• On Nov. 29, Russian forces made advances around Bakhmut, but at a different pace than what was claimed by Russian sources.
  • The UK Ministry of Defence stated that the BTGs (battalion tactical groups) were unsuccessful in Ukraine due to a number of reasons, one being the low allocation of infantry.
  • It was reported that yesterday, Russian forces were fortifying positions on the eastern side of Kherson Oblast near the Dnipro River.
  • Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials announced that Ukrainian forces had attacked Polohy, Tokmak and Basan in Zaporizhia Oblast resulting in 470 soldiers killed and 50 pieces of military equipment destroyed.

Russian forces made advances around Bakhmut on Nov. 29, but Russian forces are unlikely to have advanced as quickly as Russian sources claimed.

As of Nov. 29, Russian forces made advances southeast of Bakhmut, but they will most likely have moved at a different pace than claimed by Russian sources. ISW cannot confirm most other claimed gains around Bakhmut since Nov. 27, including those made by Russian milbloggers who indicated that Russian forces breached the Ukrainian defensive line south of Bakhmut and advanced towards Chasiv Yar, cutting one of two remaining main Ukrainian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Bakhmut. Even though it was previously assessed that such claims are part of a continuing Russian information operation and are premature, Russian forces around Bakhmut are unlikely to threaten Bakhmut with imminent encirclement rapidly. Moreover, the degraded Russian details around Bakhmut are unlikely to rapidly place Bakhmut under threat of imminent siege.

Battle of Bakhmut
No Man’s Land at the Battle of Bakhmut (Source: Viktor Borinets/Wikimedia)

The Russian military has also stopped deploying battalion tactical groups (BTGs) in the last three months, according to the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MoD). The MoD indicated that the BTGs‘ low allocation of infantry, artillery that was too dispersed, and the limited independence of BTG decision-making were the reasons that BTGs were unsuccessful in Ukraine. In April, it was reported that Russian BTGs were weakened in several unsuccessful or failed offensives, including those in Kyiv, Mariupol, Severodonetsk, and Lysychansk, as well as subsequent attempts to restore their fighting capacity. Russia has likely since thrown what little combat power and new personnel, such as mobilized personnel, into poorly trained, equipped, and organized ad hoc structures with low morale and discipline. In addition, Russian forces have lost the ability to revert to doctrinal organizations, as ISW has previously assessed, so they must now rely on ad hoc structures with mobilized personnel.