November 29, 2023

Institute for the Study of War: fifty Russian troop casualties on East Bank of the Dnipro river in October in Russian minefields

Institute for the Study of War

The apparent Russian failure to establish a cohesive command structure among forces defending on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast continues to degrade Russian morale and combat capabilities. The Ukrainian General Staff reported on November 29 that elements of the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade (Black Sea Fleet) operating near Krynky (30km northeast of Kherson City and 2km from the Dnipro River) are refusing to conduct assaults on Ukrainian positions due to a lack of artillery coordination, tactical intelligence transmission, and proper communication about the location of Russian minefields. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that maps of the Russian minefields are classified and that Russian commanders have not properly coordinated with assault units about the locations of these minefields, leading to 50 casualties among elements of the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade in the last month. Elements of the 810th Naval Infantry brigade arrived in the Krynky area in early October 2023 and appear to have taken over responsibility for the immediate Krynky area from elements of the newly created 18th Combined Arms Army (CAA) following the start of Ukrainian ground operations on the east bank of the Dnipro in mid-October 2023. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that the 18th CAA’s 28th Motorized Rifle Regiment is currently operating in Pishchanivka (14km east of Kherson City and 3km from the Dnipro River). Additional elements of the 18th CAA and the 7th Airborne (VDV) Division reportedly hold positions in near rear areas on the east bank, and the joint command of these formations is likely overseeing much of the current Russian response to the Ukrainian ground operations on the east bank. The reported minefield incident suggests that the command of the 18th CAA did not share relevant tactical details with the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade’s command, suggesting that higher-level Russian commanders responsible for the defense of the east bank have yet to remedy this failure in coordination.

Key Takeaways:

  • The apparent Russian failure to establish a cohesive command structure among forces defending on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast continues to degrade Russian morale and combat capabilities.
  • The Russian “Dnepr” Grouping of Forces is increasingly comprised of disparate elements of recently transferred and degraded units and new formations, which may be contributing to this apparent lack of cohesive command structure.
  • Russian authorities plan to extend criminal liability for crimes against the law on military service to participants in volunteer formations, a measure that would impact many irregular military formations and personnel on which the Russian military relies for manpower in Ukraine.
  • Russian officials proposed laws that would restrict the actions of foreign citizens in Russia, likely to support continued efforts to coerce migrants into Russian military service.
  • The NATO-Ukraine Council (NUC) met at the foreign minister-level for the first time on November 29 and discussed steps to increase weapons and ammunition production.
  • Poland is reportedly considering sending military advisors to Finland in response to Russia’s ongoing attempts to artificially create a migrant crisis on the Finnish-Russian border as part of a known Russian hybrid warfare tactic meant to destabilize NATO and the EU.
  • The Russian Foreign Ministry (MFA) formally announced Russia’s termination of a nuclear reduction pact with Japan on November 28.
  • Russia’s efforts to generate combat power via recruitment from Central Asian countries may become a source of tension in Russia’s relationship with its Central Asian neighbors.
  • Adam Kadyrov, younger son of Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov, will reportedly “oversee” the newly formed “Sheikh Mansur” volunteer battalion in a new unspecified position, possibly further indicating Ramzan Kadyrov’s desire for Adam to succeed him as head of Chechnya.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast but did not make any confirmed advances.
  • Russian Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) Head and Duma Deputy Leonid Slutsky proposed a bill on November 28 that would grant war correspondents “combat veteran” status and associated social support benefits.
  • Russian authorities continue efforts to erase Ukrainian culture and identity in occupied Ukraine.

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