Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on August 16 and advanced in western Zaporizhia Oblast and on the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border.

  • Ukrainian reports and video released by Ukrainian troops confirm that Ukrainian forces liberated Urozhaine, on the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border, on August 16.

  • Russian sources are prematurely asserting that Ukrainian forces have committed their entire “main reserves” to counteroffensive operations in western Zaporizhia Oblast based on scattered observations of western-equipped Ukrainian units.

  • Russian forces conducted a series of drone strikes against Ukraine on the night of August 15 to 16, primarily targeting grain and port infrastructure in Odesa Oblast.

  • The first civilian vessel traveled through a Ukrainian-created temporary corridor for civilian vessels in the Black Sea on August 16 as part of Ukrainian efforts to circumvent Russian attempts to further curtail maritime traffic.

  • Russian ultranationalists are increasingly criticizing Russian military command for failing to recruit and train effective middle-level military officers to lead Russian forces on the frontlines in Ukraine.

  • Russian senators proposed an amendment to ban the distribution of photos and videos containing information about Russian military activities and locations on August 16, amplifying a recent trend of cracking down on public imagery of the war.

    West Bad, Russia Strong – Key Points from Putin’s Latest Speech
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest address to the nation was mostly a repetition of previous rhetoric and did not address Transnistria’s appeal for Moscow’s protection.
  • The Russian MoD may be using the Army-2023 Forum in Moscow to coerce countries into refusing to cooperate with the Wagner Group and to advertise Russian MoD-controlled private military companies (PMCs).

  • Russian sources claimed that the Russian military command placed nominal Russian deputy theater commander in Ukraine and notable Wagner-affiliated Army General Sergei Surovikin under house arrest as of early August.

  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and did not make any confirmed advances.


Authors: Nicole Wolkov, Angelica Evans, Riley Bailey, Christina Harward, and Mason Clark.

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