Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 21.10.2023

Operational situation

In the operational zone of the Ukrainian Operational-Strategic Group of Forces (OSG) “Khortytsia” on the Kupyansk direction, Ukrainian forces repelled over 20 enemy attacks in the areas of Synkivka and Ivanivka, and about 5 attacks near Nadiya. On the Lyman direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces prevented the loss of their positions in the Nevelske area. On the Bakhmut direction, Ukrainian defenders repelled all enemy attacks in the areas of Bohdanivka and Khromove. The enemy unsuccessfully attempted to regain lost ground in the Klishchiivka area. The 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 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 Pervomaiske areas were unsuccessful. On the Maryinka direction, the enemy conducted unsuccessful assault operations with air support in the areas of Maryinka and Novomykhailivka. Ukrainian defenders repelled about 20 enemy attacks. On the Shakhtarsk direction, Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled enemy attacks in the areas of Zolota Nyva, Staromayorske, and Rivnopol. On the Zaporizhzhia direction, the enemy conducted unsuccessful assault operations near Poltavka and unsuccessfully attempted to regain lost ground in the Robotyne 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, near Bakhmut, around Avdiivka, west of Donetsk, along the administrative border of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts, in the western part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast. They made slight progress in some sectors. 

General conclusion: 

  • In Orlyanske, there is a crucial intersection of roads from north to south towards Yahidne and from east to west towards Petropavlivka and a commanding 200-meter elevation, affording control over a substantial portion of the surrounding terrain, including Mykolaivka, Nova Tarasivka, and Yahidne. Exploiting these tactical vantages, the “Khortytsia” OSG forces are capable to impede the enemy’s offensive actions along the entire Kupyansk direction.
  • The efficacy of Russian counter-battery fire near Avdiivka is hampered by deficient communication and an inability to stockpile ammunition prior to assaults, thereby augmenting the adversary’s materiel losses in this sector.
  • Russian forces on the Berdyansk direction lack reserves for offensive operations, as they are currently engaged in ongoing offensives in other sectors of the front.
  • The adversary’s command objectives entail impeding the progress of the “Odesa” OSG forward units eastward of the Upper Konka estuary and the Konka River, directed towards Pischanka and along the railway towards Poyma.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • There have been 100 combat engagements on various fronts.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, the enemy units of the 138th and 25th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigades of the 6th Army were still unable to displace the advanced units of the “Khortytsia” OSG from Synkivka, attacking them from the direction of Lyman Pershyi and Vilshana.
  • The “Khortytsia” OSG executed an unexpected attack against the adversary’s 15th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 2nd Motorized Rifle Division. They gained a 2-kilometer advancement towards Orlyanske, simultaneously maintained control over the Ivanivka – Kyslivka line.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the enemy command is focalizing its primary efforts in the Kurdyumivka – Zelenopillia sector and to the east of Klishchiivka, engaging in holding combat actions to gain time for strengthening the defensive line along the T0513 road in the Opytne – Zaitseve – Odradivka – Mykolaivka Druha area.
  • A few days ago, east of Klishchiivka, units from the 83rd Separate Air Assault Brigade, along with the 1428th and 1307th Motorized Rifle Regiments of the Territorial Troops, initiated a series of unsuccessful counterattacks north of the ponds. Their objective was to dislodge the forward units of the “Khortytsia” OSG from the railway.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, the enemy made another attempt with units from the 114th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade to advance in three directions – towards Stepove, towards Novokalynove, and towards the “Terikon” position, acting from the areas of Krasnohorivka and Vesele, but was halted at the railway line.
  • Berdiansk Direction: Russian forces repelled Ukrainian attacks near Urozhaine and Staromayorske, achieved some success near Pryiutne, but unsuccessfully attacked near Novodonetske and southwest of Staromayorske.
  • The “Tavriya” OSG forces repelled Russian attacks near Zolota Nyva, Staromayorske, Rivnopil, and Poltavka.
  • Tokmak Direction: In the vicinity of commanding heights west of Verbove, the enemy launched another counterattack employing the forces of the 210th Motorized Rifle Regiment and the 1152nd Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Territorial Troops against the advanced units of the “Tavriya” OSG. They achieved partial success, gaining an advance of 200 meters to the north. North of Verbove, units from the enemy’s 247th Air Assault Regiment, belonging to the 7th Air Assault Division, were compelled to retreat towards Novofedorivka, falling back by several hundred meters once again. In the Novopokrovka sector, the adversary’s 108th Air Assault Regiment persisted in their endeavors to breach towards Mala Tokmachka. However, to the southwest of the village, units of the “Tavriya” OSG are circumventing the settlement from the south, pressing towards Novofedorivka along the T0803 road, effectively encircling the units of the 108th Air Assault Regiment.
  • Intermittent attacks and assaults persist from both sides north of Kopani. The enemy’s 291st and 71st Motorized Rifle Regiments are operational in this sector and are under orders to obstruct the “Tavriya” OSG units from advancing to the northern periphery of Kopani.
  • The forces of the “Tavriya” OSG managed to push back the enemy from the western outskirts of Robotyne. The adversary persistently launched attacks on this area in an effort to alleviate their situation in the direction towards Novoprokopivka.
  • On the Kherson direction, north of Radensk village, a battalion from the 24th Motorized Rifle Regiment (part of the 70th Motorized Rifle Division within the 18th Army) began to deploy in fortified positions on both sides of the railway and the E-97 road. East of Pidstepne, a platoon from the composition of the 7th Military Base conducted maneuvers. In the Lake Vchorashnie area, the 127th Separate Reconnaissance Brigade of the 22nd Army Corps of the 18th Army is concentrated.
  • For several consecutive days, the enemy has been carrying out massive artillery strikes on the Ukrainian foothold and is attempting to deploy front-line and army aviation.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov Sea operational area, there was 1 enemy ship, a carrier of cruise missiles, on combat duty; 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.

Changes in enemy disposition: 

  • Russian forces are in the process of assembling a new 18th Combined Arms Army (CAA) primarily from existing units presently deployed in the Kherson Oblast, rather than introducing entirely new formations. The 18th CAA is poorly trained and faces a shortage of personnel, weapons, and combat equipment.
  • Units of the 26th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 70th Motorized Rifle Division of the 18th CAA are defending near Krynky, Kherson Oblast.
  • The 177th Separate Marine Regiment of the Russian Caspian Fleet is operating near the Antonivskyi railway bridge, where they were redeployed after battles on the Zaporizhzhia direction, where the regiment suffered significant losses.

Escalation indicators: 

  • On October 19, the Russian President visited the headquarters of the Southern Military District in Rostov-on-Don, Rostov Oblast, and familiarized himself with the progress of the operation in the South-Western Theater of Military Operations. This visit partially explains the surge in Russian activity in the Avdiivka area.

Possible operation situation developments:

  • The primary objective of the adversary south of Bakhmut is to maintain control over Kurdyumivka and Zelenopillia for as long as possible, utilizing the forces of the 51st Airborne Regiment from the 106th Airborne Division, alongside the 57th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade. Their aim is to impede the advance of the forward units of the “Khortytsia” OSG towards the area encompassing the ponds east of Klishchiivka, situated beyond the Bakhmut – Horlivka railway line and the areas immediately north of it, which are defended by the enemy 83rd Separate Air Assault Brigade and the 4th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 2nd Army Corps.
  • In the short-term perspective, the enemy’s command on the Avdiivka direction will shift its main efforts from the area south of Avdiivka to the area north of the city (indicated by the presence of the 21st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade) and deploy some additional forces and resources to that location.
  • The adversary’s “Vostok” Group of Forces will endeavor, if not to capture Vuhledar outright, at the very least to breach its western perimeter. This is due to the fact that the “Tavriya” OSG bridgehead presents a potential threat to the enemy’s forthcoming operations in the directions of Volnovakha and Mariupol.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 21.10.23 

Personnel – almost 292,850 people (+790);

Tanks – 5,063 (+16);

Armored combat vehicles – 9,612 (+55);

Artillery systems – 7,017 (+5);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 822 (0);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 548 (0);

Vehicles and fuel tanks –9,391 (+21);

Aircraft – 320 (0);

Helicopters – 324 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 5,330 (+4);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,535 (0);

Boats/ships – 21 (0).

Humanitarian +general

  • According to information provided by the MOD’s Situation Center, over the past day, Russian forces shelled 8 regions of Ukraine. 93 towns and villages and 39 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. There are killed and wounded Ukrainian civilians. The number of casualties is being updated/clarified.
  • During the night, the Russian army shelled the Molodizhne town in Kherson Oblast. A school was damaged. Kryvyi Rih was attacked with missiles and UAVs. There is destruction in an industrial infrastructure facility. The enemy launched a missile strike on the Voznesenskyi District of Mykolaiv Oblast. No casualties were reported.
  • After the midnight, the enemy released 24 guided aerial bombs over Kherson Oblast. Four villages in the Beryslav District came under fire. Additionally, in Beryslav, an explosive was dropped from a drone. There are impacts on the administrative building.
  • In the past week, the engineering and sapper teams of the Support Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have neutralized 3,530 explosive objects. Experts from the Support Forces inspected and cleared over 260 hectares of agricultural land and other territories from explosive objects. Due to the ongoing war, more than a third of Ukraine’s territory is contaminated with mines and explosive objects. Since the beginning of the large-scale armed aggression by the Russian Federation, demining units of the Support Forces have cleared over 11,285 thousand hectares of agricultural land, neutralizing 135,792 explosive objects.

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