Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • A prominent Russian milblogger and front-line unit commander claimed that Russian Airborne Forces (VDV) Commander Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky “saved” the Russian 31st Guards VDV Brigade, which was fighting south of Bakhmut, mirroring claims made by a much smaller milblogger about VDV units in western Zaporizhia Oblast.
  • A Russian “Storm Z” assault unit instructor speculated that the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) removed Lieutenant General Andrey Sychevoy from commanding the Bakhmut direction due to his poor performance.
  • Ukrainian forces marginally advanced in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area amid continued counteroffensive operations in western Zaporizhia Oblast and near Bakhmut on October 2.
  • Prominent actors in the Russian information space continue to speculate about the possible future of the Wagner Group under Rosgvardia.
  • Interethnic tensions and claims about the superiority of Chechen “Akhmat” forces over regular Russian forces continue to generate controversy in the Russian information space.
  • Russian forces conducted a small-scale Shahed-131/136 drone strike on Ukraine on the night of October 1-2 after Russian forces conducted a record number of drone strikes targeting Ukrainian grain and port infrastructure in September 2023.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations near Kreminna, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, in the western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and reportedly advanced in some areas on October 2.
  • The Russian “Vostok” Battalion continued to complain on October 1 that the Russian military command is not fulfilling its promises of having the unit fight as a second-echelon force and is not providing state awards.
  • Russian occupation officials continued to transport Ukrainian children to Russia under the guise of educational trips.

Authors: Nicole Wolkov, Christina Harward, Angelica Evans, Riley Bailey, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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