Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 20.10.2023

Operational situation

In the operational zone of the Ukrainian Operational-Strategic Group of Forces (OSG) “Khortytsia” on the Kupyansk direction, the Ukrainian Defence Forces repelled over 30 enemy attacks in the areas of Synkivka and Ivanivka and 12 attacks near Nadiya. On the Lyman direction, the Defense Forces prevented the loss of their positions in the Makiyivka area. On the Bakhmut direction, the enemy unsuccessfully attempted to regain lost ground in the Klishchiivka area. In turn, the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue offensive operations south of Bakhmut, inflicting losses on the enemy in personnel and equipment and consolidating on their achieved positions.

In the “Tavriya” OSG operational zone on the Avdiivka direction, the enemy resumed offensive actions and is persistently attempting to encircle Avdiivka. The Ukrainian Defense Forces are holding their ground resolutely, inflicting significant losses on the enemy. The enemy’s offensive actions in the Novokalynove, Stepove, and Severne areas were unsuccessful. On the Maryinka direction, the enemy conducted unsuccessful assault operations with air support in the Maryinka area. The Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 16 enemy attacks. On the Shakhtarsk direction, Ukrainian defenders repelled enemy attacks in the areas of Zolota Nyva and Staromayorske. On the Zaporizhzhia direction, Ukrainian defenders prevented any losses of positions in the Verbove area.

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, on the Bakhmut direction, near Avdiivka, along the administrative border of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts, in the western part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast. They made progress south of Avdiivka. 

General conclusion: 

  • The Russian armed forces grouping has shifted towards more active offensive actions in the Berdyansk direction.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, the enemy has shifted the main thrust slightly from the direction of Pershotravneve – Petropavlivka to a more southerly direction – towards Stepove, Novoselivka – Kyrylivka.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • There have been 90 combat engagements on various fronts.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, the enemy’s 26th Tank Regiment of the 47th Tank Division and the 15th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 2nd Motorized Rifle Division advanced up to 400 meters north of Ivanivka, where they achieved tactical success. They continued to move west of Svatove towards the Oskil River, making indeterminate progress near Makiyivka, and conducted unsuccessful attacks near Synkivka, Ivanivka, Kyslivka, Nadiya, and Makiyivka. Battles are ongoing in the areas of Lyman Pershyi and Petropavlivka.
  • The “Khortytsia” OSG forces have established robust fortifications on the Kupyansk and Lyman directions, making it unlikely for Russian forces to break through despite sustained attacks. The Ukrainian Defense Forces launched unsuccessful offensives near Synkivka, Ivanivka, Novoyehorivka, Makiivka, and Dibrova.
  • The Russian military command transferred 45 mobilized soldiers from the 12th Tank Regiment (of the 4th Tank Division, 1st Tank Army, Western Military District) to the “Storm-Z” unit, after they have been captured for refusing to engage in combat on the Kupyansk direction,
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the “Khortytsia” OSG forces repelled a counterattack of the enemy’s 83rd Separate Air Assault Brigade. The OSG achieved success in the Klishchiivka, Andriivka, and Kurdyumivka areas, advanced to the defensive line near Opytne, and progressed beyond the railway line in various areas south of Bakhmut. Battles are also ongoing near Orikhovo-Vasylivka.
  • Russian forces made unsuccessful attempts to regain lost positions near Andriivka. The enemy is attempting to prepare a company-sized strongpoint in the intersection of road T0513 and the adjacent road towards Zaitseve.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, enemy units made limited advances north of Spartak and seized several strongpoints north of Avdiivka and some sector in  Vodyane. Russian forces advanced several hundred meters in the Vodyane – Tonenke area, northeast of Novomykhailivka. They took control of the road junction near the Donetsk beltway with the forces of the 1st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 1st Army Corps and the 1487th Motorized Rifle Regiment of Territorial Troops. Units from the 5th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (the 1st Army Corps) and the 103rd Motorized Rifle Regiment  (the 150th Motorized Rifle Division, the 8th Army) unsuccessfully attacked near Maryinka.
  • The “Tavriya” OSG forces repelled Russian attacks near Avdiivka, Novokalynove, Stepove, Severne, Pervomaiske, Maryinka, and Novomykhailivka, and conducted counterattacks near Krasnohorivka.
  • Berdiansk Direction: Russian forces repelled two small Ukrainian attacks in the wooded area near Pryiutne. Units from the 40th Separate Marine Brigade of the Russian Pacific Fleet attempted to cross the road T0509 Velyka Novosilka – Vuhledar towards Novoukrayinka from positions in Shevchenkove.
  • The “Tavriya” OSG forces have secured the Staromykhailivka – Urozhaine line but are under intense Russian aerial and artillery strikes. The Defense Forces repelled Russian attacks near Zolota Nyva and Novomayorske.
  • Tokmak Direction: The “Tavriya” OSG forces achieved success south of Robotyne and southwest of Verbove, advancing up to 400 meters. They launched an attack near Novoprokopivka and maintained pressure [on the enemy] along the entire Robotyne – Verbove line. The situation northwest of Robotyne on the Zherebyanka – Pyatykhatky line remains almost unchanged, although the “Tavriya” OSG units are attempting to advance towards Mali Shcherbaky.
  • Russian forces are operating approximately 4 kilometers east of Novoprokopivka, where they conducted a successful counterattack. The enemy also attacked in the direction of Novodanylivka and near Verbove, deploying tactical reserves in this area.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov Sea operational area, there were 5 enemy ships on combat duty, including 1 cruise missile carrier; in the Azov Sea, there was 1 enemy ship; in the Mediterranean Sea, there were 3 enemy ships, including 1 cruise missile carrier, with a total salvo of 8 cruise missiles.

Possible operation situation developments:

  • In the near future, the adversary will attempt to regain lost ground on the Bakhmut direction by deploying the 57th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade and the 51st Airborne Regiment. They intend to launch counterattacks from two fronts – from the quarry towards Andriivka and from Zelenopillia along the railway towards Andriivka. Units from the 68th Tank Regiment, which retain a relatively satisfactory level of combat readiness, will also be involved in these counterattacks.
  • In the near future, the adversary’s command on the Avdiivka direction is expected to redirect its primary efforts from the southern outskirts of Avdiivka towards the northern sector of the city, as evidenced by the deployment of the 21st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, along with the relocation of additional forces and assets.
  • The adversary’s “Vostok” Group of Forces will attempt, if not to capture Vuhledar, at least to break through the west of it, as the bulge poses a potential threat to future operations in the directions of Volnovakha and Mariupol.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 20.10.23 

Personnel – almost 292,060 people (+1,380);

Tanks – 5,047 (+55);

Armored combat vehicles – 9,557 (+120);

Artillery systems – 7,012 (+29);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 822 (+4);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 548 (0);

Vehicles and fuel tanks –9,370 (+33);

Aircraft – 320 (0);

Helicopters – 324 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 5,326 (+8);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,535 (+1);

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. 137 towns and villages and 116 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. There are killed and wounded Ukrainian civilians. The number of casualties is being updated/clarified.
  • On the morning of October 20, Russian occupiers fired four guided aviation bombs (GABs) at Beryslav, Kherson Oblast, resulting in the death of a woman. Additionally, Russian forces targeted Novoberyslav with two more GABs. The extent of the damage is currently being clarified.
  • On the evening of October 20, the enemy targeted a dacha cooperative in Kryvyi Rih with a missile, resulting in the death of a 60-year-old man and injuries to 57-year-old woman, currently in critical condition at the hospital. The attack caused a fire, which firefighters have brought under control.
  • The Independent International UN Commission investigating violations in Ukraine has documented the displacement of 31 children from Ukraine to Russia in May 2022. It has concluded that this displacement constituted an unlawful deportation, which amounts to a war crime. This pertains to the displacement by the Russian authorities on May 27, 2022, of 16 boys and 15 girls aged 7 to 17 from the Children’s Social Center of Donetsk to the Russian Federation. The acting director of the center, appointed by the Russian occupying authorities, consented to the temporary relocation [of children] to the Russian Federation until June 27, 2022. According to the report, one boy from this group of children was placed in the family of Maria Lvova-Belova, the authorized representative for children’s rights to the President of the Russian Federation. On September 21, 2022 she publicly stated that the boy was issued a Russian passport and that he is now “ours,” demonstrating an obvious intention to keep him in the Russian Federation on a long-term basis. Additionally, in a bulletin issued by her office in 2023, Lvova-Belova also stated that six children from this group were placed in family centers, with almost all in foster families, and 22 were placed under temporary guardianship of residents of the Moscow region.
  • The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources of Ukraine has recorded over 2,500 environmental crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine during the full-scale invasion. Last year, the total damage inflicted by Russia to Ukraine’s environment since February 24, 2022, amounted to approximately 26 billion euros. According to the Minister’s statement, as of October 20, 2023, the total damage has already reached 55 billion euros. Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are the first in the world to investigate crimes against the environment as war crimes, as stated by Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin during a press conference held within the framework of the “United for Justice. United for Nature” conference.
  • In Kharkiv Oblast, restoring electricity supply for 1,500 subscribers is impossible due to Russian shelling.
  • In the temporarily occupied territories of Kherson Oblast, the Russian occupation authorities are not conducting systematic work to prepare the residential sector for the heating season, stated Yuriy Sobolevsky, the First Deputy Chairman of the Kherson Regional Council. He suggested that this may be partly because the occupiers do not anticipate it to be their problem, as they understand they may leave these territories earlier. He emphasized that the situation regarding winter preparations in the temporarily occupied territories is causing great concern, as there is a lot of work to be done especially in communities that were affected by the Russian act of terror at the Kakhovska Hydroelectric Power Station.

Centre for Defence Strategies (CDS) is a Ukrainian security think tank. We operate since 2020.

We publish this brief daily. If you would like to subscribe, please send us an email at cds.dailybrief@gmail.com

The CDC Daily Brief is produced with the support of the Kyiv School of Economics https://kse.ua/

Please note, that we subscribe only verified persons and can decline or cancel the subscription at our own discretion

We are an independent, non-government, non-partisan, and non-profit organization. More at www.defence.org.ua

Our Twitter (in English) – https://twitter.com/defence_centre

Our Facebook (in Ukrainian) – https://www.facebook.com/cds.UA

Our brief is for information only and we verify our information to the best possible extent