“[Ukrainian commanders] have worked out how to manage the training of fresh soldiers and how to keep replenishing their ranks after losses, even while continuing to fight. Almost every unit has grown in professionalism and size: battalions have turned into brigades, and volunteer groups into formal army units.
“Longer-range Western artillery and, in particular, the cluster munitions recently provided by the United States, with some controversy, have been proving effective in destroying not only concentrations of Russian troops, but also Russian armor and artillery systems.
“Russian reinforcements have been holding back, reluctant to move into range of Ukraine’s guns, several commanders said.
“Even if it does not recapture territory quickly, the counteroffensive signals a shift of perspective for Ukrainian fighters.”
Operational Aspects - Southern Front
Geolocated footage published on August 19 and 20 shows that Ukrainian forces recently advanced east of Robotyne and pro-Russian milbloggers have conceded that the AFU controls the northern part of the village.
Geolocated footage published on August 19 & 20 shows that UKR forces recently advanced east of Robotyne. A Kremlin-affiliated milblogger claimed that UKR forces captured unspecified RU positions west of Verbove and continue to attack RU positions along the Robotyne-Verbove line. https://t.co/vRw0SRD30t pic.twitter.com/Hk6W7Qxath— Institute for the Study of War (@TheStudyofWar) August 21, 2023
The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces also conducted counteroffensive operations in the Berdyansk direction (western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhzhia regional area), ISW reported.
A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces continue to face issues with counterbattery capabilities on all sectors of the front, but particularly in the Zaporizhzhia direction, according to ISW.
The milblogger also claimed that Russian units are facing officer shortages due to manpower losses and that privates command some Russian companies, which should have a junior officer in command.
Pro-Ukrainian milblogger Kravchuk claimed that the AFU is undertaking probing assaults near Marfopil-Dorozhnyanka in western Zaporizhzhia
“understanding that the main reserves and the most combat-capable forces of the [Russian forces] have been transferred to the Robotyne area.”
Two Ukrainian civilians were killed by Russian artillery fire at Kozatske in Kherson region, the regional governor said on Telegram.
Pro-Russian milblogger and propagandist War Gonzo posted the following: “The Armed Forces of Ukraine are striving to expand their bridgeheads on the left bank [of the Dnipro River], on the islands in the delta. Such attempts were recorded in several places: at Hola Prystan, Oleshky, Kozachi Laheri and Nova Kakhovka. The powerful work of the Ukrainian artillery from the high right bank does not allow the infantry units of the RF to enter into combat contact with the groups of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the islands.”
Independent analyst and satellite imagery specialist Brady Africk posted images showing 20 Russian helicopters at the Berdyansk airfield in occupied southern Ukraine.
More than 20 Russian helicopters are visible in new satellite imagery of the airport in occupied Berdyansk.— Brady Africk (@bradyafr) August 19, 2023
Over the past few months, Russian forces at this base dug new revetments to protect vehicles and equipment. pic.twitter.com/VKnQaRuBBZ
Operational Aspects - Northern Front
According to pro-Russian milbloger Rybar: “Russian troops from the ‘Western’ group are storming Ukrainian positions in the Sinkovka area, although it is premature to declare an operational encirclement and an imminent liberation of the village.
Pro-Ukrainian milblogger Deep State posted: “The enemy's campaign is successful south of Masyutivka, the village of Serhiivka, and landings in the Serebryansky forest.” He blamed these setbacks on “tactical and strategic miscalculations”.
Russian shelling of Kupyansk in Kharkiv region injured 11 people, with seven in critical condition, the Regional Military Administration reported.
Other Operational Aspects
Russian authorities in Moscow, Rostov region, Novgorod region, Kursk region and Belgorod region claimed Ukrainian drone attacks were repelled overnight.
The overnight strikes follow a drone mission on a Russian airfield in Novgorod over the weekend which damaged Russian bombers, according to analysts.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in its daily update, reported that 142 Ukrainian population settlements had come under Russian artillery and/or mortar fire. This is one of the highest days on record during the full-scale invasion.
Ukrainian milblogger Deep State estimated on his Telegram channel that Ukraine’s FPV (first person view) drone missions are currently around 170 per day compared to Russian forces’ 80. He noted that “it is already better than in July, but it is not enough. To win, our advantage must be multiple.”
In Kirov region, a military mobilization tent was burnt down by an apparent arsonist.
Ukrainian naval authorities claimed that a Russian submarine armed with four Kalibr missiles is now permanently patrolling in the Black Sea. They indicated that this is in addition to other Russian missile carriers with Kalibr salvos.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported 29 Russian airstrikes and 43 Russian MLRS rocket attacks. Ukraine carried out nine airstrikes on Russian positions.
The next meeting of the “Ramstein” format of Ukraine’s military allies will take place on September 18, according to Defense Minister Oleksi Reznikov.
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