Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 20.09.2023

Operational situation

In the operational zone of the Ukrainian Operational-Strategic Group of Forces (OSG) “Khortytsia” on the Bakhmut direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces successfully repelled enemy attacks in the area of Yahidne. The enemy attempted to regain lost ground in the Andriivka area but was unsuccessful. The Defense Forces continue their assault operations south of Bakhmut, inflicting significant losses on the enemy in personnel and equipment, and consolidating their achieved positions.

In the “Tavriya” OSG operational zone on the Maryinka direction, the enemy conducted unsuccessful offensive actions in the Maryinka area, where they made over 13 failed attempts to displace Ukrainian units from their positions. On the Avdiivka and Shakhtarsk directions, the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to hold their defense positions, inflicting losses on the occupying forces in personnel and equipment. On the Zaporizhzhia direction, Russian attacks in the areas of Mala Tokmachka, Robotyne, and Novodanylivka have resulted in significant casualties for their own forces, both in personnel and equipment. On the Melitopol direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue the offensive operation, inflicting substantial losses on the Russian troops in personnel and equipment, and wearing down the enemy.

In the operational zone of the “Odesa” OSG, the Ukrainian Defense Forces are conducting counter-battery warfare, destroying enemy supply depots and inflicting damage on their rear areas.

General conclusion: 

  • The adversary continues to exert pressure on the forces of the Khortytsia OSG northeast of Kupyansk and on the eastern bank of the Oskil River west of Svatove.
  • The intensity of combat operations on the Novomayorske-Novodonetske line has decreased.
  • The units of the Khortytsia OSG that participated in the liberation of Klishchiivka demonstrated high morale, sufficient training, and proper levels of unit coordination. They were adequately supplied, including with reconnaissance data. Their actions were effectively supported by artillery fire and UAV strikes.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the Khortytsia OSG has advantages in aerial reconnaissance, more powerful electronic warfare systems, and its artillery actions are significantly more accurate.
  • The adversary has lost three relatively combat-ready brigades in the Klishchiivka and Andriivka areas and lacks resources to replace them in the respective defense sectors.
  • In recent days, the adversary’s losses in Zaporizhzhia Oblast have significantly increased. The Russian military command is experiencing a shortage of combat-ready units that can be redeployed to this sector of the front.
  • The adversary’s forces in the Southwestern theater of operations have reached a level of degradation where their grouping is no longer capable of conducting offensive operations and is constrained in defensive actions.
  • As the forces of the Tavriya OSG progress deeper into the Russian defense in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, they encounter various minefields. These are smaller in scale compared to the primary ones preceding the main defensive line, but they still pose significant challenges in terms of size and density per minefield standards

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • There were 24 combat engagements on various directions.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, Russian forces continued attacks towards Torske, in the area of Serebryansk Forest, near Bilohorivka and Spirne. Russian aviation destroyed a bridge over the Oskil River in Kupyansk, but the forces of the Khortytsia OSG maintain control over a number of other bridges.
  • The Khortytsia OSG forces are withdrawing from the southwest of Novoselivske, periodically launching attacks near Kreminna and Torske.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, battles were ongoing near Klishchiivka, Andriivka, and Kurdyumivka. 
  • The forces of the Khortytsia OSG repelled Russian attacks west of Yahidne, near Klishchiivka and Andriivka. 
  • The enemy launched a counterattack near Kurdyumivka and Klishchiivka.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, the enemy repelled the Ukrainian assault near Kamyanka and launched unsuccessful attacks in the areas of Keramik and the “Trudovska” mine.
  • The forces of the Tavriya OSG conducted offensive operations near Opytne and Krasnohorivka, but this did not lead to significant changes on the front line. They repelled 10 Russian assaults near Maryinka.
  • Berdyansk direction (Velyka Novosilka): The forces of the Tavriya OSG attacked near Staromayorske, Urozhaine, Novodonetske, and Novomayorske.
  • Tokmak direction (Robotyne): The forces of the Tavriya OSG advanced west of Verbove and launched attacks towards Novoprokopivka, near Verbove and Robotyne.
  • The 429th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 19th Motorized Rifle Division of the 58th Russian Army defended against the Tavriya OSG attacks near Zherebyanky. The enemy launched unsuccessful attacks near Robotyne.
  • Kherson direction: Several reconnaissance groups from the forces of the “Odesa” OSG landed on the left bank of the Dnipro, north of Pidstepne and on Kozatsky Island. They have confidently taken control of the northern part of the island.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov Sea operational area, there were 8 enemy ships on combat duty, including 1 Kalibr cruise missile carrier, with a total salvo of 8 Kalibr missiles. In the Sea of Azov, there was 1 enemy ship, and in the Mediterranean Sea, there was 1 enemy ship.
  • The enemy has started withdrawing combat ships from the Crimean naval base.

Change in the enemy’s disposition:

  • Units of the 15th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 2nd Army of the Central Military District of the enemy are deployed near Raigorodka and Nadiya.
  • The newly formed 40th Army Corps, originating from Stavropol Krai of the Russian Federation, is deploying in the Kherson Oblast and is likely preparing for a defensive operation.
  • Units of the 83rd Separate Air Assault Brigade of the Russian Airborne Troops, previously defending near Klishchiivka, is presently undergoing regrouping in rear areas. Meanwhile, units of the 31st Separate Air Assault Brigade persist in their defensive efforts near Klishchiivka. In the vicinity of Bakhmut, remnants of the 72nd Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade from the 3rd Army Corps of the enemy remain in operation.
  • “Storm-Z” units have been deployed to bolster the defense and provide cover for the Russian Airborne Troops on the Tokmak direction.

Escalation indicators: 

  • The enemy’s command is rotating combat-ready forces in areas where active combat operations are not currently ongoing with newly formed units (the 25th Army on the Kupyansk direction and the 40th Army Corps on the Kherson direction).

Possible operation situation developments: 

  • The enemy command is preparing to launch a large-scale offensive in the Kupyansk direction, with an estimated start date of September 26-27.
  • Units of the 164th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 25th Army will be deployed in the direction of Dibrova – Serebryansk Forest, and units of the 36th Motorized Rifle Regiment will be deployed west of the Chervonopopivka – Zhytlivka line in the general direction of Novosadove or Terny.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 20.09.23 

Personnel – almost 273,980 people (+520);

Tanks – 4,635 (+7);

Armored combat vehicles – 8,868 (+17);

Artillery systems – 6,096 (+34);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 779 (+1);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 526 (0);

Vehicles and fuel tanks –8,633 (+32);

Aircraft – 315 (0);

Helicopters – 316 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 4,821 (+37);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,479 (0);

Boats/ships – 21 (0).

Humanitarian + general:

  • According to information provided by the MOD’s Situation Center, over the past day, Russian forces shelled 9 regions of Ukraine. 142 towns and villages and 104 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. There are killed and wounded Ukrainian civilians. 
  • During the night of September 20, 2023, the Russians launched approximately 24 UAVs of the “Shahed-136/131” type. Ukrainian Air defense destroyed 17 “Shaheds”. There were several impacts on an oil refinery plant in Poltava Oblast. 
  • As a result of the Russian strike on an evacuation convoy in Kupyansk, Kharkiv Oblast, on September 19, two volunteers, four individuals evacuated from areas of constant shelling, and two servicemen lost their lives. According to law enforcement, the Russians conducted the strike using a modified “Hrom-E1” missile.
  • Due to mines and explosive hazards in Ukraine, 246 civilians have lost their lives, including 13 children, and 521 individuals have been injured (of which 53 are children), according to Colonel Oleg Shuvarsky, the head of the Mine Action Department at the Main Department of Mine Action, Civil Protection, and Environmental Safety of the Ministry of Defense. The area of contaminated landmines and explosive hazards in Ukraine has increased to 174,000 square kilometers since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion. Over 5 million Ukrainians reside in these areas.
  • At the temporarily occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, 822 Ukrainian nuclear workers continue to operate. Another 2083 ZNPP employees are not allowed to their workplaces, stated the President of the National Nuclear Energy Generating Company “Energoatom,” Petro Kotin.
  • Since the beginning of the full-scale war in Ukraine, 472 residents of temporarily occupied Crimea have been accused under the article of the Russian Administrative Code regarding the discrediting of the Russian army, the human rights organization “Crimean Process” reported. Over 80% of all cases of discrediting were initiated due to posts on social media or verbal statements by citizens. Most verdicts were issued by courts automatically, directly on the day the protocol was drawn up, in closed sessions and without the presence of observers and the press.

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