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Russian forces make insignificant advances near Donetsk and Verbove – ISW

Tuesday, 9 January 2024, 03:33
Russian forces make insignificant advances near Donetsk and Verbove – ISW
A Ukrainian soldier. Photo: General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Russian forces have made confirmed advances in the vicinity of Donetsk and Verbove, with positional engagements continuing along the entire line of contact. 

Source: Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

Details: The ISW reported that Russian forces made insignificant advances to the west of Donetsk

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Geolocation footage from 7 January shows the Russian forces advancing to the eastern outskirts of Heorhiivka, 6 kilometres to the west of Donetsk.

Russian military bloggers claimed that Russian forces have captured two churches in Heorhiivka and advanced by some 300 metres, and that Russian forces have also advanced to the opposite bank of the Osykova River, just to the west of Donetsk.

Positional engagements occurred in the vicinity of Marinka and Heorhiivka to the west of the city of Donetsk, and in the vicinity of Novomykhailivka and Pobieda to the southwest of Donetsk.

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Russian forces also made a confirmed advance in the west of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the ISW reported. Geolocation footage from 8 January shows that the Russians made insignificant advances to the west of Verbove (which is located to the east of Robotyne).

Russian and Ukrainian sources are also saying that positional engagements occurred near Robotyne, to the west of Verbove, and to the north of Novoprokopivka (which is located to the south of Robotyne). A Russian military blogger said that the recent icy conditions have meant that Russian troops can only reach their positions in armoured tracked vehicles. Volodymyr Rohov, an occupation official in the Russian-held part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, claimed that bad weather in Zaporizhzhia Oblast is preventing the Russian and Ukrainian forces from using drones to adjust artillery fire.

To quote the ISW’s Key Takeaways on 8 January:

  • Ukrainian officials highlighted the need for more air defence systems after another large series of Russian missile and drone strikes against Ukraine on the night of 7–8 January.
  • Western provisions of air defence systems and missiles remain crucial for Ukraine as Russian forces attempt to adapt to current Ukrainian air defence capabilities and as Ukraine develops its defence industrial base.
  • Ukrainian forces are adapting to battlefield difficulties from equipment shortages but are struggling to completely compensate for artillery ammunition shortages and insufficient electronic warfare capabilities.
  • Russian authorities are reportedly illegally deporting Ukrainian civilians to Russia and holding them in penal colonies and pre-trial detention centres without charges, investigations, trials, access to lawyers, or designated release dates.
  • A Russian insider source claimed that Russian officials dismissed First Deputy Head of the Main Directorate of the Russian General Staff (GRU), Lieutenant General Vladimir Alekseyev, who was reportedly in charge of the Russian "Volunteer Corps" that was intended to replace the Wagner Group. 
  • ISW cannot confirm either Alekseyev’s dismissal in fall 2023 or the reports of shell shortages disproportionately affecting the Russian "Volunteer Corps."
  • Russian authorities continue efforts to consolidate control over the Russian information space ahead of the March presidential elections.
  • Russian opposition outlet Verstka reported on 8 January that recent polling shows decreased domestic support for Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine ahead of the March 2024 Russian presidential elections.
  • Russian government and media officials recently have died, possibly under mysterious circumstances.
  • A Russian state media outlet confirmed that the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) detained three officers of its Directorate "M" in connection with a high-profile bribery scheme.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Donetsk and Verbove, and positional engagements continued along the entire line of contact.
  • The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported on 8 January that there are more than 450,000 Russian military personnel in Ukraine as of December 2023.
  • Russia continues to forcibly deport children from occupied Ukraine under the guise of vacations.

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