Центр оборонних стратегій

Russia’s war on Ukraine. 21.01.2024

Operational situation

In the operational zone of the Ukrainian Operational-Strategic Group of Forces (OSG) “Khortytsia” on the Kupyansk direction, Ukrainian Defence Forces repelled 21 enemy attacks in the areas of Synkivka, Petropavlivka, and Stelmakhivka. On the Lyman direction, Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 6 enemy attacks near Terny, Yampolivka and another 7 attacks in the area of Serebryansk Forest and Bilohorivka. On the Bakhmut direction, they repelled 8 enemy attacks near Bohdanivka, Andriivka and Klishchiivka.

In the “Tavriya” OSG operational zone on the Avdiivka direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces keep holding back the enemy that persists in attempts to encircle Avdiivka. During the past day, the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled 11 Russian attacks in the area of Avdiivka, and another 12 attacks south of Severne, Vodyane, Pervomaiske and Nevelske. On the Maryinka direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces continued holding back the enemy in the area of Heorhiivka, Maryinka and Novomykhailivka,  repelling 6 attacks. On the Zaporizhzhia direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces repelled a Russian attack west of Verbove.

In the operational zone of the “Odesa” OSG, on the Kherson direction the Ukrainian Defense Forces persist in expanding their bridgehead. Despite significant losses, the adversary persists in attempts to dislodge Ukrainian units from their positions. During the past day, the enemy carried out 6 unsuccessful attempts to storm Ukrainian positions.

The enemy advanced on the Kupyansk – Svatove – Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, and along the administrative border of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts amid the continuation of positional battles on the front.

General conclusion:

  • The enemy is concentrating its main efforts on breaking through to Kupyansk Vuzlovy railway junction through Synkivka and Petropavlivka. To reach the eastern bank of the Oskil River, the enemy will need to shift reserves from other operational areas, resulting in a suspension of offensive operations there. Capturing Kupyansk will require the enemy “Zapad (West)” operational command to establish a strike group of no lesser magnitude than the one presently engaged in the assault on Avdiivka.
  • The tactical situation for the units of the “Khortytsia” OSG in the area of Pishchane has deteriorated. The retention of the village is possible with the immediate adoption of appropriate tactical decisions and the stable control of Tabaivka and Berestove.
  • The enemy is capable of sustaining a high intensity of combat only in certain sectors of the Kupyansk and Lyman directions, which is explained by the concentration of its reserves on the Avdiivka direction and the transfer of some forces to the “Belgorod” operational grouping.
  • The loss of Vesele on the northern flank of the Bakhmut direction worsens the defensive conditions for Vyimka and, overall, Siversk from the south. The adversary has created a tactical opportunity to attack the city not only from the north-east and east but also from the south.
  • South of Avdiivka, the enemy’s objective is to reach the rear of the “Tavriya” OSG units, which continue to defend at “Zenit” position, hindering enemy’s advance in the direction of Opytne – the 9th district.
  • The enemy is concentrating its efforts on blocking the O0532 road Maryinka-Vuhledar.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • There were 80 combat engagements on various fronts.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, Russian forces captured Krokhmalne, made slight progress to the east of Ivanivka, and to the east of Zolotarivka. Positional battles took place near Synkivka, Petropavlivka, Tabaivka, Berestove, Terny, Yampolivka, Hryhorivka, Serebryansk Forest, Bilohorivka, Verkhnyokamianske, Stelmakhivka, and Novoyehorivka.
  • The epicenter of the fighting is in the area of Synkivka and its northeastern part, where the enemy has penetrated. The enemy advanced by 300 meters in the areas of Kyslivka and Yahidne. In the forest belts near Petropavlivka it advanced by 200 meters.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, Russian forces advanced into a small forest strip to the northwest of Klishchiivka. Battles occurred near Bohdanivka, Ivanivske, Klishchiivka, and Andriivka.
  • On the Avdiivka direction, after some regrouping, the enemy in the southern sector launched an active offensive in the direction of Vynohradnyky – “Tsarska Okhota,” where Russian forces captured the defense area of the “Tavria” OSG near the “Tsarska Okhota” restaurant. They broke through to Chernyshevsky and Sportyvna streets and are advancing north toward Avdiivka along Soborna Street. The enemy has not yet managed to cut the T0505 road, which supplies the “Zenit” position. This position complicates the enemy’s advance into Avdiivka from the south through the 9th quarter.
  • Positional battles continued near Stepove, Novobakhmutivka, Novokalynove, Severne, Tonenke, Vodyane, Pervomaiske, Nevelske, Novomykhailivka, Heorhiivka, and Maryinka.
  • A comprehensive commission headed by Colonel-General V. Goremykin, Deputy Defense Minister and Chief of the Main Military and Political Directorate of the Russian Federation, worked in the units of the 74th and 55th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigades of the 41st Army  to study the “morale and political” condition of the personnel.
  • Berdyansk direction: The enemy advanced southeast of Urozhaine, and positional battles took place south of Zolota Nyva, south of Velyka Novosilka, near Urozhaine, and Staromayorske.
  • Tokmak direction: Positional battles continued near Robotyne and near Verbove. The enemy struggles to fully restore the position along the first line of its main defense line. Units of the Russian 237th Air Assault Regiment of the 76th Air Assault Division made several unsuccessful attempts to push back the forward units of the “Tavriya” OSG west of Verbove. Similarly, the unit of the 70th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division of the enemy 58th Army, supported by separate units of the 104th Air Assault Regiment of the 76th Air Assault Division, operated in the direction of Novoprokopivka – Robotyne without success.
  • Kherson direction, The “Odesa” OSG forces repelled 10 Russian assaults on the left bank. The weather conditions are not conducive to conducting military operations on the left bank.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov naval operational area, the enemy naval group on combat duty consists of:
    • Black Sea: 8 ships, including 1 cruise missile carrier. The total “Kalibr” missile salvo is 8 cruise missiles;
    • Azov Sea: 1 ship;
    • Mediterranean Sea: 1 ship.
  • To monitor the air and surface situation in the western and central parts of the Black Sea, the Russian aviation conducts 8-12 combat sorties per day from the occupied Crimea, Rostov Oblast, and Krasnodar Krai:
    • From Saky airbase, 2 Su-27/Su-30SM and 1-2 Su-24M from the 43rd Separate Maritime Assault Aviation Regiment of the Black Sea Fleet, 2 MiG-29K from the 100th Separate Ship Fighter Aviation Regiment of the 45th army of the Air Force and Air Defense of the Northern Fleet of the Russian Navy.
    • From Kacha airbase, 1 Be-12 from the 318th Separate Mixed Naval Aviation Regiment of the Black Sea Fleet.
    • From Krymsk airbase, 2 Su-27/Su-30SM from the 3rd Mixed Naval Aviation Regiment of the 1st Mixed Naval Aviation Division.
    • From Belbek airbase, 2 Su-27/Su-30SM from the 38th Fighter Aviation Regiment of the 27th Mixed Naval Aviation Division, 2 MiG-31BM from the 98th Mixed Naval Division Regiment of the 45th Army of the Air Force and Air Defense of the Northern Fleet of the Russian Navy.
    • From Maykop airbase, 2 Su-34 with a comprehensive (universal) reconnaissance container for conducting radio-technical and optoelectronic reconnaissance in the southern operational zone east of the Novoazovsk – Yeysk line.

Changes in enemy disposition:

  • The forces of the 1st Tank Army advance on the Kupyansk direction, while the 20th Combined Arms Army advances on the Lyman direction.
  • South of Avdiivka, the combat actions are being carried out by the 1st Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 1st Army Corps, the 55th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 41st Army, and the “Volunteer Reconnaissance-Assault Brigade ‘Veterans'” from the Russian “Volunteer Assault Corps.”
  • Following the loss of the early warning and control aircraft (AEW&C) A-50U, the enemy’s command shifted the air patrol line 250 km to the east. Currently, the AEW&C aircraft are patrolling in the airspace over Rostov Oblast and Krasnodar Krai. Three A-50U aircraft from the airfields in Sochi and Aktobe are involved in the rotation (the 929th V.P. Chkalov State Flight Test Center of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation).
  • From Marinovka airbase, 2 IL-22 radar reconnaissance aircraft are on combat duty in the airspace over the Russian Voronezh and Rostov Oblasts, as well as over the eastern part of the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts.
  • The Republic of Belarus continues to supply and repair weapons and military equipment used by Russian forces in Ukraine. The Belarusian defense industry continues to manufacture new and refurbish outdated ammunition for transfer to the Russian military.

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 near future, the enemy will concentrate its efforts on the Maryinka direction, specifically from the northern flank. It will attempt to break through Pobieda towards Antonivka and Kostiantynivka, constraining the Ukrainian Defense Forces with frontal attacks on Novomykhailivka.
  • The entry of the enemy’s 57th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade into the Vuhledar area signifies the beginning of the operation to cut through the Vuhledar bulge of the Ukrainian Defense Forces.
  • The enemy will continue its attempts to restore positions along the first defense line on the Tokmak direction;
  • The enemy will persist in trying to displace Ukrainian forces from their positions near Krynky in the coming weeks.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 21.01.24 

Personnel – almost 376,030 people (+760);

Tanks – 6,181 (+10);

Armored combat vehicles – 11,466 (+11);

Artillery systems – 8,875 (+7);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 968 (+1);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 655 (+1);

Vehicles and fuel tanks – 11,862 (+14);

Aircraft – 331 (0);

Helicopters – 324 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 6,936 (+2);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,818 (0);

Boats/ships – 24 (0).


  • According to information provided by the Situation Center of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Russian troops shelled 9 regions of Ukraine over the past day. A total of 119 towns and villages and 99 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. Two civilians were reported wounded in Donetsk Oblast due to a night shelling. The number of casualties is being updated/clarified.
  • As of today, Ukraine has a workforce of 3,500 sappers, but this is insufficient for the demining of areas contaminated with explosive devices, emphasized Deputy Minister of Economy Igor Bezkaravainyi. Both governmental and non-governmental operators engaged in demining activities in Ukraine, with the latter numbering around 15. Experts, who have been involved in demining activities worldwide for 40 years, have never before seen the problem on such a scale, Bezkaravainyi said.
  • Since the start of the year, individuals living in temporarily occupied territories have been refused medical treatment in the absence of a Russian passport. Presently, medical care is only accessible to those possessing Russian insurance, which can be obtained solely with a Russian passport. Consequently, most residents are being denied essential medical services. The only exception is emergency aid provided in critical situations. This effectively places residents of the temporarily occupied territories on legal par with “foreigners” in their own country, the National Resistance Center of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense stressed.

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