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Liberation of Klishchiivka and Andriivka could lead to degradation of Russian ranks – ISW

Tuesday, 19 September 2023, 06:31
Liberation of Klishchiivka and Andriivka could lead to degradation of Russian ranks – ISW
Stock Photo: RIA Novosti

Given how the Ukrainian advance in Zaporizhzhia Oblast affects them, it is possible that the Ukrainian liberation of two villages that Russian forces were desperately trying to hold corresponds with the severe degradation of the Russian units defending them.

Source: Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

Details: According to military analysts, the Russian forces that defended in Zaporizhzhia Oblast since the beginning of the counteroffensive did this mainly without rotation of operational-level units and probably suffered additional losses.


Units of the 71st, 70th and 291st motorised rifle regiments of the Russian 42nd motorised rifle division (Southern Military District) regularly repelled Ukrainian attacks and participated in various "combat clashes." They also reflected the first stages of the Ukrainian counteroffensive from June to August.

In August, Ukrainian troops began to break through the first line of Russian defence, where Russian troops spent a significant amount of manpower, personnel and efforts.

Russian reports and personnel indicate that many of these units of the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division have since withdrawn and are now mostly shelling Ukrainians.

The lack of reports of the participation of these soldiers in hostilities in the west of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast indicates that the losses they suffered during the first stages of the Ukrainian counteroffensive made them ineffective in battle.

It is reported that units of the 70th Motorized Rifle Regiment temporarily retreated to the rear during the Ukrainian breakthrough and returned to the advanced positions in early September, which indicates that the Ukrainian offensive so worsened this unit that forced the Russian command to give it time to regroup.

It was one of the few rotations of units the ISW saw in this sector of the front.

Ukrainian counter-offensive operations could also severely affect units of the 22nd and 45th separate special forces brigades of the Russian Federation.

Therefore, experts concluded that the Ukrainian advance south of Bakhmut could lead to a similar degradation of Russia's defensive units in the area.

To quote the ISW’s Takeaways on 19 September:

  • Ukraine’s liberation of Klishchiivka and Andriivka south of Bakhmut may have degraded the Russian defence in the area south of Bakhmut and could have rendered combat ineffective as many as three Russian brigades according to Ukrainian military officials.
  • Ukrainian counteroffensive operations may have resulted in the particularly severe degradation of critical elements of the Russian elastic defence in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • Recent Ukrainian advances south of Bakhmut may correspond with the similar degradation of defending Russian units in the area.
  • Russian forces conducted a series of Shahed-131/136 drone and cruise missile strikes on coastal and rear areas of Ukraine on the night of 17-18 September.
  • An organisation with alleged ties to Russian First Deputy Presidential Chief of Staff Sergey Kiriyenko is reportedly responsible for disseminating pro-war propaganda and false information about Ukraine to prominent figures in the Russian information space.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhzhia and advanced in some areas on 18 September.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations in at least two sectors of the front and advanced in western Zaporizhzhia on 18 September.
  • Some Russian sources claimed that former Wagner Group personnel are working closely with Rosgvardia (Russian National Guard) in order to return fighting in Ukraine.

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