dispatches
October 13

Sitrep for Oct. 11–13, 2023 (as of 8:30 a.m.)

Frontline Situation Update

The Russian Armed Forces continue their assault on Avdiivka, started on Oct. 10, attacking from two directions. On the northern flank, their targets are the town of Krasnohorivka and then the village of Berdychi. On the southern flank, the RuAF are moving from Vodiane towards Sieverne, attempting to encircle Avdiivka.

Advancing with large armored columns, Russian troops are encountering many of the same challenges that the Ukrainians faced on the Zaporizhzhia axis—minefields, anti-tank guided missiles and artillery strikes. Numerous videos showing Russian armor being hit, including by FPV drones, have surfaced in recent days. According to the Frontelligence Insight team, founded by Ukrainian military analyst Tatarigami, the RuAF have lost at least 36 vehicles. However, we do not consider the rough estimates of Russian military personnel losses published by the Ukrainian General Staff accurate, as they are grossly inflated.

Despite their efforts, Russian forces have been unable to make significant progress, as shown on the KiberBoroshno [CyberFlour] project map. According to their data, the only noticeable changes are the appearance of contested areas around Krasnohorivka, and further north around Vodiane.

Russian pro-military sources also indicated that armored columns remained stationary for some time, becoming easy targets for the enemy. This reflects a repetition of errors that led to dismal results during the attack on Vuhledar in the winter of 2023, and in the Chernihiv and Kyiv regions in the spring of 2022.

Another issue lies in the lack of coordination among different units: offensive actions are initiated without proper reconnaissance and suppression of artillery and ATGM positions. Russian electronic warfare also did not function to its full extent. Additionally, the infantry is supposed to cover armored vehicles against anti-tank means during the advance, which is not evident in video footage.

Despite the mass artillery softening-up fire in the Avdiivka area, its quality proved to be rather low, likely due to the use of inaccurate ammunition and inadequate reconnaissance.

As we anticipated, the results of this Russian offensive have been modest, with noticeable losses, which, to some extent, benefits the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We do not expect the RuAF to change the situation in their favor in the coming days.

There have been theories that the purpose of the attack on Avdiivka was to divert the AFU from combat operations on other fronts. This is supported by the fact that Russian forces attempted to regain their positions in the Orikhiv direction, and fighting intensified in the northern part of Novoprokopivka.

Fighting continues in the Bakhmut direction, with reports indicating that the AFU has managed to push back the RuAF behind the railroad south of the town of Bakhmut.

Strikes on Ukrainian and Russian Territory

The identification of the people killed during the Russian Iskander-M missile attack on the village of Hroza in the Kupiansk district of the Kharkiv region has been completed: the names of 59 people killed have been established.

The Kharkiv regional prosecutor's office and the Security Service of Ukraine published information about the alleged collaborators who guided the strike—two Mamon brothers, one of whom used to live in the village of Hroza. During the Russian occupation of parts of the Kharkiv region, they defected to the Russian side and fled to Russian-controlled territories a year ago during the de-occupation. Vladimir and Dmitry Mamon continued to work for Russian authorities and established a network of informants in the Kharkiv region. It is claimed that they passed on accurate information about the planned funeral wake, assuming that many fellow soldiers and officers of the deceased would attend it.

As we have pointed out many times before, Russian forces do not verify targeting information received from sources, resulting in strikes against civilian targets, among other things. Since these strikes are often conducted "for reporting purposes," reducing the enemy's combat capability is not actually the primary objective.

On Oct. 11, a Russian Lancet loitering munition hit a funeral minibus with civilians during a farewell ceremony in the village cemetery of Antonivka, a suburb of the city of Kherson. Three people were injured, one of whom was in serious condition.

On Oct. 12, as a result of a Russian strike on the village of Chornobaivka (a suburb of Kherson on the right bank of the Dnipro, famous for its airfield), a 70-year-old man was killed in the courtyard of his single-family residential house. He did not manage to reach the shelter.

On the night of Oct. 12, as a result of a strike on the village of Bilozerka in the Kherson region, a man and a teenage girl were wounded by shrapnel.

On Oct. 11, as a result of strikes on Nikopol, four people were killed.

In Belgorod, a downed Ukrainian UAV fell on a residential building. As a result, a fire broke out, killing three people: an elderly couple and their two-year-old granddaughter. The child's parents are in intensive care.

As a result of a strike on the Bryansk region, two conscripts were killed, three more conscripts and one contract soldier were wounded. Evidence of the destruction of the overpass between the town of Yasynuvata and the city of Horlivka in the Donetsk region has emerged. It is reported that this bridge provided  passage for Russian forces from Horlivka to Donetsk. Some commentators suggest that a burnt armored vehicle can be seen in one of the photos. We cannot definitively confirm this, however, the remnants do resemble the Gorets [Highlander] armored vehicle used by the Akhmat unit.

Information regarding the discovery of another body on the western coast of Crimea, apparently belonging to a special operations soldier of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, has emerged. The total losses for this operation in Crimea on Oct. 4 are currently one captured and two killed. (The Main Directorate of Intelligence admitted the capture of one soldier and other losses.)

Western Assistance

The Ministry of Defense of Lithuania announced the delivery of two more launcher units for the NASAMS air defense system to Ukraine. It also promised to acquire 155mm caliber shells and various winter supplies, including electric generators, clothing and other necessary items for Ukraine.

Spain has confirmed the transfer of six additional MIM-23 HAWK surface-to-air missile system launchers to Ukraine.

The Netherlands will send 12 to 18 F-16 fighter aircraft to Romania to train Ukrainian pilots in the upcoming weeks. During the last Ramstein format meeting, Denmark promised to deliver F-16 fighter aircraft to Ukraine before April 2024, and Belgium stated it would transfer its aircraft in 2025. Western countries have pledged to provide Ukraine with around 50 aircraft in total.

The United States has announced a new military aid package for Ukraine worth $200 million, the first in the new fiscal year (thus, our assumption that providing military aid on a temporary budget was false). The package includes:

  • AIM-9M missiles for air defense;
  • Counter-Unmanned Aerial Systems (c-UAS) equipment;
  • Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);
  • 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds;
  • Precision aerial munitions;
  • Electronic warfare equipment;
  • Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles;
  • AT-4 anti-armor systems;
  • Small arms and more than 16 million rounds of small arms ammunition;
  • Demolitions munitions for obstacle clearing; and
  • Spare parts, training munitions, maintenance, and other field equipment.

Such aid packages are provided by the Pentagon every two weeks.

Our previous sitrep featured a video of a Ukrainian Sukhoi Su-25 (Frogfoot) attack aircraft being hit at the Dovhyntseve air-base near the city of Kryvyi Rih. Information has since emerged that the footage was taken on the same day, Sept. 11, that a MiG-29 fighter aircraft was targeted at the same air-base.

The latest sitrep also featured a photograph of a 22S2 Bohdana 155mm wheeled self-propelled howitzer on a new chassis appearing somewhere on the frontline. It is noteworthy that this is not a second but a third version of this SPH; the second version demonstrated by Ukraine’s ex-Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov in January was mounted on a 6x6 MAZ-6317 truck while the latest sitrep featured a photo of the third, later version mounted on a 8x8 Tatra T815-7.