ISW KEY Takeaways

August 11, 2023

  • Ukrainian forces made tactically significant advances in western Zaporizhia Oblast and reached the outskirts of Robotyne amid continued counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on August 11.
  • Ukrainian counteroffensive operations appear to be forcing the Russian military to laterally redeploy Russian forces defending in western Zaporizhia Oblast, indicating that the Ukrainian effort there may be significantly degrading Russian defenses.
  • Russia’s necessary practice of conducting lateral redeployments to key sectors of the front will likely further weaken Russian defensive lines in aggregate, as both Russian and Ukrainian operations are fixing Russian units to certain sectors of the front.
  • The further degradation of defending Russian forces creates opportunities for any Ukrainian breakthrough to be potentially decisive.
  • Russian forces appear to be intensifying offensive operations northeast of Kupyansk, likely to draw Ukrainian forces away from more operationally significant areas of the front.
  • Russian forces conducted another series of missile strikes in Ukraine on August 11 and targeted a Ukrainian airfield for the second time in the last week.
  • Russian sources claimed that the Wagner Group appears to be maintaining a presence at its facilities in Belarus, though the status of its rumored withdrawal to Russian remains unclear.
  • The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) is struggling with significant personnel shortages, especially in occupied territories in Ukraine, amid a broader power shift between other Russian internal security organs.
  • The Kremlin and Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) are likely attempting to deflect blame for Ukrainian shelling in Russian border areas onto mid-level officers.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, on the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, and in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast area on August 11 and advanced in some areas.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on August 11 and advanced in the western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhia Oblast border area and in western Zaporizhia Oblast.
  • The Russian defense industrial base (DIB) has begun producing “Geran-2” drones, a modified version of the Iranian-produced Shahed-131/136 drone that will likely enable Russia‘s ability to maintain or potentially increase the frequency of Russia’s drone strikes on Ukraine.
  • Russian occupation authorities are taking steps to make the upcoming regional elections in the Russian occupied territories appear to be fair and competitive.

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