· Ukraine advancing on southern front near Robotyne, gains foothold in Novodanylivka-Verbove sector.
· Moscow claims it downed Ukrainian drones over Tula and Belgorod regions
· Russia launches missiles from the Black Sea and from the air, targeting at least one civilian facility.
· Kremlin increasingly reliant on limited elite airborne units to fend off counteroffensive.
· Zelensky announces goal to ramp up domestic munition industry.
· Limited changes Monday on the front lines in Donetsk and Luhansk.
· Crimean hospitals “overcrowded with Russian soldiers”
· A captured Russian soldier describes his ordeal to the Ukrainian military.
Ukraine advancing on southern front near Robotyne.
Ukraine said Tuesday that its forces had pushed deeper into Russian defensive lines near the village of Robotyne, a day after claiming control over the village on the southern front.
Military spokesman Andriy Kovalyov said Ukrainian forces were edging further in the Zaporizhzhia region, which Moscow claims is part of Russia.
"Ukrainian forces had successes in the direction of Novodanylivka to Verbove," he told state media on Tuesday, naming two hamlets in the war-battered region.
He added that the troops were holding captured territory and attacking Russian artillery.
Andriy Kovalyov, spokesman for the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, said that the defenders were successful in the direction of Novoprokopivka in Zaporizhzhia region, and are consolidating the achieved milestones! pic.twitter.com/Br73T8Fji9— Slava 🇺🇦 (@Heroiam_Slava) August 23, 2023
Missiles from the sea
Ukrainian officials reported that Russian ships launched four Kalibr cruise missiles from the Black Sea and aircraft launched two Kh-59 cruise missiles from the airspace above the occupied sector of the Kherson Region in the direction of Kryvyi Rih, and that Ukrainian air defenses intercepted all but two of them.
The AFU reported that the cruise missiles struck a civilian industrial facility in the Poltava region.
Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed on Monday that its navy used sea-to-land precision-guided missiles to destroy an ammunition depot in the Donetsk region, including a number of armored personal vehicles, a Krab self-propelled artillery unit and a Grad combat vehicle.
Russian Ministry of Defense Spokesperson Igor Konashenkov claimed Russian forces had repelled attacks by Ukraine’s 82nd Airborne Assault Brigade and 46th Airmobile Brigade in the Zaporizhzhia region, and two attacks in Luhansk on Monday. The Kremlin’s claims have not been independently verified.
By contrast, the ISW reported on Monday that Russian forces conducted offensive operations on the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, and in western Donetsk, and did not make any confirmed advances.
Elite Russian units deployed to recently liberated Robotyne
The Russian military command continues to expend relatively elite Russian airborne forces (VDV) by deploying them to defend vulnerable positions against Ukrainian counteroffensives, the ISW reported.
Intelligence footage gathered over the weekend indicates that the Russian military command deployed elements of the Russian 76th Air Assault Guards Division to reinforce positions near Robotyne, likely arriving from the Luhansk Region. ISW had previously observed that elements of almost all Russian air assault formations are operating in areas where Ukrainian forces are conducting counteroffensive operations.
The ISW projected that the reliance upon and degradation of these forces will likely weaken Russia’s ability to sustain complex defensive operations and almost certainly disrupt any intent to resume offensive operations at scale.
Russia Says Foiled Latest Ukrainian Drone Attacks
Russian air defenses downed Ukrainian drones over the Tula and Belgorod regions, Moscow's defense ministry said on Tuesday, without indicating if there had been damage or casualties.
Two drones "were destroyed" by air defenses over the Tula region south of Moscow, Russia's defense ministry said in a statement on Telegram.
Another drone was "destroyed by air defense forces" over the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, at around 11 pm Moscow time (2000 GMT) on Monday, the ministry said in a separate statement.
Zelensky promises stepped-up domestic weapons production
President Volodymyr Zelensky met on Monday with the Ministry of Strategic Industries (Ukroboronprom) as well as the heads of Ukrainian companies who produce drones, missiles, artillery and armored vehicles, with the goal of increasing domestic production.
“We are maximizing production capacity. Ukraine can do it. Funding is available. Our defense industry will yield better results,” Zelensky said in his daily statement.
Looking at the other side of the front, Ukrainian military intelligence (HUR) believes Russia is replenishing its munitions more quickly than anticipated. Here are the new figures for Russian missile stocks, compared with Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov’s January 2023 estimates:
· 270 Iskander ballistic and cruise missiles (+126 from January).
· 140 sea based Kalibr cruise missiles (+81 from January).
· Roughly 100 Kh-101/Kh-55/Kh-555 cruise missiles (-18 from January).
· Roughly 75 Kinzhal ballistic missiles (+22 from January).
· 150 Kh-22/32 missiles (-12 from January).
Operations - Zaporizhzia Region
Ukraine’s General Staff of the AFU reported on Tuesday morning that it had “achieved success in the Novodanylivka-Verbove sector and is gaining a foothold within the re-captured frontiers.”
According to the Head of the Joint Coordinating Press Center of the Southern Defense Forces, Natalia Humeniuk, Russian forces are retreating in the area.
On Tuesday morning, she said: “Now, as our troops are directly advancing, the enemy no longer has a chance to consolidate the defense that had been breached, so after a while it gains a breakthrough status.
“The very advance of [Ukraine’s] Defense Forces is also very powerful psychological pressure on the enemy, which is also a weapon in the conditions of a hybrid war.”
Operations – Luhansk Region
Russian units attacked Ukrainian positions on the Kupyansk-Svatove line on Monday, and reportedly made limited advances on the frontline. A Russian milblogger claimed that the occupying forces seized two Ukrainian positions in the Synkivka-Petropavlivka sector (9 km northeast and 6 km east of Kupyansk, respectively.
Another Kremlin-affiliate blogger added that swampy terrain and continuous minefields in the Kupyansk direction create serious problems for Russian advances in this area.
Operations – Donetsk Region
Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations near Bakhmut and advanced on Monday. Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar reported that Ukrainian forces had pushed Russian forces out of positions east of Klishchiivka (7 km southwest of Bakhmut) and in the center of the settlement and are continuing to advance along Bakhmut’s southern flank.
Meanwhile, Russian forces conducted offensive operations near Bakhmut and reportedly advanced. The Ukrainian General Staff reported on its Facebook page however that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations near Klishchiivka.
Captured soldier recounts familiar story of Russian blackmail
A 32-year-old Russian captured solder, a private in the 1008th Heavy Assault Regiment, described to his Ukrainian captors how he was given an ultimatum of returning to jail on trumped-up charges or else enlist in the Russian army in order to have his criminal record expunged and be paid 200,000 rubles (about $2,000) for his service.
According to a Ukrinform report on Monday, the soldier had previously served a sentence in a penal colony before he was released. He subsequently reported regularly to the federal penitentiary system, where he was met by Russian military recruiters who allegedly told him he could either go to prison – because they would plant drugs on him, they said – or enlist for service in Ukraine. He said he signed that contract in mid-July. In the end, he said, he had been paid 37,500 rubles ($375).
Colonel General Oleksandr Syrsky, Commander of the Land Forces of the AFU posted a video of the prisoner’s interrogation on Telegram.
The soldier said there was no available drinking water at his position and had to scramble for rations. Coming under assault from Ukrainian forces, the Russian unit was attacked by grenades.
The conscript sustained life-threatening injuries, and his Russian comrades left him behind to be either captured or bleed to death. His Ukrainian captors saved his life, the AFU colonel reported.
Crimean hospitals “overcrowded with Russian soldiers”
Hospitals in Sevastopol are so overcrowded with wounded Russian soldiers, they are being treated in corridors and even dining rooms, according to the Mission of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
Russian military facilities are also suffering from a lack of adequate doctors, the report also states.
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