ISW: Russia suffers heavy losses in Zaporizhia

    WORLD  20 September 2023 - 10:13

    Russian losses have reportedly significantly increased in western Zaporizhia Oblast in recent days.

    The Russian military likely struggles with a lack of available combat-effective units that the Russian command is willing to laterally redeploy to this sector of the front, Caliber.Az reports, citing the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). 

    In addition, Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces Spokesperson Colonel Oleksandr Shtupun stated that Russian forces lost 313 personnel (likely a total of killed and wounded) in the Tavriisk direction on September 18, including western Zaporizhia Oblast.

    He noted that this is significantly higher than Russian losses during the previous two days when Russian forces lost roughly 200 personnel each day.

    According to the report, Shtupun stated that Russian Airborne (VDV) forces are conducting defensive operations in the Tavriisk direction (likely in western Zaporizhia Oblast) and that “Storm-Z” detachments with convict recruits have arrived to act as “cover” for VDV units, possibly referring to the need to cover the VDV units during a potential withdrawal.

    ISW has previously observed elements of the 7th Guards Mountain VDV Division and 76th Guards VDV Division conducting counterattacks against Ukrainian forces in the Robotyne (10km south of Orikhiv) area, and ISW has previously assessed that these operations have likely degraded these VDV forces heavily.

    “Storm-Z” detachments are often combat ineffective and will likely provide the Russian defence in western Zaporizhia Oblast with marginal combat power, the ISW analysts added.

    Key Takeaways:

    • The Russian government quickly signalled on September 19 that Russian peacekeeping forces would not intervene in Azerbaijan’s military operation into Nagorno-Karabakh, despite Russia’s previous security ties to Armenia.
    • Russian and Ukrainian sources credited superior Ukrainian combat coordination, more precise artillery fire, and stronger electronic warfare (EW) systems for recent Ukrainian advances south of Bakhmut amid continued discussions of significant Russian losses in the area.
    • Russian forces conducted a series of Shahed-131/-136 drone and ballistic missile strikes on Ukrainian rear areas on September 19.
    • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met with Iranian Armed Forces General Staff Chief Major General Mohammad Bagheri in Tehran, Iran on September 19.
    • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast but did not advance on September 19.
    • Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations in at least two sectors of the front on September 19 and advanced along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line and in western Zaporizhia Oblast.
    • A Latvian company has reportedly been exporting chips and microcircuits to Russian defence industrial base (DIB) companies despite international sanctions designed to prevent Russia from importing such components.

    Caliber.Az

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