• 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.

Yesterday, Russian forces were also discovered fortifying positions on the eastern side of Kherson Oblast, near the Dnipro River. On the other hand, there was a routine bombardment of Kherson City and other areas on the west bank of the Dnipro River. The Ukrainian General Staff claimed Russian authorities were deploying Rosgvardia (national guards) forces in occupied Kherson Oblast to police rear areas. The presence of these elements in the rear prevents them from participating in combat operations or fortifying existing defenses. Time may eventually make Russian forces in Kherson Oblast more powerful, as ISW recently suggested that they take the threat of a future Ukrainian counteroffensive seriously.

Russian troops have extended their existing defenses on and around the E58/M14 Kherson City-Melitopol highway near Fedorivka, Volynske, and Stepne. In addition, Russian forces recently bombarded areas near the Dnipro River, including Kherson City, Chornobaivka, Antonivka, and Beryslav.

Trenchline at the Battle of Bakhmut (Source: Viktor Borinets/Wikimedia)

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian General Staff announced that Ukrainian forces had attacked Polohy, Tokmak, and Basan in Zaporizhia Oblast (the T0401 highway), resulting in the deaths of 470 soldiers, 50 pieces of military equipment, and unknown quantities of ammo. In addition, Ukrainian officials reported bombings in Skadovsk, Henichesk, and Novooleksiivka, Kherson Oblast, possibly caused by Ukrainian artillery fire. The Russian Defence Ministry (MoD) said that Russian air defence missiles had intercepted two Uragan MLRA rockets near Nova Kakhovka.

Russian troops shelled Hulyaipole and Dnipropetrovsk Oblast west of Dnipro City on Nov. 29, according to Russian and Ukrainian media. Last night, Russian forces attacked Dnipro City and Synelnukove (40m southeast of Dnipro City). Nikopol and Marhanets, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, was allegedly shelled by Russian forces. A Ukrainian ammunition depot near Bilohirya, Zaporizhia Oblast, 14km southeast of Orikhiv, was reportedly struck by Russian troops, according to the Russian MoD.