Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Ukrainian forces continued to make advances in and around Robotyne in western Zaporizhia Oblast as of August 22 amid indications that Russian forces likely have a limited presence in the settlement.

  • Russian forces appear to be concentrating their limited available reinforcements from elsewhere in the theater in the Orikhiv direction in western Zaporizhia Oblast.

  • Ukrainian offensive operations in other sectors of the front remain important because they can fix Russian units in place and prevent further lateral reinforcements. Criticisms of continued Ukrainian efforts in other sectors and calls for Ukraine to concentrate all available reserves on a single axis are thus problematic.

  • The Ukrainian advance in the Robotyne area brings Ukrainian forces closer to launching operations against second lines of defense that may be relatively weaker than the first Russian defensive line in the area.

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  • Russian forces appear concerned about recent Ukrainian advances in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area and in western Zaporizhia Oblast.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated Russia’s unwillingness to renegotiate the Black Sea Grain Initiative until all of Russia’s extensive terms are met during the BRICS Business Forum in South Africa on August 22.

  • Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin may be trying to increase Wagner’s presence in Africa as part of an effort to maintain Wagner as a cohesive and independent organization.

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  • A Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) delegation arrived in Libya on August 22, likely as part of the Russian MoD’s efforts to set conditions to possibly replace the Wagner Group with MoD-affiliated private military companies (PMCs).

  • The Kremlin is reportedly planning to cancel gubernatorial elections in the Republic of Khakassia in order to prevent a Russian veteran’s loss and ensure a United Russia victory, likely demonstrating the Kremlin’s concern over domestic support for the war and the fragility of its veneer of electoral legitimacy.

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  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, in the western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia on August 22 and advanced in certain areas.

  • Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations on at least two sectors of the front on August 22 and made advances near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast.

  • Russian authorities continue their campaign of religious persecution in occupied Ukraine.

Authors: Nicole Wolkov, Angelica Evans, Christina Harward, Kateryna Stepanenko, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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