Issue 274, 8 March 2023

Situational report 08MAR2023

Key takeaways:

  • Russians have probably made some gains in the Donetsk Oblast, especially around Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Mariinka. In other places, their attacks were repelled;
  • No frontline changes were reported in the Kharkiv Oblast;
  • Ukrainian sources also stated that Ukrainian units moved east of the R-66 road near Charvonopopivka;
  • Russians may have progressed near Ploshchanka and Kreminna, but this has had no impact on an overall tactical picture;
  • Russians probably made some gains north of Bakhmut. They also now control the entire eastern part of the city;
  • The attackers also reportedly made some gains around Avdiivka and Mariinka;
  • No changes occurred in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Oblasts;
  • Belarusian military activity was limited on Wednesday, probably due to celebrations of International Women’s Day;

Topography of the Bakhmut area with the frontline

General outlook

On Wednesday, the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) repelled 110 Russian ground attacks.

Russians launched 25 air and two missile strikes and 32 MLRS attacks. At least one of the air strikes involved a Shahed 136 kamikaze UAV, which was reportedly shot down. On the night of 08/09MAR, Russians launched another wave of missile attacks on Ukraine. We will cover this development in Friday’s update.

Russians also carried artillery strikes on towns and villages near the state border. Specifically, they shelled Senkivka in the Chernihiv Oblast, Kharkivka and Atynske in the Sumy Oblast and Strilecha, Ternova, Vilcha and Kamyanka in the Kharkiv Oblast.

Regarding battlefield strikes, on Wednesday, Russian artillery struck Dvorichna, Holubivka, Vilshana, Kupyansk, Kyslivka, Pershotravneve in the Kharkiv Oblast and Stelmakhivka, Nevske, Chervonopopivka in the Luhansk Oblast. In the Donetsk Oblast Russians shelled Novoselivka, Kolodyazi, Dibrova, Berestove, Zaliznyanske, Hryhorivka, Bohdanivka, Bakhmut, Kostyantynivka, Kurdyumivka and Ozaryanivka, Dyliivka, Druzhba, Niu York, Oleksandropil, Lastochkyne, Avdiivka, Vodyane, Pervomaiske, Karlivka and Heorhiivka, Vuhledar, Zolota Nyva, Velyka Novosilka, Vremivka, Novopil. In the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, they hit Hulyaipole, Zaliznychne, Bilohirya, Mala Tokmachka, Orikhiv, Novoandriivka, Kamyanske. Lastly, in the Kherson oblast, they fired at Kherson, Zmiivka, Vesele, Mykolaivka, Olhivka, Lvove, Ponyativka, Mykilske, Antonivka, Zelenivka, and Dniprovske.

Ukrainian Air Force launched 11 air strikes on Russian concentration areas and one on Russia’s air defence site. Ukrainian missile and artillery forces hit two concentration areas and one command post.

According to the Ukrainian General Staff (UGS), Russians have used up the entire stock of artillery ammunition located in warehouses in central Russia. Ukrainians have noted increased ammunition deliveries from other parts of the country, which significantly increases delivery times (We presume they meant eastern Russia in this context, but we are sceptical about the considerably increased delivery time. Given that all movement is done by rail, the delay is probably no longer than 2-3 days). The UGS also noted that the state of ammunition is unsatisfactory due to a violation of maintenance rules and regulations: almost 50% of ammo has visible signs of rust damage. Given the current pace of artillery strikes and the abovementioned state of existing stockpiles, UGS expects the Russian land forces to experience ammunition shortages within the next 2-3 months.

The situation at selected axes and directions

Kharkiv/Luhansk direction

Wednesday delivered no significant changes in the region. No Russian ground attacks were recorded near the state border. However, Russians continued shelling border settlements. According to Oleh Synehubov, the head of the Kharkiv Oblast, particularly hit were Dvorichna in the Kupyansky district and Vovchansk in the Chuhuivsky district, which came under heavy mortar and artillery fire. Regarding ground attacks, Russians again assaulted Russian positions near Hryanykivka but were forced to retreat with losses.

According to Serhiy Haidai, the Luhansk Regional Military Civil Administration Head, Russians attacked Ukrainian positions near Stelmakhivka in the Svatove district, but defenders managed to retain control over the village. Fighting also continued in the Makiivka – Nevske and Kuzemivka – Novoselivske axes. Haidai claimed that Russian forces completely destroyed these villages. Haidai added that Russians achieved no strategic successes in the oblast, which is hardly surprising.

When it comes to ground attacks, no changes were reported in the Svatove direction. As stated above, all Russian attacks near Stelmakhivka were repelled. The same pertains to Novoselivske and Kuzemivka. According to the Centre for Defence Strategies (CDS), the Ukrainian 25th Airborne and the 92nd Mechanised Brigades defeated Russians in the Nevske – Chervonopopivka area and advanced to the east of the R-66 highway.

Ukrainian bloggers noted on Wednesday that Russians made some minimal gains near Ploshchanaka, but this change has had no impact on the battlefield.

Russians may have advanced in the Kreminna area. According to a Russian military correspondent, the attackers progressed slightly towards Zarichne, but no further information was provided as to how deep this advance was. Battles were ongoing in the Serebryansky forest without a reported impact on the frontline.

All Russian attacks on Bilohorivka were repelled on Tuesday.

Donetsk Oblast Direction

Russians may have made some gains near Bakhmut and Avdiivka. The situation near the former continued deteriorating, and Ukrainians became increasingly squeezed in the city.

When it comes to Spirne and Verkhnokamyanske, all Russian attacks were repelled.

Similarly, no Russian advances were recorded near Vasiukivka, Fedorivka and Vesele. The UAF continued to hold their ground in areas north of Soledar. According to the Russian source, Wagner fighters continued to attack towards Zaliznyanske in the western direction. Russians reportedly made progress near Bohdanivka and Hrihorivka. However, no other source confirmed this development.

Another Russian blogger noted Wednesday that Wagner fighters entered Dubovo – Vasylivka settlement. On the other hand, the UGS asserted that all Russian attacks near the village were pushed back.

Regarding Bakhmut, a Russian source stated that Wagner units captured the entire eastern part of the city (east of the Bakhmutka river), which is highly likely true. Geolocated footage showed Russian units some 400 meters east of the river. The Ukrainian withdrawal from this part of the city facilitated this development.

Russians worked on improving their tactical positions on the northern and southern flanks near Bakhmut, as it seemed that no more significant Ukrainian counterattack was coming.

A Ukrainian soldier stationed in the city said that there was a prospect that UAF could hold the town. A scenario of a Ukrainian withdrawal to avoid encirclement was previously discussed. But, it was no longer relevant as Russian assaults had been stopped in several locations, and the attackers were pushed back in some areas (COMMENT: Looking at the overall frontline situation near Bakhmut, it appears that Russians continue to advance and no information is available about even localised Ukrainian counterattacks).

The Ukrainian National Guard reportedly shot down a Russian Su-25 aircraft near Bakhmut.

A Ukrainian blogger said that a small crossing might have been set up near Khromove to facilitate the movement of light vehicles, as the main bridge was destroyed last week.

The Russian source stated that with artillery support, Wagner fighters managed to advance towards Stupochky and attacked Ukrainian positions in Ivanivske. However, neither Ukrainian nor Russian sources reported any changes in this sector. UGS claimed that the UAF repelled all Russian attacks near Ivanivske.

Russians heavily shelled Ukrainian positions in Avdiivka, followed by a ground assault from Opytne and Spartak. However, the attack failed to deliver any changes.

Ukrainians have been actively defending Krasnohorivka over the past several days, but on Wednesday, Russians reportedly captured Vesele. The Ukrainian source noted that the Russians had deployed significant forces in that area. Also, Russians tried to attack in the direction of Kamyanka to cut off the H20 highway, but these attempts delivered no success.

Heavy battles raged near Pervomaiske and Nevelske without an apparent impact on the frontline. Ukrainian bloggers noted that the attackers advanced around 1.2 km from Vodyane towards Siverne.

Russian formations continued their attacks on Pobieda. CDS noted that Russians entered the centre of the settlement. The organisation also claimed that Russians advanced along Druzba Avenue in Mariinka and entered the Ahro Resurs company’s facilities.

CDS claimed that a Ukrainian counterattack in Pavlivka pushed Russians out of the city centre.

According to Oleksii Arestovych, a political and military columnist, after losing 150 tanks and other armoured vehicles, Russians were planning another big attack on Vuhledar.


Zaporizhzhia direction

No significant events occurred in the oblast on Wednesday. The Russians continued attacking towards Novodanylivka and Mala Tokmachka but without any reported progress. The Ukrainian source claimed that Russians saturated the region with mothballed equipment.

Kherson direction

The situation in the Kherson Oblast remained stable. Russians continued to fire artillery on the city of Kherson, damaging civil infrastructure. According to a Russian source, on Wednesday, the UAF moved equipment from Novoberyslav towards Beryslav. The movement of Ukrainian vehicles started after sunset. Russians speculated that Ukrainians could undertake sabotage and demonstrative actions to distract the Russian Armed Forces from the actual goals of the upcoming Ukrainian spring-summer offensive.

There was also a reported Ukrainian operation on the Dnipro River Delta island, but it is unclear what the attack involved and how successful it was.

In response to Russian artillery strikes,  Ukrainians hit Mala Kardashynka, Oleshky, Pischanivka, Krynky, Korsunka and Kozachi Laheri.

Military situation in Belarus

On 8MAR, no noteworthy actions of the Belarusian military-political leadership representatives were observed.

Most Belarusian service members continued their involvement in celebrating International Woman’s Day (it really is a significant event in the post-Soviet space, Poland included). After the official congratulations made by the Belarusian Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. Viktor Khrenin, several military members handed flowers to the woman on the streets. Personnel from the 56th Communications Regiment, 7th Engineering Regiment and 19th Mechanised Brigade also prepared special holiday videos.

On Thursday, there was no information related to the training activities of the Belarusian Army. However, an unspecified number of helicopters conducted several training flights from Machulischy’s air base.

Regarding the Russian Armed Forces, their activity was limited to a single ground transfer.
It included a Russian UAZ Patriot and Gazel vehicles moving in Minsk.

07.03.2023 – Movements

On 7MAR, three transfers of Belarusian military equipment were notable.

This pertains to:

  1. Two ZIL-131 trucks with a MAZ bus that were moving towards Petkovichi from Malinkovka;
  2. Three URAL trucks and two UAZ-396 vehicles that were moving in Minsk;
  3. About seven BTRs and 15 MAZ trucks with two UAZ vehicles that were moving from Korenevka in the direction of Kontakuzovka;

Moreover, several training flights were carried out by helicopters operating from Machulischy Air Base.

The same base hosted flights of Russian helicopters in the morning.
Unofficial sources also reported the movement of a single V-marked Kamaz truck (Minsk) and the presence of a military echelon with 18 Msta-B howitzers (Osipovichi-1 Railway Station). According to available data, it likely arrived from Russia at night.

Lines of advance in Ukraine

Please click here to access the current scribble map and here to access the archive map.