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299th Day of the Ukraine-Russia War 19 December 2022

As of today, C4Defence presents a series of articles befitting its publishing understanding and quality to the attention of its readers. (E) Brigadier General Levent Köse will frequently share his research and analysis on the Ukraine-Russia War on C4Defence pages. Köse shared his monthly evaluations of the war in the November issue, and he will continue to do so on a monthly basis.

On the 299th day of the operation, Russia’s offensive in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, and its defence in the Zaporizhia and Kherson regions continue. We are in a day where Ukraine’s offensive to seize the Svatove-Kreminna line in the Luhansk region, its defence in the Donetsk region and the efforts to control the region in other regions continue.

In the Luhansk region, the Russians, who are trying to prevent the Ukrainian attacks and take advantage of the opportunities to seize the whole of Luhansk, are also trying to defend the Svatove-Kreminna line. It is trying to attack with troops such as Russia’s TTG, which is trying to defend this approximately 110 km line with units consisting of soldiers generally mobilized. Ukraine is putting pressure on this line especially in the south of Svatove and in the north of Kreminna and has started to control the Kreminna-Svatove line with fires.  Considering that the distance to the defence line in some places is about 9 km, we think that Ukraine will continue its attacks in this region and try to break the defence line in at least two places and try to break up the Russian defence in this line. The splitting of the Svatove-Kreminna line will make the defence of the region very difficult for the Russians from now on, even impossible when we consider it in winter, since the area behind this line that could be a defensive position is 53 km and they are not occupied.

In summary, we can state that the intensity of the operation in the Luhansk region will not decrease during the winter.  The success of the Ukrainian operation in this region will affect the entire Ukrainian Operations Area.

KUPYANSK-SVATOVE-KREMINNA-SIVERSK BATTLE ZONE

Russia’s efforts to advance to the Ukrainian positions near Stelmakhivka in the north of Svatove and Ploschanka in the south of Svatove were not successful. Another Russian attempt to regain lost positions in the Chervonopopivka region, in the Kreminna region, failed. In the south of the Donets river, it was stated that the Ukrainian forces stopped the Russian attacks in the direction of the Serebryanske sawmill, Bilohorivka, Verkhnokamyanske, Vyimka and Vesele settlements.

BAKHMUT BATTLE ZONE

It was announced that the Russian forces captured the Yakovlika residential area as a result of their long-running offensive in the northern part of Bakhmut. It is stated that the clashes in the Soledar and Bakhmutske regions continue. It is also stated that after the Russians entered the town from the east and south from the Opytne region to seize Bakhmut of 32 square kilometers, the Russians retreated with the Ukrainian counterattacks. Clashes and the Russian takeover of the town continue. The positions prepared by the Ukrainian forces in the streets and buildings in the residential area of ​​Bakhmut almost indicate that they will not easily give Bakhmut to the Russians with the fortifications they have built.

In the south of Bakhmut, the Russians tried to reach the outskirts of Klishchiivka, but they were unsuccessful, and it was claimed that the Russian attacks around Andriivka and Kuryumivka were withdrawn with the fierce reaction of the Ukrainian forces.

Upon the development of the Russian operation in the south, it was announced that the Ukrainian forces carried out a counterattack in the Ozaryanivka region and stopped the Russian advance.

When the counter-attacks made in this region and before in the operation are examined, it is determined as the conditions sought for the counter-attack made in defense, especially in the defense of the position, according to the principles of the blue doctrine,

– Enemy attack stopped or slowed down or taken under control,

– Having the necessary air support for K/T,

– We would like to state that it is not compatible with some of the conditions such as the specified S/T target and the allocation of combat power to combat the enemy force in the entry zone, etc.

They shared information about the findings of the British Ministry of Defence after an interview with the Russian Wagner soldiers captured in the Bakhmut region.

According to this,

– Russian Wagner’s command team developed a special tactic in the conflicts near Bakhmut, they were organized for residential area battles in small-level units such as team-squad-section,

– As part of this tactic, individual fighters are given a smartphone or tablet on which the axis of advance and the target of attack are plotted on a satellite photo,

 -The platoon and higher-level commanders stayed in a position behind and by observing the battlefield from small drones, they gave orders and commanded their unit regarding the operation, those who deviate from the direction face reprisals,

– According to the British, the purpose of this tactic was to use large numbers of prisoners taken into the poorly trained Wagner group, aimed at protecting the scarce resources of the Wagner PMC – commanders and armored vehicles – at the expense of soldiers whom the PMC saw as expendable, according to these tactics the Russians changed near Bakhmut They stated that in places where there is no superior combat power, they try to surround the area and act in smaller groups instead of a frontal attack.

In this way, it should not be forgotten that the Russians fought in smaller units in order to avoid casualties, spread over a wider area, tried to prevent the Ukrainian forces from gaining a force majority in a region, but the operation could be stopped more easily with these small units.

When we evaluate the current situation, we can state that the Russians will not be able to capture the town of Bakhmut for a long time. However, just as the Russians burned that region with fire when their plans were disrupted, it should also be seen that if the Russians increase the violence in the fire attack in the town of Bakhmut, the results can be seen sooner. We would also like to point out that with the fall of Bakhmut, the Russians could primarily direct their operation to the northwest in the direction of Kramatorsk and Slovyansk.

When we evaluate the current situation, we can state that the Russians will not be able to capture the town of Bakhmut for a long time. However, just as the Russians burned that region with fire when their plans were disrupted, it should also be seen that if the Russians increase the violence in the fire attack in the town of Bakhmut, the results can be seen sooner. We would also like to point out that with the fall of Bakhmut, the Russians could primarily direct their operation to the northwest in the direction of Kramatorsk and Slovyansk.

AVDIIVKA -DONETSK BATTLE ZONE

The Russians continue their offensive in the west of Donetsk (from the north in Permovaiske, Nevelske, Krasnohorivka and Marinka region).

Russia’s attempt to seize new positions in the Pervomaiske and Nevelske regions failed in an environment where the attacks in the Avdiivka region stopped and slowed down, Ukrainian troops have stopped a Russian offensive against Krasnohorivka, the Russians have captured or are about to seize the town of Marinka, from the south of Marinka, the Russians’ attempt to advance towards Pobieda was unsuccessful. It was also announced that the Russian offensive in the Novomykhailivka region was stopped. We can state that the first of the Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Marinka attacks, which the Russians wanted to seize and would present as a success, were successful in the Marinka region, but it would take longer to capture the other two.

****In the coming days, we will be able to see that Putin’s meetings with Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko in Minsk are important and maybe a new front can be opened from the north.

 ****The representative of the Main Military Intelligence Presidency of Ukraine, Andriy Yusov, reported that the Russian army received a new batch of Iranian-made unmanned aerial vehicles and continues negotiations with Iran on the purchase of ballistic missile systems.

 ****When the posts originating from Ukraine are examined and as we understand from the statements of the parties during the war, it is seen that the artillery still continues to be the most effective fire support weapon in every combat environment. Moreover, in today’s environment where target detection systems are increasing and very effective, the need for artillery continues and will continue to increase.

We understand that Russia’s operation in the Eastern Ukraine operation area will continue throughout the winter. However, the attacks of the Ukrainian forces in the Luhansk region affect the Russians, perhaps cause them concern.  In order to destabilize Ukraine and to force some of its eastern forces to use the Kyiv region, the Kyiv front may be reopened in the coming days.

When we think that the number of missile attacks, which the Russians are effective for today, can now do this with a small number of missiles due to the decrease in stocks, and that this superiority will be lost due to a more powerful air defence system that Ukraine will gain in the coming days, we think that Russia needs to gain superiority in the battlefield. We appreciate that you can consider the Kyiv front to make a difference on the battlefield.

We see that Ukraine also had difficulties in its defense in the Donetsk region in the winter, and it still could not achieve the desired success in its offensives in the Luhansk region. If the Ukrainian defense in the town of Bakhmut is successful, we will be able to make different assessments for Ukraine for the next days.

(E) Brigadier General Levent Köse

About the Author: Born in 1960 in the Beykoz district of Istanbul, Levent Köse’s hometown is Giresun-Görele. After graduating from primary and secondary school, he graduated from Kuleli Military High School between 1977 and the Turkish Military Academy between 1981 and served as Team and Company Commander in various units. Between 1992 and 1994, he completed his education at the Turkish Military Academy and served as a Staff Officer in various units as Branch Manager, Battalion Commander and Regiment Commander. He was promoted to Brigadier General in 2010. He retired in 2014. He taught at the Turkish Military Academy between 2017-2021. During his duty, he studied at the Armed Forces Academy, the National Security Academy, and completed his master’s degree in the Faculty of Communication at Selcuk University. 

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