Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 04.09.2023

Operational situation

Ukrainian Defense Forces continue their offensive operation on the Melitopol direction, advancing in the areas of Bakhmut, west of Donetsk Oblast and west of Zaporizhzhia Oblast. They are consolidating their positions on the achieved frontlines and engaging in counter-battery warfare.

Russian forces have conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk – Svatove – Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, on the Avdiivka – Donetsk line, in the west of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, and on September 2, they made advances in specific areas.

General conclusion: 

  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces continue offensive actions on at least two sections of the front, advancing in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • The enemy is on the verge of deploying all three of its Separate Airborne Assault Brigades in the operation on the Bakhmut direction, with two of them already involved in combat.
  • The enemy not only maintains the composition of its Bakhmut grouping but periodically reinforces it with the operational reserves of the “Yug (South)” Operational Grouping.
  • The enemy’s command considers the retention of Bakhmut as a vital military-political objective, as indicated by the transfer of reserves to the Tokmak area not from this direction but from Lyman, which is more distant and logistically inconvenient.
  • The command of the enemy’s 36th and 29th Armies is concerned about losing the foothold on the Kashlagach River on the Volnovakha direction and is preparing countermeasures.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • There were 30 combat engagements on various fronts.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations near Novoyehorivka, which they resumed after a tactical pause caused by their significant losses on this front. Combat engagements took place near Novoselivske, northwest of Petropavlivka, near Serhiyivka, Hryhorivka, Kuzmine, Torske, and in the Serebryansk Forest area.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the enemy attempted to prevent the advance of the Ukrainian Defense Forces towards the road to Horlivka. Ukrainian Defence Forces are gaining full control over Klishchiivka, Andriivka, and launched attacks near Zaliznyanske, Berkhivka, Rozdolivka, Dubovo-Vasylivka, and Bakhmut. They also cleared heights near Klishchiivka.
  • The enemy conducted unsuccessful counterattacks near Kurdyumivka.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces continued attacks along the Avdiivka – Donetsk line, near Vesele and Staromykhailivka. The enemy attempted to advance in Maryinka and conducted unsuccessful attacks east of Severne, near Avdiivka, south of Krasnohorivka, and in Novomykhailivka.
  • Zaporizhzhia direction:
    • Tokmak direction (Robotyne): The “Tavriya” Operational Grouping advanced towards Verbove, storming it from the northwest and expanding its foothold between Novoprokopivka and Verbove. They advanced to the east of Novoprokopivka towards Pshenychne and captured height 166.
    • The enemy launched attacks to the southwest and south of Robotyne and near Verbove but did not achieve any results. 
    • The enemy is facing difficulties in delivering ammunition to the front line and maintaining communication in this area.
    • Berdyansk direction (Velyka Novosilka): The “Tavriya” Operational Grouping continues to systematically reduce the enemy’s foothold on the Kashlagach River. Units of the 116th Rifle Regiment of the 1st Army Corps have completely withdrawn from the northern bank of the river in Pavlivka and will attempt to establish themselves on a new defense line with the support of units from the 14th Separate SOF Brigade. The 155th Separate Marine Battalion of the Russian Pacific Fleet continues to hold the northern part of Mykilske village on the northern bank of the Kashlagach River.
    • The “Tavriya” Operational Grouping advanced to the Pryiutne – Urozhaine line; a combat engagement occurred northwest of Yehorivka.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov Sea operational maritime area, there were 5 enemy ships on combat duty; in the Azov Sea, there was 1 enemy ship; in the Mediterranean Sea, there were 8 enemy ships, including 2 “Kalibr” cruise missile carriers, with a total salvo of up to 24 missiles.
  • In the northwestern part of the Black Sea, during the enemy’s attempt to land, the maritime aviation of the Ukrainian Naval Forces destroyed an enemy KS-701 “Tunets” type boat.
  • Two more civilian vessels successfully passed through the temporary corridor created by Ukraine in the Black Sea as part of Ukraine’s efforts to bypass Russia’s attempts to disrupt maritime transportation.

Change in enemy disposition:

  • The 4th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the enemy’s 2nd Army Corps is transitioning to a defensive stance in the area of Odradivka – Zaitseve; further to the south, the 31st Separate Airborne Assault Brigade is taking combat positions.
  • The enemy’s 9th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade is engaged in combat actions on the Avdiivka direction.
  • On the Volnovakha – Mariupol direction, the command of the 29th and 36th Armies keep in operation reserve:
    • the 36th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (the 29th Army), 
    • the 110th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, the 123rd Rifle Regiment (the 1st Army Corps of the 8th Army), 
    • the 78th Separated Motorized Special Purpose Battalion named after A. Kadyrov (the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division). 
  • These military units are fully comparable in terms of their combat readiness to those currently concentrated by the enemy on the Tokmak and Berdyansk directions.

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 Russian command is compelled to immediately form a tactical group aimed at stopping the advance of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping in the direction of Ocheretuvate.
  • 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 rocade corridor Novozlatopil – Lyubimivka – Orlynske-Staromlynivka-Kermenchyk-Novomayorske.
  • On the Berdyansk direction, the enemy has to hold the Pavlivka – Mykilske line as a precondition for disrupting the advance of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping towards Volodymyrivka – Volnovakha.
  • The enemy’s command will conduct a series of counterattacks in the area of Novomayorske on the right flank of the striking tactical group of the “Tavriya” Grouping, which will be advancing in the direction of Yehorivka.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 04.09.23 

Personnel – almost 265,120 people (+460);

Tanks – 4,480 (+4);

Armored combat vehicles – 8,663 (+14);

Artillery systems – 5,611 (+29);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 741 (+2);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 503 (+1);

Vehicles and fuel tanks –8,149 (+47);

Aircraft – 315 (0);

Helicopters – 316 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 4,481 (+37);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,447 (0);

Boats/ships – 19 (+1). 

Humanitarian + General:

  • According to information, provided by the MOD’s Situation Center, over the past day, Russian forces shelled 10 regions of Ukraine. 132 towns and villages and 45 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. 2 civilians were killed, and 14 were wounded by the Russian attacks over the past day.
  • More than 1,622 children were affected in Ukraine as a result of the full-scale armed aggression of the Russian Federation. As of the morning of September 4, 2023, according to the official information of juvenile prosecutors, 503 children were killed and more than 1,119 sustained injuries of various degrees of severity. 
  • Russian forces attacked Odesa Oblast with attack drones. Ukrainian Air defense shot down 17 drones. As a result of the hits, warehouse and production facilities, agricultural machinery and equipment of industrial enterprises were damaged in several villages of the Izmail district. Due to falling debris, fires broke out on the territory of civilian objects.
  • President Zelensky announced that the Minister of Defense, Oleksiy Reznikov, will be replaced by the current head of the State Property Fund of Ukraine, Rustem Umerov, provided that parliament supports the decision. Zelensky justified this decision by citing the need for new approaches. Both Reznikov and Umerov have submitted their resignations, and the parliament is expected to address this matter in the near future. Reznikov stated that he would assist Umerov with his contacts and advice.
  • Russian occupation authorities have opened 15 polling stations in the occupied Crimea for the illegitimate local elections in the newly occupied territories. People moved from Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Oblasts are supposed to vote there. While the “official” voting day is scheduled for September 10, Russian authorities have organized “early elections.” 
  • According to the [legally elected] Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov, in the illegal “local” elections organized by Russia in the temporarily occupied territory of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, over 45% of the candidates come from Moscow, Dagestan, Siberia, and the Altai region of the Russian Federation. Residents are being coerced to vote at gunpoint.
  • Similar reports of being compelled to vote at gunpoint have emerged from the village of Ulyanivka in Kherson Oblast. Activists from the “Yellow Ribbon” movement have reported that for two days, groups of 6-8 individuals armed with assault rifles, along with three individuals in civilian attire, have been visiting people’s homes. They enter each residence and show with their finger where to put a mark on the ballot.
  • The police received a report about the alleged mining of all secondary schools and colleges in Kyiv, as announced by the Kyiv City Military Administration. However, subsequent investigations revealed that no explosive devices were found. This incident follows a pattern of false reports; a similar one was received on September 1, the first day of the school year, which also proved to be unfounded. These tactics are reminiscent of actions taken by the Russian Federation in various regions of Ukraine on the eve of the invasion, aiming to destabilize the situation.

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