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ISW reports slight progress of Russian on three fronts

Sunday, 17 December 2023, 04:52
ISW reports slight progress of Russian on three fronts

Russian forces have marginally advanced near the towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka (both in Donetsk Oblast), and the village of Verbove (Zaporizhzhia Oblast) on 16 December.

Source: Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

Details: The Russian army mounted localised offensive operations near Bakhmut on 16 December and confirmed the advance. Geolocation footage released on 16 December reveals that Russian troops have advanced north of the settlement of Khromove (directly west of Bakhmut).


Furthermore, the Russian troops pursued an offensive near the town of Avdiivka on 16 December and confirmed the advance. Geolocation footage released on 15 December indicated that Russian troops had advanced to the western outskirts of an industrial area southeast of Avdiivka.

Moreover, Russian forces continued counterattacks in the western Zaporizhzhia Oblast on 16 December and have recently made minor gains. Geolocation footage released on 15 December reveals that Russian troops have made minor gains northwest of the village of Verbove.

Ukrainian troops led ground operations on Kherson Oblast's left (eastern) bank on 16 December.

Russian military bloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces attempted to advance to the forested areas near the village of Krynky (30 km northeast of Kherson and 2 km from the Dnipro River) on 15 and 16 December as heavy fighting raged in the area.

To quote the ISW’s Key Takeaways on 16 December:  

  • Ukrainian forces continue operations on the east (left) bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast amid reported difficult conditions in the area as part of an apparent effort to set conditions for future Ukrainian operations and the resettlement of west (right) bank Kherson Oblast.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin’s supporters formally nominated him as an independent candidate for the 2024 presidential elections on 16 December, further solidifying Putin’s image as a figure above the Russian political system.
  • Russia’s First Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Dmitri Polyanskiy more clearly defined recent statements from high-ranking Russian officials that align with ISW’s long-standing assessment that Russia is unwilling to negotiate with Ukraine in good faith.
  • Russian forces launched another series of Shahed-136/131 drone strikes across Ukraine overnight on 15 to 16 December.
  • The Financial Times (FT) reported on 15 December that the G7 may consider using frozen Russian assets to fund Ukraine.
  • Russian actors continue information operations aimed at discrediting and dividing Ukraine’s military and political leadership, specifically Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi.
  • A Russian "Storm-Z" assault unit instructor implied that Russian President Vladimir Putin lied about the unregulated status of private military companies (PMCs) during his "Direct Line" forum on 14 December given the state’s significant administrative control over PMCs and other irregular formations.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast on 16 December and advanced in some areas.
  • A Russian milblogger claimed that Russia will have at least ten Project 22350 Admiral Gorshkov-class frigates in an unspecified time period.
  • Ukrainian Mariupol Mayoral Advisor Petro Andriushchenko and the Ukrainian Telegram channel Mariupol Resistance stated on 16 December that Ukrainian partisans recently blew up the car of the commander of an unspecified Russian unit from the North Caucasus in occupied Mariupol.

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