November 14, 2023

Institute for the Study of War: Russia steps up its assaults in Eastern Ukraine

Institute for the Study of War

Russian forces are likely trying to regain the theater-level initiative in Ukraine by conducting several simultaneous offensive operations in eastern Ukraine, although it remains unclear if Russian forces will be able to fully regain the initiative as Ukrainian forces maintain pressure on critical areas of the front. Several Ukrainian officials noted that the situation along the frontline is complex but that Ukrainian forces maintain control of the battlespace. Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi stated on November 13 during a conversation with US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Brown that the Avdiivka, Kupyansk, and Marinka directions are the most intense but noted that Ukrainian forces are continuing offensive actions in unspecified sectors of the front. Ukrainian Ground Forces Commander Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi emphasized that Russian forces are pursuing simultaneous offensive actions in several directions and trying particularly to regain the initiative north and south of Bakhmut. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Ukrainian forces are reporting an increase of Russian assaults in the Kupyansk, Avdiivka, and Donetsk directions.

Ukrainian officials’ statements about the current tempo of Russian operations along the frontline are consistent with ISW’s assessment about ongoing Russian offensive operations, particularly in the Kupyansk, Bakhmut, and Avdiivka directions. Russian forces will likely struggle to fully regain the initiative across the theater, however, and Ukrainian forces are continuing their own offensive operations and making tactical-level gains along the front, particularly in western Zaporizhia Oblast and on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast. The Russian military command will likely have to decide whether to keep certain Russian elements on certain sectors of the front to defend against ongoing Ukrainian offensive operations or to redeploy them to support offensive operations elsewhere that will likely culminate without reinforcements. These choices will likely hinder Russia’s ability to fully regain the initiative in the coming weeks.

Key Takeaways:

  • Russian forces are likely trying to regain the theater-level initiative in Ukraine by conducting several simultaneous offensive operations in eastern Ukraine, although it remains unclear if Russian forces will be able to fully regain the initiative as Ukrainian forces maintain pressure on critical areas of the front.
  • Ukrainian President’s Office Head Andriy Yermak stated on November 13 that Ukrainian forces have established a “foothold” on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin approved amendments to the Russian federal election law on November 14 that increase the Kremlin’s control over the conduct of elections and reduce election transparency ahead of the 2024 presidential elections.
  • Russian forces conducted another wave of missile, air, and drone strikes against Ukrainian rear areas on the night of November 13–14.
  • Ukraine’s western partners announced new efforts to continue providing Ukraine with military and financial aid.
  • The Russian government is likely attempting to force Google to cease operations in Russia.
  • Armenia continues to distance itself from Russia amid deteriorating Russian-Armenian relations.
  • Deputy Chairperson of the Russian State Duma Pyotr Tolstoy suggested a measure that would restrict work opportunities for migrants from countries that have not designated Russian as a state language, likely as part of an ongoing effort to coerce migrants into Russian military service.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast on November 14 and advanced in some areas.
  • The Russian government discussed amendments that would more strictly penalize those who evade mobilization as well as volunteer servicemen who “improperly” perform their duties.
  • Russian occupation officials are beginning to announce that occupied areas of Ukraine will not hold significant public Christmas and New Years’ celebrations due to security concerns.
Share the Post: