August 30, 2023

Sitrep for Aug. 29-30, 2023 (as of 8:30 a.m.)

Strikes on Ukrainian and Russian Territory

On the night of Aug. 30, the Russian Armed Forces attacked Kyiv with both loitering munitions and cruise missiles, with Ukrainian air defense forces working through the night. Two people were killed and two others wounded—it remains unclear whether this was due to a missile or drone strike, or to falling debris. Fragments from a flying object ignited a fire at a shopping center that was quickly extinguished. Drone debris also fell in the Zhytomyr and Kyiv regions, injuring three more people.

Additionally, there were reports of strikes on the Odesa and Mykolaiv regions, although whether any damage was occasioned remains unknown.

That same night, the Armed Forces of Ukraine attacked various targets within Russia.

In the Bryansk region, there was an attempt to attack a television tower in the morning, and popping sounds were reported near the Investigative Committee building in Bryansk. During the night, it was reported that drone debris fell on the Kremniy El microelectronics plant, one of the largest in Russia. However, nighttime footage from the scene only captures the sound of a flying drone, followed by an explosion, suggesting that the drone was not successfully intercepted. According to Vazhnyye Istorii [IStories], an independent Russian investigative media outlet, in 2017, 94% of the products manufactured at that plant were purchased by the Russian Ministry of Defense, and were used by defense contractors such as Almaz-Antey, Aerospace Equipment, Sozvezdie and Vega. The plant produces, among other things, components for the Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft system, and the 9K720 Iskander mobile short-range ballistic missile system.

Additionally, reports indicate that there was an attempted strike at the Druzhba oil depot in Bryansk.

According to Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin, another drone was heading towards Moscow and was destroyed in the Ruzsky district of the Moscow region.

On the same night, Ukrainian drones attacked an airfield near Pskov. TASS [Russian state-owned news agency] reports damage to four IlyushinIl-76 strategic airlifters. Video shows, as per the operator's words, two such aircraft on fire. Based on reference satellite images, they were positioned side by side on the airfield without any shelters. According to the Pskovskaya Guberniya media outlet, a fire also started on the territory of the 64044 military unit, which belongs to the 2nd GRU Special Forces Brigade. Pskov is situated approximately 800 km away from the Ukrainian border, and given that some new Ukrainian drones have stated flight range of up to 1000 km, theoretically, they could have reached the area from the border. However, we also consider the possibility that they were transported into Russian territory and launched from a closer distance. Altogether, around 10 drones (according to other sources, around 20) reportedly participated in the attack on the Pskov region. The airfield itself is not particularly significant, as Russia has a large number of Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft, but the strike was just one part of the largest Ukrainian drone attack against Russian territory since the full-scale invasion began.

The Russian Ministry of Defense stated that at midnight on Aug. 30, four fast-moving military boats with AFU special operations forces (SSO) onboard, totaling up to 50 people, were destroyed in the Black Sea by a naval air force aircraft of the Black Sea Fleet. This announcement echoes an incident we previously mentioned. It is possible that this statement is made to divert public attention towards Russia's military successes—a view echoed even by the pro-Russian Telegram channel Special Assignment Channel.

Additionally, on the night of Aug. 30, pro-Russian governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhaev reported that RuAF anti-sabotage support forces were sent to repel an attack by maritime surface drones in the Sevastopol Bay. There are no visual confirmations yet.

On the afternoon of Aug. 29, the border village of Klimovo, Bryansk region was reportedly hit with BM-21 Grad MLRS. As a result, two people were killed, and a 10-year-old girl sustained severe injuries to her limbs (initially, Governor of the Bryansk region Aleksandr Bogomaz reported five victims).

As a result of a strike on Horlivka in the Donetsk region on Aug. 29, three people were killed. According to the JCCC DPR [Joint Center for Control and Coordination of the "DPR"], 152mm artillery was used.

Frontline Situation Update

In the Bakhmut direction, there is intense fighting on the Klishchiivka-Andriivka-Kurdiumivka frontline. The 3rd Assault Brigade of the AFU, fighting in the area, published a video showing Ukrainian servicemen ambushing Russian soldiers near the railway. Drone reconnaissance gives the AFU soldiers fire directions and informs from which side the RuAF soldiers are approaching their entrenched position, while Ukrainian soldiers shoot at the enemy with small arms. The video has not been geolocated yet, but the ambush was most likely made near Andriivka. The presence of railroad tracks in the frame suggest that the AFU must have made further advances in this direction.

It appears that, in recent days, the main AFU offensive is taking place on the Zaporizhzhia axis.

The Institute for the Study of War analyzed optical infrared NASA VIIRS satellite imagery of an area near the village of Verbove (east of Robotyne) and found traces of fire near defensive lines. Referring to the report of Semyon Pegov's WarGonzo project, which mentions the advance of Ukrainian forces 4 km west of Verbove, and to Rybar, a prominent pro-Russian Telegram channel, which also notes the advance of the AFU in the area, the analysts concluded that these fires were caused by fighting rather than natural causes.

Ukrainian forces also reportedly gained some ground in the area of Novoprokopivka, south of Robotyne. The Russian Bobr FPV group published a video from an FPV drone attacking Ukrainian armored vehicles east of Novoprokopivka, near the main "Surovikin line" [named after ex-Commander-in-Chief of the Aerospace Forces, Deputy Commander (and former Commander) of Russia's Joint Group of Forces in Ukraine, General Sergey Surovikin].

On the topic of defensive lines Ukrainian milblogger Tatarigami draws attention to the fact that traces of fighting can be seen in the forest lines on satellite images of the area liberated on the Zaporizhzhia axis over the past two months. This indicates that each tree line in front of long-term fortification lines is also fortified with field defenses (trenches, firing points, etc.), which pose an equal threat to the advancing forces as anti-tank ditches and concrete anti-tank pyramids ("dragon's teeth").

Last year, we repeatedly noted that the Russian army was unable to strike at non-stationary targets, however, this year there were some changes. Perhaps Russian intelligence has become more effective. In mid-August, a train with ammunition was successfully struck at Mezhova railway station, Dnipropetrovsk region.

Meanwhile, on Aug. 29, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation published a video from a drone, which shows the destruction of the Ukrainian train loaded with ammunition. There are secondary detonations visible in the video. The video was geolocated in the village of Dorozhne in the Donetsk region which is 50 km from the frontline.

The Ministry of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine reports that the bodies of 84 dead Ukrainian soldiers have been returned to Ukraine. There were no reports on bodies of Russian soldiers returned as a result of this exchange.

Independent journalist Andrey Zakharov has called the funeral of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the defunct owner of the Wagner Group, which took place on Aug. 29 at the Porokhovskoye cemetery in Saint Petersburg, "a special funeral operation." The press service of Prigozhin reports that the ceremony was held behind closed doors. According to cemetery staff, there were only 20 to 30 relatives and no people in military uniforms were present. According to protocol, the funeral of a Hero of Russia should be held with an honor guard, a military band and a three-volley salute, but none of this was done at Prigozhin's funeral.

We also note that no information regarding the progress of the investigation is being published.

Western Assistance

The US Department of Defense has announced additional security assistance to meet Ukraine's critical security and defense needs. The capabilities in this package, valued at up to $250 million, include:

  • AIM-9M missiles for air defense;
  • Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);
  • 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds;
  • Mine clearing equipment;
  • Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles;
  • Javelin and other anti-armor systems and rockets;
  • Hydra-70 Rockets;
  • Over 3 million rounds of small arms ammunition;
  • Armored medical treatment vehicles and High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) ambulances;
  • Demolitions munitions for obstacle clearing; and
  • Spare parts, maintenance, and other field equipment.

Yesterday, we reported on the murder of an employee at a military commissariat [enlistment office] in Zakarpattia. Thanks to feedback from our audience, we have learned that he was not a military commissar, but rather a civilian worker at the regional recruitment center as the aforementioned dismissal only pertained to regional military commissars. It is therefore more likely that the incident was a domestic homicide, unrelated to personnel appointments.