Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 18.01.2024

In the operational zone of the Ukrainian Operational-Strategic Group of Forces (OSG) “Khortytsia” on the Kupyansk direction, Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 6 enemy attacks near Synkivka. On the Lyman direction, they repelled 13 enemy attacks near Terny, Yampolivka, and another 5 attacks near Makiyivka and Bilohorivka. On the Bakhmut direction, Ukrainian defenders repelled 8 enemy attacks near Hryhorivka, Ivanivske, Klishchiivka, and Andriivka.

In the OSG “Tavriya” operational zone on the Avdiivka direction,  Ukrainian defenders continue to restrain the enemy, who persists in attempting to encircle Avdiivka. During the past day, the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 13 enemy attacks near Novokalynove, Novobakhmutivka, Avdiivka, and another 14 attacks near Severne, Pervomaiske, and Nevelske. On the Maryinka direction, the Defense Forces continued to hold back the enemy near Krasnohorivka, Heorhiivka, Maryinka and Novomykhailivka, repelling 10 attacks. On the Shakhtarsk direction, they repelled an enemy attack north of Novodonetske.

In the operational zone of the “”Odesa”” OSG on Kherson direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces persist in expanding their foothold. Despite encountering setbacks, the adversary persists in attempts to dislodge Ukrainian units from their positions. During the past 24 hours, the adversary attempted 6 unsuccessful assault actions on the positions of the Defense Forces. 

General conclusion:

  • Russian forces lack sufficient reserves to conduct large-scale offensive operations simultaneously on multiple fronts.
  • The command of the enemy’s “Zapad(West)” operational grouping is shifting the focus of primary efforts from the Kupyansk direction to the Lyman direction.
  • Defense forces anticipate the resumption of Russian assaults on the Kupyansk direction in late January or early February, as soon as persistent sub-zero temperatures freeze the ground in that area.
  • Since November 2023, the enemy has not achieved significant operational breakthroughs on the Bakhmut direction.
  • The enemy’s rate of advance near the treatment facilities of the Avdiivka Coke Plant is about 100-200 meters per day.
  • Russian forces have changed the direction of their attacks south of Novomykhailivka, attempting to reach the O0532 highway Maryinka – Kostiantynivka – Vuhledar.
  • Ukrainian UAVs and artillery complicate Russian logistics, and minefields restrict the movement of Russian transport vehicles.
  • The enemy’s command of the ” Yug(South)” Operational Grouping is gradually shifting the focus of main efforts from the Maryinka direction to the Vuhledar direction.
  • The Dnipro River has frozen in many sections, complicating Ukrainian forces’ river crossings and limiting Russian forces’ actions on the islands of the Dnipro.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • There were 78 combat engagements on various fronts.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, positional battles persisted in the areas of Synkivka, Petropavlivka, Ploschanka, Makiyivka, Terny, Yampolivka, Torske, Dibrova, Serebryansk forestry, and Bilohorivka. The enemy advanced by 200 m in the Petropavlivka area and attempts to consolidate in Synkivka.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, positional battles continued near Vesele, Bilohorivka, Spirne, Rozdolivka, Hryhorivka, and Khromove.
  • In the area of Klishchiivka, the enemy continues to advance. To the north of the village, bypassing it, the enemy moved approximately 300 meters, effectively encircling it from the north and northwest. Heavy contact battles are ongoing in the Andriivka area, but the “Khortytsia” OSG units maintain their positions. West of Khromove, the enemy resumed active assault actions. Battles for Bohdanivka are ongoing; units of the “Khortytsia” OSG maintained control over most of the village and halted the enemy’s advance in the Ivanivske area.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, positional battles persisted near Novokalynove, Novobakhmutivka, Stepove, Avdiivka coking plant, Kamyanka, Severne, Pervomaiske, Nevelske, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, Heorhiivka, and Novomykhailivka. 
  • Russian forces advanced northwest and west of Maryinka and south of Novomykhailivka. They made significant progress from Solodke over a front stretch of 2 km and a depth of 500 m towards the Vuhledar-Maryinka highway; attempts to advance towards the quarry and Avdiivka coking plant were unsuccessful. South of Novomykhailivka, the enemy has been unable to reclaim previously lost positions.
  • On the Berdyansk direction, positional battles took place south of Vuhledar, north of Novodonetske, west of Staromlynivka, and near Urozhaine.
  • On the Tokmak direction, Russian forces advanced by 500 m and regained previously lost positions west of Verbove. Positional battles occurred near Pyatykhatky, Kopani, Verbove, and Novoprokopivka. Intense battles continue to the south, west, and east of Robotyne, advancing by 100 m between Verbove and Novoprokopivka.
  • Units of the 429th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 19th Motorized Rifle Division and the 136th Motorized Rifle Division of the 58th Army continue to operate on the Robotyne-Kopani line.
  • On the Kherson direction, Russian forces recently concentrated their artillery support in the near-front areas, delivering effective strikes on the rear areas of Kirovohrad, Kharkiv, and Dnipropetrovsk oblasts.
  • The “Odesa” OSG forces maintain positions on the eastern bank of the Kherson Oblast. Positional battles persisted near Krynky.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov naval operational area, the enemy naval group on combat duty consists of:
    • Black Sea: 4 ships, including 2 cruise missile carriers. The total “Kalibr” missile salvo is 16 cruise missiles;
    • Azov Sea: 1 ship;
    • Mediterranean Sea: 1 ship. 
  • The Russian-flagged bulk carrier Lady Maria, owned by PSB Leasing (a division of Promsvyazbank) and operated by the sanctioned MG Fleet, has crossed the Bosporus from the Middle East (Iran?) to Novorossiysk. The ship is carrying cargo for the Russian government. The route from the Bosphorus to Novorossiysk was not laid directly, but along Turkish territorial waters due to fears of Ukrainian maritime drones.

Change in enemy disposition: 

  • Units of the 7th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 2nd Army Corps of the 8th Combined Arms Army are engaged in combat near Bilohorivka.
  • In the area of Velyka Novosilka, combat operations are conducted by units of the 34th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 49th Army. Units of the 394th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 127th Motorized Rifle Division of the 5th Army are deployed in combat near Staromayorske.
  • Units of the 205th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 49th Army and the 2nd Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment of the 104th Air Assault Division are operating near the Dnipro Islands and near Kozachi Laheri.

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 March 2024. Over the next 36 months, Russia intends to capture parts of Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kharkiv Oblasts.
  • In the coming weeks, Russian forces may intensify efforts to capture Kupyansk.
  • The Russian 26th Tank Regiment and the 15th Motorized Rifle Regiment are preparing to launch attacks on the positions of the “Khortytsia” OSG in the directions of Yahidne–Ivanivka and Yahidne–Kyslivka soon. The 27th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade is preparing to bypass Stelmakhivka from the north, launching an attack through Novoselivske.
  • Units of the 114th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 1st Army Corps and the 15th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 2nd Army Corps are likely to attempt an advance between Stepove and the Avdiivka Coking Plant to ultimately cut off the O0542 Avdiivka – Orlivka highway.
  • The enemy will not cease its attempts to restore positions along the first defense line on the Zaporizhzhia direction. It will continue to exert pressure on the flanks of the Ukrainian insertion in the directions of Kopani–Robotyne and south of the T0803 road towards Novodanylivka.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 18.01.24  

Personnel – almost 373,600 people (+780); 

Tanks – 6,147 (+21); 

Armored combat vehicles – 11,410 (+38); 

Artillery systems – 8,835 (+24);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 966 (+2);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 653 (0);

Vehicles and fuel tanks – 11,794 (+39);

Aircraft – 331 (0);

Helicopters – 324 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 6,925 (+41);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,818 (+1);

Boats/ships – 24 (0).


  • 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 141 towns and villages and 60 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. The number of casualties is being updated/clarified.
  • On January 17, the enemy attacked the Nikopol district of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast using artillery and 12 kamikaze drones. One of the drones struck a civilian car in the Marhanets community, injuring a 19-year-old young man and a 13-year-old boy.
  • On the night of January 18, Russian forces attacked Ukraine with 33 “Shahed-136/131” combat UAVs, with 22 enemy targets successfully destroyed by the Ukrainian air defense. Several more drones failed to reach their targets.
  • On the morning of January 18, Russian forces targeted a multi-story building in Kupyansk in Kharkiv Oblast. One woman was killed, and two men were injured in the attack.
  • Following the missile strikes on Kharkiv on January 16, 12 individuals are still in the hospital, with three of them in critical condition. The critically injured include two women, aged 39 and 43, who sustained severe injuries and are in the neurosurgical department. Additionally, a 77-year-old woman is in the toxicology department due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • In the so-called “LPR,” other temporarily occupied territories, and the Russian regions bordering Ukraine, educational institutions are appointing directors’ advisors for educational activities. These advisors will be tasked with disseminating Kremlin propaganda among children and adolescents, as reported by the Luhansk Regional State Administration.

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