Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in the Bakhmut direction on September 16 and continued to make gains in the area.
  • Ukrainian advances in western Zaporizhia Oblast have likely forced the Russian command to prioritize the Russian defense there and laterally redeploy elements of a relatively elite formation away from the Russian defense south of Bakhmut.
  • Ukrainian forces also advanced in western Zaporizhia Oblast on September 16 and continued to penetrate the Russian defensive layer that lies ahead of the current extent of Ukrainian advances.
  • Ukrainian forces have likely made a significant tactical breach along a section of the current Russian defense layer in the Robotyne area over the past several weeks that they continue to widen.
  • Russian ultranationalists continued to complain about endemic lying within the Russian military after Russian State Duma Deputy and former Deputy Commander of the Southern Military District (SMD) Lieutenant General Andrei Gurulev voiced similar complaints on September 15.
  • A Ukrainian naval drone strike likely damaged a Russian ship in the Black Sea on September 14.
  • A Ukrainian official confirmed on September 16 that a civilian vessel used the Ukrainian corridor in the Black Sea to reach a Ukrainian port for the first time.
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met in Vladivostok, where Kim viewed pieces of Russian weapons technology on September 16.
  • The Russian military leadership may be removing ineffective air defense officials on the pretext of corruption charges to avoid admitting the failures of Russian air defenses against increasing drone strikes on Russian cities including Moscow.
  • Russian military officials continue efforts to solidify Russia’s relationship with African states amidst changing dynamics on the continent resulting from the Russian Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) efforts to subsume the Wagner Group.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia on September 16 and advanced in some areas.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations in at least two sectors of the front on September 16 and advanced near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast.
  • Russian milbloggers continue complaining about the role of the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) in perpetuating issues affecting Russian military personnel.
  • Russian occupation officials continue efforts to resettle residential areas of occupied Ukraine with Russians.

Authors: Riley Bailey, Karolina Hird, Grace Mappes, Christina Harward, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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It should become known to all Russians resettled in Ukraine that they will get just one choice when Ukraine liberates those areas. Deportation either to Somalia or Sudan.