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Russia’s war on Ukraine. 27.09.2023

Operational situation

In the operational zone of the Ukrainian Operational-Strategic Group of Forces (OSG) “Khortytsia,” on the Kupyansk, Lyman, and Bakhmut directions, the enemy did not conduct offensive (assault) actions.

In the “Tavriya” OSG operational zone on the Avdiivka direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled enemy attacks in the Severne area. On the Maryinka direction, the enemy conducted unsuccessful offensive actions in the Maryinka area, making 13 unsuccessful attempts to displace Ukrainian units from their positions over the past day. On the Shakhtarsk direction, Ukrainian defenders continue to hold the defense on achieved lines. On the Zaporizhzhia direction, Ukrainian forces repelled an enemy attack south of Novodarivka.

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

Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Avdiivka-Donetsk line, in the western part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast and advanced in some areas.

During the September 25-26 night, Russian forces launched airstrikes using UAVs “Shahed-131/136” on Ukrainian port and military facilities, including the ferry crossing over the Dniester River at Orlivka-Isakcha (Romania). It is worth noting that Russian UAVs operated in Romanian airspace. At the Kulbakino airfield in Mykolaiv Oblast, a MiG-29 fighter of the Defense Forces was destroyed.

General conclusion: 

  • The tactical situation in Verbove remains unclear.
  • The heightened level of activity in counterattacks by the diminished units of the Russian 42nd Motorized Rifle Division within the 58th Combined Arms Army suggests that the Ukrainian “Tavriya” OSG may have severely weakened the combat effectiveness of the Russian Airborne Forces units engaged in counteroffensives in this region.
  • The conflict between personnel of the Russian 70th and 71st Motorized Rifle Regiments in Tokmak indicates interethnic tensions among the ranks of the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division. This could potentially weaken the enemy’s defense in this sector.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • On various fronts, there were 26 combat engagements.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, Russian forces are consolidating their positions near Kyslivka. They conducted local tactical actions near Dvorichna, Petropavlivka, Synkivka, Novoyehorivka, Bilohorivka, and repelled Ukrainian attacks near Kuzmyne, Dibrova, and in the area of Serebryansk Forest.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the “Khortytsia” OSG forces achieved success near Ivanivske, Klishchiivka, Odradivka, and Zaitseve. Russian forces withdrew from their positions along the stretch of railway northeast of Klishchiivka and repelled five Russian counterattacks near Klishchiivka. 
  • The 200th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 14th Army Corps, part of the Russian Northern Fleet, on the left flank of the Russian grouping in the Bakhmut area, sustained substantial losses. The “Khortytsia” OSG forces successfully engaged and incapacitated the 31st and 83rd Separate Air Assault Brigades of the enemy during the liberation of Andriivka and Klishchiivka.
  • Russian forces launched a counterattack near Andriivka and advanced in the Orikhovo-Vasylivka area. The “Storm-Z” units advanced toward Andriivka, but the Russian airborne units failed to reach their designated positions.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, the enemy repelled Ukrainian assaults near Krasnohorivka and Pervomaiske. Units of the 20th Motorized Rifle Division of the 8th Army repelled a Ukrainian assault near Maryinka. The “Storm-Z” units attempted to capture several Ukrainian strongholds near Opytne but suffered significant losses.
  • The “Tavriya” OSG forces repelled Russian attacks near Avdiivka, southeast of Severne, and near Maryinka.
  • Berdyansk Direction (Velyka Novosilka): The forces of the “Tavriya” OSG launched an attack near Staromayorske, close to Pryiutne, and in the direction of Zavitne Bazhannia.
  • Tokmak Direction (Robotyne): The “Tavriya” OSG forces reached the northern outskirts of Novoprokopivka, advanced to the northwest of Verbove, and control at least half of the village.
  • Units of the Russian 42nd Motorized Rifle Division of the 58th Army launched a counterattack and pushed Ukrainian forces back from certain positions near Robotyne. Russian forces continued to mine and fortify positions in the depth of their defense.
  • Over the past week, units from the 70th and 71st Motorized Rifle Regiments of the Russian 42nd Motorized Rifle Division have been intensifying their local counterattacks near Novoprokopivka. They, along with the 291st Motorized Rifle Regiment, initiated a counteroffensive near Orihove before withdrawing to positions between Verbove and Solodka Balka.
  • Kherson Direction: The forces of the “Odesa” OSG delivered a strike with HIMARS MLRS and damaged the command post of the 24th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 70th Motorized Rifle Division of the 18th Army in Radenske. The forces of the “Odesa” OSG continue to operate on the islands in the delta of the Dnipro River and attempt to expand their zone of control in this area.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov Sea operational zone, there were 4 enemy ships on combat duty; in the Azov Sea – 1 enemy ship; in the Mediterranean Sea – 1 enemy ship.

Change in the enemy’s disposition:

  • In Tokmak, units of the 70th and 71st Motorized Rifle Regiments of the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division have been observed, suggesting the dispersion of this division across the operational zone of the 58th Army.
  • During the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation meeting on September 26, it was announced that new airborne assault detachments would be created, and there would be an increase in the reconnaissance, strike, and firepower capabilities of existing Airborne Forces’ units. The formation of the 104th Airborne Division and the third regiment within the 106th Airborne Division have been completed. By the end of 2023, it is planned to establish a tank regiment, an artillery brigade, a brigade for material-technical support, and a repair and restoration battalion in all divisions of the Russian Airborne Forces.

Escalation indicators:

  • Russia has commenced the planning for the construction of a railway connecting [occupied] Melitopol and Berdyansk to the Rostov region (Russian Federation) through the occupied Crimea and the Krasnodar Krai (Russian Federation). This initiative is intended to alleviate the traffic on the Kerch Bridge.

Possible operation situation developments: 

  • 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.
  • 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 advance units of the “Tavriya” OSG from the area west of Pesky and break through to Nevelske.
  • 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 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 required reserves on this direction.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 27.09.23 

Personnel – almost 276,990 people (+320);

Tanks – 4,675 (+3);

Armored combat vehicles – 8,950 (+4);

Artillery systems – 6,337 (+38);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 792 (0);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 534 (+1);

Vehicles and fuel tanks –8,792 (+29);

Aircraft – 315 (0);

Helicopters – 316 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 4,948 (+24);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,529 (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. 147 towns and villages and 99 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons.  There are killed and wounded Ukrainian civilians. On September 26, Russian occupiers launched 130 strikes on Zaporizhzhia Oblast. A 66-year-old man lost his life, and another individual sustained injuries.
  • Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Russia has abducted 132 Ukrainian officials. Among them, 14 are still in captivity, and four have been killed, reported by Boris Petrunyak, a researcher and documenter at the ZMINA Human Rights Center. The majority of these abductions (71%) occurred in Kherson Oblast, with an additional 30 cases in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. 50% of those detained held positions as heads of hromadas or mayors of cities, while approximately 22% were local deputies.
  • Ukraine has initiated an information campaign within the territory of Russia, as part of the “Bring Kids Back UA” action plan approved by President Volodymyr Zelensky. The campaign, titled “You Know – Speak Up!”, encourages residents in Russia to oppose the involuntary deportation of Ukrainian children and to help in their repatriation. Its primary objective is to provide comprehensive awareness and clarification to Russian residents about the unlawful nature of forced child displacement. Additionally, the campaign creates channels for individuals in Russia, who possess information about deported children, to share it with Ukraine.
  • As of today, 534 violations of cultural heritage committed by Russian occupiers have been documented in Ukraine. Among them, 200 violations were recorded in Crimea, and 334 occurred in the temporarily occupied territories of Kherson, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Donetsk Oblasts, according to Elmira Ablyalimova-Chiygoz, the project manager of the Crimean Institute of Strategic Studies. Among the main violations are “appropriation of cultural heritage sites, their repurposing for military objectives, relocation of cultural valuables from occupied territories, looting of museums, illegal archaeological work, modification and reconstruction of monuments, and decontextualization of historical objects.” The scale of cultural losses caused by Russia’s full-scale military aggression in Ukraine can be compared to a humanitarian catastrophe, the consequences of which will be felt more acutely with each passing year and decade. That is why, at this stage, she emphasized the most important task is the systematic documentation of these violations.

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