Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russian state media released and later retracted reports about the "regrouping" of Russian forces on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast to positions further east of the Dnipro River, suggesting that the Russian command and/or Russian state media apparatus has failed to establish a coordinated information line for the Russian response to ongoing Ukrainian ground operations on the east bank.
  • There are three hypotheses of varying likelihood for the release of the now-retracted reports of a Russian regrouping on the east bank of Kherson Oblast: They may be indicative of actual discussions taking place in the high echelons of Russian military command that may have prematurely entered the information space before being officially released by the Russian military; the Russian military command alternatively may have instructed state media to release and then retract these reports as part of an information operation that aims to have Ukrainian forces underestimate available Russian manpower on the east bank of Kherson Oblast; or an outside source posing as the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) provided information about the reported “regrouping” of Russian forces on the left bank of Kherson Oblast to Russian state media outlets.
  • Regardless of the causes and circumstances of the TASS and RIA Novosti reports, the reaction to them suggests that events in Kherson Oblast continue to be highly neuralgic in the pro-war information space and emphasizes that the Russian media space still has not coalesced around a singular rhetorical line about what is happening on the east bank of the Dnipro.
  • Ukrainian and Russian sources noted that weather conditions are impacting the battlespace but not halting operations.
  • Ukrainian officials indicated that Ukraine will likely conduct an interdiction campaign against Russian supply routes in the upcoming winter.
  • A Russian milblogger called on actors in the Russian information space to more widely amplify Russian strikes on Ukrainian military assets as opposed to Ukrainian strikes on Russian rear areas, indirectly highlighting a unique dynamic wherein the majority of reported Russian strikes seem to affect Ukrainian civilian objects, whereas the majority of reported Ukrainian strikes affect Russian military assets.
  • US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink stated that the 100th civilian ship departed the Black Sea corridor for civilian vessels on November 13, amid continued Russian efforts to deter usage of the corridor.
  • Former Wagner Group personnel are reportedly rejecting Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) recruitment attempts aimed at subsuming Wagner operations in Africa.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and advanced in some areas of the frontline.
  • Ukrainian officials continued to discuss Russian forced mobilization of Ukrainian civilians in occupied areas of Ukraine.
  • Russian occupation officials continued to deport Ukrainian children to Russia under vacation schemes.

Authors: Karolina Hird, Grace Mappes, Christina Harward, Angelica Evans, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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