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Tactical situation worsens for Russians south of Bakhmut – ISW

Saturday, 16 September 2023, 03:30
Tactical situation worsens for Russians south of Bakhmut – ISW
Ukrainian soldiers during a combat mission. Photo: the General Staff of the Armed Forces

The Ukrainian military liberated Andriivka and continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and in the west of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, as the tactical situation in the south of Bakhmut worsens for the Russian troops.

Source: Institute for the Study of War (ISW), referring to the Russian soldiers

Details: The Ukrainian General Staff and other Ukrainian officials reported that Ukrainian forces liberated Andriivka on 14 September and achieved partial success near Klishchiivka.

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On 15 September, the Ukrainian 3rd Separate Assault Brigade reported that its personnel liberated Andriivka and "completely destroyed" the Russian 72nd Separate Motorised Rifle Brigade (3rd Army Corps) after surrounding them.

The General Staff of Ukraine reported that Ukrainian troops continue offensive operations in the west of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast and cause significant losses to Russian manpower and equipment near Verbove.

According to the ISW, units of the 72nd Brigade previously suffered significant losses during localised Ukrainian counterattacks in the Bakhmut area in May 2023 and were probably completely degraded. The Ukrainian 3rd Assault Brigade stated that the liberation of Andriivka opens up opportunities for a breakthrough on the southern flank of Bakhmut and that fighting continues in the area.

The Russian military acknowledged that the tactical situation south of Bakhmut is deteriorating for them and expressed concern that Ukrainian forces could threaten the Russian group in Bakhmut.

To quote ISW's Takeaways for 16 September:

  • Ukrainian forces liberated Andriivka in the Bakhmut area on 14 September and continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast on 15 September.
  • Russian State Duma Deputy and former Deputy Commander of the Southern Military District (SMD) Lieutenant General Andrei Gurulev complained about lying within the Russian military and highlighted the effectiveness of Ukrainian air defences against Russian helicopters.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted naval drone strikes on Russian ships in the Black Sea on 14 September.
  • Russian forces conducted another series of Shahed-131/-136 drone strikes targeting Ukrainian rear areas on 15 September.
  • Russian State Duma Defense Committee Chairman Andrei Kartapolov explicitly stated that mobilised personnel will only demobilise at the end of Russia’s "special military operation."
  • The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) continues efforts to assume control over the Wagner Group’s operations in North Africa and may have assigned former commander of the Aerospace Forces (VKS) Sergei Surovikin to this task.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast and advanced in some areas on 15 September.
  • Russian occupation authorities continue efforts to strengthen ground lines of communication (GLOCs) connecting occupied southern Ukraine to Russia and occupied Crimea.

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