactical group aimed at stopping the advance of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping in the direction of Ocheretuvate.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 02.09.23 

Personnel – almost 264,060 people (+570);

Tanks – 4,471 (+12);

Armored combat vehicles – 8,637 (+24);

Artillery systems – 5,560 (+30);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 736 (+1);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 501 (+1);

Vehicles and fuel tanks –8,043 (+34);

Aircraft – 315 (0);

Helicopters – 316 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 4,433 (+12);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,447 (+2);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).

Humanitarian + General:

  • According to information provided by the MOD’s Situation Center, over the past day, Russian forces shelled 9 regions of Ukraine. 126 towns and villages and 111 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. 4 civilians died, and 12 were injured in Russian attacks. 
  • On September 2, 2023, at approximately 10:30 a.m., Russian forces launched a mortar assault from within Russian territory onto the Ukrainian Seredyna-Buda town in the Shostka district of Sumy Oblast. The projectiles were aimed at the official car of the “Shostkinsky REM” energy company, a JSC “Sumyoblenergo” branch. Two company workers were injured. A power line, two buildings and a local enterprise were also damaged.
  • A 32-year-old investigator, police captain Ruslan Faraonov, died from the Russian shelling of Seredyna-Buda in Sumy Oblast. Together with his colleagues, he was documenting the consequences of the destruction caused by Russia earlier in the day, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry reported. 
  • The Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, has reported that 386 Ukrainian children have been confirmed to have been [illegally} adopted by Russian families, with adoption procedures either in progress or already completed.
  • In the occupied Volnovakha of Donetsk Oblast and the surrounding area. the occupation authorities have threatened parents who do not send their children to schools following a Russian curriculum. They have warned that if parents do not comply, their children may be taken away and sent to orphanages in Russia, according to the Ukrainian General Staff. Educational administrations operating under occupation, accompanied by the Russian FSB, visit homes and inform parents that secondary education is mandatory in Russia. Parents who refuse to comply are said to have protocols drawn up against them for failing in their parental duties. These parents are also threatened that after accumulating three such protocols, they may be deprived of their parental rights, with their children sent to orphanages in Russia.
  • Ihor Kiryanenko, a doctor and private entrepreneur who was illegally detained by Russian invaders in Donetsk five years ago, is currently in critical condition and requires urgent medical assistance, according to Dmytro Lubinets, the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights. The Russian invaders conceal his critical condition from international organizations and do not permit any representatives to visit him. Furthermore, they are not providing Kiryanenko with the necessary medical care.”Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case – the Russians have turned it into a system. However, we cannot remain silent about the fact that the Russian Federation is deliberately killing our people, violating the Geneva Conventions. Ukraine needs the help of the world to bring all civilians home,” Lubinets emphasized.

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

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