Război în Ucraina. Update 14 August 2022

ISW

Russian and proxy troops in Ukraine are likely operating in roughly six groups of forces oriented on Kharkiv City and northeastern Kharkiv Oblast; along the Izyum-Slovyansk line; the Siversk-Lysychansk area; Bakhmut; the Avdiivka-Donetsk City area; and Southern Ukraine. The Kharkiv City and Siversk-Lysychansk groups are likely built around cores drawn from the Western and Central Military Districts respectively. The Izyum-Slovyansk axis is increasingly manned by recently formed volunteer battalions that likely have very low combat power. Wagner Group private military company (PMC) soldiers are in the lead around Bakhmut, while forces drawn from the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) predominate in the Avdiivka-Donetsk City area. Troops from the Southern Military District (SMD) likely formed the original core of forces in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts but have been reinforced with troops of the Eastern Military District, Airborne Forces, and Rosgvardia. None of these groupings is homogeneous—elements of various military districts, proxy forces, volunteer units, and other formations are scattered throughout the theater. 

These dispositions suggest that Moscow is prioritizing the advance around Bakhmut and, possibly, toward Siversk with its Russian forces while seeking to draw on the enthusiasm of DNR forces to seize ground they have failed to take since 2014 on the Avdiivka axis. The high concentration of volunteer battalions around Izyum and Slovyansk suggests that that area is not a focus of Russian attention and may be vulnerable to Ukrainian counterattacks. The congeries of forces in and around Kherson Oblast may pose significant challenges to Russian command and control, especially if Ukrainian forces press a counteroffensive there.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian and proxy troops in Ukraine are operating in roughly six force groupings.
  • Russian forces conducted ground attacks north of Kharkiv City, northwest of Slovyansk, east of Siversk, and made unspecified gains around Bakhmut.
  • Ukrainian forces reportedly struck a Wagner force concentration in Popasna, Luhansk Oblast, inflicting casualties.
  • Forty-two states called on Russian forces to withdraw from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Enerhodar, just two to four hours before another strike hit Enerhodar.
  • Ukrainian forces struck the Antonivsky road bridge, likely keeping all three road bridges to and on the right bank of the Dnipro inoperable to heavy equipment.
  • Russian military recruitment and enlistment centers continue to face challenges in incentivizing Russians to sign military service contracts.
  • Russian occupation authorities continued rubleization measures and civilian data collection in occupied territories to set conditions for annexation referenda.

Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine

Subordinate Main Effort—Southern Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk Oblasts (Russian objective: Encircle Ukrainian forces in Eastern Ukraine and capture the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)

Russian forces conducted a limited ground attack northwest of Slovyansk on August 14. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian troops tried to break through Ukrainian defensive lines in Dolyna, about 20km northwest of Slovyansk along the E40 Izyum-Slovyansk highway.[25] Russian forces continued artillery strikes between Izyum and Slovyansk, particularly along the Kharkiv-Donetsk Oblast border near Krasnopillya, Dibrovne, Kurulka, and Bohorodychne.[26]

Russian forces conducted several ground attacks around Siversk on August 14. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that Russian troops conducted reconnaissance-in-force operations near Serebryanka (11km northeast of Siversk) and Vesele (21km southeast of Siversk).[27] Russian forces additionally attempted to advance from Spirne and Ivano-Darivka, 20km and 15km southeast of Siversk, respectively.[28] Russian Telegram channels claimed that Russian forces have seized checkpoints in Spirne and now control the settlement, but ISW cannot independently confirm these claims at this time.[29]

Several Russian and Ukrainian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted a strike (potentially with HIMARS) on a force concentration of the Wagner Group private military company (PMC) in Popasna (east of the Siversk-Bakhmut line) on August 14.[30] Russian Telegram channels reported that the Wagner Group suffered losses as a result of the strike.[31] The Wagner Group has been active in operations in the Popasna-Bakhmut area specifically and has likely contributed to Russian combat capabilities in this area, as ISW has previously reported.[32]

Russian forces continued ground attacks east and south of Bakhmut and made partial gains in this area on August 14. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that Russian forces had “partial success” in the direction of Bakhmut, but offered no specifics.[33] Russian forces reportedly fought around Soledar and Yakovlivka, both within 15km northeast of Bakhmut along the T1302 Bakhmut-Lysychansk highway.[34] Russian forces also continued fighting southeast of Bakhmut around Vershyna (15km southeast of Bakhmut), Kodema (20km southeast of Bakhmut), and Zaitseve (10km southeast of Bakhmut).[35] Russian sources claimed that Russian troops are advancing from positions in Vershyna towards the outskirts of Zaitseve and will continue to push north towards Bakhmut from Zaitseve.[36]

Russian forces conducted ground attacks north and northwest of Donetsk City on August 14. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian troops repelled a Russian attack on Krasnohorivka, about 20km north of the outskirts of Donetsk City.[37] Ukraine’s Eastern Command Spokesperson Serihy Cherevatyi notably contested the Russian Ministry of Defense’s August 13 claim that Russian troops had taken full control of Pisky.[38] Cherevatyi stated that Russian forces are still actively fighting in Pisky and towards Pervomaiske (about 10km northwest of Pisky along the E50 highway), but that Ukrainian troops retain control of the town.[39] Cherevatyi’s assertion is supported by geolocated footage of a Russian strike on a building in Pisky, which suggests that the Russians are still targeting Ukrainian troops within the settlement rather than fully controlling it.[40] Russian sources also claimed that Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) troops have begun fighting towards Nevelske, just 1km west of Pisky.[41] While Russian forces likely have not cleared the entirety of Pisky, they are likely consolidating their positions in order to launch further attacks westward.

Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks southwest of Donetsk City on August 14. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces attacked Pavlivka, Vremivka, and Prechystivka, all settlements within about 25km of the Zaporizhzhia-Donetsk Oblast border.[42] Russian troops continued air and artillery strikes in the area between Donetsk City and the southwestern oblast border.[43]

Supporting Effort #1—Kharkiv City (Russian objective: Defend ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Izyum and prevent Ukrainian forces from reaching the Russian border)

Russian forces conducted a limited ground attack north of Kharkiv City on August 14. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled a Russian reconnaissance-in-force attempt near Pytomnyk, about 10km north of Kharkiv City.[44] The Russian Defense Ministry formally claimed that Russian forces took Udy, echoing Russian sources’ August 13 claims, but there is no further evidence to support this claim.[45] Russian forces conducted airstrikes north of Kharkiv City near Pytomnyk and northeast of Kharkiv City near Peremoha and Verkhnii Saltiv.[46] Russian forces continued shelling settlements north, northeast, and east of Kharkiv City.[47] Kharkiv Oblast Head Oleg Synegubov stated that Russian forces struck the Kyivskyi District of Kharkiv City with incendiary munitions on the evening of August 13.[48]

Supporting Effort #2—Southern Axis (Russian objective: Defend Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts against Ukrainian counterattacks)

Forty-two states, including all European Union members, released a joint statement calling on Russia to immediately withdraw from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in occupied Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia Oblast around 0500-0600 ET on August 14, just two to four hours before further strikes hit the city. Ukrainian government sources reported that Russian forces fired six rounds at Enerhodar at 1500-1530 Ukrainian time (0800-0830 ET) on August 14, killing an employee of the NPP.[49] Russian sources accused Ukrainian forces of striking the NPP with foreign-manufactured kamikaze drones, GMLRS rockets, and NATO artillery systems.[50] ISW reported on August 13 that geolocated footage shows a Russian Pion 203mm artillery system operating roughly 11km from the Zaporizhzhia NPP.[51]

Ukrainian forces again struck the Antonivsky road bridge near Kherson City overnight on August 13-14, likely ensuring that all three road bridges into central Kherson Oblast remain unusable.[52] Ukrainian government sources confirmed that Ukrainian forces struck the Antonivsky road bridge and stated that military convoys cannot cross the bridge.[53] Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command stated that Ukrainian forces are continuing to target Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs).[54] Footage of the strikes shows explosions from the Antonivsky Bridge as the missiles likely struck Russian military equipment, ammunition, or fuel transports on the bridge.[55] Ukrainian First Deputy Head of Kherson Oblast Rada (parliament) Yuriy Sobolevskyi claimed that a significant portion of the Russian military command left Kherson City, likely to avoid being trapped in Kherson City if Ukrainian strikes cut off all GLOCs connecting the right bank of the Dnipro River to the Russian rear.[56]

Russian forces did not make any confirmed territorial gains on the Southern Axis on August 14. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported that two Russian airborne detachments of an unspecified echelon attempted a failed ground assault towards Lozove, Kherson Oblast.[57] Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command also reported that Ukrainian forces conducted successful missile strikes on Russian ammunition depots in Muzykivka and Nova Kakhovka, Kherson Oblast.[58] An explosion occurred in the port of Berdyansk, Zaporizhzhia Oblast.[59] Zaporizhzhia occupation official Vladimir Rogov claimed that a failure in fire safety protocols resulted in the explosion.[60] Ukrainian forces have previously struck the port of Berdyansk and partisans have been active in Berdyansk in recent weeks.[61] Russian forces intensified airstrikes along the line of contact in Kherson Oblast, including striking Bila Krynytsa, Velyke Artakove, and Bilohirka, Kherson Oblast.[62]  Russian forces fired on Nikopol, Maharets, and Kryvyi Rih district, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, damaging civilian and critical infrastructure.[63] Russian forces struck residential areas and port infrastructure of Mykolaiv City with GMLRS rounds and continued shelling along the entire line of contact.[64]

Military Land

Day summary:

Russian forces continue to slowly advance in Pisky and towards Bakhmut, where the Ukrainian army prepares for the defense of the city. The other frontlines remain without change, with local clashes only.

 Kharkiv & Chuhuiv direction

  • Russian forces tried to improve its positions near Pytomnyk. The attempt failed.

Bakhmut front

  • Russian forces continue to try and fail to advance in the vicinity of Yakovlivka.
  • The enemy is pushing from the direction of Pokrovske and is about to reach the eastern outskirts of Bakhmut. The battle of the city is imminent.
  • A railway bridge over Bakhmutovka River in Bakhmut was blown up.
  • The enemy tried to advance in the area of Vershyna towards Zaitseve. The attack was repelled.

Slovyansk direction

  • Russian forces attempted to breakthrough Ukrainian lines near Dolyna. The attack was repulsed by Ukrainian defenders.
  • Russian reconnaissance element tried to capture Ukrainian positions near Serebrynka. The group was met with accurate fire and later retreated.
  • Fighting continues in the area of Ivano-Darivka. The enemy attempted to advance from two directions – nearby refinery and Spirne.
  • Russian troops gained full control over Spirne settlement.
  • The enemy attacked Ukrainian positions near Vyimka from the direction of Mykolaivka.

Donetsk Oblast

  • Russian troops captured Novoselivka settlement near Horlivka and tried to advance towards Olexandropil. The enemy’s breakthrough was stopped in the vicinity of Olexandropil.
  • The enemy attacked Ukrainian positions at Krasnohorivka from the direction of Novoselivka Druha.
  • Hostilities continue south of Avdiivka, the enemy tried to advance from the area of Spartak, but is unable to cross the M-30 highway and advance closer to the town.
  • Fighting also continues in Pisky. Russian forces control 80% of the settlement, based on the available footage. Ukrainian troops likely retreated behind the M-30 highway.
  • Ukrainian defenders repelled a Russian attack towards Pavlivka.
  • The enemy tried to advance towards Novosilka from the direction of Storozheve, without success.

Kherson Front

  • Ukrainian forces repulsed a Russian attack towards Lozove. The enemy led the attack from the direction of Sukhyi Stavok.
  • Russian troops attacked Ukrainian positions in the vicinity of Shyroke. The attack was repelled

CNN

Social media videos geolocated to the Russian-occupied town of Popasna show that a base used by the Wagner military contractors was hit by artillery or rocket fire at the weekend. The Wagner group of private military contractors has played an active role in the fighting in Donbas, often deployed as infantry to advance on towns from which Ukrainian forces have withdrawn. The paramilitary group is sponsored by Russia. Serhiy Hayday, the Ukrainian official who is head of the Luhansk region military administration, said on his Telegram channel Monday that „the Armed Forces of Ukraine once more successfully worked on the enemy headquarters.”

Geolocated videos show Russian forces moving through an industrial plant on the edge of the town of Soledar, a target of Russian attacks for many weeks. In the far north of Ukraine, the Sumy regional military administration reported a sharp uptick in cross-border shelling of the town of Seredyno. Overall, Russian forces persist with heavy indirect fire in much of Donetsk but have made only marginal territorial gains, the Ukrainian military said.

The Guardian

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said his forces will target Russian soldiers who shoot at or from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. “Every Russian soldier who either shoots at the plant, or shoots using the plant as cover, must understand that he becomes a special target for our intelligence agents, for our special services, for our army,” he said.

Russia’s priority over the past week has likely been to reorient units to strengthen its campaign in southern Ukraine, British military intelligence said on Sunday. The UK Ministry of Defence said Russia also appeared to be intensifying attacks on the eastern Donbas front, in what is likely to be an attempt to ensure Ukraine is not able to concentrate forces in the south against Kherson.

Al Jazeera

  • The exiled mayor of Enerhodar, where the Zaporizhzhia plant is located, said on Telegram on Sunday the city had been shelled from the suburbs, causing civilian casualties. Local Russian-installed official Vladimir Rogov wrote on Telegram on Saturday that Ukrainian forces were shelling the plant.
  • Russia, in a daily briefing, said it had taken control of Udy, a village in the eastern Kharkiv region.
  • Particularly heavy fighting has focused on the village of Pisky, near Donetsk airport, the British Ministry of Defence said in its daily intelligence bulletin on Twitter.

Surse Rusești

  • Ministerul Apărării al Federației Ruse a confirmat capturarea satului Udy din nordul regiunii Harkov.
  • Unitățile PMC Wagner au stabilit controlul asupra satului Vershina la sud de Artemovsk (Bakhmut). Luptele în această zonă au continuat câteva săptămâni și s-au încheiat cu capturarea satului
  • Dzerjinsk (Toretsk): 300 de naționaliști ucraineni au fost uciși, predarea celorlalți este în curs, satul este cucerit.
  • Până la 40 de naționaliști și 9 unități de echipament militar au fost distruse de lovituri de înaltă precizie ale Forțelor Aerospațiale Ruse în punctul de desfășurare temporară a brigăzii 66 mecanizate în zona așezării DZERZHINSK, Republica Populară Donețk.
  • Ca urmare a loviturilor Forțelor Aerospațiale Ruse asupra acumulărilor de forță de muncă și echipamente militare ale brigăzilor 63 mecanizate ale Forțelor Armate ale Ucrainei în zonele BELAYA KRYNYTSA și BELOGORKA din regiunea Herson, 35 de naționaliști și 15 unități de echipamentele blindate și auto au fost distruse.
  • Până la 200 de naționaliști și 15 unități de echipament militar au fost distruse de lovituri de foc concentrate asupra pozițiilor celei de-a 53-a brigăzi mecanizate a Forțelor Armate ale Ucrainei din zona așezării SRIBNOE din Republica Populară Donețk.
  • În zonele așezărilor PYPTNOE și PERVOMAYSKOE din Republica Populară Donețk, peste două sute de militari ai brigăzii 56 de infanterie motorizată a Forțelor Armate ale Ucrainei au refuzat să îndeplinească misiuni de luptă și și-au părăsit în mod arbitrar poziții din cauza pierderilor grele. Așadar, în al treilea batalion al acestei brigăzi, care a activat în zona MARYINKA, din 580 de persoane aflate pe statul de plată, au rămas circa 140 de militari.
  • Au fost lovite cinci posturi de comandă, inclusiv 43 de brigăzi aeropurtate din VELIKA NOVOSELKA, un grup de artilerie a celei de-a 79-a brigăzi de asalt aeropurtat din zona HOURS YAR a Republicii Populare Donețk, sediul batalionului 247 al brigăzii 127 de apărare teritorială din orașul HARKOV, patru puncte de desfășurare temporară a unităților brigăzii 113 de apărare teritorială în zona ZOLOCHEV din regiunea Harkiv, precum și forță de muncă, arme și echipament militar în 151 de districte
  • În total, de la începutul operațiunii militare speciale au fost distruse: 267 de avioane, 148 de elicoptere, 1.738 de vehicule aeriene fără pilot, 365 de sisteme de rachete antiaeriene, 4.303 tancuri și alte vehicule blindate de luptă, 798 vehicule de luptă cu lansatoare de rachete multiple, 3.298 piese de artilerie de câmp și mortare și 4.888 vehicule militare speciale.

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