Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Ukrainian forces continued offensive actions near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast on September 20.
  • Russian servicemen and milbloggers revealed that the Russian military command orders Russian troops to carry out “ill-conceived and unsupported” counterattacks on Bakhmut’s southern flank to urgently regain lost ground.
  • Russian forces conducted another round of Shahed drone strikes against Ukraine overnight on September 19-20.
  • A Russian milblogger outlined Russian reconnaissance groups’ drone operator training and operation tactics in Ukraine.
  • Ukraine’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported that unspecified saboteurs damaged Russian strategic aircraft at Chkalovsky airfield near Moscow on September 18.
  • Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov claimed on September 20 that he is in good health amidst continued speculations about his possible illness or death.
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu met with Iranian Chief of the General Staff Mohammad Bagheri in Tehran, Iran to discuss Russian-Iranian military cooperation on September 19, a day after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi denied Iran’s provision of drones to Russia.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized Russian peacekeepers’ humanitarian actions in Nagorno-Karabakh as the Russian information space continues to observe that Russia is losing influence in Armenia.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast but did not make confirmed gains.
  • The Russian Red Cross (RKK) indicated that the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, particularly partial mobilization efforts in autumn 2022, caused a decline in mental health among many Russians.
  • Russian and occupation authorities continue efforts to deport Ukrainian children to Russia and integrate Ukrainian children into Russian culture.

Authors: Christina Harward, Riley Bailey, Angelica Evans, Grace Mappes, and Mason Clark.

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