Date: 14 August 2023 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński

Ukrainian Counteroffensive Advancing Slowly in South and Bakhmut Direction

Two months into the long-awaited counteroffensive, Ukrainian forces have not made any substantial gains on the frontline. The Russians had to withdraw on several sections along the frontline. Ukrainian forces have retaken the biggest swathes of territory around Bakhmut and along the border of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and southern Zaporizhzhya regions. Ukraine’s strategy still involves far-reaching wariness of personnel and equipment losses and efforts to impair Russian military, materiel, and supply lines behind the frontline.


Ukrainian forces are now launching assaults around Bakhmut (Donetsk province), Berdyansk (between the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhya regions), and Melitopol in the western Zaporizhzhya region. Ukrainian troops had retaken 3 sq km in the past week in the direction of the small eastern city of Bakhmut. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said that 40 square kilometers on the southern flank of the Bakhmut area had already been gained by Ukrainian forces. On August 8, Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut destroyed a Russian communications tower, killing 65 Russian troops and injuring another 120. Ukrainian forces are continuing their offensive in the Melitopol and Berdyansk areas of the southern Zaporizhzhya region. Kyiv’s military has claimed success near Staromaiorskie and Urozhaine between Donetsk and Zaporizhzhya oblasts. Over the last week, small-scale combat has intensified along the banks of the lower reaches of the Dnipro river. Ukrainian forces have carried out raids and tried to gain a foothold at new locations on the Russian-occupied east bank, the UK defense ministry reported. Unequipped with armored vehicles, small Ukrainian units have been deployed there. The latest such attack is said to have taken place on August 8, with Ukrainian forces gaining a foothold near the village of Kozachi Laheri. They are said to have broken Russian defense lines and advanced one kilometer into the Russian-occupied area. By stepping up the attacks in the south, Kyiv probably seeks to force Russia to spread and leave its forces on the Dnipro river. Russia is running a sabotage offensive operation on the border of the Luhansk and Kharkiv regions (the battle of Kupyansk). In addition, the Russians are devoid of reserves, which impairs their defense lines. Kyiv continues its tactics to pound Russian defenses, launch artillery attacks, and deploy guerrillas along back sections of the frontline. On August 13, Ukrainian guerrillas burnt down a military base of the Russian occupiers in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. Two warehouses storing Russian ammunition were destroyed in the temporarily occupied town of Oleshky, Kherson Oblast, during the night of August 12–13. Ukraine on August 12 again tried to strike the Crimea bridge over the Kerch Strait. Russian officials claim that Ukraine unsuccessfully attempted to strike the Crimea bridge with two S-200 missiles, shot down by the Russians. Russian officials in Crimea temporarily halted traffic on the bridge and put up a smoke screen. On August 12, a Russian ammunition depot was blown up in Radensk (Kherson region). On the night of August 11–12, a Ukrainian drone strike caused a blast in a Russian military base near Yevpatoryia, Crimea. The expositions killed or wounded dozens of Russian troops. A series of large explosions on August 9 rocked Crimea, in the peninsula’s west near Sevastopol and Saki, at the Starokrymskyi training ground in the east and in Feodosia, and Dzhankoi in northern Crimea.

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