Issue 213, 28 November – 4 December 2022 (Weekly update)
Last week showed some frontline changes as both sides made some territorial gains;
There were no changes in the Kharkiv Oblast;
In the Luhansk Oblast, Ukrainians captured Chervonopopivka and severed the road linking Svatove with Kreminna;
Russian attacks on Soledar and Bakhmut delivered no results;
South of Bakhmut, Russians captured three villages. They may now move north to cut off supplies to Bakhmut from the west;
There were no changes in the Zoporizhihia Oblast. According to Russian sources, Ukrainians accumulated three manoeuvre and five territorial defence brigades in this direction. That’s an insufficient force for a large-scale counterattack, although may indicate an early stage of a build-up;
The situation in the Kherson Oblast remained unchanged. Artillery strikes on the city of Kherson decreased last week;
There were no missile attacks on Ukraine last week, which allowed Kyiv to rebuild its critical infrastructure slowly; Power deficiency remains;
There were no changes in the posture of the Belarusian Armed Forces. However, Saturday’s visit of Sergei Shiogu in Belarus will probably accelerate defence collaboration between the two states.
As expected, although the winter weather slowly sets in, we have seen no significant decrease in the number of attacks last week. Ground attacks may have slowed slightly down, but on the other hand, Ukrainians inched closer to Kreminna while Russians captured three villages south of Bakhmut. Excluding large-scale Ukrainian counteroffensives in Kharkiv and Kherson, these were the largest frontline changes since the fall of Lysychansk in early July. This only speaks about how cemented the frontline is and how difficult it is for either side to break the deadlock.
Freezing temperatures are expected to remain in Ukraine for most of the week, reaching as low as -10 degrees Celcius. After a short thaw that is expected to arrive by the weekend. After a few days with relatively mild weather (around 0 degrees Celcius), the temperature is expected to drop to -13. We continue to maintain that such weather favours Ukraine due to better personal equipment and logistics. At the same time, frozen terrain should facilitate manoeuvre, especially on the Ukrainian side. The next week will test this hypothesis.
Last week delivered no strikes on Ukraine’s power grid, allowing Kyiv to decrease its power deficit and make necessary repairs. Despite these repairs and scheduled blackouts, the deficit still stands at around 20%. We continue to assess that Russian strikes will occur as winter arrives to further pressure Kyiv to enter negotiations. Russians also appear to have changed tactics when it comes to such strikes. Previously, they launched just a couple of missiles per target. Now they send swarms of missiles onto targets, thus saturating the air defence and making it less effective. The downside to this approach is the increased need for missiles. As a result, we could see fewer missile attacks, but they could be more devastating.
On Sunday, the Russian Minister of Defence, Sergei Shiogu, made an unplanned and unannounced visit to Belarus. Upon landing at the Machulishchy Air Base, he met his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin and signed amendments to the 1997 treaty on establishing the Union State (changes pertained to the defence and security part of the document). After that, Shiogu met with Lukashenko, who confirmed Belarusians are providing logistics support to Russian units in BLR. Belarusians also provide instructors to Russians. Both armies train together too. During the meeting, Shoigu stated that the joint regional grouping of forces “already looks like a sort of force that can carry out tasks”. He also expressed hope that from now on the contacts with the Belarusian MoD would be more active and constructive. Although this is speculation, it seems there was a discrepancy between what the Russian MoD wanted and what the Belarusian MoD could deliver. Thus, whatever was signed on Saturday was likely to ensure that there would no longer be friction between the two ministries. The trajectory of events developing in Belarus is negative. The totality of evidence suggests that it is likely that the role of Belarus will evolve. Whether this will include an attack on Ukraine from Belarus and the deployment of Belarusian forces into Ukraine from Russia remains to be seen.
Frontlines in Ukraine with Russian artillery strikes – 28NOV-4DEC 2022
Development of reported shellings since June 9 (Source: Ragnar Gudmundsson)
Ukrainian General Staff reported shellings by city and oblast for the past seven days (Source: Ragnar Gudmundsson)
According to the Ukrainian General Staff, last week saw an increase in Russian artillery strikes across Ukraine. These numbers show an increase in Donetsk, Kharkiv and Sumy Oblasts, while a decline was observed in the Kherson Oblast. The growth was thus mainly observed in areas with heightened ground activity.
One should also note a significant increase in strikes in the Kherson Oblast. Most probably refer to strikes on residential areas on the northern side of Dnipro.
Heatmap with reported shellings, past seven days (Source: Ragnar Gudmundsson)
Military situation in Belarus
The military-political situation in Belarus did not change much over the past seven days. However, several noteworthy events involved the representatives of the highest echelons of power. Their consequences are currently hard to determine, so it is crucial to monitor the situation closely. Despite the limited activity of the Belarusian Armed Forces, the actions of their Russian units were quite visible, also when it came to the deployment of additional Russian ground elements.
Last week, the Belarusian President actively participated in military-related affairs. On Thursday, he met with the highest Belarusian generals to discuss the current situation around the state. After mentioning the purposeful character of the Ukrainian border provocations and dangerous activities of the Belarusian opposition members, Lukashenka praised the Belarusian Army, which managed to restrain potential enemies from using military force against Belarus. That said, he also highlighted the necessity of monitoring the current military developments around the state because of aggressive NATO actions, which continually increase military potential on the alliance’s eastern flank.
A day later, the Belarusian President spoke with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. According to official information, they discussed the current international situation and agenda before the upcoming European Economic Union summit, as well as the issues of bilateral cooperation between Belarus and Russia. The meeting will discuss import substitution, partnership in the science sphere, and presumably the military situation around the Union State.
Lukashenko and the country’s defence minister, Lt. Gen. Viktor Khrenin, discussed the last issue with the Russian Minster of Defence Sergey Shoigu after the latter unexpectedly arrived in Belarus on Saturday. Straight after landing at the Machulishchy Air Base, Shoigu and Kherenin, accompanied by the Secretary of the State Security, Alexander Volfovich, signed a protocol including new amendments to the joint agreement from 19DEC 1997 about the provision of regional security in the military sphere. The meeting and its circumstances indicated a sense of urgency. After the meeting, Shiogu met Lukashenko. The latter expressed satisfaction that Belarusian and Russian service members are training like a single army and are ready to repel any western aggression. He also referred to the information provided by Belarusian special services and claimed that according to their data, the western states are not interested in the peaceful resolution of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict and are ready to fight with Russia to the last Ukrainian citizen. Shoigu expressed his hope that the cooperation between the two states would deepen after the protocol was signed.
Considering the actions of Belarusian political block representatives, on Thursday, the Chairman of the State Military Industry Committee, Dmitry Pantus, took part in the Russo-Belarusian Commission on Military-Technical cooperation meeting in Moscow. He discussed the possibility of producing certain weapons systems in Belarus with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Shugaev.
Over the past seven days, the activity of high-rank Belarusian military officials was surprisingly limited. Despite already mentioned meetings, their presence was reported only during single events. Nonetheless, last week, Khrenin was the most active official. Specifically, on Wednesday, he gave an extensive interview for the Belarusian SB.BY news outlet. Firstly, he commented on the success of official briefings conducted by the representatives of the power agencies and blamed NATO for developing its offensive capabilities in Eastern Europe. According to him, the current alliance activities, such as reconnaissance flights or specific training actions, might suggest that NATO is interested in the military campaign against Belarus.
Nevertheless, Khrenin also noted the strength of the joint Union State grouping, which was already tested in various training activities, and its readiness to fight off potential aggression. Moreover, the Chief of Belarusian MoD spoke about the issue of mobilisation in Belarus. Belarus was learning from the Russian lessons in this regard and will probably adopt new amendments in legal acts on mobilisation shortly.
A day later, Kherenin also spoke during a meeting with Alexander Lukashenko. He underlined the hostile actions of the United States against Russia (and Belarus) and discussed the militarisation of the neighbouring states, especially Poland. According to Khrenin, Belarus can’t get involved in the arms race because it will negatively affect its economy and cause social problems. That’s why the Belarusian military leadership follows the principle of “reasonable sufficiency” and focuses on developing essential aspects of the Belarusian Armed Forces.
Moving onto procurement issues, on Tuesday, new equipment was handed over to the 619th Communications Equipment Reserve Base. The kit included R-142NMB START radio stations, R-185 EPOCH command-staff vehicles, and other specialised hardware complexes (S-10, S-10M, R-244TL). The event was attended by the Belarusian General Staff, Maj. Gen. Viktor Gulevich
One day later, the Head of the Main Organisational-Mobilisational Directorate of the Belarusian General Staff also commented on possible mobilisation in the state. Col. Alexander Shalpuk stated that the current data verification activities are not a sign of mobilisation, but have a planned character. According to him, 70% of Belarusian males liable for the draft have already participated in the data clarification process. Nonetheless, the Belarusian Union of Officers (BYPOL) informed that the Belarusian leadership would introduce an SMS-message summon system and maximally decrease the number of people unfit for military service (by conducting additional health checks) to enhance the state mobilisation capabilities.
Higher-rank Belarusian officers were also involved in the summarising events as the 2021/2022 academic year ended. Such events occurred on Friday and were attended by the legal service’s military and civilian service members under the Head of the Legal Support Department, Col. Sergei Sauta, and by the specialists responsible for physical training and sports in the Belarusian Army. The second event was held in the 56th Communications Regiment and was attended by the Sports Committee Chairman, Col. Anatoly Khanevsky.
Last week, the number of training actions carried out by the Belarusian military formations was limited. However, several readiness reviews were carried out. They were undoubtedly related to the start of the new military academic year. They occurred in the 11th Mechanised Brigade (Monday), 5th Spetsnaz Brigade, 38th Air Assault Brigade and 336th Reactive Artillery Brigade (Tuesday), as well as in the 6th Mechanised Brigade and 120th Air Defence Brigade (Wednesday). What is more, the 38th Air Assault Brigade hosted a showy tactical exercise of the squad-sized element while the helicopter crews of the 50th Mixed Aviation Base conducted planned training flights. Both drills were carried out on Wednesday, a day before the official start of the academic year.
Several military commands and formations hosted hand-to-hand fighting competitions.
Last week, the number of military transfers of Belarusian equipment remained small, but it the kit was more sophisticated. This pertains to the movements involving a GROZA-S electronic warfare complex and an S-300 launcher (Tuesday), as well as two 161A2M radio stations (Wednesday and Thursday) and a single POLONEZ MLR system launcher (Saturday). Two other notable transfers included 30 trucks that were seen on Monday moving from the M8 and R49 highways intersection toward the intersection of the M8 and R21 highway. On Wednesday, an echelon with approximately 25 BMPs and trucks was spotted on the move from Kolodischi Railway Station towards Shabany (Minsk);
The activity of the Russian Armed Forces was quite visible. On Monday, a regimental-sized element of air defence assets (15 Tor-M2) launchers arrived in Belarus. It is likely it belonged to the 1st Guards Tank Army unit.
What is more, the arrival of about seven various planes was reported:
Monday: An-148 (RA-61724);
Tuesday: An-148 (RA-61724);
Wednesday: An-12 (RF-12560), An-26 (RF-90319), Il-76 (RA-76767);
Thursday: Tu-154M (RA-85686);
Friday: Il-76 (RF-86851);
Saturday: Tu-214PU (RA-64529), An-26 (RF-90319);
Not all of these aircraft were used to transport equipment. Official delegations used airframes as well. The departure of all (three) MiG-31K with their Kh-47M2 Kinzhal aero-ballistic air-to-surface missiles should also be noted.
We also need to mention the appearance of the Russian Automobile Inspection and Russian Military Police in Belarus last week. The latter’s deployment should not be surprising because, on Wednesday, three Russian service members reportedly left the Russian assembly area unauthorised. At least one of them was spotted with his weapon in Baranovichi. Their current fate remains unknown. But, at the same time, the Russian Military Police also appeared in Belarus in February during the pre-war build-up of the Russian forces there. This could indicate a sustained deployment of Russian troops in Belarus.
Regarding the Russian forces grouping, on Monday, the representative of the Ukrainian Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine (military intelligence), Yuri Yusov, stated that the risk of another Russian attack from Belarus was relatively low.
Summary of losses
According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, since the start of the war, Ukraine has lost 337 aircraft (+4), 178 helicopters (+1), 2,618 UAVs (+53), 391 anti-aircraft missile systems (launchers?)(+1), 6,983 tanks and other armoured combat vehicles (+135), 909 MLRS launchers (+5), 3,653 field artillery guns and mortars (+33), as well as 7,463 units of special military vehicles (+82).
According to the Ukrainian General Staff, Russia lost (killed) 91,150 personnel (+3,840), 2,922 tanks (+17), 5,892 armoured combat vehicles (+36), 1,908 artillery systems (+11) and 395 MLRS (0), 209 anti-aircraft systems (+1), 281 aircraft (+3) and 263 helicopters (+2), and 1,537 UAVs (+36), 4,479 vehicles and fuel tanks (+67), 16 warships and boats (0) and 163 pieces special equipment (+2).
Numbers provided by the Ukrainian General Staff continue to show Russians losing around a bridge worth of men a week. These losses are primarily caused by artillery fire and are thus impossible to verify. We nevertheless assess that these figures are overestimated. We nevertheless assess that these figures are overestimated. Despite daily attacks on Russian air defence sites, only one air defence system was destroyed last week.
The number in parentheses denotes a weekly change.
The situation at selected axes and directions
Ukrainians maintain the initiative in the Kharkiv/Luhansk Oblast, and there is increasing evidence that they made some progress in one part of the front last week.
Starting with the Kharkiv Oblast, we understand that many positional battles are ongoing east of Dvorchina. Artillery exchanges occur daily as well. Despite this, neither side reported progress last week as both are focused on the situation between Svatove and Kreminna.
There were no changes near Svatove. The UGS noted last week that their forces repelled Russian attacks near Novoselivske and Stelmakhivka, some 15 kilometres northwest of Svatove. On the other hand, the Russian MoD stated that a Ukrainian attack was repelled near Kuzemivka (13 kilometres northwest of Svatove). There were no changes in this axis (Svatove) last week. However, the Luhansk Oblast Head, Serhiy Haidai, claimed last week that Russians were building a third line of defence (the first is based on the Oskil River, and the second is set up between Svatove and Kreminna) near Starobilsk. One can assume that Russians consider a scenario where their forces near Svatove give in and will be forced to withdraw to another defensive line. Starobilsk is located some 50 kilometres from where the frontline is now. It had some 16,000 inhabitants pre-war. It is also highly likely that additional forward defensive lines are being set up on approaches to Starobilsk from the west. It is also clear that the Russian approach is to fortify cities and force Ukrainians to fight for them. So far, this has not worked. Ukrainians “refuse” to conduct offensive urban operations, probably due to difficulty in the conduct and the high likelihood of heavy losses. Instead, they are trying to create conditions that would force Russians out of the city by capturing neighbouring settlements and generating encirclements.
Russian sources claimed last week that Ukrainians severed the P-66 road linking Svatove and Kreminna by capturing Chervonopopivka. We now consider the village to be under Ukrainian control. This opens up two possibilities for Ukrainians — the first looks at attacking Russian units near Kreminna and Rubizhne from the rear. The second looks at an attack up north towards Svatove, but Baranykivka. This option would allow Ukrainians to omit a 50 km-long defensive line from Kulykivka to Novooleksandrivka, thus rendering it useless.
Last week, a Russian source claimed that Ukrainians ran out of artillery ammunition and pieces in the Luhansk Oblast. Success near Chervonopopivka contradicts these claims.
Frontlines in the Kharkiv and Luhansk Oblasts with Russian artillery strikes, 28NOV-4DEC 2022
Donetsk Oblast Direction
In the last weekly summary, we noted that “Operationally, Russians and their proxy forces continue to maintain the initiative in the Donetsk Oblast, from Bilohrivka to areas south of Donetsk City”. Over the past several days, Russians broke through Ukrainian defences south of Bakhmut. Attackers probably captured three villages within a few days, a tempo that was not seen since the fall of Lysychansk in early July. Despite this, the impact of these gains is unlikely to translate to operational changes across the battlefields in the Donetsk Oblast.
As we have noted many times here, one of the biggest Russian weaknesses during spring-summer was a lack of personnel who could exploit gaps in Ukrainian defences and pursue withdrawing Ukrainian forces when a defensive line was pierced. Now, given the personnel numbers deployed to the frontlines through mobilisation, this problem has been mainly addressed. However, the attacking forces currently lack armoured vehicles and appropriate logistics to support their deployment in the field. Consequently, Russians’ tempo of advance will be limited, and their ability to benefit from breakthroughs will be constrained.
This does not preclude Moscow from making new territorial gains, but one cannot expect these advances to significantly impact the overall situation.
Let’s look at last week’s Russian performance in more detail.
Both sides reported continued attacks on Spirne, but Ukrainian defences did not break. There was also a reported attack on Ukrainian positions in Verkhn’okam’yans’ke, meaning Russians could only be one village away from reaching Spirne.
Secondly, some reports claimed that Yakovlivka had fallen. Russians could thus now control the entire Bakhmut-Spirne highway. Secondly, taking over the city would allow Russians to extend their attacks on Soledar to include the northeast axis and attacks from the east that they have been pursuing for months.
Russians made no gains near Bakhmut. On the contrary, reports last week claimed that a Ukrainian counterattack pushed Russians two kilometres from Bakhmut on the southern axis. We noted last week that such an attack was developing and involved two Ukrainian mechanised brigades. Although the exact size of the Ukrainian force in this area, including reinforcements, is unclear. However, we know the Russian attacks on the city are very infantry-centric and heavily artillery reliant. Our sources in Bakhmut claim that Russians use no tanks due to a threat posed by Ukrainian ATGM teams and difficulties operating in an urban setting. In this case, the only workable Russian solution in the city would be to overwhelm Ukrainian positions with men and continue to attire Ukrainian defenders. The second approach has hardly worked.
However, last week, Russians captured Kurdyumivka, Ozarianivka, and Zelenopillya, some 10 kilometres southwest of Bakhmut. Russian units may now try to move north along the Donets-Donbas Canal, hoping to reach Klishchiivka-Ivanivske to cut off Bakhmut from supplies (T0504 road linking Bakhmut with Kostyantynivka) and Ukrainian forces operating in areas south of Bakhmut. This development would also allow Russians to semi-encircle the city.
Further south, the situation is less clear. Russians continued attacks in the Donetsk-Avdiivka and Donetsk-Pavlivka directions. There were no changes near Avdiivka. All Russian attacks were repelled as Russians made no progress in this area for weeks.
According to the Ukrainian General Staff, Ukrainians repelled attacks near Nevelske, Krasnohorivka, and Marinka. The status of Marinka is especially vague. There are battles ongoing in the settlement. However, we do not know how they are progressing. The consensus appears to be that Russians control around 50-70% of the city.
Ukrainian positions near Nevelske are reportedly heavily fortified, and Russians struggle to pierce through them.
According to Russian reports, Ukrainians tried to retake Pavlivka, south of Vuhledar, but these attempts were forestalled by Russian units deployed in the village or whatever was left of it.
Frontlines in the Donetsk Oblast with Russian artillery strikes, 28NOV-4DEC 2022
The Zaporizhzhia Direction saw no frontline changes last week.
There were some positional battles across the frontline but no territorial control shifts. Both sides also exchanged artillery fire daily along the line of contact.
Secondly, we are now seeing tit-for-tat accusations about which side is preparing an attack in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Two weeks ago, Ukrainians claimed that Russians were building up their forces to push farther north. In contrast, some Russian sources claimed last week that Ukrainians were accumulating their formations to launch a counterattack. To this end, Kyiv had reportedly redeployed three manoeuvre bridges and five territorial defence brigades. To compare, the initial counterattack that turned into a counteroffensive in the Kharkiv Oblast in late in early September involved two mechanised brigades but ultimately included 12 brigades, both manoeuvre and territorial defence.
Consequently, we still need to see more forces moving into the area to consider this development a build-up with an offensive intent. After all, Ukrainian forces’ current task in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast can only be focused on defensive measures and deterring any Russian large-scale operation.
In the meantime, the number of Ukrainian high-precision strikes on Russian targets in the region increased last week.
In particular, according to the UGS, Ukrainians struck:
– Concentration area near Kamyanske that wounded 100 Russian personnel;
– Terpinna and Yakymivka, killing dozens and destroying hundreds of equipment pieces; and
– Polohy, Myrne, Yasne, Inzhenerne, Kinsky Rozdory, and Tokmak.
This could be considered strikes to shape the battlefield, especially as in Kherson, the focus is on rear services and C2 to hider supply and command of Russian forces in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
The Ukrainian General Staff noted last week that some Russian forces withdrew from areas between Polohy and Mykhailivka, a claim that Russian sources denied. Such a move would be puzzling. A withdrawal would deprive Russians of depth and allow Ukrainians to manoeuvre freely on the plains of Zaporizhzhia, especially given the terrain constraints posed by the Sea of Azov. At the same time, the withdrawal would open up several roads leading to key cities in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, including Melitopol and Mariupol. Let alone, it would allow Ukrainians to bring their HIMARS systems closer to Russian positions and threaten Russian concentration areas and logistics/rear bases inland.
Last week, the Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Department of the Ukrainian General Staff, Brigadier General Oleksiy Hromov, stated that Russians are holding their reserves in Crimea and the eastern parts of the Kherson Oblast. In particular, Russians had established concentration areas in Crimea near Dzhankoi and Medvedivka. These formations can be used in two directions: Kherson or Zaporizhzhia. Satellite imagery of Medvedivka shows a deployment of around five mechanised, three tank battalions, and a couple of artillery battalions.
Frontlines in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast with Russian artillery strikes, 28NOV-4DEC 2022
Last week delivered no frontline changes in this direction. There were no indications that either side was preparing a river crossing operation. We believe that such an operation is presently beyond Russian capabilities. Due to the complexity of such an operation and given that Russians are outranged in terms of artillery fires in this direction (HIMARS), we do not foresee Moscow attempting to cross the Dnipro River during this winter.
Indeed, according to some of last week’s reports, Russian forces left some areas near the Dnipro River due to Ukrainian artillery strikes. They are also establishing fortifications north of Crimea to hinder any Ukrainian counterattack. Given that any large concentration areas within the HIMARS range are struck at once, Russians will not be able to amass force large enough to undertake a crossing operation across Dnipro.
Secondly, in this direction, the Russian posture is inherently defensive. There are no indications that any offensive operations are being prepared. The limited throughput of the Crimea bridge further compounds the situation. We understand that the rail part of the bridge is still not operable, which significantly limits Russian actions in Crimea and southern parts of the Kherson Oblast. Russians struggle with logistics and supplies.
Russian artillery attacks on Kherson and other cities decreased last week, but civilian areas are still regularly shelled. Russian artillery forces maintain spotters on the southern bank of the Dnipro River, and through there, they direct artillery fire, especially on Kherson.
Ukrainians also guard what is left of the Antonovsky Bridge on the northern side to prevent Russian special forces from conducting reconnaissance activities on the Ukrainian side.
Both sides have redeployed their forces from the Kherson Oblast to other regions in Ukraine. Russians are confirmed to have sent their units to Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk Oblast. Ukrainians appear to have focused mostly on Bakhmut Area and Zaporizhzhia.
Frontlines in the Kherson Oblast with Russian artillery strikes, 28NOV-4DEC 2022
Outlook for the week of 5DEC-11DEC
In assessing the probability or likelihood of certain events, we will use a set of terms followed by the US Intelligence Community.
We have decided to introduce more accountability to our forecasts. Therefore, each weekly update assesses how correct (or incorrect) our predictions were. Here is what we said last week. Please also remember that while we try to remain as objective as possible regarding our performance, the reader will ultimately have to decide how (in)accurate we have been.
Last week’s forecast
“We do not foresee major changes in the Kharkiv Oblast. There is a roughly even chance that Russians will make some minor territorial gains.” This forecast was correct. There were no reported changes in the Kharkiv Oblast. Because we gave a 50% chance that anything will happen, we will give ourselves half a point.
“When it comes to the Luhansk Oblast, we maintain our last week’s assessment. There is a roughly even chance that Ukrainians inch closer towards Svatove. However, we assess that they will unlikely reach the city next week.” Same as above, the forecast was correct. Ukrainians may have made minimal progress near Svatove, but no developments have been officially confirmed.
“Russians will likely conduct counterattacks west of Kremmina. Consequently, there is roughly even chance that Russians will recapture some territories in the Kreminna area. We assess it is unlikely that they will capture Bilohirovka.” It was Ukrainians who reportedly made some progress near Kreminna as Russians went into the defensive in the second part of the week. Bilohirovka was never threatened.
“When it comes to Soldedar, there is roughly even chance that Russians will make some territorial gains near the city. Still, it is unlikely that the city will be captured next week.” Russians reportedly captured Yakovlivka northeast of Soledar.
“Russians are unlikely to capture Bakhmut next week. Again we will not make any forecasts about areas surrounding the city because the situation is exceptionally unclear about which side controls which village.” This forecast turned out to be correct.
“We do not foresee major changes in areas around Donetsk. There is roughly even chance that Russians will capture Vuhledar.” We did not foresee Russian attacks near Horlivka, which resulted in three villages being captured by Russian forces.
“Regarding the Zaporizhzhia direction, last week’s reports indicated that Russians were strengthening their presence in the oblast. Although, it is unlikely that they will conduct a major offensive next week.” This forecast was correct, as there were no changes in this direction.
“When it comes to the Kherson Oblast, we foresee no changes. Ukrainians are unlikely to cross the Dnipro River, and are certain to continue their interdiction attacks on Russian bases north of Crimea. Russians are also almost certain to conduct artillery attacks on civilian areas in Kherson and other cities and villages north of the river.” This forecast was correct.
Final Score: 4.5/8
Next week’s forecast
We try to avoid basing our forecasts on the notion that there is a “roughly even chance” that something will happen. However, this week we used this phrase quite a lot. The reason behind it is that the situation is getting increasingly unclear in many frontline areas, and it is currently challenging to forecast any significant changes.
We do not foresee major changes in the Kharkiv Oblast. There is a roughly even chance that either side will make some minor territorial gains.
The situation is complex and difficult to predict when it comes to the Luhansk Oblast. There is a roughly even chance that Ukrainians inch closer towards Svatove. It is likely that Ukrainians will make some progress near Kremmina, but Kyiv is unlikely to capture the city next week. While Russian counterattacks are likely, we do not assess they will be successful.
When it comes to Soldedar, there is roughly even chance that Russians will make some territorial gains near the city. Still, it is unlikely that the city will be captured next week.
Russians are unlikely to capture Bakhmut next week. Again we will not make any forecasts about areas surrounding the city because the situation is exceptionally unclear about which side controls which village.
It is likely that Russians will make additional territorial gains near Horlivka, specifically near Kurdyumivka.
We assess it to be unlikely that Russians will capture Vuhledar next week.
Regarding the Zaporizhzhia direction, last week’s reports indicated that Ukrainians were building up their forces probably to conduct an attack towards Mariupol-Tokmak-Melitopol. However, there isn’t much evidence to confirm these deployments, so we maintain our prognosis regarding Zaporizhzhia. It is unlikely that we will see a major operation in this direction.
When it comes to the Kherson Oblast, we foresee no changes. Ukrainians are unlikely to cross the Dnipro River, and are certain to continue their interdiction attacks on Russian bases north of Crimea. Russians are also almost certain to conduct artillery attacks on civilian areas in Kherson and other cities and villages north of the river.