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Russia’s war on Ukraine. 05.09.2023

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 conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk line, along the administrative border of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts, in the western part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, and advanced in certain areas.

General conclusion: 

  • The deployment of the 76th Air Assault Division along the Kopani-Novoprokopivka line indicates the Russian military command’s secondary focus on holding the first position of the main defense line.
  • The enemy’s use of airborne and air assault military units for counterattacks, mainly head-on against the advancing adversary, is surprising. This approach results in excessive casualties and a relatively rapid loss of combat capability. Furthermore, this method of application is consistent across various directions within the enemy’s Southwestern Theater of Military Operations.
  • The command of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping began the liberation of Verbove and Novoprokopivka.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • 29 combat engagements took place on different directions.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations near Bilohorivka and Petropavlivka. They have transitioned to a defensive stance near Novoyehorivka and ceased their assault on Ukrainian positions in this area. They repelled attacks by the Ukrainian forces to the north of Tverdokhlibove.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, Ukrainian Defense Forces advanced east of Orikhovo-Vasylivka, achieved success near Klishchiivka, advanced near Andriivka, and attacked near Kurdyumivka. Positional battles are taking place near the Berkhiv Reservoir.
  • Russian troops unsuccessfully attacked north of Klishchiivka and near Kurdyumivka and Ozaryanivka.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, Ukrainian Defense Forces attacked near Severne.
  • Russian troops conducted unsuccessful offensives near Avdiivka, Maryinka, Krasnohorivka, and Novomykhailivka.
  • Zaporizhzhia direction:
    • Tokmak direction (Robotyne): Russian forces began to engage the 76th Air Assault Division northwest of Novoprokopivka along the Kopani – Novoprokopivka line.
    • The “Tavriya” Operational Grouping advanced to the south of Robotyne and the west of Verbove and succeeded in the direction of Novodanylivka and Novoprokopivka. It also made progress towards Ocheretuvate and further to the south of Kamianske. Additionally, it conducted an attack near Dorozhnyanka.
    • Berdyansk direction (Velyka Novosilka): “Tavriya” Operational Grouping carried out offensive actions near Pryiutne and pushed back Russian troops from the heights near Rivnopol along the Pryiutne – Staromlynivka – Kermenchyk line.
    • Russian troops conducted unsuccessful offensive actions near Pryiutne. Units of the 218th Tank Regiment of the 127th Motorized Rifle Division of the 5th Army attacked near Staromayorske.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov naval operational area, there were 8 Russian ships on combat duty, 1 in the Sea of Azov. There were 8 Russian ships on combat duty in the Mediterranean, including 2 cruise missile carriers. The total salvo is up to 24 Kalibr cruise missiles. 

Change in enemy disposition:

  • On the breakthrough section of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping from Novoprokopivka to Verbove, the defense is being held by the 70th, 71st, and 291st Motorized Rifle Regiments (the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division of the Russian 58th Army.) The 42nd Motorized Rifle Division is reinforced by the 1429th, 1430th, and 1441st Motorized Rifle Regiments of the Territorial Troops, as well as the 1st, 3rd, 11th, and 14th BARS detachments, and the 201st Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 2nd Army Corps.
  • The Russian 104th and 234th Air Assault Regiments of the 76th Air Assault Division are deployed at the Nesteryanka – Kopani line. The 56th and 108th Air Assault Regiments of the 7th Air Assault Division are deployed at the Verbove – Novoprokopivka line. The flanks of this grouping are reinforced with units of the 4th Military Base, the 503rd Motorized Rifle Regiment, the 22nd Separate SOF Brigade, and the 100th Separate Reconnaissance Brigade.
  • The 810th Separate Marine Brigade of the Russian Black Sea Fleet will be withdrawn into reserve or redeployed to the defense sector of the 429th Motorized Rifle Regiment on the Vasylivskyi direction in the near future.
  • Units of the 291st Motorized Rifle Regiment (the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division of the 58th Army) operate on the Kopani – Nesteryanka line. Units of the 429th Motorized Rifle Regiment (the 19th Motorized Rifle Division of the 58th Army) are deployed near Zherebyanky.

Escalation indicators:

  • On the Berdyansk direction, the enemy is observed to use ammunition of 82mm, 120mm, and 152mm calibers of Iranian and Chinese origin.

Possible operation situation developments: 

  • 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 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 will reinforce units of the 71st and 201st Motorized Rifle Regiments with units from the 291st Motorized Rifle Regiment. The units of the 76th Air Assault Division, in coordination with the 503rd Motorized Rifle Regiment, will hold the flank along the Nesteryanka – Kopani line.
  • The 42nd Motorized Rifle Division will impede the advance of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping at either the first position or between the first and second positions of the enemy’s main defense line. This will provide time for the Russian military command to prepare counterattacks in the directions of Kopani – Novodanylivka and Novopokrovka – Mala Tokmachka, utilizing the forces of the 7th and 76th Air Assault Divisions. Consequently, the command of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping will need to allocate a portion of its assault forces to cover flanks or introduce some reserves into the operation.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 05.09.23 

Personnel – almost 265,680 people (+560);

Tanks- 4,489 (+9);

Armored combat vehicles – 8,670 (+7);

Artillery systems – 5,649 (+38);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 747 (+6);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 504 (+1);

Vehicles and fuel tanks –8,175 (+26);

Aircraft – 315 (0);

Helicopters – 316 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 4,512 (+31);

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 9 regions of Ukraine. 133 towns and villages and 85 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. One person is reported killed, and 5 people, including an 11-year-old boy, were injured;
  • As of the morning of September 5, 2023, according to the official information of juvenile prosecutors, 503 children died and more than 1,120 sustained injuries of various degrees of severity;
  • In Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, a Russian UAV struck the Mezhivska community in the Synelnykove district, causing debris to fall. It resulted in damage to a farm, and approximately 1,500 tons of grain were destroyed.
  • The Verkhovna Rada dismissed Oleksiy Reznikov from the post of Minister of Defense. The Verkhovna Rada’s Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence supported the appointment of Rustem Umerov to the position of Minister of Defense of Ukraine. Earlier, the parliament dismissed Umerov from the post of the head of the State Property Fund. 
  • After the Russian forces destroyed the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant, the death of 32 people has been confirmed, and the whereabouts of 39 citizens remain unknown, according to Vladyslav Dudar, an officer of the Main Department of Mine Action of Civil Defense and Environmental Security at the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. Dudar highlighted a significant challenge: most of the flooded areas are in the [Russia-]occupied territory, making it difficult to determine the exact number of casualties in those areas. In total, 612 square kilometers were flooded, 32 percent of that being liberated territory. A total of 2,783 people were evacuated, and nearly 65% of all forests in Kherson Oblast were submerged, as reported by Dudar.
  • The Russian occupation authorities have falsely claimed that 1.3 million voters remain in Luhansk Oblast, disregarding the fact that many people have evacuated from the region. The reported turnout figures are manipulated to fulfill the directives of their superiors, as explained by Artem Lysohor, the head of the Luhansk Oblast Military Administration. Lysohor also pointed out that during the so-called “elections,” Russian authorities distribute Russian passports to individuals near polling stations, further highlighting the fraudulent nature of these events.
  • Cuba’s Ministry of the Interior has revealed the existence of a human trafficking network that operates from Russia. This network recruits Cuban citizens, including those living in the Russian Federation and some residing in Cuba, to join the Russian Armed Forces for deployment in the war against Ukraine.

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