Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 22.12.2023

Operational situation

In the operational zone of the Ukrainian Operational-Strategic Group of Forces (OSG) “Khortytsia” on the Kupyansk direction, Ukrainian defenders repelled 19 enemy attacks in the areas of Synkivka and Stelmakhivka, where the enemy attempted to breach the defense of Ukrainian forces. On the Lyman direction, Ukrainian forces thwarted 4 enemy attacks near Terny. On the Bakhmut direction, they repelled 7 enemy attacks near Bohdanivka, Klishchiivka, and Andriivka.

In the “Tavriya” OSG operational zone on the Avdiivka direction, Ukrainian defenders continue to hold back the enemy, which persists in attempting to encircle Avdiivka. Ukrainian troops steadfastly maintain the defense, inflicting losses on the enemy forces. The Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 22 enemy attacks east of Novokalynove, Novobakhmutivka, and Avdiivka, and 13 attacks near Pervomaiske. On the Maryinka direction, the Defense Forces continue restraining the aggressors in the Maryinka and Novomykhailivka areas, repelling 15 enemy attacks. On the Shakhtarsk direction, the enemy did not engage in offensive (assault) actions. On the Zaporizhzhia direction, the Defense Forces repelled 7 enemy attacks west of Verbove and south of Robotyne. On the Melitopol direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue active operations, inflicting losses on the occupying forces in personnel and equipment, exhausting the enemy along the entire front line.

In the operational zone of the “Odesa” OSG on the Kherson direction,  the Ukrainian Defense Forces persist in expanding their bridgehead. Despite encountering setbacks, the adversary launched 12 assault attempts to dislodge Ukrainian units from their positions. The Russian forces encountered a robust resistance, resulting in a withdrawal with incurred losses. Ukrainian defenders conduct counter-battery warfare, delivering fire strikes on the enemy’s rear targets.

Russian forces have advanced near Kreminna, Bakhmut, and Avdiivka and sustained positional combat operations along the entire contact line.

General conclusion:

  • The adversary is attempting to complete the encirclement of the Defense Forces in the Avdiivka area. However, they are challenged to sustain the required combat intensity simultaneously on several sectors of the operational direction, particularly on those crucial for the advancement.
  • The redeployment of forces and assets from the Bakhmut to the Avdiivka direction indicates the higher priority accorded to the latter by the adversary’s “South” Operational Grouping Command.
  • The adversary’s “South” Operational Grouping Command is striving to maintain spatial scope of the offensive under Avdiivka.
  • Enemy attacks near Hryhorivka, Khromove, and Ivanivske indicate the enemy’s attempt to break through to Chasiv Yar, but operational conditions for its encirclement have not been created.
  • The 39th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade and the 103rd Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Russian 150th Motorized Rifle Division are attempting to launch attacks along the Maryinka-Kostiantynivka-Vuhledar road with the aim of reaching the rear and left flank of Ukrainian units defending in the Novomykhailivka area.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • There were 95 combat engagements on various fronts.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, both sides continued positional combat actions northeast of Kupyansk, near Terny, Dibrova, and Bilohorivka. Battles persisted near Synkivka, Petropavlivka, Ivanivka, and Stelmakhivka. Russian forces achieved limited success east of Yampolivka.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, Russian forces advanced in the vicinity of Spirne, along the railway east of Klishchiivka and displaced Ukrainian forces from several positions near Bohdanivka and west of Klishchiivka.
  • Combat engagements took place near Andriivka, Klishchiivka, Khromove, Ivanivske, Bohdanivka and northwest of Horlivka.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, Russian forces advanced northwest of Krasnohorivka, progressed in the area of Stepove up to 200 meters towards Novokalynove, to the south of Novomykhailivka, and launched attacks near Severne, Pervomaiske, Vodyane, and Nevelske. They also attacked near Avdiivka coking chemical plant (AKHZ), near Maryinka, Novomykhailivka, and Pobeda.
  • The “Tavria” OSG forces withdrew from positions at AKHZ.
  • Tokmak direction: Russian forces advanced west and south of Robotyne and succeeded on the Novoprokopivka-Verbove line. Positional battles took place south of Robotyne, west of Verbove, near Novofedorivka and Novoprokopivka.
  • Kherson direction: Positional battles continued near and in Krynky, where the enemy broke through to the center of the village, only to be surrounded and destroyed. The “Odesa” OSG forces repelled 30 attempts by the enemy to displace Ukrainian forces from positions on the eastern bank.
  • 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, with a total salvo of 16 “Kalibr” cruise missiles.

Change in enemy disposition: 

  • The 57th Separate Motorized Rife Brigade is scheduled to move from the Bakhmut direction (the brigade is currently engaged in combat operations north of Kurdyumivka) to the Avdiivka direction in the vicinity Maryinka. The enemy military command has deployed units  of the sabotage and assault brigade “Veterans” from the “Volunteer Assault Corps” to engage in combat in the Avdiivka industrial zone. On the Avdiivka direction, the enemy command has at least 3 Motorized Rifle Regiments and 7 battalions of mobile reserve, and up to 3 BARS detachments in reserve.
  • On the left bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast, units of the Russian 47th Motorized Rifle Division of the 18th Army, along with the 328th and 337th Air Assault Regiments of the 104th Air Assault Division are conducting combat operations. The PMC “Konvoy” units have also been observed in this area.

Possible operation situation developments: 

  • The Russian Federation plans to seize the entire Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts and part of Kharkiv Oblast up to the Oskil River by the end of 2024. Over the next 36 months, Russia intends to capture parts of Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kharkiv Oblasts, including the city of Kharkiv on the left bank of the Dnipro River.
  • Russian forces are seeking to take control of the strategic initiative in the theater of military operations in Ukraine, a goal pursued at least since mid-November 2023. To accomplish this objective, they have launched offensive operations on multiple sectors of the front amid the adverse weather conditions characteristic of the autumn-winter season.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the enemy will attempt to encircle Chasiv Yar.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, an increase in the duration of operational pauses between enemy attacks is to be expected. This can be attributed to a shortage of combat-ready reserves and a gradual transition from a comprehensive advance across the entire front to sequential actions on various fronts.
  • 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 22.12.23  

Personnel – almost 351,350 people (+1,080); 

Tanks – 5,837 (+9); 

Armored combat vehicles – 10,843 (+18); 

Artillery systems – 8,250 (+24);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 932 (0);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 611 (0);

Vehicles and fuel tanks – 10,944 (+25);

Aircraft – 324 (0);

Helicopters – 324 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 6,365 (+23);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,613 (0);

Boats/ships – 23 (0).


  • According to information provided by the Situation Center of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Russian troops shelled 14 regions of Ukraine over the past day. A total of 136 towns and villages and 103 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. Two people were reported killed and two injured in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, 3 people died and 9 were injured in Donetsk Oblast, 1 person died and 2 people were injured in Kherson Oblast. The number of casualties is being updated/clarified.
  • Russian forces launched an attack on Ukraine during the night of December 22, employing 28 UAVs. Four of them could not be intercepted. The attack resulted in a strike on an infrastructure object in the Mykolaiv region.
  • Another UAV attack on port infrastructure was thwarted in Odesa Oblast. However, debris from the downed UAV damaged a grain storage facility, resulting in a fire promptly extinguished by the company’s personnel.Bottom of Form
  • After a Russian UAV assault on Kyiv, the structural walls between the 24th, 25th, and 26th floors of a residential high-rise building in the Solomyanskyi district sustained partial damage. Concurrently, a fire ignited in one of the apartments but was promptly extinguished. Two individuals sustained injuries. In the Darnytskyi district, debris from a drone caused a fire in a two-story family home. No casualties were reported.
  • Dmytro Lubinets, Ukraine’s Human Rights Commissioner, has confirmed the repatriation of a 12-year-old boy from Russia. The child had initially visited his father in the Luhansk region for a short stay before the Russian invasion. Unfortunately, he found himself under occupation for approximately 22 months, including an additional four months within Russian territory. The boy’s mother, a member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, encountered difficulties in retrieving her son due to her military service.
  • Ivan Fedorov, the duly elected Ukrainian mayor of Melitopol, reported that Russian occupation authorities have deployed a significant number of propaganda operatives to the city. These individuals manufacture misleading “news” designed for consumption in mainland Russia, distorting the reality of life in the occupied city. The propaganda falsely asserts plans for maintenance on various facilities that were already in good condition before the occupation. Furthermore, a so-called “journalist union” has been established, devoid of Ukrainian journalists, and publishes papers using pre-war names but adorned with Russian war symbols V and Z.
  • In one of the communities on the temporarily occupied territory of Kherson Oblast, [Russian] invaders killed a child in front of his family, reported Alexander Prokudin, the head of the Kherson Oblast Military Administration. This occurred on December 20 when the boy reportedly walked around taking pictures. He was apprehended, brought home, and subsequently shot.

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