Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 15.12.2023

Operational situation

In the operational zone of the Ukrainian Operational-Strategic Group of Forces (OSG) “Khortytsia” on the Kupyansk direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 15 Russian attacks in the area of Synkivka. On the Lyman direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled one enemy attack east of Terny. On the Bakhmut direction, Ukrainian troops repelled 11 enemy attacks near Ivanivske, Klishchiivka, and Andriivka. The Ukrainian Defense Forces continue inflicting losses on the enemy in personnel and equipment, and consolidating on the achieved positions.

In the “Tavriya” OSG operational zone on the Avdiivka direction, the Ukrainian defense forces continue to hold back the enemy, which persists in attempts to encircle Avdiivka. Ukrainian troops steadfastly maintain the defense, inflicting losses on the enemy forces. The Ukrainian Defense Forces successfully repelled 23 enemy attacks east of Novobakhmutivka, Stepove, Avdiivka, and 22 more attacks south of Severne, Pervomaiske and Nevelske. On the Maryinka direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces held back the enemy in the area of Novomykhailivka, repelling 17 attacks. On the Shakhtarsk direction, the enemy did not engage in offensive (assault) actions. On the Zaporizhzhia direction, the Ukrainian troops repelled 9 Russian attacks north of Pryiutne and west and southwest of Verbove. On the Melitopol direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue active operations, inflicting losses to the Russian forces in personnel and equipment and wearing down 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 River and to conduct counter-battery warfare and inflict damage on the enemy’s rear areas.

Russian forces continued offensive actions on the Kupyansk – Svatove – Kreminna line, north and in the area of Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west of Donetsk, on the administrative border of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts, in the western part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast and advanced in different sections of the front.

General conclusion:

  • The adversary command is planning to cross the Oskil River and seize a bridgehead on the right bank near Kamyanka under the cover of the TOS-1A “Solntsepyok” heavy flamethrower systems, and is actively taking preparatory measures. However, these enemy actions on the left flank of the Ukrainian forces defending the Kupyansk sector do not have particular operational significance.
  • On the Lyman sector, the adversary command is evidently not rushing to advance towards the “Khortytsia” OSG bridgehead located on the left bank of the Chornyi Zherebets River.
  • The adversary command maintains the continuity of the offensive on the Bakhmut sector by sequentially activating its advanced units in different sectors of the offensive within one operational direction.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • There were 110 combat engagements on various fronts.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, the command of the “Zapad” Russian troop grouping is actively preparing to cross the Oskil River in the direction of Topoli-Kamyanka with the units of the 344th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the territorial troops within the sector of the advance of the 138th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 6th Combined Arms Army, alongside the 30th Engineer Regiment, and the 45th Separate Engineer-Sapper Battalion.
  • Several assault groups from the 25th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade, in coordination with the 15th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 2nd Motorized Rifle Division of the 1st Tank Army, attempted to bypass Synkivka from the east. However, all attempts failed. North of Synkivka, the 25th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade with the support of the left-flank units of the 138th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade managed to displace the “Khortytsia” OSG advanced units from one position, but the attack stalled at this point.
  • Units of the Russian 488th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 144th Motorized Rifle Division continued their persistent attacks towards Height 170.4 – Terny but failed to achieve a significant change in the tactical situation.
  • In the Serebryansk Forest south of Kuzmyne, the 228th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the enemy 90th Tank Division conducted at least 5 attacks with the aim of breaking through towards the ruins of the “Dom Okhotnika” recreation base but failed.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, in the direction of Ivanivske, units of the 1307th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Russian territorial troops, the 6th Motorized Rifle Division of the 3rd Army Corps succeeded in displacing the “Khortytsia” OSG advanced units from four detachment positions. Units of the 4th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the Russian 2nd Army Corps managed to push the “Khortytsia” OSG units from two detachment positions to the northwest of Klishchiivka. The attacks by the 72nd Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 3rd Army Corps south of Andriivka ended unsuccessfully for the enemy.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, Russian forces advanced to the south of the railway line running northwest of Stepove, reaching the eastern outskirts of Novomykhailivka. They have almost completed the capture of Maryinka, continue powerful assaults near Stepove, and progress along the railway track in the Stepove area. Russian forces are attempting to evacuate the bodies of their fallen soldiers in this area and are consolidating their positions on the southeast outskirts of Avdiivka.
  • The “Tavriya” OSG forces have repelled Russian attacks near Avdiivka itself, to the east of Novobakhmutivka, to the south of Severne, near Pervomaiske, Nevelske, and are holding back Russian forces near Krasnohorivka and Novomykhailivka.
  • Berdyansk direction, the “Tavriya” OSG forces repelled 9 Russian attacks near Pryiutne.
  • Tokmak direction: enemy units have advanced to the west and south of Robotyne, covering a width of up to 2.5 km and penetrating up to 1 km in depth. They displaced Ukrainian forces from a tactically important position and advanced up to 700 meters near Verbove. Russian forces are attempting to regain the lost positions between Novoprokopivka and Verbove with the 58th Combined Arms Army and the 76th Air Assault Division.
  • Kherson direction, The “Odesa” OSG troops continued assault operations on the eastern bank of Kherson Oblast near Krynky.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov naval operational area, the enemy naval group on combat duty consists of:
    • Black Sea: 3 ships;
    • Azov Sea: 1 ship;
    • Mediterranean Sea: 4 ships, including 2 cruise missile carriers. The total “Kalibr” missile salvo is 16 cruise missiles.

Change in enemy disposition:

  • The 2nd Army Corps of the 8th Army has been reinforced with mobilization reserves: the 4th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade has incorporated the 14th and 16th Rifle Battalions of Territorial Troops, the 123rd Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade has integrated the 11th and 13th Rifle Battalions of Territorial Troops, and the 127th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade has included the 12th Rifle Battalion of Territorial Troops.
  • As of now, 19 formations at the brigade level, 21 at the regimental level, 15 separate battalions, and 18 consolidated tactical detachments are involved in active combat operations on the Bakhmut sector. The total strength of the grouping is approximately 77,000 personnel.

Escalation Indicators:

  • The intensity of combat engagements has significantly increased over the past three days and is being sustained at a level exceeding 100 engagements per day.

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 believes that the military impasse during the winter will deplete Western support for Ukraine and give the Russian forces an advantage despite significant losses in the Russian Armed Forces and 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.
  • The village of Pobeda will become the next direction in the development of the Russian offensive on the Maryinka front.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 15.12.23 

Personnel – almost 343,890 people (+1090);

Tanks – 5,706 (+14);

Armored combat vehicles – 10,654 (+38);

Artillery systems – 8,099 (+11);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 920 (0);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 605 (0);

Vehicles and fuel tanks – 10,699 (+24);

Aircraft – 324 (0);

Helicopters – 324 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 6,226 (+20);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,608 (+2);

Boats/ships – 23 (0).


  • According to information provided by the Situation Center of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Russian troops shelled 13 regions of Ukraine over the past day. A total of 107 towns and villages and 30 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. One person was reported killed and two injured in Kherson Oblast. The number of casualties is being updated/clarified.
  • On Friday night, Russian forces launched 14 kamikaze drones at Ukraine from Primorsko-Akhtarsk in the Krasnodar Krai, Russian Federation. Ukrainian air defense forces successfully destroyed all of them.
  • According to the Ukrainian Ombudsman, Russian forces killed 512 and injured 1,158 children in Ukraine since the start of the full scale invasion.
  • The Office of the Prosecutor General recorded instances of sexual violence involving 12 girls and 1 boy, aged 4 to 17 years old. It was established that 75 Ukrainian children suffered from torture inflicted by Russian military forces.
  • In Crimea, Russian military personnel who participated in the full-scale invasion of Ukraine are being trained to teach at educational institutions for children. Currently, they are undergoing education at the Crimea Republican Institute of Postgraduate Pedagogical Education controlled by the Russian Federation, Krym Realii reports.

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