Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 09.12.2023

Operational situation

In the operational zone of the Ukrainian Operational-Strategic Group of Forces (OSG) “Khortytsia,” on the Kupyansk direction, Ukrainian defenders repelled 11 enemy attacks in the areas of Synkivka, northeast of Petropavlivka, and Ivanivka. On the Lyman direction, the Defense Forces repelled an enemy attack in the Spirne area. On the Bakhmut direction, Ukrainian troops repelled 13 enemy attacks in the areas of Bohdanivka, Ivanivske, Klishchiivka, and Andriivka. The Ukrainian Defense Forces continue assault operations south of Bakhmut, inflicting losses on the enemy in personnel and equipment, and consolidating their positions on the achieved lines.

In the “Tavriya” OSG operational zone on the Avdiivka direction, Ukrainian defenders continue to hold back the enemy, which persists in attempts to encircle Avdiivka. Ukrainian forces steadfastly maintain the defense, inflicting losses on the enemy forces. The Ukrainian Defense Forces successfully repelled 35 enemy attacks in areas east of Novobakhmutivka, Stepove, Avdiivka, Tonenke, and Pervomaiske. On the Maryinka direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to restrain the enemy in the areas of Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, Pobeda, and Novomykhailivka, repelling 24 enemy attacks. On the Shakhtarsk and Zaporizhzhia directions, the Defense Forces repelled all attacks of the enemy, which attempted to restore lost positions in areas west of Verbove. On the Melitopol direction, the Defense Forces continue active operations, inflicting losses on the Russian forces in personnel and equipment and exhausting the enemy along the entire front line.

In the operational zone of the “Odesa” OSG on the Kherson direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to hold their positions on the left bank of the Dnipro, conduct counter-battery warfare, and inflict damage on the enemy’s rear areas.

Russian forces continued offensive actions along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut and Avdiivka, west of Donetsk, on the administrative border between Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts, in the western part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast. They advanced in the Avdiivka area and in the west of Zaporizhzhia Oblast.  

General conclusion:

  • The imminent objectives for the adversary likely include the seizure of Kupyansk and Avdiivka, tasks that must be accomplished prior to the upcoming Russian Federation elections.
  • The adversary’s command is increasing the intensity of hostilities on the Lyman direction.
  • The December 8 strike marked the first Russian cruise missile attack on Kyiv from a strategic bomber Tu-95MS since September 20, 2023, a span of 79 days.
  • Poor weather conditions are impeding both Russian and Ukrainian forces, preventing significant progress and the effective use of large reconnaissance UAVs in the western part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • There were 95 combat engagements on various fronts. 
  • On the Kupyansk direction, the forces of the “Khortytsia” OSG repelled Russian attacks in the areas of Synkivka, Ivanivka, and Spirne. 
  • Russian forces are launching attacks in the vicinity of Vesele. Over the last two days, advanced units of the 283rd Motorized Rifle Regiment, part of the 144th Motorized Rifle Division within the 20th Army, have undertaken multiple attempts using assault groups consisting of 8-10 personnel each to attack the front lines of the “Khortytsia” OSG east of Terny and southeast of Yampolivka, all of which were unsuccessful. Units of the 228th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 90th Tank Division unsuccessfully attacked between Dibrova and Kuzmine; the 7th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 2nd Army Corps unsuccessfully attacked Bilohorivka from the southeast.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the forces of the “Khortytsia” OSG continued to attack south of Bakhmut, repelling enemy attacks near Bohdanivka, Ivanivske, Klishchiivka, and Andriivka. 
  • Russian forces advanced to the eastern outskirts of Bohdanivka, south of Berkhiv reservoir, and Khromove, on the height north of Klishchiivka, and towards Ivanivske.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, Russian forces have advanced to the purification facilities south of Krasnohorivka, in the direction of Novokalynove, towards the outskirts of the Avdiivka coke chemical plant, and in the industrial zone. They are consolidating positions in Stepove and conducting clearance operations in the village.
  • The “Tavriya” OSG forces repelled enemy attacks east of Novobakhmutivka, south of Tonenke, near Stepove, Avdiivka, Pervomaiske, Ocheretyne, Novokalynove, Severne, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, Pobieda, and Novomykhailivka. Positional battles continue in the Vodyane and Tonenke directions.
  • On the Berdiansk direction, Russian forces attacked near Staromayorske, Urozhaine, and Zolota Nyva.
  • On the Tokmak direction, Russian forces repelled Ukrainian attacks near Robotyne, west of Verbove, west of Novofedorivka, near Nesteryanka, and Uspenivka.
  • On the Kherson direction, the recently engaged Russian 328th Airborne Assault Regiment of the 104th Airborne Assault Division persists in its efforts southwest of Krynky to dislodge the advance units of the “Odesa” OSG from this village, pushing them into the Dnipro River floodplain. The adversary seeks to advance through the southwestern part of the village (near the Ostap Vyshnya museum) and reach the areas of recreation bases “Nakhodka” and “Iskra.” Over the past two days, units of the 328th Airborne Assault Regiment made at least three determined attempts to break through in the mentioned directions, but all their efforts were thwarted.
  • On the Kardashynka – Oleshky sector, the command of the Russian “Dniepr” Grouping reinforces the first position of its defense line, anticipating the possibility of active actions by the advanced units of the “Odesa” OSG north of Kardashynskyi estuary in the direction of Solontsi.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov Sea operational maritime zone, the enemy has a naval grouping on combat duty consisting of:
    • Black Sea: 1 ship;
    • Azov Sea: 1 ship;
    • Mediterranean Sea: 4 ships, including 2 Kalibr cruise missile carriers, with 16 Kalibr cruise missiles total salvo capability.

Change in enemy disposition: 

  • In the base area of the Russian 144th Motorized Rifle Division, the final stages of formation and training are underway for several assault units (up to 2-3 “Storm” companies) from the composition of the 488th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the division. These units are intended for subsequent deployment in the Zhytlivka – Terny direction. The anticipated readiness date is December 12, 2023.
  • The adversary has deployed the reconstituted and reinforced 299th Airborne Regiment of the 98th Airborne Division into the reserve of its “Yug (South)” grouping on the Bakhmut direction. The regiment is at full personnel strength, adequately equipped with artillery based on standard-table requirements, and possesses 50-55% of the necessary armored personnel carriers.
  • Near Klishchiivka, units of the 346th Separate SOF Brigade, the 4th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 2nd Army Corps, and the Chechen detachment “Akhmat” are operating.
  • In the western part of Oleshky and southwest of the town, units of the 24th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 70th Motorized Rifle Division have taken up defensive positions in a reinforcing capacity. The adversary is actively arranging mine-explosive obstacles in the Solontsi – Kardashynskyi Estuary and along the Chayka strait.
  • The 404th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Russian Territorial Troops and the battalion of the 127th Separate Special Purpose Brigade continue to improve their defensive sectors in the areas of Kardashynka and Pidlisne.

Escalation indicators: 

  • The adversary’s command is escalating the frequency of aerial reconnaissance ahead of commencing the target program for executing massive strikes with long-range precision weaponry on targets within the operational and tactical rear of the Defense Forces in the southern and eastern regions of the country. Over the past day, the count of reconnaissance aircraft flights has risen from 1-2 to 7.

Possible operation situation developments: 

  • The enemy’s military command will continue to focus on encircling Avdiivka, improving its operational position in the Bakhmut area, and attempting to advance towards Kupyansk in the vicinity of Synkivka. Defensive operations will be sustained on the other fronts.
  • Russian forces are unlikely to completely regain the initiative in the forthcoming months, and the probability of them executing a large-scale offensive, capable of disrupting the Defense Forces’ resource allocation for counteroffensive operations, remains improbable.
  • In the imminent period, the adversary’s command plans to engage the 299th Airborne Regiment of the 98th Airborne Division, either to reinforce their efforts in the Berkhivka – Khromove sector or to advance from the Krasnopolivka – Yakovlivka line towards Rozdolivka or Vesele.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 09.12.23  

Personnel – almost 338,120 people (+900); 

Tanks – 5,632 (+6); 

Armored combat vehicles – 10,519 (+11); 

Artillery systems – 8,058 (+1);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 919 (0);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 605 (0);

Vehicles and fuel tanks – 10,598 (+7);

Aircraft – 324 (0);

Helicopters – 324 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 6,136 (0);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,585 (+14);

Boats/ships – 23 (0).


  • According to information provided by the Situation Center of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Russian troops shelled 9 regions of Ukraine over the past day. A total of 89 towns and villages and 51 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. The number of casualties is being updated/clarified.
  • Two women were killed, and a man was injured in Kupyansk due to the Russian shelling. A woman and a man were injured due to the Russian shelling of Kherson on Saturday.
  • Currently, in Ukraine, 3,440 cases of war crimes against children are under investigation, as reported by Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin during the first meeting of the International Coalition for the Return of Ukrainian Children.
  • Ukraine has successfully repatriated 387 out of nearly 20 thousand children abducted by Russia, the First Lady, Olena Zelenska, said. She emphasized that each repatriation is not just a statistic but a unique special operation, often involving international collaboration.
  • Starting from January 1, Russian occupation authorities will establish a specialized police unit tasked with verifying whether individuals possess a Russian passport, the legally elected [Ukrainian] mayor of the occupied Melitopol Ivan Fedorov said. 
  • The Russian occupation authorities have formed another youth organization in the occupied territories named “Stepnoy Orel” (the Steppe Eagle), to inculcate Ukrainian youth. A whole array of similar organizations, such as “Yunarmiya” (the Youth Army) or “Yug Molodoy” (the Young South), already operate in the occupied territory of Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

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