October 11, 2023

Institue for the Study of War: Ukraine gains ground in Western Zaporizhia and near Bakhmut

Institute for the Study of War

Ongoing localized Russian offensive operations near Avdiivka likely demonstrate the ability of Russian forces to learn and apply tactical battlefield lessons in Ukraine. Russian forces launched localized attacks towards Avdiivka after intensive artillery preparation of the battlefield in the early hours of October 10, and geolocated footage from October 10 and 11 confirms that Russian troops advanced southwest of Avdiivka near Sieverne and northwest of Avdiivka near Stepove and Krasnohorivka. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that a grouping of up to three Russian battalions with tank and armored vehicle support intensified offensive operations near Avdiivka. Ukrainian General Staff Spokesperson Andrii Kovavlev clarified that these battalions are part of three motorized rifle brigades of the Southern Military District’s 8th Combined Arms Army.

Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and reportedly advanced in both sectors of the front on October 11. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces were successful east of Klishchiivka and Andriivka near Bakhmut. The Ukrainian General Staff and Tavriisk Group Commander Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi reported that Ukrainian forces improved their tactical positions west of Robotyne.

A large number of NATO member states recently announced aid packages to Ukraine against the backdrop of the 16th Ukraine Defense Group Contact Group meeting in Brussels, Belgium on October 11. Military and government officials from almost 50 countries met in Brussels, Belgium on October 11 for the beginning of the Contact Group on Defense of Ukraine, and multiple NATO states pledged aid and support to Ukraine. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin notably announced a new $200 million aid package on October 11, which includes AIM-9 missiles for a surface-to-air defense system that the United States will soon deliver to Ukraine. He stated that “the United States will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.” German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius also announced a €20 million aid package on October 10 that includes 10 Leopard tanks.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ongoing localized Russian offensive operations near Avdiivka likely demonstrate the ability of Russian forces ability to learn and apply tactical battlefield lessons in Ukraine. These tactical-level adaptations and successes, however, are unlikely to necessarily translate into wider operational and strategic gains for Russian forces.
  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and reportedly advanced in both sectors of the front on October 11.
  • A large number of NATO member states recently announced aid packages to Ukraine against the backdrop of the 16th Ukraine Defense Group Contact Group meeting in Brussels, Belgium on October 11.
  • Russia’s Federation Council Defense and Security Committee voted to replace Senator Viktor Bondarev with Senator Vladimir Bulavin as Federation Council Defense and Security Committee Head on October 10.
  • Russian military command continues to celebrate the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade (Black Sea Fleet) for its service in Ukraine, despite claims that the brigade was defeated and reportedly transferred to the Kherson direction.
  • Armenia continues to ostensibly distance itself from Russia after a decades-long security relationship.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, in western Donetsk Oblast, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and advanced in some areas on October 11.
  • Russian opposition outlet Sever Realii reported on October 11 that Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) representatives may have recruited over 1,000 convicts to serve in the Russian MoD-affiliated Redut private military company (PMC).
  • Russian occupation authorities are suffering staff shortages at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP).
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