January 5, 2024

Institute for the Study of War: Russian troops preparing offensive against Kupyansk, near Kharkiv

Institute for the Study of War

Russian forces may intensify efforts to capture Kupyansk, Kharkiv Oblast, in the coming weeks and have a grouping of forces in the area that appears to be less degraded than Russian groupings responsible for offensive efforts elsewhere in eastern Ukraine. Russian forces appear to have conditions conducive to intensifying operations in the Kupyansk direction (Kharkiv-Luhansk oblast area) with the intent of making territorial gains in areas that are more operationally significant than other areas that Russian forces are currently attempting to seize. Ukrainian officials have stated that Russian forces aim to capture Kupyansk and Borova (35km west of Svatove) during winter 2024. Russian seizure of those towns would likely force Ukrainian forces off the east bank of the Oskil River in Kharkiv Oblast and set conditions for future Russian offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line. The tempo of Russian operations in the Kupyansk direction and the apparent configuration of Russian forces in occupied Luhansk and Kharkiv oblasts overall does not indicate an impending Russian offensive effort along the entire Kupyansk-Lyman line (Kharkiv-Luhansk-northeastern Donetsk oblast area), similar to the failed Russian offensive effort in northeastern Ukraine in winter-spring 2023. Russian forces likely have not accumulated enough forces in Belgorod Oblast to support launching large-scale offensive operations elsewhere in northern or northeastern Kharkiv Oblast as of this writing.

Key Takeaways:

  • Russian forces may intensify efforts to capture Kupyansk, Kharkiv Oblast, in the coming weeks and have a grouping of forces in the area that appears to be less degraded than Russian groupings responsible for offensive efforts elsewhere in eastern Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted a series of drone and missile strikes against Russian targets in occupied Crimea and Krasnodar Krai on the night of January 4 to 5.
  • Russian forces conducted Shahed 131/136 drone strikes and missile strikes against frontline areas in Ukraine overnight on January 5.
  • Germany announced a new military assistance package to Ukraine on January 4.
  • The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will convene on January 10 and discuss Russia’s reported use of North Korean ballistic missiles in Ukraine, a likely violation of UNSC resolutions.
  • Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov strangely offered to exchange 20 Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) for lifting sanctions against his family members.
  • The Moscow Arbitration Court ordered Google to unblock four YouTube channels belonging to Russian state-affiliated channel 5TV on January 5, likely as part of an ongoing effort to consolidate control over the Russian information space ahead of the March presidential elections.
  • Russian forces made a confirmed advance near Avdiivka as positional engagements continued along the entire frontline.
  • International sanctions are reportedly impeding Russia’s Su-34 aircraft production.
  • The Kremlin continues to solidify federal administrative oversight of local and regional occupation administrations in occupied Ukraine.

For full report:

https://understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-january-5-2024 

Share the Post: