Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 19.12.2023

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 5 Russian attacks in the areas of Synkivka and east of Petropavlivka. On the Lyman direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 10 enemy attacks near Makiivka and east of Terny, Spirne. On the Bakhmut direction, Ukrainian troops repelled 21 enemy attacks near Bohdanivka, 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 keep holding back the occupying forces that persist in attempts to encircle Avdiivka. Ukrainian troops steadfastly maintain the defense, inflicting losses on the enemy forces. The Ukrainian Defense Forces successfully repelled 11 enemy attacks in the area of Avdiivka, and 13 more attacks near Severne, south of Tonenke, Pervomaiske and Nevelske. On the Maryinka direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces are holding back the enemy in the area of Novomykhailivka where they repelled 13 attacks. On the Shakhtarsk direction, the Russian forces did not engage in offensive (assault) actions. On the Zaporizhzhia direction, the Ukrainian troops repelled 17 Russian attacks west of Novopokrovka and Robotyne. 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 operation on the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk, in the western part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast and advanced southwest of Donetsk.

General conclusion:

  • Ukrainian forces are facing a shortage of 122mm and 152mm projectiles across the entire front line, and the deficit of ammunition for Ukrainian artillery is expected to persist. The adversary is also experiencing similar problems, but they surpass the Ukrainian Defense Forces in the intensity of firepower by 5-7 times.
  • The shortage of artillery and delays in Western security assistance create uncertainty in Ukrainian operational plans and force the Ukrainian Defense Forces to conserve resources, leading to tough decisions regarding the prioritization of specific front-line sectors over areas with low combat intensity.
  • Adverse weather conditions, including dense fog and icy conditions, hinder active combat operations around Avdiivka.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • There were 105 combat engagements on various fronts.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, the “Khortytsia” OSG forces repelled Russian assaults in the area of Synkivka, east of Petropavlivka, near Makiyivka, in the area east of Terny, and near Spirne.
  • Russian forces concentrated the majority of their strikes in Makiyivka, attempting to break through the Ukrainian defense near Synkivka and Serebryansk Forest to the south of Kreminna. However, Ukrainian forces counterattack in these areas. The adversary repelled Ukrainian attacks near Synkivka, Lyman Pershyi, Lyman Lake, Terny, and Zhytlivka. Intense battles unfolded near Terny, close to Ivanivka
  • On the Bakhmut direction, Russian forces have advanced in the direction of Bohdanivka and Ivanivske, seizing new positions on heights to the west of Klishchiivka. The enemy repelled Ukrainian attacks near Bilohorivka, Kurdyumivka, Shumy, and Pivdenne. Units of the 137th Air Assault Regiment of the 106th Air Assault Division repelled Ukrainian attacks near Soledar.
  • The “Khortytsia” OSG forces repelled up to 17 Russian attacks near Bohdanivka, Klishchiivka, and Andriivka.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, Russian forces have advanced to a depth of800 meters north and northwest of Opytne and 400-500 meters deep west of Vodyane, along the southern outskirts of Novomykhailivka, further west of Maryinka in the direction of Kurakhove. They attacked near Avdiivka Coking Plant, Pobieda, and repelled Ukrainian attacks near Maryinka and Novomykhailivka.
  • The “Tavriya” OSG forces repelled at least 31 Russian attacks east of Novobakhmutivka, south of Tonenke, near Stepove, Avdiivka, Severne, Pervomaiske, and Nevelske, and 12 attacks near Novomykhailivka.
  • Tokmak direction: the “Tavriya” OSG forces  repelled Russian attacks near Robotyne, to the west of Verbove, and to the west of Novoprokopivka.
  • Units of the 71st Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division of the 58th Army attacked northeast of Novoprokopivka, and the 108th Air Assault Regiment attacked to the southeast of Novopokrovka. Russian forces unsuccessfully attacked to the west of Robotyne and to the east of Novoprokopivka, continuing their attacks to the north of Verbove, attempting to capture advantageous heights.
  • Kherson direction, The “Odesa” OSG troops are holding positions on the eastern bank of Kherson Oblast, and Russian forces recently made minor advancements in the area of Krynky, where battles are ongoing. The enemy deploys armored vehicles in this area.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov naval operational area, the enemy naval group on combat duty consists of:
    • Black Sea: 2 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 Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation is establishing four new regiments of military transport aviation for operations in the northern, southern, and western strategic directions. The 600th Military Transport Aviation Regiment has already been deployed in Ulan-Ude, the Republic of Buryatia.

Escalation Indicators:

  • Russian forces are amassing cruise and ballistic missiles, including Iskander, S-400, Kh-101, and Kh-555 missiles.

Possible operation situation developments:

  • The Russian Federation plans to seize the entire Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, as well as part of Kharkiv Oblast up to the Oskil River by the end of 2024. Over the next 36 months, Russia intends to capture portions of Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kharkiv Oblasts, including the city of Kharkiv on the left bank of the Dnipro River.
  • 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 enemy’s military command will continue to focus on encircling Avdiivka, improving its operational position in the Bakhmut area, attempting to advance towards Kupyansk in the vicinity of Synkivka, and solving the problem of the “Odesa” OSG strongholds on the left bank of the Dnipro. Defensive operations will be sustained on the other fronts.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the enemy will attempt to encircle Chasiv Yar.
  • In the near future, the enemy will attack the positions of the “Tavriya” OSG in the direction of Pobieda – Kostiantynivka along the Maryinka – Vuhledar road. Their objective is to penetrate the rear and left flank of the Ukrainian units defending in the Novomykhailivka area.
  • The enemy command is forming preliminary conditions for a repeat of the Bakhmut and Avdiivka scenarios in the Vuhledar area, attempting to advance on the flanks of the stronghold of the Ukrainian Defense Forces, with the main direction of the attack planned to be the Maryinka – Kostiantynivka – Vuhledar road.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 19.12.23 

Personnel – almost 348,300 people (+1140);

Tanks – 5,798 (+15);

Armored combat vehicles – 10,771 (+19);

Artillery systems – 8,190 (+15);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 926 (0);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 611 (+1);

Vehicles and fuel tanks – 10,842 (+20);

Aircraft – 324 (0);

Helicopters – 324 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 6,299 (+9);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,611 (+1);

Boats/ships – 23 (0).

Humanitarian +general:

  • According to information provided by the Situation Center of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Russian troops shelled 10 regions of Ukraine over the past day. A total of 113 towns and villages and 11 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. One person was reported injured in Kharkiv Oblast, and one person was killed in Kherson Oblast. The number of casualties is being updated/clarified.
  • On the night of December 19, Russian forces launched two ‘Shahed’ attack drones at Khmelnytskyi Oblast in the west of Ukraine; both enemy drones were successfully shot down by the Ukrainian air defense.
  • Since the beginning of the year, explosive ordnance disposal units of state authorities and non-governmental operators have surveyed and returned over 200,000 hectares of agricultural land to Ukrainian farmers for use, as reported by the Ministry of Economy press service.

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