Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • ISW is now prepared to assess that Ukrainian forces have broken through Russian field fortifications west of Verbove in western Zaporizhia Oblast.
  • Ukrainian forces have not overcome all prepared Russian defensive positions near Verbove.
  • Ukrainian forces are deepening their penetration in Zaporizhia Oblast and are assaulting Novoprokopivka – a frontline village 1.5 km immediately south of Robotyne.
  • Ukrainian military officials stated that the Ukrainian counteroffensive would continue in the winter.
  • The Ukrainian counteroffensive in western Zaporizhia Oblast has likely destroyed the Russian 810th Naval Infantry Brigade (Black Sea Fleet).
  • A senior Ukrainian official explicitly confirmed that Ukraine’s objective in Bakhmut is to fix Russian forces. Ukraine’s fixing of Russian forces in Bakhmut may be alleviating pressure on the Kupyansk frontline.
  • Ukraine’s simultaneous counteroffensives in Bakhmut and southern Ukraine are impeding Russia’s long-term force generation efforts as Russia redeploys its new reserves to defend against Ukrainian advances.
  • A Ukrainian intelligence chief stated that the September 22 Ukrainian strike on the Russian Black Sea Fleet (BSF) Command headquarters in Sevastopol injured senior Russian commanders.
  • Russian forces conducted a series of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine on the night of September 22 to 23.
  • Zaporizhia Oblast occupation governor Yevgeny Balitsky appointed former Roscosmos (Russian space agency) head and ultranationalist figure Dmitry Rogozin as a Russian Federation Council senator representing occupied Zaporizhia Oblast
  • A Russian insider source argued that the Russian military should reintroduce military officers for political affairs (zampolits) to address the Russian military’s problems with political and ideological commitment– a problem that Russian military thinkers identified in September 2018.
  • Disjointed Wagner Group contingents reportedly returning to fight in Ukraine are likely to have a marginal impact on Russian combat capabilities without bringing the full suite of effectiveness Wagner had had as a unitary organization under financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin’s and founder Dmitry Utkin’s leadership.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, in western Donetsk Oblast, in the western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast but did not make any confirmed advances on September 23.
  • Russian authorities are reportedly embezzling funds from military facilities near the border of Ukraine.
  • Russian government programs continue to forcibly deport children in occupied Ukraine to Russia.

Authors: George Barros, Kateryna Stepanenko, Christina Harward, Nicole Wolkov, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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