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Russia’s war on Ukraine. 25.09.2023

Operational situation

In the operational zone of the Ukrainian Operational-Strategic Group of Forces (OSG) Khortytsia, on the Kupyansk and Lyman directions, the enemy did not conduct offensive actions. On the Bakhmut direction, Ukrainian defenders successfully repelled enemy attacks in the areas east of Bohdanivka and southeast of Bila Hora. The enemy attempted to regain lost ground near Klishchiivka, but without success.

In the operational zone of the Tavriya OSG on the Avdiivka direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces successfully hold the defense on their achieved lines. They repelled enemy attacks in the Avdiivka area. On the Maryinka direction, the enemy’s unsuccessful offensive actions in the Maryinka and Pobieda areas continue. Over the past day, they made more than 14 unsuccessful attempts to displace Ukrainian units from their positions. On the Shakhtarsk direction, Ukrainian defenders continue to maintain the defense on their positions. On the Melitopol direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue the offensive operation. They effectively repelled enemy attacks in the Robotyne area and continued consolidating at the achieved lines.

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.

Russian forces continued their offensive actions on the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, at the Avdiivka-Donetsk line, and in the west of Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

General conclusion: 

  • Three Russian divisions are actively defending against Ukrainian assaults in the breakthrough area near Orikhove, where the “Tavriya” OSG is advancing on three fronts.
  • The “Tavriya” OSG forces are advancing north of Verbove. They may isolate the Russian 56th Air Assault Regiment of the 7th Air Assault Division, which is defending in Novofedorivka,  from the remaining units of the division.
  • Russian forces persist in allocating substantial combat resources towards counteroffensives aimed at maintaining their present positions. They are deliberating on the decision to retreat to prepared defensive positions further south. This tactical approach aligns with the adversary’s information warfare efforts but does not contribute to achieving the operation’s objectives.
  • The relatively high concentration of enemy personnel and equipment in the Bakhmut area indicates that the counteroffensive of the “Khortytsia” OSG continues to tie down a significant contingent of Russian forces on the Bakhmut direction.
  • The recent intensification of Russian airstrikes in the Kherson direction suggests that the Russian military command may be concerned about the activity of the “Odesa” OSG along the Dnipro River.
  • The 7th and 76th Divisions of the Russian Airborne Forces received orders to carry out an operational encirclement of the penetration area of the “Tavriya” OSG. Still, they were unable to fulfill this task, which may be attributed, in part, to the destruction of the command post of the 7th Air Assault Division.
  • The diminished morale and psychological state within the adversary’s grouping may exert a notable influence on the Russian defensive posture. The “elite” units of the Russian Airborne Forces, which are the main force for conducting counterattacks, currently exhibit a lack of psychological readiness for such engagements.
  • The Russian forces have failed to exploit the depth of their defense, opting for a tactic of attrition rather than employing effective maneuvering.  The decision by the Russian command to defend at all costs has exposed their forces to substantial damage from the artillery of the Ukrainian Defense Forces.
  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces have encountered formidable resistance from the well-prepared Russian defense, resulting in losses in both personnel and military equipment, including support provided by allies.
  • The Russian military command’s determination to maintain their positions at all costs is intended to create the impression of a widespread setback in the Ukrainian Defense Forces’ offensive, potentially swaying significant Western support. However, this Russian information warfare campaign may only yield results in the long run if Russian forces can effectively obstruct the Ukrainian Defense Forces from making significant headway and reclaiming substantial territories.
  • The renewed offensive by the Ukrainian Defense Forces in the Tokmak direction caught the enemy command off guard, as they had miscalculated the combat capabilities of “Tavriya” OSG and counted on the depletion of its combat readiness.
  • The tactical gains made by the Tavriya OSG, such as the penetration of certain Russian field fortifications near Orihove, should not be misconstrued as a definitive indicator of imminent major operational success. It is anticipated that the advance will persist into the winter of 2023 and the spring of 2024.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):   

  • There were 32 combat engagements on various fronts. 
  • On the Kupyansk direction, the forces of the “Khortytsia” OSG repelled Russian attacks near Bilohorivka, launched an attack near Kreminna, and improved their positions near Novoyehorivka.
  • Russian forces continue to deploy reserves to the Kupyansk and Lyman directions. They achieved tactical success near Petropavlivka and Synkivka. They captured several  Ukrainian positions near Novoyehorivka and repelled Ukrainian attacks near Torske and Serebryansk Forest area.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the forces of the “Khortytsia” OSG compelled the 1307th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the enemy Territorial Troops to retreat behind the railway line east of Klishchiivka. They repelled enemy attacks east of Bohdanivka, southeast of Bila Hora, and near Klishchiivka. They advanced southwards towards Kurdyumivka and forced the enemy to withdraw from a section of the Bakhmut-Horlivka railway.
  • The enemy launched two simultaneous attacks from Dubovo-Vasylivka towards Hryhorivka and Orikhovo-Vasylivka. They attacked the northern flank of Bakhmut in an attempt to push back the forces of the “Khortytsia” OSG from the heights near Orikhovo-Vasylivka and Berkhivka. They also launched a counterattack near Kurdyumivka. The enemy’s counterattacks by the 4th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade near Andriivka did not achieve their objective.
  • Russian forces have concentrated reserves and artillery on the Bakhmut direction to halt the advance of the “Khortytsia” OSG in this area. To maintain the Kurdyumivka – Zelenopillia area, the enemy may deploy battalions from the 57th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, the 51st Airborne Regiment of the 106th Airborne Division. Additionally, they could bring in the 102nd Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 150th Motorized Rifle Division and the 11th Separate Air Assault Brigade, which constitute the sole reserve of the enemy in this direction. All of the mentioned forces have suffered losses in previous battles.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, Russian forces attempted to regain lost positions in the area of Avdiivka and conducted unsuccessful attacks near Maryinka, Pobieda, and Krasnohorivka. After losing positions in the Opytne area, the enemy reinforced this direction with additional forces and conducted a limited regrouping. In the direction of Vodyane-Pervomaiske, the Russian forces have not achieved anything significant so far due to the complexity of organizing and conducting offensive and assault operations in this challenging terrain.
  • Berdyansk direction (Velyka Novosilka): Russian forces attacked near Mykilske. The enemy took advantage of the break in the fighting to restore their defense, including minefields. 
  • The forces of the “Tavriya” OSG retreated after conducting unsuccessful attacks along the Novodonetske – Novomayorske line.
  • Tokmak direction (Robotyne): The forces of the “Tavriya” OSG advanced to the western outskirts of Verbove and entered the village. They approached the outskirts of Novoprokopivka and improved their positions near the flank of Novofedorivka. They have solidified their new positions, creating a real threat of a breakthrough into the rear of the enemy’s 56th Air Assault Regiment of the 7th Air Assault Division.
  • Units of the 291st Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division of the Russian 58th Army repelled a Ukrainian attack near Robotyne. Units of the 108th Air Assault Regiment of the 7th Air Assault Division are operating on the Robotyne – Verbove line. Units of the 247th Air Assault Regiment of the 7th Air Assault Division, while engaged in combat directly on the first line of the main defense line, were forced to retreat from it in certain areas to some strongholds southwest of the village.
  • Units of the Russian 71st and 201st Motorized Rifle Regiments, although they continue to hold the larger part of Novoprokopivka, no longer control the northern part of the village.
  • On the Kopani – Robotyne direction, the enemy continues their sporadic attempts to counterattack with the forces of the 76th Air Assault Division and the 70th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division. Still, they were forced to retreat in certain areas, even from previously occupied positions.
  • On the Kherson direction, the forces of the “Odesa” OSG continue their offensive actions on the islands in the Dnipro Delta. They maintained a foothold near Oleshky and expanded their positions in the area of Pidstepne, on the southwest part of Kozatskyi Island.
  • Russian forces have intensified their aviation activity and conducted over 20 strikes near Kherson and Beryslav.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov maritime operational zone, there were 7 enemy ships on combat duty, including 2 Kalibr cruise missile carriers, with a total salvo of 12 missiles; in the Azov Sea, there was 1 enemy ship; in the Mediterranean Sea, there was 1 enemy ship.
  • Russian forces launched four guided aviation bombs at Snake Island in order to obstruct the operation of a temporary corridor for civilian merchant ships navigating through the Black Sea.

Change in the enemy’s disposition:

  • The 42nd Motorized Rifle Division of the 58th Army is deployed and holds the defense on the outer southern flank of the Ukrainian breakthrough and is engaged in combat in Novoprokopivka.
  • Units of the 76th Air Assault Division are deployed on the western flank of the Ukrainian advance near Kopani in the direction of Robotyne and are counterattacking there.
  • Units of the 7th Air Assault Division are deployed on the eastern flank of the Ukrainian advance on the Verbove – Novopokrovka line and are counterattacking there. The 56th Air Assault Regiment of the 7th Air Assault Division has concentrated about 5 km north of Verbove near Novofedorivka.  
  • In the Avdiivka area, the enemy has concentrated the 10th Separate Tank Battalion of the 1st Army Corps. The 13th Separate Assault Battalion “Somali” and the 80th Separate Reconnaissance Battalion “Sparta” have been deployed on the Vodyane – Opytne line, where the 1st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 1st Army Corps is engaged. On the Pisky – Spartak line, up to 3 Separate Motorized Rifle Regiments of the enemy’s Territorial Troops and several separate battalions, including units of the “Storm-Z” type, are being deployed. 
  • The 1152nd Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Russian Territorial Troops is deployed on the first line of the main defense line south and southeast of Novoprokopivka.

Escalation indicators:

  • The enemy is concentrating its forces on the Avdiivka 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.
  • In the near future, a series of battles is anticipated for Kurdyumivka and Zelenopillia. The “Khortytsia” OSG forces have made notable progress in advancing towards these locations, both from the west (via the “Siversky Donets – Donbas” canal) and from the north, along the railway, starting from the direction of Andriivka.
  • Shortly, the enemy will attempt to regain the lost position along the direction of Opytne – 9th Quarter (western outskirts of Avdiivka).
  • Units of the enemy’s 110th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, along with a separate assault battalion “Pyatnashka”, with the support of the 87th Rifle Regiment of the mobilization reserve, will try to push back the advanced units of the “Tavriya” OSG from the area west of Pesky and break through to Nevelske.
  • In the defensive sector of the Russian 42nd Motorized Rifle Division, units of the 291st Motorized Rifle Regiment along with the elements of the 76th Air Assault Division’s forces (likely the 234th Air Assault Regiment), will be entering combat. The 71st and 210th Motorized Rifle Regiments are currently struggling to independently contain the Ukrainian Defence forces’ breach between Novoprokopivka and Verbove.
  • The commander of the Russian 56th Air Assault Regiment of the 7th Air Assault Division, is faced with the decision to withdraw in order to evade encirclement in the vicinity of Verbove.
  • The enemy’s desperate counterattacks, leading to the depletion of all available combat reserves, may conceal its preparations for an offensive (on the Kherson direction, the 18th Army and the 40th Army Corps are being deployed). Alternatively, it may be an attempt to buy time for fortifying their main defensive line.
  • The forces of the “Tavriya” OSG may achieve a significant operational breakthrough on the southern front line if they maintain the necessary level of combat readiness and the enemy does not concentrate the necessary reserves on this direction.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 25.09.23 

Personnel – almost 276,270 people (+420);

Tanks – 4,667 (+5);

Armored combat vehicles – 8,927 (+13);

Artillery systems – 6,260 (+27);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 791 (+2);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 533 (+2);

Vehicles and fuel tanks –8,746 (+12);

Aircraft – 315 (0);

Helicopters – 316 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 4,895 (+7);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,518 (0);

Boats/ships – 21 (0).

  • According to information provided by the MOD’s Situation Center, over the past day, Russian forces shelled 10 regions of Ukraine. 131 towns and villages and 87 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. There are killed and wounded Ukrainian civilians. 
  • Russian forces conducted another massive attack on Ukraine on September 24-25 night. Ukrainian air defense destroyed 30 out of 33 aerial targets. During the night, the Russians launched 12 “Kalibr” missiles, 19 “Shahed” drones, and two anti-ship missiles “Oniks” at Odesa Oblast. Ukrainian Air Defense Forces intercepted all “Shahed” drones and 11 “Kalibr” missiles. As reported by the head of the united press center of the Southern Operational Command, Natalia Humenyuk, the attack was highly intense. The missiles followed a very complex trajectory, constantly maneuvered, and approached from different directions, trying to exhaust the Ukrainian air defense system.
  • Due to the shelling of the Odessa Oblast, two employees of the grain warehouse were killed.
  • Consequences of the attack:
    • The maritime terminal in Odessa suffered significant damage. A fire broke out in the building of the pre-terminal hotel, which has not been operational for several years.
    • Grain silos were destroyed by “Oniks” missiles.
    • Debris from intercepted projectiles damaged warehouses of one enterprise and a private house in the suburbs of Odessa.
    • The shockwave shattered windows in several buildings. One civilian woman was injured and received medical assistance.
    • One “Kalibr” missile was intercepted over Mykolaiv Oblast and one over Kirovohrad Oblast.
    • In Kryvyi Rih, a fire broke out at an industrial facility due to falling debris. The fire was extinguished.
  • According to the Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture and Information Policy, nine objects within the UNESCO-protected zone were damaged in Odesa due to the Russian shelling of the city center on the night of September 25.
  • In the evening of September 25, the Russian forces shelled Kherson with artillery. 3 Ukrainian civilians are reported killed and 2 wounded. Residential buildings, commercial establishments, and vehicles were damaged.

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