Ukraine's military advances further into Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia region – ISW
In the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine's armed forces are moving deeper and deeper into the region and are storming Novoprokopivka, which is located 1.5 km south of Robotyne.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports this.
As noted by American analysts, a video with geolocation published on September 23 shows how soldiers of the Russian 70th Regiment (42nd Motorized Rifle Division, 58th Combined Arms Army, Southern Military District) ambush and kill two Ukrainian infantrymen on the northeastern outskirts of Novoprokopivka.
This video indicates that Ukrainian forces have probably cleared Russian positions between Robotyne and Novoprokopivka.
In addition, numerous Russian sources reported that on September 22, Russian troops repelled a Ukrainian attack on the northern Novoprokopivka. This is the first confirmed Ukrainian ground attack in the immediate vicinity of Novoprokopivka.
ISW also emphasized that Ukrainian troops did not overcome all Russian defensive positions near Verbove. The speed of the advance of Ukrainian troops in the breakthrough area remains unknown.
"Russian forces likely still control segments of the long trench line of Russian fighting positions between Robotyne (10km south of Orikhiv) and Verbove, especially near the tactical high ground to the south. Russian forces have reportedly established prepared fighting positions in almost every tree line that Ukrainian infantry are slowly and systematically fighting through.
Russian forces have more field fortifications beyond Verbove; for example, there are more anti-vehicle trenches and fighting positions north of Ocheretuvate (26km southeast of Orikhiv).
It is unclear the extent to which those positions are manned, however. ISW continues to assess that the Russian military does not have sufficient forces deployed to this sector of the front to completely man its defenses in depth and that the Ukrainian troops should be able to operate through Russian field fortifications more rapidly if they are not properly manned," the Institute for the Study of War noted.
ISW Key Findings for September 23:
- Ukrainian forces are deepening their penetration in the Zaporizhzhia region and are assaulting Novoprokopivka – a frontline village 1.5 km immediately south of Robotyne.
- Ukrainian military officials stated that the Ukrainian counteroffensive would continue in the winter.
- The Ukrainian counteroffensive in the western Zaporizhzhia region has likely destroyed the Russian 810th Naval Infantry Brigade (Black Sea Fleet).
- A senior Ukrainian official explicitly confirmed that Ukraine's objective in Bakhmut is to fix Russian forces. Ukraine's fixing of Russian troops in Bakhmut may be alleviating pressure on the Kupiansk frontline.
- Ukraine's simultaneous counteroffensives in Bakhmut and southern Ukraine impede Russia's long-term force generation efforts as Russia redeploys its new reserves to defend against Ukrainian advances.
- A Ukrainian intelligence chief stated that the September 22 Ukrainian strike on the Russian Black Sea Fleet (BSF) Command headquarters in Sevastopol injured senior Russian commanders.
- Russian forces conducted a series of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine on the night of September 22 to 23.
- Zaporizhzhia region occupation governor Yevgeny Balitsky appointed former Roscosmos (Russian space agency) head and ultranationalist figure Dmitry Rogozin as a Russian Federation Council senator representing occupied the Zaporizhzhia region
- A Russian insider source argued that the Russian military should reintroduce military officers for political affairs (zampolits) to address the Russian military's problems with political and ideological commitment– a problem that Russian military thinkers identified in September 2018.
- Disjointed Wagner Group contingents reportedly returning to fight in Ukraine are likely to have a marginal impact on Russian combat capabilities without bringing the full suite of effectiveness Wagner had had as a unitary organization under financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin's and founder Dmitry Utkin's leadership.
- Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, in the western Donetsk region, in the western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and western Zaporizhzhia region but did not make any confirmed advances on September 23.
- Russian authorities are reportedly embezzling funds from military facilities near the border of Ukraine.
- Russian government programs continue to deport children in occupied Ukraine to Russia forcibly.