Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 21.09.2023

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 west of Zaitseve. The enemy attempted to regain lost grounds  northeast and east of Andriivka, 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 area of responsibility of the “Tavriya” OSG on the Maryinka direction, the enemy conducted unsuccessful offensive actions near Maryinka. The enemy made 13 unsuccessful attempts to displace Ukrainian units from their positions. On the Avdiivka and Shakhtarsk directions, the Defense Forces maintain defense on achieved lines and hold the initiative. On the Melitopol direction, the Defense Forces continue the offensive operation, inflicting significant losses on the Russian forces in personnel and equipment, forcing the enemy to retreat from their positions. Ukrainian defenders repelled enemy attacks in the area of Robotyne. The Russian forces have suffered significant losses both in personnel and equipment.

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 recent redeployment of the Russian Airborne Troops units from the Bakhmut direction to the Tokmak direction weakened the Russian defense around Bakhmut.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):   

  • There were 23 combat engagements on various directions. 
  • On the Kupyansk direction, Russian forces advanced in the area of Novoyehorivka and established control over operationally significant heights near the village. They also conducted unsuccessful attacks near Petropavlivka and Synkivka and repelled Ukrainian attacks near Dibrova.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the forces of the Khortytsia OSG continue to advance towards Russian positions south of Bakhmut and consolidate on recently gained frontlines. They have secured positions in Klishchiivka and Andriivka; repelled Russian counterattacks northeast of Andriivka, near Yahidne, north of Bakhmut, and west of Zaitseve. 
  • Russian forces control the railway line between Klishchiivka and Highway T0513 to the east of the village. They attempted counterattacks on the northern and southern flanks of Bakhmut but did not make any significant advances.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, units of the Russian “volunteer” battalion “Yugra” (composed of mobilized personnel from the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, Russia) captured unidentified Ukrainian positions. Russian forces continued unsuccessfully attacking Ukrainian positions near Maryinka.
  • Berdyansk direction (Velyka Novosilka): The forces of the Tavriya OSG attacked north of Pryiutne and near Staromayorske but withdrew under Russian artillery fire. 
  • Enemy units repelled the Ukrainian attack towards Pryiutne and halted the Ukrainian assault group in the Novodonetske area. Enemy forces sustained losses in personnel and equipment on the Shakhtarsk direction.
  • Tokmak direction (Robotyne): The forces of the Tavriya OSG continued their offensive actions, inflicting significant losses on the Russian personnel and equipment. They attacked near Robotyne, Verbove, in the direction of Novoprokopivka and Kopani, and struck targets of the Russian military infrastructure near Melitopol, Tokmak, and Polohy.
  • Russian forces unsuccessfully attacked near Mala Tokmachka, Novodanylivka, and Robotyne. Units of the 71st Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division captured a Ukrainian position west of Verbove.
  • Kherson direction: Russian and Ukrainian forces continue operations on the islands in the delta of the Dnipro River.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov Sea operational maritime area, there were 6 enemy ships on combat duty; 1 enemy ship  was in the Azov Sea; in the Mediterranean Sea, there was 1 enemy ship.
  • The adversary has withdrawn all submarines from the Crimean naval base.
  • On the border of Ukraine’s territorial waters and Romania, en route to the Izmail port, the dry cargo ship “SEAMA” carrying a cargo of cement under the flag of Togo detonated on a maritime mine.
  • A targeted precision strike hit the stationary communication hub of the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s headquarters in Verkhnesadovoye.

Change in the enemy’s disposition:

  • Enemy units of the 228th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 90th Tank Division of the Central Military District are deployed near Kreminna.
  • The 1442nd Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Russian Territorial Troops (manned with mobilized personnel from Altai Krai) is active on the Bakhmut direction.
  • Units of the 14th Separate SOF Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces are operating on the Vuhledar direction.

Possible operation situation developments: 

  • The enemy’s command has amassed a force of up to 110,000 personnel on the Kupyansk and Lyman directions. A large-scale offensive is anticipated to commence on the 26th-27th of September. The objective of this offensive may be to displace the forces of the Khortytsia OSG from the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line.
  • 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 21.09.23 

Personnel – almost 274,470 people (+490);

Tanks – 4,638 (+3);

Armored combat vehicles – 8,883 (+15);

Artillery systems – 6,137 (+41);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 781 (+2);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 528 (+2);

Vehicles and fuel tanks –8,670 (+37);

Aircraft – 315 (0);

Helicopters – 316 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 4,850 (+29);

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 14 regions of Ukraine. 147 towns and villages and 151 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. There are killed and wounded Ukrainian civilians. 
  • According to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal, at least 20 Ukrainians were injured due to the latest Russian rocket attack. 
  • On the night of September 21, the Russian Federation launched another massive missile strike on Ukraine’s energy, industrial, and civilian infrastructure, using 44 air-launched cruise missiles (Kh-101/Kh-555/Kh-55) and 6 guided surface-to-air missiles (S-300). As a result of the combat operation carried out by the Air Force in coordination with the Air Defense Forces, 38 cruise missiles were successfully intercepted and destroyed.
  • According to the Office of the Prosecutor General, as a result of today’s (September 21) shelling in the Kherson region, six civilians have been killed, and nine more have been injured. Russian forces also launched a missile attack on the Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky district in Odesa Oblast, causing damage to recreational infrastructure. Fortunately, there were no casualties.
  • Ukrenergo reported that due to the first Russian attack on Ukrainian energy facilities in 6 months, there were partial power outages in five oblasts of Ukraine.
  • According to the State Special Transport Service, 30% of Ukraine’s territory is contaminated with explosive objects, amounting to over 174,000 square kilometers. The State Special Transport Service deploys over 80 demining groups of various compositions daily. The highest number of explosive objects was discovered and destroyed in Chernihiv Oblast (4,542). The most significant areas have been cleared of mines in Kherson Oblast (4,651 hectares).
  • As of the morning of September 21, due to the full-scale aggression of the Russian Federation, 504 Ukrainian children have lost their lives, and another 1,124 have been injured, according to official information from Ukraine’s juvenile prosecutors. These data are not exhaustive, as work is ongoing to establish data in areas of combat, temporarily occupied, and liberated territories.
  • Ukraine uses outdated Soviet-era methodologies to calculate the environmental damage caused by the Russian invasion. Recalculating according to international standards will increase the damage estimate by at least 10%. The amount will exceed $57 billion if calculated according to international methodologies. This opinion was expressed by environmental expert Oleg Lystopad from the ANT Network. As reported earlier, the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused $57 billion in environmental damage. In the last 2.5 months, the amount of damage has increased by almost $1.5 billion.
  • Ukraine is currently undergoing the most extensive repair campaign of energy facilities in its entire history of independence, according to the Minister of Energy, Herman Halushchenko. He emphasized that Ukraine will have sufficient gas and coal reserves by the autumn-winter period.
  • UNESCO has verified 290 damages to various cultural objects in Ukraine [during Russia’s full-scale aggression]. This is not an exhaustive list – many more cases have not been documented, stated the head of the UNESCO Bureau in Ukraine, Chiara Bardeschi.

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