Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 13.12.2023

Operational situation

In the operational zone of the Ukrainian Operational-Strategic Group of Forces (OSG) “Khortytsia,” on the Kupyansk direction, Ukrainian defenders repelled 8 enemy attacks in the areas of Synkivka, Petropavlivka, and Ivanivka. On the Lyman direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 2 enemy attacks in the Makiyivka area. On the Bakhmut direction, the Defense Forces units repelled 4 enemy attacks in the areas of Bohdanivka, Ivanivske, Klishchiivka, and Andriivka.

In the “Tavriya” OSG operational zone on the Avdiivka direction, Ukrainian troops repelled 37 enemy attacks in the areas east of Novokalynove, east of Novobakhmutivka, Stepove, Avdiivka, south of Severne, south of Tonenke, Pervomaiske, and Nevelske, where the enemy unsuccessfully attempted to breach the defense of Ukrainian forces. On the Maryinka direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces continued to hold back the enemy in the Novomykhailivka area, where the adversary carried out 10 unsuccessful attacks on Ukrainian positions. On the Shakhtarsk direction, the enemy did not conduct offensive (assault) actions. On the Zaporizhzhia direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 4 enemy attacks in the areas north of Pryiutne and west of Verbove.

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 River and inflict fire on the enemy.

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

General conclusion:

  • The resources deployed by the Russian Armed Forces for the offensive in Ukraine and the incurred losses by their invading force grouping do not align with the attained outcomes.
  • Russia’s current offensive operations do not have a direct operational military objective but solely pursue internal Russian political goals.
  • Russian ground forces have lost over a quarter of their military equipment reserves prior to the invasion, reducing the complexity and scale of Russian offensive operations in Ukraine (U.S. intelligence assessment).
  • Fundamentally, Synkivka retains crucial significance for securing access to the proximate approaches to Kupyansk from the north, and the adversary has failed to achieve even tactical success in this direction.
  • South of Siversk, the enemy has temporarily eliminated the threat posed by the  “Khortytsia” OSG forces’ advance towards Soledar from the north.
  • Russian forces have suffered losses exceeding 13,000 personnel and lost 220 combat vehicles in the Avdiivka – Novopavlivka direction since the beginning of the offensive operations in October 2023.
  • The  command of the adversary’s “Dniepr” operational group continues relentless attacks in the Krynky area, continuously deploying units and formations of the 104th Air Assault Division with the aim of eliminating the Ukrainian foothold.
  • The adversary launched a powerful cyberattack on the infrastructure of Ukraine’s leading telecommunications operator, “Kyivstar,” causing technical disruptions, partial destruction of the company’s IT infrastructure, disrupting the operation of ATMs of “Privatbank” and “Oschadbank,” affecting street lighting in Lviv, aviation alert systems in Sumy, Kyiv, and Ivano-Frankivsk Oblasts, city hotlines in Rivne and Dnipro. However, the attack did not compromise the databases of subscribers’ personal data.
  • Cyber units of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine (GUR) carried out a cyberattack on the central servers of the Russian Federal Tax Service (FNS) and 2,300 of its regional units across the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea. Two cyberattacks were executed, destroying configuration files that allowed the Russian tax system databases to function. Despite continuous efforts, Russian authorities have been unable to restore the operation of FNS online services for four days. The consequences of the attack will continue to paralyze FNS at least until January 2024, and the system may not be fully resuscitated.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • There were 79 combat engagements on various fronts.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, despite some advancement by enemy units of the 25th and the 138th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigades from Lyman Pershyi and Vilshana towards Petropavlivka, the enemy still fails to take Synkivka. The attempts of the 2nd Motorized Rifle Division and the 47th Tank Division to break through to the Pishchanivka and Stepova Novoselivka areas from the side of Pershotravneve and through Ivanivka and Kyslivka, faced formidable resistance from the units of the “Khortytsia” OSG, which successfully counterattack the enemy forces. After regrouping to the Kuzemivka area, the Russian 27th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade attacked in the direction of Berestove but failed to achieve its objectives.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the enemy’s command continues to intensify its efforts towards Chasiv Yar, attempting with the forces of the 331st and 217th Airborne Regiments of the 98th Airborne Division, the 200th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 14th Army Corps, and the 4th, 88th, and 85th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigades of the 2nd Army Corps to break through between Bohdanivka and Khromove. They actively attack the battalion defense area of the “Khortytsia” OSG northwest of Klishchiivka. The enemy has managed to reach the northeastern outskirts of Bohdanivka, take control of Khromove, and wedge themselves north of Klishchiivka.
  • In the Siversk area, the Russian 123rd Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade and the 137th Airborne Regiment of the 106th Airborne Division managed to completely eliminate the incursion of the “Khortytsia” OSG’s forces north of Yakovlivka and advance towards Bilohorivka (lower) – height 190.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, the enemy continues its attempts to break through into Avdiivka, attacking with units of the 114th and 15th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigades in the area of Avdiivka coke chemical plant (AKHZ), towards the city water pumping station, and the Fire and Rescue Unit No.13 from the side of the AKHZ dumps. To the north, between AKHZ and Stepove, the enemy has penetrated two forest belts at a depth of 200-350 meters and is trying to establish a foothold there.
  • On the Berdyansk direction, the forces of the “Tavria” OSG attacked near Novoselivka. 
  • The enemy unsuccessfully attacked north of Pryiutne and attempted to advance near Staromayorske and Urozhaine but achieved no significant results.
  • Tokmak direction: Enemy units, including the 71st Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division northeast of Novoprokopivka and the 136th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade south of Robotyne, have made several attempts to break into the village but only advanced on two sections by 800 meters. An attempt by units of the 56th Air Assault Regiment of the 7th Air Assault Division to displace the advanced units of the “Tavria” OSG northwest of Verbove also ended without results.
  • Kherson direction: Intense combat engagements continue in the area of Krynky village. The enemy is making significant efforts, regardless of incurred losses, to push the advanced units of the “Odesa” OSG into the Dnipro floodplain. The enemy has maintained a continues aggressive offensive for over four days, deploying the forces of the 104th Air Assault Division. Units form its 328th and 337th Air Assault Regiments are attacking the positions of the Defense Forces both from the southwest (from the side of Kozachi Laheri along the riverside road) and through the forested area south of the village. The stability of the defense is ensured by minefields with a high density of mines, which stops the enemy on the far approaches to the defense [line].
  • In the Black Sea-Azov Sea operational area, the enemy naval grouping on combat duty consisted of:
    • Black Sea: 2 ships;
    • Azov Sea: 1 ship;
    • Mediterranean Sea: 4 ships, including 2 Kalibr cruise missile carriers with a total salvo of 16 Kalibr missiles.

Change in enemy disposition: not detected

Possible operation situation developments: 

  • Russian forces will be unable to completely seize the initiative in the coming months and launch a large-scale offensive that would prevent the Ukrainian Defense Forces from allocating resources to their offensive operations.
  • 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.
  • The Russian military command anticipates that the winter military impasse will deplete Western support for Ukraine, providing the Russian forces with an advantage despite considerable losses in the Russian Armed Forces and their persistent shortages of personnel, ammunition, and equipment.
  • Russian forces are attempting to seize the initiative on the theater of military operations in Ukraine, at least since mid-November 2023. To achieve this, they initiated offensive operations on several sections of the front during the most challenging weather conditions of the autumn-winter season.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 13.12.23  

Personnel – almost 341,500 people (+850); 

Tanks – 5,682 (+18); 

Armored combat vehicles – 10,594 (+15); 

Artillery systems – 8,076 (+3);

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

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 605 (0);

Vehicles and fuel tanks – 10,662 (+12);

Aircraft – 324 (0);

Helicopters – 324 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 6,173 (+10);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,596 (+0);

Boats/ships – 23 (0).

Humanitarian +general:

  • According to information provided by the Situation Center of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Russian troops shelled 11 regions of Ukraine over the past day. A total of 109 towns and villages and 35 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. One person was reported killed and ten people were reported injured in different regions of Ukraine. The number of casualties is being updated/clarified.
  • On the night of December 13, the Russian forces launched 10 “Shahed” UAVs and 10 ballistic missiles at Ukraine. All enemy targets were effectively destroyed by the Ukrainian air defense.
  • In Kyiv, approximately a dozen cases of falling rocket debris have been recorded, resulting in damage to multistory residential buildings in two city districts and setting on fire a private residence home and the 7th floor of a multistory building. Overall, 53 people were injured as a result of the Russian nighttime attack, with 20 individuals, including two children, requiring hospitalization. Medical assistance was provided on-site to 33 of the affected individuals, including 6 children.
  • The majority of drones, 9 out of 10, launched from the Bakhchysarai area in the occupied Crimea were successfully intercepted and shot down over Odesa Oblast. However, as a result of the falling debris, 2 people were injured, a municipal auto repair facility was set on fire and a hangar was destroyed. 11 civilian cars were damaged, with 3 of them completely burned. One UAV was shot down over Khmelnytskyi Oblast.
  • In [Russia-occupied] Luhansk, Russian occupation authorities have begun installing facial recognition surveillance cameras. Similar systems are deployed in major cities in Russia, enabling the FSB to maintain total control over the population. The system allows identification of individuals and most likely will be used for identifying deserters and exerting control over the population.
  • On the morning of December 13, hearings began at the European Court of Human Rights in a case where Ukraine accuses Russia of systemic human rights violations in the occupied Crimea. This intergovernmental case is based on applications filed in March 2014, August 2015, and August 2018.

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