Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Ukrainian military officers offered notably frank and direct commentary about the prospects of further Ukrainian advances in western Zaporizhia Oblast and indicated that the series of prepared Russian defensive positions immediately ahead and further south of the Ukrainian advance may be less challenging to Ukrainian forces.

  • Ukrainian military officials particularly noted that advancing Ukrainian forces can operate more freely in areas with sparser Russian minefields.

  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations and advanced near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast on September 3.

  • Several Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continue to operate on the left (east) bank of the Dnipro River in occupied Kherson Oblast.

  • Russian forces conducted a series of drone strikes targeting Ukrainian port infrastructure in Odesa Oblast on September 3.

  • The Russian military appears to be recruiting personnel at scale through ongoing crypto-mobilization efforts, although the quality and allocation of these new servicemembers remain unclear.

  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, in western Donetsk, in the western Donetsk–eastern Zaporizhia border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and advanced in some areas on September 3.

  • Russian law enforcement is patrolling and guarding polling stations in occupied Ukraine to prevent citizens from expressing opposition to the elections and recording the voting process.

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Authors: Riley Bailey, Christina Harward, Grace Mappes, Nicole Wolkov, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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