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ISW report: Russian forces in Kherson Oblast hindered by lack of command structure

Russian forces’ inability to establish a cohesive command structure in Kherson Oblast contributes to declining morale and combat capabilities, per ISW.

The apparent Russian failure to establish a cohesive command structure among forces defending on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast continues to degrade Russian morale and combat capabilities, the US-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says. 

On November 29, the Ukrainian General Staff reported that elements of the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade (Black Sea Fleet), stationed near Krynky (30 km northeast of Kherson City and 2 km from the Dnipro River), have declined to engage in assaults on Ukrainian positions. This decision is attributed to the absence of artillery coordination, deficiencies in tactical intelligence transmission, and inadequate communication regarding the locations of Russian minefields.

The Ukrainian General Staff disclosed that maps detailing Russian minefields are classified, and Russian commanders have failed to adequately coordinate with assault units regarding the minefields’ locations. This lapse in coordination has resulted in 50 casualties among members of the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade within the past month.

Elements of the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade reached the Krynky area in early October 2023, assuming control of the immediate Krynky region from units associated with the recently established 18th Combined Arms Army (CAA). This transition occurred in the wake of Ukrainian ground operations commencing on the east bank of the Dnipro River in mid-October 2023.

The Ukrainian General Staff conveyed that the 18th Combined Arms Army (CAA) currently deploys its 28th Motorized Rifle Regiment in Pishchanivka, situated 14 kilometers east of Kherson City and 3 kilometers from the Dnipro River.

Additional units from the 18th Combined Arms Army (CAA) and the 7th Airborne (VDV) Division are known to be stationed in rear areas on the east bank. It is likely that the joint command of these formations plays a central role in supervising the ongoing Russian response to Ukrainian ground operations in the eastern bank.

“The reported minefield incident suggests that the command of the 18th CAA did not share relevant tactical details with the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade’s command, suggesting that higher-level Russian commanders responsible for the defense of the east bank have yet to remedy this failure in coordination,” ISW wrote.

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