August 15, 2023

Sitrep for Aug. 14–15, 2023 (as of 8:30 a.m.)

Strikes on Ukrainian Territory

On the night of Aug. 15, the Russian Armed Forces launched a widespread cruise missile attack on Ukraine, with air raid sirens blaring throughout the night across the country’s western regions. According to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, 28 cruise missiles of various types were fired, of which 16 were successfully intercepted. The mayor of Lviv reported that several missiles struck residential homes, sparking fires and injuring four people.

Two missiles hit a factory in Lutsk, Volyn region, resulting in three deaths and three injuries.

New details have emerged about the overnight Aug. 14 strike on Odesa. According to the AFU, 15 Shahed-136 (Geran-2) loitering munitions and eight 3M-54 Kalibr cruise missiles were intercepted. However, falling debris from the interceptions damaged a student residence and a Fozzy hypermarket, injuring three employees. Due to extensive damage, the hypermarket has been declared beyond repair.

On Aug. 14, a Russian ordnance fell in the village of Stepne, southeast of Zaporizhzhia, killing two people and injuring another. The size of the crater suggests it might have been a glide bomb.

Yuri Ihnat, Spokesman of the Air Force Command of the AFU, has stated that Russia produces approximately 100 missiles and an unspecified number of loitering munitions every month, allowing for regular strikes on Ukrainian territory. In May, Ukrainian military intelligence had estimated that Russia produces around 60 missiles per month.

Frontline Situation Update

On Aug. 15, news emerged that the AFU had managed to enter the northern part of Robotyne in the Orikhiv direction, and that a group of Ukrainian soldiers had reached the very center of the village, before coming under Russian artillery fire.

According to OSINT analyst Def Mon, all 13 AFU brigades prepared for the offensive have been deployed one way or another, including nine brigades trained in the West. In our opinion, it does not mean that all of them simultaneously participate in the offensive. The new brigades are likely used for rotation, and it is quite possible that the AFU is currently advancing on the Zaporizhzhia axis thanks to the involvement of fresh forces on the frontline. In addition, only a few separate units of some brigades might have been involved in combat activities.

As a result of an attempted Russian counterattack in the Bakhmut direction in the area of Andriivka, the RuAF lost three T-90M tanks and several BMP-3 IFVs. As such military vehicles are not usually seen in service with the Russian troops fighting in this direction, the Russian Army is highly likely to have sent reserves to the area of Bakhmut.

We have not seen any reserves in other directions yet. According to our estimates, the actual current recruitment rate of new contract soldiers in the RuAF enables them only to make up for losses, but not to rotate units.

The Ukrainian Air Force reported that they were able to shoot down an unidentified type of Russian helicopter in the Bakhmut direction. However, the Helicopterpilot Telegram channel, which is closely linked to the Russian Aerospace Forces, asserts that all crews returned to base. It is possible that the helicopter was damaged but managed to continue its flight.

A video has emerged showing the release of two FAB bombs with UMPK [Universal Gliding and Correction Module] from a Russian Sukhoi Su-34 bomber in the vicinity of the village of Kalanchak in the Kherson region, targeting Ukrainian positions in the village of Kozachi Laheri. The distance between these settlements is quite significant—about 50 km.

There are still no official confirmations of the complete liberation of Urozhaine in the South Donetsk direction. However, the AFU General Staff reports certain successes in this area. Another indirect confirmation of Ukrainian control over Urozhaine is a video showing air-dropped bombs hitting AFU positions in the southern part of the village.

This attack was also reported by TASS [Russian state-owned news agency] citing Oleg Chekhov, head of the press center of the Group of Forces “East”, who claimed the destruction of three strongpoints and an ammunition storage facility (the Ministry of Defense's statement does not specify where exactly these three strongpoints and ammunition storage facilities were destroyed).

Furthermore, according to the same summary, the AFU General Staff reports that the intensity of artillery attacks in the Bakhmut sector has somewhat subsided. This could be due either to Russia’s production of artillery shells not keeping pace with the war’s demands, or to the disruption of RuAF logistics following AFU strikes on key supply bridges.

After watching a video showing AFU soldiers being trained in the UK, pro-Russian war correspondent Alexander Sladkov came to the conclusion that their combat training primarily revolves around offensive tactics, ignoring defensive operations, while Russian forces allegedly get adequate training in both offensive and defensive combat, meeting engagements, and fighting both in open terrain and in urban settings. In response to this, a mobilized soldier replied that after mobilization, during his 11 months in the regiment, there had been no combat training at all. Sladkov claims that he has asked the military to investigate the problem.

Shortly before that, having read a comment posted by a mobilized soldier’s mother who complained about a lack of rotation or leaves in the RuAF, pro-Russian blogger Dmitry Puchkov claimed to be offended and banned her, branding similar complaints by families as “a coordinated attack.” It looks as though this is the only explanation he could come up with to account for the rise in similar complaints.

Western Assistance

The United States has officially announced a military aid package for Ukraine, funded by the “savings” we have previously reported on. It will be directly allocated from the US Army reserves, and thus will be delivered in the near future. The package will include:

  • Additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems;
  • Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS MLRS);
  • 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds;
  • 120mm tank ammunition;
  • Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles, Javelin and other anti-armor systems and rockets;
  • Demolitions munitions for obstacle clearing, mine clearing equipment and systems;
  • 37 tactical vehicles to tow and haul equipment and 58 water trailers;
  • Over 12 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades;
  • Spare parts, maintenance, and other field equipment.

According to German Finance Minister Christian Lindner, the German government intends to provide Ukraine with annual military support worth 5 billion euros until 2027. However, no decision has been made yet, and the sum has not been approved by the parliament. He also noted that Germany had provided Ukraine with military aid worth 22 billion euros since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

Previously, we reported on the photo of an alleged Wagner Group mercenary standing in front of a Polish border post being debunked as that of a Polish soldier showing the Shaka sign. Efforts to fabricate the presence of the Wagner Group in Poland apparently continue, with stickers bearing the Wagner Group emblem and the inscription “We are here” recently showing up in Warsaw and Krakow. In connection with this, two Russian citizens were detained and taken in custody on charges of espionage and spreading propaganda.