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ISW: Russian forces continue offensive operations along Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line

by Olena Goncharova December 19, 2023 7:58 AM 2 min read
Archive photo: Main city square with destroyed city council building in Kupiansk, Kharkiv Oblast, on Oct. 8, 2023. (Amadeusz Świerk)
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Russian forces continued attacking along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line on Dec. 18 as a part of their effort to capture the remainder of Luhansk Oblast and push westward into eastern Kharkiv Oblast, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest assessment.

According to experts, the Russian military is unlikely to have made any significant advances. The ISW points to a Ukrainian General Staff report indicating that Ukrainian forces successfully repelled Russian assaults in various locations, including northeast and east of Kupiansk near Synkivka (nine kilometers northeast of Kupiansk), east of Petropavlivka (seven kilometers east of Kupiansk), northwest of Kreminna near Makiivka (23 kilometers northwest of Kreminna), west of Kreminna in the area east of Terny (17 kilometers east of Kreminna), and south of Kreminna near Spirne (30 kilometers south of Kreminna).

Russia is ramping up efforts to capture Kupiansk in Kharkiv Oblast, moving reserves of assault battalions to the area to compensate for heavy losses, according to Volodymyr Fito, who heads the Army's public relations service.

Freed from Russian occupation during the Ukrainian counteroffensive in September 2022, Kupiansk has become a focal point for renewed Russian offensives due to its strategic significance as a key logistics hub. This makes it a potential launching point for further advances south or west.

In Luhansk Oblast, Russian forces concentrated the majority of their attacks on Makiivka, local military administration head Artem Lysohor said on Dec. 17. Heavy battles also took place near Terny, a village located some 120 kilometres east-northeast of Donetsk city.

Russian military bloggers claimed that Russian forces are trying to break through Ukrainian defenses near Synkivka and the Serebrianske forest area south of Kreminna, but Ukrainian forces are counterattacking in these areas, according to the ISW.

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