Ukraine War, 15 September 2023
Another, ‘brief one‘ – but today with a few maps, to bring us up-to-date with latest deployments of Russian units.
Early on 14 September, the Russians released a stream of 22 Shaheds; 17 were claimed as shot down by the PSU, but the rest scored several hits in the Izmail area again.
Another raid was released the last night and this morning, and air raid alerts sounded in Dnipropetrovsk, Kirovohrad, Zhytomyr, Ternopil and Rivne oblasts. Reportedly, all 17 Shaheds detected by the PSU have been shot down.
For their part, Ukrainians have pounded multiple targets in Donetsk (City), including the local railway station, the last two days, and then deployed – according to the Russians – five naval drones to attack two patrol vessels of the Russian Navy somewhere off the western coast of the Crimea. At least one of Vasiliy Bikov-class vessel was damaged (pay attention at the detonation visible at around 17-18 seconds). Another Ukrainian drone reportedly attacked the Russian Navy corvette Samum (photo below), but was destroyed. Indeed, Russian contacts are talking about three vessels of the Black Sea Fleet damaged, and six sailors killed over the last 36 hours - and that in addition to 14 killed and more than 30 wounded in Ukrainian missile strike on dockyards in Sevastopol, a day earlier.
BATTLE OF DONBAS
Bakhmut…south… seems, the Russian 8th CAA is in deep trouble, because another day passed without reports about its counterattacks in the area from Klishchivka in the north to Kurdyumivka in the south. Whenever such things happen, it means the Russians are out of reserves. Thus, the ZSU continued working on liberating what’s left of the latter - and collecting scattered survivors of the 72nd MRB, which seems to have been completely destroyed over the last 7-10 days (even the CO was, reportedly, killed in action).
Can’t but observe that it’s kind of ironic the GenStab-U and the 3rd Assault took something like ‘two weeks’ to officially announce the obvious, yesterday: Andriivka - or what is left of the place - is liberated.
EDIT: no doubt, the final fighting for Andriivka was EXTREMELY bitter (should there be any doubts, check this official report of the 3rd Assault). Just for example: the Russians threw not only all that was left of the 72nd MRB into fighting ‘for Andriivka’, but also the 57th MRB, 1307th MRR, and the 102nd MRR (150th MRD). Everybody and everyone was sent to defend positions there, including company-, battalion-, and regimental commanders. As a result, the head of the intel department of the 72nd MRB and three Russian battalion commanders were killed, two battalion commanders were taken prisoners, and nearly all of company commanders were killed, and there are dozens of captives. If I’m to ask, the 72nd MRB ceased to exist - even by Russian standards.
Avdiivka…sadly, as expected and reported, the Russians have rushed so many reinforcements to the Optyne area, that the Ukrainian advance through this village was stopped. That said, Russian counterattacks in this area were all repelled, i.e. Ukrainian positions are stable.
Staromlynivka…as mentioned in my last reports, there are not much changes except in the Pryyutne area, where the Russians have recovered all of the village and pushed the ZSU to the north. There are next to no news from Novodonetske (except that the village is ‘under attack from three directions’), while Ukrainians are reporting to have pushed the 131st MRR and 1466th MRR into the southern verges of Novomaiorske.
Robotyne….Over the last two weeks, the Russians have – massively – reinforced their forces in this area. Essentially, their defence line now consists of two lines, with fresh units (foremost VDV) in the first, and depleted/mauled units in the second. Their density is quite similar to that of ZSU troops in the Bakhmut area of the last winter. Moreover, the Russians are continuously running counterattacks into Ukrainian advance in between of Novoprokopivka – and that from south-west and east. Unsurprisingly, ZSU’s advances of the last few days were minimal: essentially, the last few days Ukrainians have focused on stabilising their positions in northern Novoprokopivka and northern Verbove, and then on bringing the road connecting these two villages under fire-control. But, and sadly, they didn’t manage to take Hills 162, 166, and 167 before the Russian reinforcements have arrived.
With other words: the presence of the 7th and 76th VDV Divisions is felt, and strongly at that. Now we’re back to the situation where it’s going to take tremendous volumes of patience, reconnaissance, and shelling to knock out Russian counterattacks, and simultaneously hit Russian field fortifications along Ukrainian attack directions, while moving own infantry forward. Every time one Russian position is taken, there is an outright ‘race’: who is going to be faster in rushing reinforcements to the scene. Whenever Ukrainians manage to do this, they’re ‘advancing’, when not, there are reversals and their assault groups must withdraw (like this happened in Verbove). That’s why the map is certain to appear as ‘not much different’ to the one from 31 August - and, I guess, that’s going to remain that way for a while.
EDIT: BTW, gauging by reports about recently captured Russian equipment, the 76th VDV seems to have brought the latest version of a Russian ATMS (automated tactical management system) to this battlefield. This is satellite-supported and using SNARK-100P systems. Ukrainians are comparing it to the StarLink.