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ISW: Russians remine Zaporizhzhia Oblast to disrupt Ukrainian counteroffensives

Russian milbloggers claimed to have disrupted the movement of heavy Ukrainian cargo and equipment in these areas in recent days.
Credit: ISW.
ISW: Russians remine Zaporizhzhia Oblast to disrupt Ukrainian counteroffensives

Russian forces have renewed mining efforts along parts of the frontline in Zaporizhzhia Oblast to disrupt anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensives in the area, ISW reported.

The ISW report states, “Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces have begun remining previously cleared areas on the Robotyne-Verbove line (10km south to 18km southeast of Orikhiv) to achieve tactical surprise.” The milbloggers said the remmining has already “disrupted the movement of heavy Ukrainian cargo and equipment in these areas in recent days.”

Quoting a Kremlin-affiliated milblogger, the assessment says Russia is intensifying “tactical offensive operations in several areas of the front beyond Zaporizhzhia Oblast to stretch Ukrainian defenses and divide Ukrainian attention.”

This comes as Ukrainian forces are reportedly continuing counteroffensive operations near Bakhmut and have marginally advanced in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast. According to the ISW report, geolocated footage on 8 October showed Ukrainian forces made limited gains north of Novoprokopivka (about 14km south of Orikhiv.)

However, deteriorating weather conditions are impacting operations on both sides. The ISW assessment cited Ukrainian Colonel Oleksandr Shtupun saying Russian drone and aviation activity has recently decreased due to the poor weather.

Still, the renewed Russian mining efforts in Zaporizhzhia suggest Russia is trying to slow or disrupt Ukrainian counterattacks in the south as its forces continue to degrade. The remmining demonstrates Russia’s intent to defend occupied territories in the region.

Other takeaways from the ISW’s report:

  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations near Bakhmut and marginally advanced in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast on 8 October.
  • Russian sources are highlighting apparent fault lines between regular Russian forces and irregular formations of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR).
  • Ukrainian Air Force Spokesperson Colonel Yuriy Ihnat expressed concern over an anticipated Russian Shahed 131/136 drone strike campaign against Ukraine this winter.
  • Russia advanced legal mechanisms to form the Leningrad Military District as part of ongoing large-scale military reforms.
  • The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) observed satellite imagery showing that rail traffic between North Korea and Russia “dramatically” increased since Russian President Vladimir Putin met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un on September 12-17
  • The Russian federal government continues to disenfranchise certain ethnic minority federal subjects (regions) while selectively empowering others.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, western Donetsk Oblast, and on the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast administrative border on 8 October and reportedly advanced in some areas.
  • Prague-based Russian-language outlet Current Time reported on 8 October that the number of desertion cases within the Russian military has increased.

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