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Counteroffensive of Armed Forces of Ukraine - Troops advancing near Bakhmut, in the Zaporizhzhia region

Counteroffensive of Armed Forces of Ukraine - Troops advancing near Bakhmut, in the Zaporizhzhia region Ukrainian military (photo: Vitalii Nosach, RBC-Ukraine)

Ukrainian military forces have reportedly continued their offensive actions in the areas near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region and in the western part of the Zaporizhzhia region, report analysts from the Institute for the Study of War.

The report refers to a statement from the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces on September 20, indicating that Ukrainian forces have continued their offensive actions and inflicted significant losses on Russian live forces and equipment in the Melitopol direction (western Zaporizhzhia region).

The General Staff also informed that Ukrainian soldiers continue their offensive actions in the Bakhmut direction and consolidate their positions on new fortified lines.

As reported by the UK Ministry of Defense, Ukrainian forces have taken control of positions in Klishchiivka (7 km southwest of Bakhmut) and Andriivka (10 km southwest of Bakhmut), and the redeployment of Russian airborne forces from Bakhmut to Zaporizhzhia has weakened the Russian defense around Bakhmut.

The ISW experts state in their report that they had previously observed units of the Russian 83rd Separate Air Assault Brigade operating in the Zaporizhzhia region. However, they add that it remains unclear which portion of this unit was redeployed from Bakhmut.

Captain Ilya Evlash, the spokesperson for the Eastern Military District of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, stated that Ukrainian forces are preparing defensive positions in anticipation of the resumption of the Russian occupiers' offensive in the Kupiansk-Lyman direction.

Key findings:

  • Military personnel of the Russian Federation and "war correspondents" have reported that the Russian military command orders troops to carry out "ill-conceived and unsupported" counterattacks on the southern flank of Bakhmut in an attempt to urgently regain lost positions.

  • During the night of September 19-20, Russian forces conducted another round of drone strikes using Shakhed drones on Ukraine.

  • A Russian "war correspondent" has disclosed details about the training of drone operators within Russian reconnaissance groups and their tactics in Ukraine.

  • The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported that on September 18, unidentified saboteurs damaged Russian strategic aircraft at the Chkalovsky airfield near Moscow.

  • On September 20, the Head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, stated that he is in good health, despite rumors of his possible illness or death.

  • Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu met with the Chief of Staff of Iran, Mohammad Bagheri, in Tehran on September 19 to discuss Russian-Iranian military cooperation. This meeting took place a day after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi denied Iran's acquisition of drones from Russia.

  • Russian leader Vladimir Putin emphasized the purported humanitarian efforts of Russian "peacekeepers" in Nagorno-Karabakh, as the Russian information space continues to observe Moscow losing influence in Armenia.

  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the lines of Kupiansk-Svatove, in the vicinity of Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk line, and in the western part of the Zaporizhia region but did not achieve confirmed successes.

  • The Russian Red Cross noted that the full-scale invasion of Russia into Ukraine, especially efforts related to partial mobilization in the autumn of 2022, has led to a deterioration of the mental health of many Russians.

  • The Russian and occupation authorities continue their attempts to deport Ukrainian children to Russia and "integrate" them into Russian culture.