Россия invades Україна | UPDATE (26 May 2024) - Ukrainian drone attack might have seriously damaged Russian strategic early warning radar site (2024)

    Posted November 2, 2023

    ISW analysis for 01 November 2023:

    Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, November 1, 2023 | Institute for the Study of War

    WWW.UNDERSTANDINGWAR.ORG

    Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi assessed on November 1 that the war in Ukraine has taken on a positional nature and offered a series of recommendations for Ukraine to restore maneuver to the battlespace. In an essay entitled

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    Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi assessed on November 1 that the war in Ukraine has taken on a positional nature and offered a series of recommendations for Ukraine to restore maneuver to the battlespace.[1]In an essay entitled "Modern Positional Warfare and How to Win It" and an interview withThe Economist,Zaluzhnyi outlined the current operational environment in Ukraine and noted that, despite several previously successful Ukrainian counteroffensive operations in 2022, the war is now "gradually moving to a positional form."[2] Zaluzhnyi heavily stressed that the current positional nature of the war is largely a result ofmilitary paritybetween Ukrainian and Russian forces, noting that a deep and dramatic Ukrainian penetration of Russian lines will likely not be possible with the relative technological and tactical equilibrium currently between Ukrainian and Russian forces.[3] In his interview withThe Economist,Zaluzhnyi acknowledged that technological and tactical parity between opposing forces in Ukraine has resulted in a "stalemate" similar to the case of the First World War.[4] In the more extensive essay on the subject, Zaluzhnyi notably refrained from classifying the situation as a full stalemate and instead framed it as a "positional" war resulting from aspects of this technological-tactical parity.[5] According to Zaluzhnyi, Ukraine's ability to overcome this technological-tactical parity will be contingent on Ukraine's ability to secure five main operational components that have become particularly significant since the summer of 2023 — gaining air superiority; breaching Russian mine barriers in depth; increasing the effectiveness of counterbattery combat; creating and training the necessary reserves; and building up electronic warfare (EW) capabilities.

    Zaluzhnyi offered a series of specific tactical solutions to the five aforementioned operational components that have created the conditions for positional warfare, which in his view will allow Ukraine to overcome military parity with Russian forces.Regarding the issue of air superiority, Zaluzhnyi argued that Ukrainian forces need to significantly improve drone capabilities to gain air superiority along the frontline.[6] Zaluzhnyi argued that Ukrainian forces need to overload Russian air defenses, neutralize Russian strike drones, and degrade Russian visibility over the front by deploying cheap dronesen masse, developing specific drones meant to target Russian strike drones, and employing EW complexes throughout the front.[7] Zaluzhnyi argued that to overcome the challenges of EW use on the frontline, Ukrainian forces need to introduce necessary command and control (C2) processes for EW complexes, increase EW production capabilities, and streamline engagements with volunteer organizations that provide smaller EW complexes to Ukrainian forces.[8] Zaluzhnyi also recommended that Ukrainian forces improve counter-EW measures and develop new drones with EWs in mind.[9] To gain counterbattery superiority, Zaluzhnyi recommended that Ukrainian forces use more reconnaissance and strike drones to improve Ukrainian counterbattery fire and argued that Ukrainian forces need to strengthen GPS support for Ukrainian counterbattery units and increase the number of counterbattery assets.[10] Zaluzhnyi stated that improved sensors, more widespread and varied mine clearing capabilities, and anti-drone equipment will allow Ukrainian forces to more successfully breach Russian mine barriers in depth while under concealment.[11]

    Zaluzhnyi also highlighted wider administrative adaptations and domestic developments in addition to his specific tactical battlefield solutions. Zaluzhnyi specifically called on Ukraine to introduce a Unified State Register for draftees, reservists, and those liable for military service to prepare a necessary reserve for Ukrainian forces.[12] Zaluzhnyi more broadly called on Ukrainian officials to incentivize Ukrainian citizens to join the military reserve and expand the number of citizens that Ukrainian forces are allowed to train.[13] Zaluzhnyi also noted that improving Ukrainian C2 and logistics support will be critical to improving operations writ large.[14] Zaluzhnyi stated that the formation of a "single information environment" for C2 through the use of modern information technology will allow Ukrainians to get ahead of Russian forces in terms of situational awareness.[15] Zaluzhnyi particularly highlighted the need for Ukraine to develop its own defense industry to sustain operations, long-range strike capabilities, and an asymmetric munitions arsenal to break out of military parity with Russian forces.[16]

    Russian forces are likely preparing for another wave of highly attritional infantry-led ground assaults on Ukrainian positions in the Avdiivka area.A Kremlin-affiliated Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces near Avdiivka have largely slowed the pace of ground attacks north and south of Avdiivka in favor of heavy indirect fire against Ukrainian frontline positions and near rear areas. Russian forces may be conducting an interdiction campaign against Ukrainian assets in the Avdiivka area, but this heavy fire is more likely air and artillery preparation for the battlefield ahead of another wave of Russian assaults.[17] Other milbloggers also characterized the current Russian operations as "preparatory support," presumably for later assaults.[18] Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces Spokesperson Colonel Oleksandr Shtupun also notably stated on October 30 that Russian forces are preparing to conduct "meat assaults" (colloquial jargon for infantry-led frontal assaults) near Avdiivka and are training "Storm-Z" assault units made largely of convict recruits for future assaults without equipment.[19]

    Russian forces may be preparing to transition to such infantry-led frontal assaults following heavy artillery preparation to compensate for heavy materiel losses in Avdiivka over the course of October. Open-source geolocation project GeoConfirmed used commercially available satellite imagery to verify that Russian forces have suffered at least 197 damaged and destroyed vehicles since October 9, losing 99 vehicles during the first wave of assaults between October 9 and 13, 94 vehicles during the second wave between October 14 and 23, and four confirmed and 18 potentially lost vehicles between October 24 and31.[20] GeoConfirmed characterized the Russian effort near Avdiivka as the costliest Russian effort thus far in the war in Ukraine.[21]

    The current situation near Avdiivka is a microcosm of the Russian General Staff's wider failure to internalize and disseminate lessons learned by Russian forces during previous failed offensive efforts in Ukraine to other force groupings throughout the theater.Various Russian elements have engaged in similarly catastrophic mechanized attacks with infantry-led frontal assaults on fortified Ukrainian positions along several different axes over the course of 2022 and 2023, suggesting that the ultimate fault in the lack of strategic adaptation lies with the General Staff. Russian forces previously suffered significant personnel and materiel losses during an unsuccessful offensive against Vuhledar, western Donetsk Oblast in winter 2022-2023, which was characterized by multiple waves of mechanized attacks against fortified Ukrainian positions.[22] These infantry-heavy assaults completely destroyed the Russian units involved in them, including the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade (Pacific Fleet), which reportedly had to reconstitute several times due to losses suffered near Vuhledar.[23] By contrast, elements of the 1st Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) Army Corps, operating under the command of the Southern Military District's 8th Combined Arms Army, and elements of the Central Military District's 41st Combined Arms Army, have recently conducted analogous costly mechanized assaults near Avdiivka.[24] The fact that two very distinct groupings of forces have engaged in similarly ineffective operations suggests that the Russian military command is struggling to learn and disseminate lessons across the theater or, in the case, even within the same military district.[25] The Russian General Staff is in principle responsible for learning lessons, adapting Russian doctrine, and disseminating lessons and new approaches throughout the force. Chief of the Russian General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov is ultimately responsible for this failure both in his capacity of chief of the Russian General Staff and as overall theater commander. The contrast between Gerasimov's failure in this regard and General Zaluzhnyi's thoughtful and public evaluation of the challenges facing Ukraine and the solutions to them is notable.

    Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast on November 1.The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in the Bakhmut and Melitopol (western Zaporizhia Oblast) directions.[26] Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully attacked near Zelenopillya (12km southwest of Bakhmut) and along a section of the railway line between Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut) and Andriivka (10km southwest of Bakhmut).[27] A Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces marginally advanced from Shcherbaky (18km west of Orikhiv) towards Myrne (16km southwest of Orikhiv) and made gains west of Robotyne (10km south of Orikhiv).[28]

    Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reiterated Russian President Vladimir Putin's framing of ongoing Ukrainian ground activity on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast as part of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.Shoigu stated during a conference call on November 1 that Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully attacked in the Zaporizhia, Donetsk, and Kherson directions, grouping Ukrainian activity in the Kherson direction with directions recognized as currently part of ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive efforts.[29] Putin described Ukrainian activity in Kherson Oblast as the "next [Ukrainian] counteroffensive" and dismissed all Ukrainian offensive operations as failures during a press conference in Beijing on October 18.[30]

    Russian forces conducted a relatively large series of drone and missile strikes mainly targeting Poltava Oblast on the night of October 31 to November 1.The Ukrainian General Staff reported on November 1 that Russian forces launched three Kh-59 missiles and 20 Shahed 131/136 drones and noted that Ukrainian air defenses downed all three of the Kh-59 missiles and 18 Shahed drones.[31] Ukrainian officials reported that Russian drones struck an oil refinery in Kremenchuk, Poltava Oblast.[32] Russian sources claimed that Russian forces also struck the Myrhorod airfield in Poltava Oblast.[33] Ukrainian Air Force Spokesperson Colonel Yuriy Ihnat stated that Russian forces are targeting "weak points" in Ukrainian air defenses.[34] Ihnat added that Russian forces are looking at several different courses of action to replenish weapons stocks for continued strikes this fall and winter.

    The Russian military appears poised to re-establish its military districts as the primary joint headquarters for its ground forces while transferring naval assets back to the command of the Russian Navy.Russian state media outletTASSreported on November 1 that sources close to the Russian military leadership stated that the Russian Northern, Pacific, Black Sea, and Baltic fleets and Caspian Flotilla will return to direct subordination under Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Nikolai Evmenov on December 1.[35] The Russian Northern Fleet (NF) will also lose its status as a separate military-administrative unit equal to a military district effective December 1, and its ground, aviation, and air defense forces will be transferred to the newly re-created Leningrad Military District.TASSnoted that this information has not been officially confirmed. The Russian federal portal of draft regulator legal acts published a presidential decree on October 8, prepared by the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD), which proposed stripping the NF of its status as a joint "strategic territorial association," signaling that this change would happen in the future but not specifying a date. [36] It remains unclear how Russia intends to mobilize, train, and organize forces previously under its fleets into new military district-level formations, but this restructuring writ large suggests that Russia intends to reconsolidate control of ground forces under the military district structure, including the newly re-created Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts, while separating the naval assets under the Russian Navy.

    Russian sources speculated that Pavel Prigozhin, the son of deceased Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin, is officially the acting head of Wagner remnants operating under the auspices of Rosgvardia.Russian regional news outlets reported on November 1 that the Wagner Group has resumed recruiting in Perm and Novosibirsk oblasts under Pavel's leadership.[37] Russian outletNgs.rureported that a Wagner representative in Novosibirsk stated that Wagner is no longer recruiting criminals or people with illnesses.[38] Russian milbloggers also claimed that Pavel is the new leader of the remnants of Wagner and expressed hope that Pavel's appointment is an indication that Wagner will survive its subordination to Rosgvardia.[39]

    Key Takeaways:

    • Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi assessed on November 1 that the war in Ukraine has taken on a positional nature and offered a series of recommendations for Ukraine to restore maneuver to the battlespace. Zaluzhnyi offered a series of specific tactical solutions to the five aforementioned operational components that have created the conditions for positional warfare, which in his view will allow Ukraine to overcome military parity with Russian forces.
    • Russian forces are likely preparing for another wave of highly attritional infantry-led ground assaults on Ukrainian positions in the Avdiivka area.
    • The current situation near Avdiivka is a microcosm of the Russian General Staff's wider failure to internalize and disseminate lessons learned by Russian forces during previous failed offensive efforts in Ukraine to other force groupings throughout the theater.
    • Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and in western Zaporizhia Oblast on November 1.
    • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reiterated Russian President Vladimir Putin's framing of ongoing Ukrainian ground activity on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast as part of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
    • Russian forces conducted a relatively large series of drone and missile strikes mainly targeting Poltava Oblast on the night of October 31 to November 1.
    • The Russian military appears poised to re-establish its military districts as the primary joint headquarters for its ground forces while transferring naval assets back to the command of the Russian Navy.
    • Russian sources speculated that Pavel Prigozhin, the son of deceased Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin, is officially the acting head of Wagner remnants operating under the auspices of Rosgvardia.
    • Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, in the Bakhmut direction, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and advanced in various sectors of the front.

    Россия invades Україна | UPDATE (26 May 2024) - Ukrainian drone attack might have seriously damaged Russian strategic early warning radar site (1)

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    Россия invades Україна  | UPDATE (26 May 2024) - Ukrainian drone attack might have seriously damaged Russian strategic early warning radar site (2024)
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