August 11, 2023

Sitrep for Aug. 10–11, 2023 (as of 9:30 a.m.)

Frontline Situation Update

In today’s stirep, we will examine the situation along various sectors of the frontline over the past week, as well as since the onset of the Ukrainian offensive in June 2023.

On the Kherson axis, the Russian Armed Forces maintain control over the left bank of the Dnipro river, with the exception of a small sector near the Antonivskyi Bridge. The area is marked as a contested territory on the DeepState map, owing to forays by the Armed Forces of Ukraine that started before the offensive began. In recent weeks, AFU covert operations have continued further east, around the village of Kozachi Laheri, where a Russian unit led by Major Tomov was captured. We do not anticipate the AFU to establish a lasting bridgehead on the left bank, intended for an offensive towards Crimea, as resupplying across the Dnipro river remains a significant challenge. However, we do expect raids and other disruptive actions aimed at diverting the attention of Russian forces to continue.

The situation on the frontline stretching from the destroyed Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant to Enerhodar remains stable, with a single attack reported in the Nikopol district.

At the start of the offensive on the Zaporizhzhia axis, the AFU succeeded in recapturing the villages of Lobkove and Piatykhatky. There have not been any significant advances since, although fighting continues.

Further east, Ukrainian forces have approached the first Russian defensive lines near the village of Robotyne. The AFU has been trying to circumvent the village from the east, through Verbove. It is our assumption that this area is not as heavily mined. In addition, footage recently emerged showing Ukrainian forces under attack from cluster munitions near Robotyne.

In the South Donetsk direction, Ukrainian forces keep consolidating their positions in Staromaiorske, cross the Mokri Yaly river and advance towards the western outskirts of Urozhaine, also attempting to attack Russian positions north of the village.

Everything is still quiet in the Vuhledar direction where the RuAF suffered heavy losses during their attempted offensive in the winter. Now, the AFU are trying to gradually advance towards Mykilske, clearing mines in order to launch an offensive against Russian positions in that area later.

On the Donetsk axis, Russian forces remain unsuccessful in their attempts to capture Marinka. Despite all the promises, "Kadyrovtsy" [nominally National Guard and Police units loyal to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov] led by Apti Alaudinov were unable to help capture the settlement.

In the Avdiivka direction, the RuAF ceased their attack attempts from Opytne, Spartak and Vodiane. The last major Russian offensive there took place on July 7 when the 110th Separate Mechanized Brigade of the AFU repelled enemy troops advancing from the north after heavy fighting.

In the Bakhmut direction, the Ukrainian advance from Sloviansk along the highway north of Bakhmut has slowed down, but fighting continues. To the south of Bakhmut, the AFU are trying to break through Russian fortifications along the Klishchiivka-Andriivka-Kurdiumivka frontline, in order to later reach the road from the side of Horlivka and cut it off. The initiative is completely on the side of the AFU there.

Russian forces initiated attacks on Bilohorivka in the Luhansk region and the Serebrianske forest in the Donetsk region, near Kreminna. However, their progress has been limited, with only a few hundred meters gained. Fierce clashes are ongoing in this region. The RuArF’s objective is to advance towards Torske and subsequently towards Lyman.

In the Svatove-Kreminna direction, Russian forces have managed to make relatively successful attempts to dislodge the AFU from the road connecting Svatove to Kreminna.

In the Kupiansk direction, Ukrainian forces face a complex situation, their positions being within reach of RuAF long-range artillery situated on Russian territory, and precision-guided bombs dropped from Russian aircraft. For this reason, Ukrainian authorities have ordered a mandatory evacuation of the civilian population in the Kupiansk district of the Kharkiv region. Russian forces are advancing along the Oskil river with the aim of reaching Kupiansk, a vital transportation hub for Ukraine. The RuAF command likely believes that capturing Kupiansk will lead to the collapse of the entire AFU defense line on the left bank of the Oskil river. Presently, fighting is concentrated around the village of Synkivka, located 7 kilometers north of Kupiansk.

Changes in combat intensity can also be gauged by examining public appeals made by Russian draftees. In early June, as the Ukrainian offensive commenced on the Zaporizhzhia axis, numerous reports surfaced detailing the dire situation faced by mobilized troops on the frontline. Mobilized soldiers lamented being deployed into frontal attacks without proper equipment, resulting in a high number of killed and wounded. As a period of relative calm ensued, the flow of such reports subsided, giving way to complaints about problems with pay, rotation and leave.

Strikes on Ukrainian and Russian Territory

When discussing the Aug. 9 attack of Zaporizhzhia, many commentators confused the building of the Motor Sich plant [a Ukrainian aircraft engine manufacturer with the HQ in that city] geolocated by Mark Krutov [editor of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty news service] where a projectile struck a church, with the main building of the plant situated opposite Saint Andrew’s Cathedral. As a matter of fact, some of the production units may be considered as being part of the plant on paper only while in reality they are sub-leased, a fact that may have been lost on Russian target acquisition crews.

On Aug 10, Russian forces launched another strike on the city of Zaporizhzhia and hit the Reikartz Hotel, resulting in one individual killed and another 16 injured. According to Denise Brown, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, the UN and other NGOs staff who provide support to the victims of the war in Ukraine have often stayed in that hotel.

A video has emerged of a double-tap strike on Pokrovsk on Aug. 7. The video was recorded by a paramedic's chest-mounted camera during the rescue operation.

Overnight on Aug. 10, an oil depot was destroyed by Russian loitering munitions in the Dubno district, Rivne region.

The same night, a FAB-250 bomb, likely equipped with a Universal Gliding and Correction Module, was dropped on Kupiansk, damaging the town council building.

In a subsequent attack on the village of Podoly in the Kupiansk region, a projectile struck a residential home, resulting in the death of a woman and injuring another individual.

In the village of Chausy in the Bryansk region of Russia, located about 5 km from the Ukrainian border, two people were killed as a result of an attack.

New photos have surfaced revealing the extent of damage on the Russian Sig chemical/oil tanker and the Olenegorsky Gornyak, a Ropucha-class landing ship, both targeted earlier this week.

Aug. 10, an explosion and subsequent massive fire engulfed an auto service facility in Domodedovo. Moreover, Moscow's Mayor Sergey Sobyanin reported that two drones were intercepted over the capital. We are unable to determine whether these two events are related.

Lately, upon detecting any flying object near Moscow, the so-called Carpet plan is implemented at Moscow airports, which involves halting all departures and arrivals. On Aug. 10, this caused a military flight evacuating wounded soldiers from the Chkalovsky airfield in Rostov-on-Don to be postponed. Russian soldiers unloaded the wounded onto the runway and, despite the intense heat, left them lying on stretchers the entire day awaiting departure.

We have received higher quality images of the boxes that have appeared on the rooftops of high-rise buildings in Moscow and the Moscow region. These images clearly show that various surveillance cameras are installed within these structures. Evidently, their construction is related to recent drone strikes.

Russian Minister of Internal Affairs Vladimir Kolokoltsev spoke about a critical shortage of personnel. According to his statement, 5,000 employees have resigned during the past month. The causes remain unclear. Some might be looking to earn more by joining the war effort, while others, perhaps, wish to avoid being sent on business trips to occupied territories where the risk of being killed is particularly high.

Western Assistance

The government of Germany is contemplating providing Ukraine with Swedish-German Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missiles with a range exceeding 500 kilometers. According to sources cited by T-Online, a German media outlet, Germany and its allies, including the United States, are collaborating to find a solution. It is possible that Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missiles would be delivered along with American ATACMS tactical ballistic missiles, which have a range of 300 kilometers. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is currently waiting for the Bundeswehr to provide data on the missiles' availability, the associated risks in delivering them, as well as details about the weapon's capabilities.

The Taurus KEPD 350 is a Swedish-German air-launched cruise missile. British Storm Shadow missiles, similar to Taurus in their specifications but inferior in range, are launched from Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-24 bombers. Yet, Berlin believes it is impossible to similarly adapt Taurus in the short term. Besides, the Taurus’ navigation system requires training for Ukrainian pilots. We believe it would be preferable to launch these missiles from F-16 fighter aircraft, however the AFU are likely to get them next year.

According to T-Online and Süddeutsche Zeitung, the Bundeswehr has 600 Taurus missiles but only 150 of them are ready for use. Another concern is the compliance with the Missile Technology Control Regime that restricts the supplies of missiles with ranges in excess of 300 km [186 miles].

On Aug. 10, the Biden administration asked Congress to provide an additional $13 billion in emergency defense aid to Ukraine, and an additional $8 billion for humanitarian support through the end of the year. The urgency of this issue is probably due to the end of the fiscal year in late September.

Russia has completely localized the production of Iranian Shahed series UAVs on its territory, this follows from the extensive material published by the British investigative organization Conflict Armament Research. CAR investigators examined two Geran-2 UAVs that attacked Ukrainian positions in July 2023, and reached interesting conclusions. Firstly, Geran-2 UAVs have small-sized noise-immune Kometa receivers typical for all Russian high-precision products, designed to receive GLONASS signals. Secondly, unlike the Iranian version, in the Russian Geran-2, the antennas for receiving satellite data are located inside the drone, and not outside. Thirdly, the UAV’s frame and its design have also been changed: whilst the Iranian Shahed series drone has a solid body with an intercellular structure between its components, the Russian Geran-2 has a fiberglass outer shell reinforced with interlaced carbon fiber. As the Russian Federation has adapted the production of the Shahed series UAVs, while simplifying their design, it will likely be able to intensify its attacks on Ukraine with loitering munitions.

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