UA-69458566-1

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Iran Crisis Update, September 28

Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Zachary Coles, and Frederick W. Kagan

September 28, 5:00 pm ET

The Iran Crisis Updates are produced by the Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute with support from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Circumstantial evidence suggests that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is at least temporarily unable to perform his normal duties. Khamenei has been unusually absent in recent days amidst countrywide, anti-regime protests, which began on September 16. Rumors have circulated that Khamenei’s health has deteriorated significantly since early September.[1] CTP cannot verify these rumors about Khamenei’s health, and such reports should be treated with skepticism. There are indications that Khamenei is ill or incapacitated, however. Regime power centers are behaving as if succession is either imminent or underway. President Ebrahim Raisi—a prominent frontrunner to succeed Khamenei—is positioning himself to become the next supreme leader with support from senior officers from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

The ongoing Mahsa Amini protests are straining the regime’s capability and willingness to crack down but are not yet existential to the regime. Protests began on September 16 in response to the regime’s brutal killing of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.[2] Protests have concentrated primarily in ethnically Kurdish regions of Iran, where Amini lived, and Tehran but spread rapidly to other locations and demographics.[3] State security services have launched a bloody crackdown against the ongoing protests but have struggled with bandwidth constraints and exhaustion according to some Iranian media outlets.[4] Tehran security officials reported that 185 Basij members were injured in the protests with five in critical condition.[5] The Basij is a paramilitary branch of the IRGC responsible for civil defense and social control. These protests do not appear close to collapsing the regime at this time, however.

The IRGC may assess that anti-regime Kurdish militants operating around the Iran-Iraq-Turkey border are arming and stoking the protests. The IRGC has conducted five consecutive days of attacks involving artillery, drones, and missiles into Iraqi Kurdistan.[6] Iranian state media have claimed that anti-regime Kurdish groups are fomenting instability against the regime.[7] CTP cannot verify these allegations. The most recent round of IRGC attacks on September 28 killed an American citizen, Omar Mahmoudzadeh, in Iraqi Kurdistan.[8]

The regime’s brutal crackdown and continuing IRGC attacks are stoking unrest in Kurdish communities throughout the region. Demonstrations expressing solidarity with the Iranian protesters occurred in Erbil and Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan and Qamishli in northern Syria on September 28.[9]

Key Takeaways

  • Circumstantial evidence suggests that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is at least temporarily unable to perform his normal duties.
  • Regime power centers are behaving as if succession is either imminent or underway.
  • The ongoing Mahsa Amini protests may be challenging the regime’s capability and willingness to crack down but do not appear close to collapsing the regime.
  • The IRGC may assess that anti-regime Kurdish militants operating around the Iran-Iraq-Turkey border are arming and stoking the protests.
  • The IRGC conducted a large-scale attack into Iraqi Kurdistan on September 28, killing one American.

Supreme Leader Succession

Circumstantial evidence suggests that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is at least temporarily unable to perform his normal duties. Khamenei canceled his planned attendance at the annual meeting of the Assembly of Experts—the regime body constitutionally responsible for selecting the supreme leader—on September 7.[10] Khamenei has historically given speeches at these meetings. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal both reported that Khamenei’s health has declined rapidly in recent weeks, prompting him to cancel meetings and public appearances.[11] The New York Times reported that he underwent surgery for a bowel obstruction in early September, citing unidentified sources inside and outside of Iran.

CTP cannot verify these rumors about Khamenei’s health, but circumstantial evidence indicates that Khamenei may indeed be ill or incapacitated. He has been abnormally silent about the ongoing countrywide, anti-regime protests, which began on September 16. Khamenei gave speeches on September 17 and 21 but did not address the protests.[12] Khamenei has never failed to address a major protest wave and responded previously to such protest waves within days of their initiations. He commented five days after countrywide protests erupted in December 2017 and two days after countrywide protests erupted in November 2019.[13]  It is unclear why he did not comment on September 17 or 21, but his continued absence as the protests have expanded and become more dangerous strongly suggests that he is at least temporarily unable to address them publicly.

Regime power centers are behaving as if succession is either imminent or underway. President Ebrahim Raisi gave a televised address on September 28 boasting of his accomplishments since taking office in August 2021.[14] He mentioned the ongoing Mahsa Amini protests at the end of his speech, reiterating that the regime will crack down on the demonstrations. His address was remarkably tone-deaf given the protests raging across the country and sounded more like an appeal to key regime constituencies for support in a succession struggle than like a president attempting to calm massive and violent demonstrations.

Twenty-four current and former IRGC leaders signed an open letter publicly praising Raisi for his speech to the UN General Assembly on September 21.[15] The letter signatories include Iran’s most high-ranking and influential officers who control most of the Iranian armed forces, such as Armed Forces General Staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri, Khatam ol Anbia Central Headquarters Commander Major General Gholam Ali Rashid, IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami, and IRGC Quds Force Commander Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani. Many of these officers are part of a human network of IRGC leaders who have maintained close ties with one another for decades and periodically intervene in domestic politics to promote their hardline agenda.[16] This IRGC network publishes such letters extremely rarely and uses them to signal its political position on critical issues to the rest of the regime. The timing of this letter indicates that the IRGC network likely seeks to signify its endorsement of Raisi as supreme leader, particularly since there was nothing particularly remarkable about Raisi’s UN speech to have called forth such an unusual and rare response. The participation of Ali Shamkhani and Yahya Rahim Safavi in this letter was especially significant as they are both in Khamenei’s inner circle. Shamkhani is the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, which advises the supreme leader on defense and foreign policies. Safavi is Khamenei’s senior military adviser.

Numerous unverifiable social media rumors are circulating online regarding Khamenei’s status and health. Some have claimed that Khamenei is dead.[17] Others have reported an ongoing power struggle among different regime factions.[18] These rumors are neither sufficiently detailed nor sufficiently credible to report in detail at this time. CTP will continue to monitor the situation.

Anti-Regime Protests

Popular, anti-regime protests have erupted throughout Iran since September 16. The Iranian morality patrol arrested and brutally killed 22-year-old Mahsa Amini for failing to adhere to regime veiling standards in Tehran on September 16, sparking widespread unrest.[19] Demonstrations initially concentrated in northwestern Iran—specifically Kurdistan Province, where Amini lived—and Tehran, but have since spread countrywide. Protests are now occurring in over 93 cities and towns in 31 of Iran's 32 provinces as of September 25. Demonstrations have transcended criticism of the morality patrol and mandatory veiling, and some protesters have called for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.

The regime has violently suppressed protests and sustained casualties among its security forces in recent days. State broadcaster IRIB reported that 41 people including security personnel have died in the ongoing protests as of September 25.[20] Recent estimates place protest-related deaths at 76.[21]  A Tehran Province Basij official today announced that 185 Basij members have been wounded—five of whom are in critical condition—in violent clashes with protestors. The official claimed that some protestors were armed.[22] Iranian state-affiliated media and officials have similarly confirmed the deaths of several security officials throughout the country.[23]

Iranian reporting and statements from senior judiciary and security officials suggest that the regime fears losing its capability to crack down on ongoing unrest. This is a low-confidence assessment. Social media users circulated purportedly leaked footage of Judiciary Chief Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei discussing protest suppression efforts, stating that Iranian security personnel suffered from low morale and had not slept in several days.[24] IRGC-affiliated media similarly circulated footage of Iranian Law Enforcement Command (LEC) Commander Hossein Ashtari encouraging police officers to continue quashing unrest, likely corroborating Ejei’s comments about low morale among security personnel.[25] Reformist Ham Mihan Newspaper reported that Ashtari discussed security force bandwidth constraints and exhaustion with IRGC Commander Hossein Salami and Intelligence and Security Minister Esmail Khatib.[26] Ham Mihan removed this report shortly after its publication.

Some hardline officials have sympathized with Mahsa Amini’s death—and subsequent demonstrations—and called on the regime to heed their demands. Iranian media and officials have largely framed ongoing protests as riots organized by foreign actors and vowed to suppress further unrest.[27] Other officials, however, notably a hardline Shia cleric, have intimated that the protestors have legitimate grievances. Grand Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani released a statement urging Iranian authorities to address protestors’ concerns on September 25.[28]

Amini’s death has ignited unrest among historically marginalized ethnic groups within and outside of Iran’s borders. Amini was an Iranian Kurd who lived in Kurdistan Province. Amini’s death likely ignited preexisting anti-regime sentiment among Iranian Kurds and possibly other minorities, such as Iranian Baloch in Sistan and Baluchistan Province.[29] Footage circulating on social media suggests that most protests were initially concentrated among Kurdish communities in northwestern Iran.[30]

Protests have spread to Kurdish communities throughout the region. Demonstrations against the Iranian regime began on September 24 in Erbil City, Erbil Province, and on September 28 in Sulaymaniyah City, Sulaymaniyah Province.[31] Videos of the protests circulated on Twitter suggest several hundred Iraqi Kurds attended the demonstrations. Hundreds of Syrian Kurds staged similarly large protests in Qamishli, Hasakah Province on September 28.[32]

Axis of Resistance and Regional Developments

The IRGC has conducted large-scale artillery, drone, and missile attacks against anti-regime Kurdish militias in Iraqi Kurdistan since September 24. The IRGC Ground Forces targeted Kurdish groups such as Komala, the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, the Free Life Party of Kurdistan, and Kurdistan Freedom Party positions.[33] The most recent IRGC attack on September 28 included 73 rockets and ballistic missiles as well as kamikaze drones, killing at least nine and injuring 32 civilians.[34] The IRGC killed an American citizen, Omar Mahmoudzadeh, in the attack.[35]

The Iranian regime and its proxies are framing these attacks as retaliation for anti-regime Kurdish militants stoking tensions in Iran. Iranian state media have claimed that these Kurdish groups are arming and supporting protesters.[36] Iran-backed proxy Telegram channels parroted this narrative and described the Kurdish militias as international terrorist organizations.[37] The IRGC may have sought to degrade Kurdish militias’ capability to logistically and materially support protesters.

US forces downed an Iranian Mohajer-6 drone that the US assessed posed a threat to US personnel.[38] It is unclear whether the IRGC meant to target US positions with the drone or whether it was part of the attack on anti-regime Kurdish targets.

 


[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/16/world/middleeast/irans-supreme-leader-ayatollah-ali-khamenei-ill.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare; https://www.wsj.com/articles/amid-iran-protests-a-powerful-leader-emerges-from-the-shadows-11664105423

[2] https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/22/middleeast/iran-protests-mahsa-amini-father-internet-blackout-intl-hnk

[3] https://twitter.com/criticalthreats/status/1574146703657078784

[4] http://www.iranglobal dot info/node/183769; https://twitter.com/BeniSabti/status/1575071504425164801

[5] https://www.tasnimnews dot com /fa/news/1401/07/06/2780838/%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%AD%D8%B3%D9%86-%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%87-185-%D8%A8%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%AC%DB%8C-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%BA%D8%AA%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%85%D8%AC%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%AD-%D8%B4%D8%AF%D9%86%D8%AF

[6] https://www.tasnimnews dot com/fa/news/1401/07/06/2781091

[7] https://www.tasnimnews dot com/fa/news/1401/07/06/2780803/

[8] https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/no-us-officials-injured-iranian-attacks-iraq-state-dept-says-2022-09-28/

[9] https://twitter.com/IraqiQahwa/status/1573641436377014273?s=20&t=_7KIONfWxtlZXuDWui231Qhttps://twitter.com/Lawwwen/status/1573598116372168705?s=20&t=_7KIONfWxtlZXuDWui231Qhttps://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/kurdish-protesters-rally-erbil-over-mahsa-aminis-death-2022-09-24/https://twitter.com/Javanmardi75/status/1575226031710928896

[10] https://www.radiofarda.com/a/32028485.html

[11] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/16/world/middleeast/irans-supreme-leader-ayatollah-ali-khamenei-ill.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare; https://www.wsj.com/articles/amid-iran-protests-a-powerful-leader-emerges-from-the-shadows-11664105423

[12] http://www.leader dot ir/fa/content/26022/; http://www.leader dot ir/fa/content/26032/

[13] https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-prices-internet-access-ap-top-news-tehran-0a1699c5fa1549f9b3ef239a19427d70; https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-prices-internet-access-ap-top-news-tehran-0a1699c5fa1549f9b3ef239a19427d70

[14] http://www.president dot ir/fa/139919/

[15] https://www.khabaronline dot ir/news/1677185/%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%87-%D9%81%D8%B1%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D9%84%D9%86%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%AA%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%B3%D9%BE%D8%A7%D9%87-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%B1%D8%A6%DB%8C%D8%B3%DB%8C

[16] https://www.criticalthreats.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/pdf_uploadanalysisThe_IRGC_Command_Network-1.pdf

[17] https://twitter.com/rahar9075/status/1574577490806603776

[18] https://twitter.com/SaeedAganji/status/1575068898352943105

[19] https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-amini-death-head-injury-doctor/32042587.html

[20] https://www.ft.com/content/c2e002bf-296f-48fe-b928-64b866fbb4b1

[21] https://iranhr.net/en/articles/5500/

[22] https://www.tasnimnews dot com /fa/news/1401/07/06/2780838/%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%AD%D8%B3%D9%86-%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%87-185-%D8%A8%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%AC%DB%8C-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%BA%D8%AA%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%B4%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%AA%D9%87%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%85%D8%AC%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%AD-%D8%B4%D8%AF%D9%86%D8%AF

[23] https://president dot ir/fa/139869; https://www.tasnimnews dot com/fa/news/1401/06/31/2777807

[24] https://iranwire.com/en/provinces/107921-demonstrations-persist-in-iran-as-chief-justice-warns-of-security-forces-low-morale/

[25] https://twitter.com/Tasnimnews_Fa/status/1574078434065715202?s=20&t=HNR7W9g8FKA5I2zlmkYqxQ

[26] http://www.iranglobal dot info/node/183769; https://twitter.com/BeniSabti/status/1575071504425164801

[27] https://president dot ir/fa/139869; https://www.instagram.com/p/Ci9cTKoqpjC/?igshid=NmNmNjAwNzg%3D

[28] https://www.eghtesadnews dot com/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%A7%D8%AE%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C-57/523799-%D9%88%D8%A7%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%B4-%D8%A2%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D9%87-%D9%86%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D9%87%D9%85%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%AA%D9%81%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%AE%DB%8C%D8%B1-%D8%A8%D8%B1-%D9%85%D8%B3%D8%A6%D9%88%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B2%D9%85-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%87-%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%85-%DA%AF%D9%88%D8%B4-%D8%AF%D9%87%D9%86%D8%AF

 [29] https://twitter.com/BeniSabti/status/1574812802316918786https://twitter.com/Natsecjeff/status/1574800487735492610

[30] https://twitter.com/criticalthreats/status/1572674287051460609

[31] https://twitter.com/SAMRIReports/status/1573609247832686593https://twitter.com/Javanmardi75/status/1575226031710928896https://twitter.com/PollaGarmiany/status/1575129568968687618

[32]  https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/syrian-north-women-protest-over-death-irans-amini-2022-09-26/;  https://www dot zaitunagency dot net/88877686/

[33] https://www.rudaw dot net/english/middleeast/iran/280920221

[34] https://twitter.com/mhmiranusa/status/1575130372643364864?s=20&t=mc70FhdpWmMpV5x32o8O0g; https://www dot kurdistan24 dot net/ckb/story/225801-%D8%B3%D9%88%D9%BE%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%BE%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%87%DB%95%DA%95%DB%95%D8%B4%DB%95%DB%8C-%D8%A8%DB%95%D8%B1%D8%AF%DB%95%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C%DB%8C-%D9%87%DB%8E%D8%B1%D8%B4%DB%95%DA%A9%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AF%DB%95%DA%A9%D8%A7%D8%AA; https://www dot rudaw dot net/english/middleeast/iran/280920221

[35] https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/no-us-officials-injured-iranian-attacks-iraq-state-dept-says-2022-09-28/

[36] https://www.tasnimnews dot com/fa/news/1401/07/06/2780803/

[37] https://t.me/sabreenS1/59975

[38] https://www.centcom.mil/MEDIA/STATEMENTS/Statements-View/Article/3173389/statement-regarding-islamic-revolutionary-guard-corps-unprovoked-attack-in-iraq/

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, September 28

 


Karolina Hird, Katherine Lawlor, Grace Mappes, Riley Bailey, and Frederick W. Kagan

September 28, 7:30pm ET 

Click here to see ISW’s interactive map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This map is updated daily alongside the static maps present in this report.

Russian milbloggers discussed Ukrainian gains around Lyman with increased concern on September 28, suggesting that Russian forces in this area may face imminent defeat.[1] Several Russian milbloggers and prominent military correspondents claimed that Ukrainian troops advanced west, north, and northeast of Lyman and are working to complete the envelopment of Russian troops in Lyman and along the northern bank of the Siverskyi Donets River in this area.[2] Russian mibloggers stated that Ukrainian troops are threatening Russian positions and lines of communication that support the Lyman grouping. The collapse of the Lyman pocket will likely be highly consequential to the Russian grouping in northern Donetsk and western Luhansk oblasts and may allow Ukrainian troops to threaten Russian positions along the western Luhansk Oblast border and in the Severodonetsk-Lysychansk area.

Russian military leadership has failed to set information conditions for potentially imminent Russian defeat in Lyman.  The Russian Ministry of Defense has not addressed current Russian losses around Lyman or prepared for the collapse of this sector of the frontline, which will likely further reduce already-low Russian morale. Russian military authorities previously failed to set sufficient information conditions for Russian losses following the first stages of the Ukrainian counteroffensives in Kharkiv Oblast, devastating morale and leading to panic among Russian forces across the Eastern axis. The subsequent ire of the Russian nationalist information space likely played a role in driving the Kremlin to order partial mobilization in the days following Ukraine’s initial sweeping counteroffensive in a haphazard attempt to reinforce Russian lines. Future Ukrainian gains around critical areas in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast may drive additional wedges between Russian nationalists and military leadership, and between Russian forces and their superiors.

The Kremlin could temporarily postpone announcing the annexation of Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory to better prepare the Russian information space and administrative organization, although September 30 remains the most likely date for some kind of annexation announcement. ISW forecasted on September 27 that Russian President Vladimir Putin will likely announce the Russian annexation of occupied Ukrainian territory on September 30 in his planned address to both houses of the Russian parliament.[3] The Russian Ministry of Defense announced on September 28 that Russia will “fulfill the aspirations of the residents of the LNR, DNR, Zaporizhia, and Kherson oblasts to be together with Russia” in the “near future.”[4] However, Russian State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin announced on September 28 that the State Duma should hold its accession sessions to approve the annexation of occupied Ukrainian territory on October 3 and 4.[5] Latvian-based Russian-language opposition outlet Meduza quoted Kremlin sources on September 28 who claimed that the Kremlin decided ”not to rush things.” Those sources told Meduza that ”the PR effect from [annexation] will be almost zero” due to broad dissatisfaction with partial mobilization in Russia.[6] Meduza reported that the Kremlin conducted a dissatisfactory closed public opinion poll that demonstrated broad Russian discontent and may be attempting to rectify public unhappiness with mobilization before announcing annexation. 

Russian-appointed occupation administration leaders of Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk Oblasts each shared an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin by September 28, asking Putin to recognize their sham referenda and welcome them to Russia.[7] The Russian occupation leaders of each oblast will likely meet with Putin in the coming days to present their requests. Putin could announce those performative accession negotiations, rather than final annexation, in his September 30 speech.

Russian authorities continue to send newly-mobilized and undertrained recruits to directly reinforce severely degraded remnants of various units, including units that were previously considered to be Russia’s premier conventional fighting forces. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that newly-mobilized Russian men arrived to reinforce elements of the 1st Tank Regiment of the 2nd Motorized Rifle Division of the 1st Guards Tank Army in unspecified areas of Ukraine with no training at all.[8] Social media footage from September 27 shows a Russian soldier mobilized into the 1st Tank Regiment explaining that he will be sent to fight in Kherson Oblast within two days without any basic training, as ISW reported yesterday.[9] The 1st Guards Tank Army was considered Russia’s premier mechanized force prior to February 24, and that fact that its elements are being reinforced with poorly disciplined, untrained men is consistent with ISW’s previous assessments that even Russia’s most elite units have sustained substantial losses in Ukraine and are therefore increasingly degraded.[10] The addition of newly mobilized forces to elements of the 1st Guards Tank Army is unlikely to lend these units any decisive combat power.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian military leadership has likely failed to set information conditions for the potential defeat of the Russian grouping in Lyman, despite increasingly concerned discourse among Russian milbloggers regarding the potential for a Ukrainian envelopment of Lyman.
  • The Kremlin could temporarily postpone announcing the annexation of Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory to better prepare the Russian information space and administrative organization, although September 30 remains the most likely date for some kind of annexation announcement.
  • Russian authorities continue to send newly-mobilized and undertrained recruits to directly reinforce severely degraded remnants of various units, including units that were previously considered to be Russia’s premier conventional fighting forces.
  • Ukrainian forces likely continued to make significant gains around Lyman on September 28, advancing from the north along the Zelena Dolyna-Kolodiazi arc and from the southeast around Yampil.
  • Ukrainian military officials largely maintained operational silence regarding specific Ukrainian actions in Kherson Oblast on September 28 but stated that Ukrainian troops are continuing positional battles in unspecified locations to consolidate and improve their positions along the Southern Axis.
  • Russian forces continued unsuccessful ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast.
  • Russian military recruitment officials are openly contradicting the Kremlin’s publicly-stated guidelines for mobilization to meet quota requirements even as Kremlin propaganda is attempting to change the public perception of partial mobilization.
  • Russian authorities are beginning to restrict movement of Russian citizens into Russian border regions to cope with hundreds of thousands of Russian men attempting to flee the country.

We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because those activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We will continue to evaluate and report on the effects of these criminal activities on the Ukrainian military and population and specifically on combat in Ukrainian urban areas. We utterly condemn these Russian violations of the laws of armed conflict, Geneva Conventions, and humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.

  • Ukrainian Counteroffensives—Southern and Eastern Ukraine
  • Russian Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine (comprised of one subordinate and two supporting efforts);
  • Russian Subordinate Main Effort—Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast
  • Russian Supporting Effort—Southern Axis
  • Russian Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts
  • Activities in Russian-occupied Areas

Ukrainian Counteroffensives (Ukrainian efforts to liberate Russian-occupied territories)

Eastern Ukraine: (Vovchansk-Kupyansk-Izyum-Lyman Line)

Ukrainian forces likely continued to make significant gains around Lyman on September 28, advancing from the north along the Zelena Dolyna-Kolodiazi arc and from the southeast around Yampil. Geolocated combat footage corroborates claims made by Russian milbloggers that Ukrainians took control of Zelena Dolyna (15km north of Lyman) and pushed east to take control of Kolodiazi (11km northeast of Lyman).[11] Several Russian sources indicated that Ukrainian troops pushed southeast of Kolodiazi and are fighting on the outskirts of Torske, just 12km northeast of Lyman.[12] Russian milbloggers also claimed that Ukrainian troops accumulated near Yampil (13km southeast of Lyman) and broke through Russian defensive lines there to push towards Torske from the southwest.[13] Russian sources additionally discussed Ukrainian gains northwest of Lyman and claimed that Ukrainian troops are attacking Shandryholove, about 10km northwest of Lyman.[14] Geolocated footage shows that Ukrainian troops have liberated Novoselivka, just south of Shandryholove and 10km northwest of Lyman.[15] Several Russian milbloggers voiced escalated concern that Ukrainian forces are seeking to take control of the Svatove-Lyman road that is currently a critical ground line of communication (GLOC) for the Russian grouping in Lyman.[16]

Ukrainian troops also continued offensive operations around Kupyansk on September 28. Geolocated footage shows Ukrainian troops raising Ukrainian flags over Kivsharivka, about 10km southeast of Kupyansk.[17] Russian milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian troops took control of the Kupyansk-Uzlovaya station, 8km southeast of Kupyansk on the outskirts of Kivsharivka.[18] Russian sources suggested that Ukrainian troops are attempting advances to the northeast of Kupyansk along the Pervshyi Lyman-Tavilzhanka line.[19] A prominent Russian military correspondent claimed that all Russian units entirely withdrew from Kupyansk on September 28, although it is unclear where those units are redeploying to.[20]

Southern Ukraine: (Kherson Oblast) 

Ukrainian military officials largely maintained operational silence regarding specific Ukrainian actions in Kherson Oblast on September 28 but stated that Ukrainian troops are continuing positional battles in unspecified locations to consolidate and improve their positions along the Southern Axis.[21] Ukrainian military officials also reiterated that Ukrainian troops are continuing an interdiction campaign to target Russian logistics, military, and transportation assets, as well as concentration areas, in Kherson Oblast.[22] Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command stated that Russian forces are pulling reserves from the Crimean direction to reinforce the current southern frontline against Ukrainian counteroffensive operations.[23]

Russian and Ukrainian sources reported that Ukrainian forces hit two main areas in Kherson Oblast as part of Ukraine’s continuing interdiction campaign on September 27 and 28: around Kherson City and near Beryslav, about 70km east of Kherson City. Geolocated footage shows the aftermath of a reported Ukrainian HIMARS strike on Oleshky, 8km southeast of Kherson City.[24] Russian sources also posted imagery of the aftermath of a Ukrainian strike on Kherson Polytechnical College in Kherson City, where Russian troops reportedly were residing.[25] Ukrainian sources also stated that Ukrainian forces hit Russian concentration areas near Beryslav.[26]

Ukrainian sources reported that Ukrainian troops conducted limited ground maneuvers in western Kherson Oblast on September 27 and 28. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian troops repelled a Russian attack on Bezimenne, 15km southwest of Davydiv Brid and near the Inhulets River that runs along the Kherson-Mykolaiv Oblast border.[27] Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command additionally noted that Russian troops attempted to attack Bezimenne from positions in Chkalove, 7km southeast of Bezimenne.[28] Russian sources discussed various Ukrainian troop rotations northwest of Kherson City near Posad-Pokrovske and in western Kherson Oblast near Andriivka.[29]

Russian Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine

Russian Subordinate Main Effort—Donetsk Oblast (Russian objective: Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)

Russian forces continued unsuccessful ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast on September 28. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks south of Bakhmut near Zaitseve, Mayorsk, Mykolaivka Druha, Odradivka, and Zalizne (all within 15km of Bakhmut), and west of Avdiivka near Pervomaiske.[30]  A Russian source claimed that Wagner Group forces fought in Odradivka and advanced on Ukrainian positions in Zaitseve.[31] Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov claimed that Chechen “Akhmat” special forces and other Russian and proxy forces control Spirne (25km northeast of Bakhmut) and repelled a Ukrainian ground attack on the settlement on September 28.[32] The Ukrainian General Staff also reported that Russian forces conducted failed ground assaults southwest of Donetsk City near Pobieda, Novomykhailivka, and Pavlivka.[33] A Russian source expressed continued concern that Ukrainian forces may launch ground attacks towards Vuhledar in the coming days.[34]

Supporting Effort—Southern Axis (Russian objective: Maintain frontline positions and secure rear areas against Ukrainian strikes)

Russian forces continued routine artillery, air, and missile strikes west of Hulyaipole and in Mykolaiv and Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts on September 28.[35] Russian and Ukrainian sources reported that Russian forces struck Mykolaiv City and Zaporizhzhia City.[36] Ukrainian sources reported that Russian heavy artillery and Grad rocket strikes damaged critical infrastructure in Nikopol, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.[37] Ukrainian sources also claimed that Ukrainian air defense systems shot down Russian Kh-59 cruise missiles over Kryvyi Rih, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, and Odesa on September 28.[38]

Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts (Russian objective: Expand combat power without conducting general mobilization)

Russian military recruitment officials are openly contradicting the Kremlin’s publicly-stated guidelines for mobilization to meet quota requirements. Novosibirsk Oblast Military Commissar Yevgeny Kudryavtsev told a Siberian news outlet on September 28 that Russian officials will “naturally” mobilize men who are not reservists in order to meet military requirements.[39] Kudryavtsev said that commissars will start by mobilizing people with certain experience and within a certain age range, but that when that round of mobilization does not meet all of their requirements (likely referencing Kremlin-dictated quotas), commissars will then mobilize men with no military experience or who would violate other restrictions on mobilization. Those restrictions include current students, parents of four or more young children, retirees, and people with disabilities.

The Kremlin is likely ordering its officials to change the public perception of mass mobilization, however. The Russian governor of occupied Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhaev, announced on September 27 that he is taking personal interest in cases of mistakenly-mobilized men in Sevastopol and asserted that his administration will return mistakenly mobilized men to their homes.[40] The Kremlin’s media outlets and voices are increasingly sharing individual stories in which military recruitment centers released some men who were unfit for service following the involvement of local officials or with the help of Kremlin state media to suggest that errors are being corrected when called to the Kremlin’s attention, as ISW reported on September 26.[41] To that end, Kremlin propaganda outlet RT announced that its charity  ”We Will Continue to Act” will cover the stories of and support men who believe they have been wrongfully mobilized, an initial attempt at government accountability that the Kremlin will likely use to further accuse bureaucrats of incompetence for meeting quotas dictated by the Kremlin.[42] 

Russian authorities are beginning to restrict the movement of Russian citizens into Russian border regions to cope with hundreds of thousands of Russian men attempting to flee the country. The Associated Press reported that over 197,000 Russians have already fled through land borders to Georgia, Finland, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia between September 21 and 28, causing miles-long traffic jams at border crossings.[43] The governor of the Russian Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, Sergey Menyailo, declared a “high alert regime” on September 28 that restricted the entry of cars into North Ossetia, which borders Georgia. Menyailo also ordered the establishment of food, shelter, and hygiene facilities for citizens waiting in miles-long traffic jams at the Russian-Georgian border.[44] Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin addressed rumors that unspecified entities required Russians who made it across the Georgian border to sign a document recognizing Russian aggression and occupation of Georgian territories. Volodin threatened all Russians who sign such documents with punishment if they ever return to Russia.[45] 

Russian occupation officials continued to set conditions to forcibly mobilize or conscript Ukrainian civilians in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine. The People's Militias of the Russian proxy Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR) shared information about stricter Russian penalties for desertion, insubordination, surrender, and avoiding mobilization on September 28.[46] The DNR militia called on its followers to “make up your minds—are you a defender of the motherland, or a deserter?” and warned that the penalties for desertion will be “significantly tightened” in line with Russian law as soon as the DNR joins Russia.[47]  The DNR and LNR have forcibly mobilized their populations to varying degrees since 2014 and have not commented on whether their populations will be subject to Russian mobilization.

Ukraine’s National Resistance Center reported on September 28 that the heads of Kherson’s and Zaporizhia’s occupation administrations are planning the partial mobilization of Ukrainian civilians as soon as Russia annexes those oblasts.[48] However, Kherson Occupation Administration Head Vladimir Saldo alleged that no Kherson Oblast residents will be mobilized when Kherson Oblast joins Russia and that the oblast would provide only volunteer battalions to fight against Ukraine.[49] It remains unclear whether Saldo will remain in charge of Russia’s occupation of Kherson Oblast after the Kremlin annexes Kherson Oblast. The Ukrainian advisor to Ukraine’s Kherson Oblast Military Administration, Serhiy Klan, reported that Russian forces unexpectedly began allowing men between the ages of 18 and 35 to leave Kherson again on September 28 after closing the border to men of fighting age on September 25.[50] ISW had previously assessed that Russian forces may have prevented men of fighting age from fleeing occupied Ukraine to preserve forces for forced mobilization or conscription after the Kremlin formalizes its annexation of occupied Ukrainian territories.[51] 

Activity in Russian-occupied Areas (Russian objective: consolidate administrative control of occupied areas; set conditions for potential annexation into the Russian Federation or some other future political arrangement of Moscow’s choosing)

See the topline text. 

Note: ISW does not receive any classified material from any source, uses only publicly available information, and draws extensively on Russian, Ukrainian, and Western reporting and social media as well as commercially available satellite imagery and other geospatial data as the basis for these reports. References to all sources used are provided in the endnotes of each update. 


[1] https://t.me/rybar/39465; https://t.me/rybar/39474; https://t.me/wargonzo/8486 ; https://twitter.com/666_mancer/status/1574824136903462923 ; https://twitter.com/666_mancer/status/1574824643051094017 ; https://twitter.com/666_mancer/status/1574826431670018049; https://t.me/wargonzo/8494; https://t.me/sashakots/36057; https://t.me/kommunist/9981; https://t.me/kommunist/9977; https://t.me/vysokygovorit/9569; https://t.me/epoddubny/12620; https://t.me/smotri_z/6226 ; https://t.me/epoddubny/12620; https://t.me/milinfolive/91086

[2] https://t.me/rybar/39465; https://t.me/rybar/39474; https://t.me/wargonzo/8486 ; https://twitter.com/666_mancer/status/1574824136903462923 ; https://twitter.com/666_mancer/status/1574824643051094017 ; https://twitter.com/666_mancer/status/1574826431670018049; https://t.me/wargonzo/8494; https://t.me/sashakots/36057; https://t.me/kommunist/9981; https://t.me/kommunist/9977; https://t.me/vysokygovorit/9569; https://t.me/epoddubny/12620; https://t.me/smotri_z/6226 ; https://t.me/epoddubny/12620; https://t.me/milinfolive/91086

[3] https://understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-september-27

[4] https://t.me/MID_Russia/23290

[5] https://t.me/rian_ru/179668

[6] https://meduza dot io/feature/2022/09/28/kreml-reshil-ne-toropitsya-s-ofitsialnym-prisoedineniem-ukrainskih-territoriy-i-polnym-zakrytiem-granits-chtoby-ne-zlit-rossiyan-nedovolnyh-mobilizatsiey

[7] https://t.me/SALDO_VGA/159; https://t.me/SALDO_VGA/160; https://t.me/BalitskyVGA/341; https://t.me/miroshnik_r/8997 ; https://t.me/boris_rozhin/65411 ; https://t.me/stranaua/66527; https://t.me/TRO_DPR/8093; https://t.me/pushilindenis/2713; https://t.me/boris_rozhin/65410 ; https://t.me/stranaua/66528

[8]https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0v3ufKPBKYt4utocRRHABH7SahgtaHyTdA72gNW9UMVis5nJcKE5mRxLg6iR876iel; . https://t.me/luhanskaVTSA/6040 ; https://t.me/spravdi/17990

 

[9] https://twitter.com/kromark/status/1574707928313270272  https://twitter.com/GeoConfirmed/status/1574846331029491722; https://understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-september-27

[10] https://understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-september-19; https://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Russian%20Ground%20Forces%20OOB_ISW%20CTP_0.pdf

[11] https://twitter.com/GirkinGirkin/status/1574777780348375040 https://twitter.com/GeoConfirmed; https://twitter.com/auditor_ya/status/1575068004802433024?s=20&t=GjfbbhW4AtdBpzMcC-G5yQ;  https://t.me/rybar/39474; https://twitter.com/Militarylandnet/status/1574885315638075397 https://twitter.com/auditor_ya/status/1574878753159008256; https://t.me/wargonzo/8494; https://t.me/sashakots/36057; https://t.me/wargonzo/8486 ; https://twitter.com/666_mancer/status/1574825781511036928; https://t.me/wargonzo/8494

[12] https://t.me/wargonzo/8486 ; https://twitter.com/666_mancer/status/1574825781511036928; https://t.me/wargonzo/8494; https://t.me/sashakots/36057  

[13] https://t.me/rybar/39465; https://t.me/vysokygovorit/9569  

[14] https://t.me/rybar/39474

[15] https://twitter.com/GeoConfirmed/status/1575080061367029761 https://twitter.com/bamr69/status/1575020515479224322 ; https://twitter.com/666_mancer/status/1575087325964431361 ; https://t.me/milinfolive/91086  

[16] https://t.me/rybar/39465; https://t.me/rybar/39474; https://t.me/nm_dnr/9122; https://t.me/kommunist/9981; https://t.me/epoddubny/12620; https://t.me/smotri_z/6226

[17] https://twitter.com/SmartUACat/status/1575070203905380352?s=20&t=GjfbbhW4AtdBpzMcC-G5yQ; https://twitter.com/666_mancer/status/1574818584026648584  https://twitter.com/auditor_ya/status/1575079144706441216 https://twitter.com/GeoConfirmed/status/1575081358158082048 ; https://twitter.com/666_mancer/status/1575086363430785024  

[18] https://t.me/rybar/39489 ; https://t.me/milinfolive/91089; https://twitter.com/officejjsmart/status/1574843104674385938?s=20&t=AQFr9IGRvAGRvElDY0oscg; https://t.me/rybar/39465

[19] https://t.me/rybar/39489 ; https://t.me/milinfolive/91089  

[20] https://t.me/wargonzo/8497

[21] https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=502801491662108

[22] https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=502801491662108; https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=416432020597727

[23] https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=416432020597727

[24] https://twitter.com/GeoConfirmed/status/1575091621456388096 https://twitter.com/bayraktar_1love/status/1575083567998066688 ; https://t.me/hueviyherson/26595 ; https://t.me/hueviyherson/26599; https://mobile.twitter.com/hochu_dodomu/status/1575088120827039749; https://mobile.twitter.com/Cosmonaut19/status/1575098775189655552; https://t.me/readovkanews/42758; https://t.me/hercon_ru/3357; https://twitter.com/666_mancer/status/1575108261631885313 ;  https://twitter.com/666_mancer/status/1575107540693590017 ; https://t.me/stranaua/66552; https://t.me/readovkanews/42758

[25] https://t.me/rybar/39494; https://t.me/boris_rozhin/65468; https://t.me/boris_rozhin/65466; https://t.me/readovkanews/42784; https://mobile.twitter.com/Cosmonaut19/status/1575174771238588418; https://t.me/IntelRepublic/5793; https://t.me/stranaua/66592 ; https://t.me/stranaua/66586 ; https://t.me/stranaua/66600  

[26] https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=416432020597727; https://t.me/Bratchuk_Sergey/19481

[27]https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0v3ufKPBKYt4utocRRHABH7SahgtaHyTdA72gNW9UMVis5nJcKE5mRxLg6iR876iel ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0M9u4uLZiAXMUVJNr8PDc2hKyczCozQemLanzWwazWkZnzQeqPBCpjkepSMBkJ7Afl

[28] https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=416432020597727

[29] https://t.me/rybar/39493; https://t.me/rybar/39491; https://t.me/rybar/39486  

[30]https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0M9u4uLZiAXMUVJNr8PDc2hKyczCozQemLanzWwazWkZnzQeqPBCpjkepSMBkJ7Afl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0v3ufKPBKYt4utocRRHABH7SahgtaHyTdA72gNW9UMVis5nJcKE5mRxLg6iR876iel

[31] https://t.me/rybar/39465

[32] https://t.me/kommunist/10011; https://t.me/RKadyrov_95/2891

[33]ttps://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0M9u4uLZiAXMUVJNr8PDc2hKyczCozQemLanzWwazWkZnzQeqPBCpjkepSMBkJ7Afl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0v3ufKPBKYt4utocRRHABH7SahgtaHyTdA72gNW9UMVis5nJcKE5mRxLg6iR876iel

[34] https://t.me/rybar/39510

[35]https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0M9u4uLZiAXMUVJNr8PDc2hKyczCozQemLanzWwazWkZnzQeqPBCpjkepSMBkJ7Afl ; https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=502801491662108 ; https://t.me/mod_russia/20296 ; https://t.me/stranaua/66608 ; https://t.me/stranaua/66611 ; https://t.me/dnipropetrovskaODA/1977  ; https://t.me/vilkul/1966  ; https://t.me/spravdi/17982 ; https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=502801491662108; https://t.me/mod_russia/20296 ; https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=502801491662108; https://t.me/spravdi/17991

[36]https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0M9u4uLZiAXMUVJNr8PDc2hKyczCozQemLanzWwazWkZnzQeqPBCpjkepSMBkJ7Afl ; https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=502801491662108 ; https://t.me/mod_russia/20296 ; https://t.me/stranaua/66608 ; https://t.me/stranaua/66611 ; https://t.me/dnipropetrovskaODA/1977  ; https://t.me/vilkul/1966  ; https://t.me/spravdi/17982 ; https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=502801491662108

[37] https://t.me/dnipropetrovskaODA/1977  ; https://t.me/vilkul/1966  ; https://t.me/spravdi/17982

[38] https://t.me/Bratchuk_Sergey/19472 ; https://t.me/Bratchuk_Sergey/19485 ; https://t.me/dnipropetrovskaODA/1977 ; https://t.me/vilkul/1966  

[39] https://tayga dot info/179280

[40] https://t.me/razvozhaev/1114

[41] https://understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-september-26

[42] https://t.me/act_next/1674

[43]https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-putin-estonia-kazakhstan-d851fdd9e99bedbf4e01b98efd18d14b

[44] https://t.me/readovkanews/42763; https://t.me/readovkanews/42764; https://t.me/stranaua/66566; https://t.me/stranaua/66542

[45] https://t.me/stranaua/66542

[46] https://t.me/millnr/9512

[47] https://t.me/nm_dnr/9121

[48] https://sprotyv.mod dot gov.ua/2022/09/28/rosiyany-nezabarom-ogolosyat-chastkovu-mobilizacziyu-na-okupovanomu-pivdni/

[49] https://t.me/VGA_Kherson/3689

[50]https://www.facebook.com/sergey.khlan/posts/pfbid022xbmPjfKu8GiGufe2zjXNNZPkeizpn53h7EkcEFxySPXumoWmvS8grPh6mfnzQPbl

[51] https://understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-september-26

 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, September 27

Kateryna Stepanenko, Katherine Lawlor, Grace Mappes, Riley Bailey, and Mason Clark

September 27, 8:30pm ET

Click here to see ISW’s interactive map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This map is updated daily alongside the static maps present in this report.

Russian authorities in occupied parts of Ukraine’s Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts completed their falsified annexation “referenda” on September 27 and implausibly claimed that each sham referendum received between 87 and 99% approval from Ukrainian residents.[1] Russian officials pre-ordained and falsified the approval ratings and alleged voter participation rates for the sham referenda while coercing Ukrainian civilians in occupied territories to performatively vote for Russian annexation, as ISW has previously reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will likely announce the Russian annexation of occupied Ukrainian territory on September 30. The completion of the performative referenda marks the last prerequisite for Russian President Vladimir Putin to declare the Russian annexation of occupied Ukrainian territory. The UK Ministry of Defense reported that Putin will likely make the declaration before or during an address to both houses of Russia's parliament on Friday, September 30.[2] Putin followed a similar approach when he illegally annexed Ukrainian Crimea in 2014: a sham referendum, followed by a presidential decree of recognition and a treaty of accession that the Russian Federal Assembly formally approved within five days of the sham Crimean referendum. The Russian proxy leader of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), Denis Pushilin, told Russian media on September 27 that he previously asked Putin to approve the results of the referendum before it was held and would travel to Moscow to sign an agreement.[3] The head of Russia’s proxy Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR), Leonid Pasechnik, announced on September 27 that the LNR will join Russia “very soon” and that he will travel to Moscow on September 27 or 28 to ask Putin in person to approve the results of the sham referenda.[4] ISW previously forecasted that Putin will annex occupied Ukrainian territory by or soon after October 1 to enable the forced conscription of Ukrainian civilians into the Russian military in the normal autumn conscription cycle.[5]

Russian forces are reportedly committing newly-mobilized Western Military District (WMD) men to the Kherson and Kharkiv Oblast frontlines without prior training. A mobilized servicemember of the 1st Tank Regiment of an unspecified unit recorded a video plea stating that his unit will not receive training prior to deploying to Kherson Oblast on September 29.[6] RFE/RL’s Mark Krutov geolocated the serviceman’s surroundings to the 2nd Guards Motor Rifle Division’s base in Kalininets, Moscow Oblast. ISW previously reported that Russian forces have committed elements of the 147th Artillery Regiment of the 2nd Motor Rifle Division to Kherson Oblast in late August, and are likely attempting to reinforce units in the south (that have operated in Kyiv and Kharkiv Oblasts) in short periods with untrained, newly-mobilized men.[7] Elements of the 2nd Motor Rifle Division previously based out of Izyum asked to leave their positions on August 30 due to moral exhaustion.[8] Russian opposition outlet Mediazona also reported that mobilized men of the 237th Tank Regiment of the WMD’s 3rd Motor Rifle Division based out of Valuyki are deploying to Donbas frontlines after only one day of training.[9] ISW cannot independently verify Mediazona’s report, but the 237th Regiment also operated around Izyum since late March.[10] Mobilized men with a day or two of training are unlikely to meaningfully reinforce Russian positions affected by Ukrainian counteroffensives in the south and east.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin will likely announce the Russian annexation of occupied Ukrainian territory on September 30 after Russian officials completed their falsified “referenda” on September 27.
  • Russian forces are reportedly committing newly-mobilized Western Military District (WMD) men to the Kherson and Kharkiv Oblast frontlines without prior training.
  • Ukrainian forces are consolidating their positions on the eastern bank of the Oskil river and made further gains on the outskirts of Lyman.
  • Ukrainian forces continued to target Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) as part of the southern counter-offensive interdiction campaign, particularly disrupting Russian efforts to build barge crossings.
  • Russian forces continued unsuccessful offensive operations around Bakhmut and west of Donetsk City, increasingly leveraging penal units.
  • Russian forces inflicted severe damage on a Ukrainian airfield in Kryvyi Rih and continued routine air and missile strikes across southern Ukraine.
  • Russian authorities are establishing checkpoints at Russia’s borders to forcibly mobilize Russian men who are seeking to avoid forced mobilization by fleeing the country.
  • Russian officials are setting conditions to forcibly mobilize or conscript Ukrainian civilians in soon-to-be annexed areas of occupied Ukraine.
  • The Russian annexation of occupied Donetsk and Luhansk will likely exacerbate tensions within DNR and LNR forces, who regularly mutiny when asked to fight outside the borders of their own oblasts.
  • Russian officials may attempt to reframe their invasion of Ukraine and occupation of soon-to-be-annexed Ukrainian territory as a “counterterrorism operation.”

We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because those activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We will continue to evaluate and report on the effects of these criminal activities on the Ukrainian military and population and specifically on combat in Ukrainian urban areas. We utterly condemn these Russian violations of the laws of armed conflict, Geneva Conventions, and humanity even though we™ do not describe them in these reports.

  • Ukrainian Counteroffensives—Southern and Eastern Ukraine
  • Russian Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine (comprised of one subordinate and two supporting efforts);
  • Russian Subordinate Main Effort—Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast
  • Russian Supporting Effort—Southern Axis
  • Russian Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts
  • Activities in Russian-occupied Areas

Ukrainian Counteroffensives (Ukrainian efforts to liberate Russian-occupied territories)

Eastern Ukraine: (Vovchansk-Kupyansk-Izyum-Lyman Line)

Ukrainian forces conducted operations to consolidate their positions on the eastern bank of the Oskil River north of Kupyansk on September 27. Ukrainian officials confirmed that Ukrainian forces liberated Kupyansk-Vuzlovyi (just east of Kupyansk), which reportedly serves as one of the largest railway nodes in Kharkiv Oblast.[11] Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces also continued to advance in the direction of Tavilizhanka (approximately 18km northeast of Kupyansk-Vuzlovyi on the Oskil River’s eastern bank) and have secured positions northwest of the settlement.[12] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces continued to shell Kucherivka and Petropavlivka (east of Kupyansk-Vuzlovyi) and Dvorichna (west of Tavilizhanka).[13] Social media footage also showed the aftermath of a Russian strike on Kupyansk.[14]

Ukrainian forces continued to advance northwest of Lyman on September 26 and September 27. Ukrainian local officials announced that Ukrainian forces liberated Pisky-Radkivski (approximately 35km northwest of Lyman) on September 26, but noted that Ukrainian forces are still clearing the settlement.[15] Local officials stated they could freely travel between Lozove and Rubtsi, which further indicates that Ukrainian forces have secured some positions northwest of Lyman. Ukrainian journalist Andrii Tsaplienko reported that Ukrainian forces have liberated Ridkodub (20km north of Lyman), and geolocated footage depicts Ukrainian forces moving through the settlement.[16] Russian milbloggers also claimed that Ukrainian forces recaptured Katerynivka and secured their positions in Nove, both east of Ridkodub.[17] Geolocated footage also showed Ukrainian forces entering Korovii Yar, about 20km due northwest of Lyman.[18]

Russian sources are reporting that Ukrainian artillery fire is successfully interdicting Russian forces’ last logistic route to Lyman, running through Svatove-Makiivka-Terny north of the settlement.[19] Russian milbloggers also claimed to witness Ukrainian reconnaissance and sabotage groups in Torske and Yampil, 14km northeast and 13km southeast of Lyman, respectively.[20]

Southern Ukraine: (Kherson Oblast)

Ukrainian military officials maintained their operational silence on September 27 and stated that Ukrainian forces are continuing their interdiction campaign in southern Ukraine. Ukrainian military officials noted that Russian forces are continuing to regroup units in the area and have closed entry and exit to Kherson Oblast, possibly to prevent individual Russian deserters and Ukrainian men of fighting age from fleeing to Ukrainian-controlled territory.[21]

Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command noted that Ukrainian forces struck Russian barges operating over the Dnipro River and continued to target Russian efforts to repair the Kakhovka Bridge.[22] Geolocated footage published on September 26 also showed that Ukrainian forces reportedly struck a Russian ferry crossing near Kherson City.[23] Some Ukrainian social media users also reported that Russian forces restarted their efforts to establish a barge crossing near the Antonivsky Bridge, but did not provide visual evidence.[24] Ukrainian forces also continued to strike Russian ammunition depots and key positions in central and northern Kherson Oblast. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command noted destroying a Russian air defense system in Beryslav Raion. Ukrainian forces also reportedly struck four ammunition depots and four Russian weapon and equipment concentrations in Beryslav and Kherson raions.[25] Ukrainian forces also struck Russian military equipment concentration areas in Kakhovka Raion.[26] Ukrainian military officials stated that Ukrainian forces have increased their pace of shooting down Russian aircraft in Kherson Oblast, shooting down six planes and helicopters in the past week.[27]

Ukrainian and Russian sources provided limited information regarding kinetic activity on the Kherson Oblast border. The Ukrainian General Staff noted that Russian forces continue to shell and strike Ukrainian positions southeast of the Ukrainian bridgehead over the Inhulets River, northwest of Kherson City, and south of the Kherson-Dnipropetrovsk Oblast border near Potomkyne and Osokorkivka.[28] The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) also claimed that Russian forces struck Ukrainian command posts near the bridgehead and shot down Ukrainian aircraft in Osokorkivka.[29] Geolocated footage also showed Ukrainian forces targeting Russian positions and military equipment in between Maksymivka and Kyselivka (east of Mykolaiv City), Davydiv Brid on the T2207 highway, and the southern part of Pravdyne (about 30km northwest of Kherson City).[30]

Russian Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine

Russian Subordinate Main Effort—Donetsk Oblast (Russian objective: Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)

Russian forces continued unsuccessful ground attacks in Donetsk Oblast on September 27. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian ground attacks northeast of Bakhmut near Soledar and Bakhmutske, and south of Bakhmut near Kurdyumivka, Zaitseve, and Mayorsk.[31] The New York Times cited reports by Ukrainian military personnel that Wagner Group forces in the Bakhmut area are deploying men from penal colonies as cannon fodder who often surrender to Ukrainian forces on contact, confirming previous reports of Wagner Group employing poorly trained prisoners.[32] The article states that more experienced Wagner fighters only advance a certain amount before sending the former prisoners forward with little support amid Ukrainian artillery fire.[33] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted failed ground attacks northeast of Avdiivka near Kamianka and west of Avdiivka near Pervomaiske on September 27.[34] Russian sources claimed that Russian forces are trying to advance in the directions of Pervomaiske, Pobeda, Pavlivka, and Novomykhailivka, all west and southwest of Donetsk City in western Donetsk Oblast.[35] A Russian source claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted a failed assault against Russian positions in Marinka.[36]

Supporting Effort—Southern Axis (Russian objective: Maintain frontline positions and secure rear areas against Ukrainian strikes)

Russian forces inflicted severe damage on a Ukrainian airfield in Kryvyi Rih and continued routine air and missile strikes against Ukrainian positions in southern Ukraine on September 27. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported that a Russian cruise missile inflicted heavy damage on airport infrastructure in Kryvyi Rih on September 26, rendering the airfield inoperable.[37] Russian forces continued to conduct routine shelling and air and missile strikes elsewhere in Zaporizhia, Mykolaiv, and Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts on September 27. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted air and missile strikes on Mykolaiv City, Ochakiv, and Zaporizhia City.[38] Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported that Russian forces conducted six S-300 and two Smerch multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) missile attacks against Mykolaiv City on September 27, striking the industrial zone and civilian infrastructure.[39] The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that Russian forces conducted a high-precision air strike against Ukraine's 59th Motorized Infantry Brigade in Mykolaiv City, killing up to 50 personnel and destroying five vehicles.[40] The Russian Ministry of Defense also claimed that Russian forces conducted an air strike in the vicinity of Zaporizhia City that killed 100 personnel of the Ukrainian 9th Special Forces Regiment and 50 “foreign mercenaries.”[41] ISW cannot independently verify the Russian Ministry of Defense’s claims.

Russian forces continued to use Iranian-made drones to attack Ukrainian forces and cities in Southern Ukraine on September 27. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces carried out more than 50 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) sorties on September 27 throughout southern Ukraine and that many of those sorties used Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones.[42] Ukrainian sources reported on September 27 that Ukrainian forces shot down three drones conducting operations over Ochakiv and eleven Russian drones conducting operations in Odesa Oblast.[43] A Russian milblogger claimed on September 27 that Russian forces conducted drone attacks on September 26 targeting Ukrainian howitzers in Mykolaiv and Kherson Oblasts.[44] The Russian milblogger also claimed that Russian forces used drones to strike a Ukrainian armed forces barracks, a Ukrainian air defense command post, a guard company headquarters, and a fuel storage depot in unspecified locations in Mykolaiv and Kherson Oblasts on September 26.[45]

Ukrainian forces continued their interdiction campaign against Russian forces in Zaporizhia Oblast on September 27. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces destroyed ten pieces of military equipment and killed more than 20 Russian personnel in Melitopol.[46] The Ukrainian General Staff reported on September 27 that Ukrainian forces also destroyed a Russian S-300 system and five other pieces of military equipment and wounded more than 50 Russian personnel in Tokmak and Chernihivka.[47]

Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts (Russian objective: Expand combat power without conducting general mobilization)

Russian authorities are establishing checkpoints at Russia’s borders to forcibly mobilize Russian men seeking to avoid forced mobilization by fleeing the country. The Russian minister of internal affairs for North Ossetia-Alania, Police Lieutenant-General Andrei Sergeev, announced on September 27 that officials plan to create a mobilization point for the military recruitment office at the Upper Lars checkpoint on the border between Russia and Georgia “in the near future.”[48] Social media footage showed Russian military vehicles moving toward the border, reportedly to establish the mobilization checkpoint.[49] A Russian online outlet reported on September 27 that border officials began to check mobilization lists at the checkpoint, but claimed they were only checking for names of North Ossetian reservists.[50] Sergeev also reported that North Ossetian border officials met with the border department of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) to address concerns about increased traffic across border crossings into Georgia and agreed to allow foot traffic over the border in an attempt to alleviate traffic backups and a ”tense” situation. A Finnish writer claimed on September 27 that FSB officials at the Russian-Finnish border are checking names against a mobilization list and detaining men whose names appear, citing an unidentified source.[51]

The Russian Ministry of Defense denied rumors on September 27 that Russian officials asked the governments of Georgia, Kazakhstan, and other states to forcibly extradite Russian men fleeing mobilization back to Russia.[52] Kazakhstan’s internal affairs minister, Marat Akhmetzhanov, told reporters that Kazakhstan would only extradite men who had committed a crime that is also illegal in Kazakhstan and were placed on an international wanted list but did not explicitly refute the rumor.[53] Ukrainian outlets framed his response as a confirmation that Kazakhstan would extradite Russian citizens for evading mobilization if they were prosecuted in Russia.[54]

Ukraine’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported on September 27 that parents of first-year military cadets at the Kuznetsov Naval Academy in St. Petersburg—Russia’s premier naval staff college—protested the possibility that their children might be sent to fight in Ukraine.[55] The GUR reported that academy personnel have placed the cadets under constant surveillance to ensure that they do not leave or contact their parents and that the leadership of the academy has refused to meet with the parents of the cadets. Resistance to mobilization at one of Russia's premier military academies, not just among regular civilians, indicates the steep deterioration of morale among personnel the Kremlin intends to deploy to Ukraine.

Russian officials continued to set conditions for the forced mobilization or conscription of Ukrainian civilians in soon-to-be annexed oblasts to fight against the Ukrainian military on September 27. Ukrainian Telegram channel Mariupol Now shared a screenshot of a text from a person who appeared to be a Russian occupation administrator or military recruiter, inviting the recipient to vote in support of the sham annexation referendum and then report to military headquarters with their passport and personal belongings in compliance with Putin’s partial mobilization order.[56] The recipient told the channel that he was a resident of Mariupol who left in May and said that his phone number is linked to his passport. The Russian-appointed head of the Kherson Occupation Administration, Vladimir Saldo, incongruously claimed on September 27 that all Kherson residents who received Russian passports will not be liable for Russian military service or subject to mobilization.[57] ISW previously assessed that Russian forces would likely forcibly include Ukrainian civilians in occupied areas in their autumn mobilization cycle, which is set to begin on October 1.[58] Ukrainian Luhansk Oblast head Serhiy Haidai reported on September 27 that Russian officials began consulting lists of medical school graduates in Luhansk to forcibly mobilize doctors to assist Russian forces.[59] The Russian-appointed head of the Zaporizhia Oblast Occupation Administration, Evgeny Balitsky, told Russian media on September 27 that mobilization in Zaporizhia Oblast “is not envisioned in the next few years” after annexation.[60] However, Balitsky noted that “volunteers” could fight on behalf of Russia, nodding to the coercive volunteer battalions his administration has already formed in Zaporizhia Oblast.

Activity in Russian-occupied Areas (Russian objective: consolidate administrative control of occupied areas; set conditions for potential annexation into the Russian Federation or some other future political arrangement of Moscow’s choosing)

Russia’s illegal annexation of occupied Ukrainian territory will require the establishment of new bureaucracies that Russian officials will struggle to create, and will likely exacerbate bureaucratic infighting and tensions between occupation officials in newly-annexed parts of Ukraine. Russian and occupation officials may be beginning to solidify plans to federally administer newly-annexed parts of Ukraine. One Kremlin-sponsored Russian outlet reported that the former deputy prime minister for defense and former head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, may become the head of, or presidential envoy to, a new Crimean Federal District that will encompass illegally occupied Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhia oblasts.[61] Federal districts do not have much authority as administrative bodies, suggesting that each annexed oblast may operate like a Russian oblast.

The Russian-appointed head of the Kherson occupation administration, Vladimir Saldo, shared a report on September 27 alleging that Kherson oblast will have its own governor and its own executive government and will maintain border controls with Crimea—an unusual arrangement for two entities within one federal district.[62] Saldo claimed that border controls with Crimea are still needed due to Ukrainian “saboteurs” regularly entering Kherson Oblast.[63] He also claimed that Ukrainian territories that are currently under Ukrainian control will soon join Russia. Saldo did not clarify whether he was referring to Ukrainian-controlled parts of Kherson Oblast or larger swathes of Ukraine. Russian officials have previously set conditions to administer newly annexed territory under other types of administration, such as re-establishing the Russian Empire-era “Tauride Governate,” an administrative unit including much of Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory but excluding Donetsk and Luhansk.[64] The Kremlin (and local officials) retain the flexibility to enact different forms of administration and may alter occupation structures over time.

The Russian annexation of occupied Donetsk and Luhansk will likely exacerbate tensions within DNR and LNR forces, who regularly mutiny when asked to fight outside the borders of their own oblasts.[65] DNR head Denis Pushilin signaled on September 27 that deployments beyond their oblast borders will increase immediately following the sham referendum. Pushilin told Russian media that DNR forces will deploy all along “the line of combat contact” because they are already “practically part of Russia.”[66] That decision will likely worsen already terrible morale among proxy forces and could lead to infighting as they more formally integrate into and co-locate with the Russian military.

Russian officials may attempt to reframe their invasion of Ukraine and occupation of soon-to-be-annexed Ukrainian territory as a “counterterrorism operation.” Russian-appointed Crimean Occupation Administration head Sergey Aksenov said on September 26 that Russian officials may temporarily close down the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) while conducting their counterterrorism operations in newly-annexed territories, citing a Russian federal law that allows for the suspension of radiological facilities during counterterrorism efforts.[67] Russian forces could use a full shutdown of the plant, the reactors of which are already offline, to attempt to transition the ZNPP onto the Russian energy grid and away from Ukrainian control. The Ukrainian General Staff reported on September 27 that the situation at the Russian-occupied but Ukrainian-run ZNPP remains tense. The General Staff reported that ZNPP employees do not want to cooperate with Russian forces but are unable to leave occupied Ukrainian territory due to Russian border closures and restrictions on civilian movement.[68]

Note: ISW does not receive any classified material from any source, uses only publicly available information, and draws extensively on Russian, Ukrainian, and Western reporting and social media as well as commercially available satellite imagery and other geospatial data as the basis for these reports. References to all sources used are provided in the endnotes of each update.

 

 


[1] https://tass dot ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/15888905

[2] https://ria dot ru/20220924/poslanie-1819200978.html; https://twitter.com/DefenceHQ/status/1574633113598283777

[3] https://tass dot ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/15889141; https://tass dot ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/15889223

[4] https://t.me/boris_rozhin/65304

[5] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-september-26

[6] https://mobile.twitter.com/kromark/status/1574707928313270272

[7] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-september-6

[8] https://mobile.twitter.com/nomoreanry/status/1569364346521657345

[9] https://zona dot media/chronicle/214#49986

[10] https://t.me/dvish_alive/11478

[11] https://t.me/Bratchuk_Sergey/19447 ; https://t.me/spravdi/17951 ; https://t.me/stranaua/66349  

[12] https://t.me/rybar/39409 ; https://t.me/wargonzo/8472  

[13] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02nLUPdMrJuoXA4H4RcoLavm32Rcby9ddbysSXdmbLdG71Dfdq76mZLrt223bMAoujl

[14] https://mobile.twitter.com/Cosmonaut19/status/1574735671700619270; https://mobile.twitter.com/Flash_news_ua/status/1574663916684476416

[15] https://t.me/spravdi/17934; https://t.me/borova_gromada/1224

[16] https://t.me/Tsaplienko/16740; https://twitter.com/666_mancer/status/1574728595389513730; https://twitter.com/GeoConfirmed/status/1574817123251195904?s=20&t=6lh6Hz0AlTyBTm-fgPWpmw

[17] https://t.me/wargonzo/8485; https://t.me/rybar/39429

[18] https://twitter.com/GeoConfirmed/status/1574833818602803200?s=20&t=6lh6Hz0AlTyBTm-fgPWpmw

[19] https://t.me/rybar/39429

[20] https://t.me/vysokygovorit/9560; https://t.me/rybar/39429

[21] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02nLUPdMrJuoXA4H4RcoLavm32Rcby9ddbysSXdmbLdG71Dfdq76mZLrt223bMAoujl; https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=376359221246446

[22] https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=846444223468695

[23] https://mobile.twitter.com/bayraktar_1love/status/1574425852070498304; https://mobile.twitter.com/bayraktar_1love/status/1574431811203399681; https://mobile.twitter.com/bayraktar_1love/status/1574432870117974016; https://mobile.twitter.com/auditor_ya/status/1574673464421601280; https://mobile.twitter.com/neonhandrail/status/1574452810858790912 

[24] https://t.me/kherson_non_fake/3501

[25] https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=376359221246446; https://t.me/Bratchuk_Sergey/19407; https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=846444223468695

[26] https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=376359221246446

[27] https://armyinform dot com.ua/2022/09/27/zbilshena-statystyka-znyshhennya-vorozhyh-litakiv-ta-vertolotiv-kolektyvna-zasluga-vsih-syl-oborony/

[28] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02nLUPdMrJuoXA4H4RcoLavm32Rcby9ddbysSXdmbLdG71Dfdq76mZLrt223bMAoujl

[29] https://t.me/mod_russia/20246

[30] https://twitter.com/GeoConfirmed/status/1574480101755994114?s=20&t=iH2FVWCDnzUhO3MwhE1fxA; https://twitter.com/PaulJawin/status/1574469060473020417?s=20&t=iH2FVWCDnzUhO3MwhE1fxA; https://mobile.twitter.com/Blue_Sauron/status/1574512261401825281; https://mobile.twitter.com/neonhandrail/status/1574536873460256770; https://twitter.com/GeoConfirmed/status/1574496429309296641?s=20&t=iH2FVWCDnzUhO3MwhE1fxA; https://twitter.com/auto_glam/status/1574484979970514946?s=20&t=iH2FVWCDnzUhO3MwhE1fxA; https://twitter.com/Blue_Sauron/status/1574512261401825281?s=20&t=4ucPZN18Y4bhFhOxUP7kmQ; https://twitter.com/neonhandrail/status/1574536873460256770?s=20&t=4ucPZN18Y4bhFhOxUP7kmQ

[31] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02nLUPdMrJuoXA4H4RcoLavm32Rcby9ddbysSXdmbLdG71Dfdq76mZLrt223bMAoujl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02nLUPdMrJuoXA4H4RcoLavm32Rcby9ddbysSXdmbLdG71Dfdq76mZLrt223bMAoujl

[32] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/26/world/europe/ukraine-donbas-russia-lyman-bakhmut.html

[33] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/26/world/europe/ukraine-donbas-russia-lyman-bakhmut.html

[34] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0WVMwQvuDBdjNDpMvcaXoYDJBfFWDmkHmqRoenNkesS3Xr5F4XtC6Potz6a4mkcEYl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02nLUPdMrJuoXA4H4RcoLavm32Rcby9ddbysSXdmbLdG71Dfdq76mZLrt223bMAoujl ; https://t.me/Bratchuk_Sergey/19418

[35] https://t.me/wargonzo/8472; https://t.me/epoddubny/12591

[36] https://t.me/rybar/39409

[37] https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=846444223468695 ; https://t.me/stranaua/66282 ; https://t.me/stranaua/66293

[38] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0WVMwQvuDBdjNDpMvcaXoYDJBfFWDmkHmqRoenNkesS3Xr5F4XtC6Potz6a4mkcEYl ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02nLUPdMrJuoXA4H4RcoLavm32Rcby9ddbysSXdmbLdG71Dfdq76mZLrt223bMAoujl

[39] https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=376359221246446; https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1790206101371983 ; https://t.me/stranaua/66319 ; https://t.me/stranaua/66331  

[40] https://t.me/mod_russia/20246 ; https://t.me/stranaua/66361  

[41] https://t.me/mod_russia/20246 ; https://t.me/s/vrogov  

[42] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0WVMwQvuDBdjNDpMvcaXoYDJBfFWDmkHmqRoenNkesS3Xr5F4XtC6Potz6a4mkcEYl

[43] https://t.me/Bratchuk_Sergey/19425 ; https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=376359221246446 ; https://t.me/Bratchuk_Sergey/19445

[44] https://t.me/milchronicles/1146

[45] https://t.me/boris_rozhin/65314; https://t.me/milchronicles/1146

[46] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02nLUPdMrJuoXA4H4RcoLavm32Rcby9ddbysSXdmbLdG71Dfdq76mZLrt223bMAoujl

[47] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02nLUPdMrJuoXA4H4RcoLavm32Rcby9ddbysSXdmbLdG71Dfdq76mZLrt223bMAoujl

[48] https://t.me/mvd_rso_a/10286

[49] https://t.me/readovkanews/42639

[50] https://t.me/bazabazon/13495

[51] https://twitter.com/akihheikkinen/status/1574706240093130752?s=20&t=ST7PINzqoxG-Twvj9jcK1Q

[52] https://t.me/mod_russia/20250

[53] https://ria dot ru/20220927/kazakhstan-1819730023.html

[54] https://t.me/stranaua/66347; https://suspilne dot media/285962-kazahstan-ne-vidavatime-rf-uhilantiv-akso-ih-ne-ogolosili-u-miznarodnij-rozsuk/

[55] https://gur.gov dot ua/content/batky-pershokursnykiv-viiskovomorskoi-akademii-protestuiut-proty-vidpravky-kursantiv-na-viinu.html

[56] https://t.me/mariupolnow/19523

[57] https://t.me/SALDO_VGA/158

[58] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-september-26

[59] https://t.me/luhanskaVTSA/6024

[60] https://news dot ru/society/na-goryachej-linii-obyasnili-pochemu-ne-mobilizuyut-bezhencev-iz-dnr-i-lnr/

[61] https://www.vedomosti dot ru/politics/articles/2022/09/27/942638-rogozina-nazivayut-osnovnim-kandidatom

[62] https://t.me/SALDO_VGA/158; https://t.me/newsfrontnotes/28867

[63] https://t.me/readovkanews/42657

[64] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-june-29

[65] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-august-15

[66] https://tass dot ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/15889223

[67] https://t.me/readovkanews/42617

[68] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid02nLUPdMrJuoXA4H4RcoLavm32Rcby9ddbysSXdmbLdG71Dfdq76mZLrt223bMAoujl ; https://t.me/energoatom_ua/9828 ;  https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid02nLUPdMrJuoXA4H4RcoLavm32Rcby9ddbysSXdmbLdG71Dfdq76mZLrt223bMAoujl&id=100069092624537