On September 23, the most intense fighting between Russian forces and pro-Kyiv formations continued in the sector of Lyman, northeast of Slavyansk. After the ‘Kyiv’s counter-offensive’ around Izum, the frontline stabilized along the Rubtsi-Drobishevo-Mayaki-Yampol-Serebryanka line. In the past few days, Kyiv’s forces repeatedly tried to break the Russian defense there but major losses were all what they gained.
Reports claimed that the most recent attack took place around the village of Yacivka around Rubtsi. An intense fighting is ongoing in this area with Kyiv’s forces claiming the control over Yacivka and thus progress towards Rubtsi.
Another hot point is Drobishevo. On September 22, Kyiv’s units briefly entered the village, but as of September 23 they were faced to retreat from there.
On the same day, the Russian Defense Ministry released a fresh report on the situation on the frontlines:
The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continue the special military operation.
High-precision attack of Russian Aerospace Forces launched at the units of 81st Airmobile Brigade near Kramatorsk (Donetsk People’s Republic) has resulted in the elimination of over 220 Ukrainian servicemen.
Fire attack has been launched at the units of foreign mercenaries near Slavyansk and Ozyornoye (Donetsk People’s Republic). The attack has resulted in the elimination of over 100 militants.
Russian Aerospace Forces have launched high-precision attacks at the positions of Chayka tactical group near Zaporozhye, as well as at the provisional bases of Skif, Dnepr and Gepard nationalist battalions.
The attacks have resulted in the elimination of over 190 militants and 12 units of military equipment.
Operational-tactical and army aviation, missile troops and artillery have neutralised the provisional bases of 59th Mechanised Infantry and 63rd Mechanised brigades near Bezymennoye and Ternoviye Pody (Nikolayev region). The enemy has lost over 130 servicemen.
The list of the neutralised targets includes 4 command posts: one of 14th Mechanised Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) near Dvurechnaya (Kharkov region), 9th Regiment of the National Guard near Primorskoye (Zaporozhye region), as well as the command and observation posts of 2nd and 3rd battalions from 65th Mechanised Brigade near Novoandreyevka and Verkhnyaya Tersa (Zaporozhye region).
74 artillery units, 142 AFU manpower and military equipment concentration areas have been neutralised.
3 missile, artillery armament and munitions depots have been destroyed near Zaporozhye, Monachinovka (Kharkov region) and Donetskoye (Donetsk People’s Republic).
1 Ukrainian Buk-M1 self-propelled system has been destroyed near Nikiforovka (Donetsk People’s Republic).
Fighter aviation of Russian Aerospace Forces has shot down 1 Ukrainian MiG-29 airplane near Novosyolovka (Nikolayev region), as well as 2 Su-25 airplanes of Ukrainian Air Force near Vesyoloye (Kherson region) and Kamyshevka (Donetsk People’s Republic).
Russian air defence facilities have shot down 19 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles near Novaya Kakhovka, Tomarino, Novoraysk, Shlyakhovoye, Mirolyubovka, Belyayevka, Kreshchenovka, Bruskinskoye and Chkalovo (Kherson region), Lyubimovka (Zaporozhye region), Valeryanovka, Tripolye, Vladimirovka, Gornoye, Khartsyzsk, Novoaleksandrovka, Yevgenovka, Terny and Krasnaya Polyana (Donetsk People’s Republic).
Air defence facilities have also destroyed in air 42 rocket-propelled projectiles launched by U.S.-manufactured HIMARS multiple rocket-launching system (MRLS), as well as by Olkha MRLS, near Plodovoye and Novaya Kakhovka (Kherson region).
In total, 298 airplanes and 155 helicopters, 2,054 unmanned aerial vehicles, 376 air defence missile systems, 5,077 tanks and other armoured combat vehicles, 844 combat vehicles equipped with MRLS, 3,410 field artillery cannons and mortars, as well as 5,794 units of special military equipment have been destroyed during the special military operation.
Additionally, loitering munitions ‘Geran-2’ (a local name for Iranian-developed Shahed-136) of the Russian Armed Forces carried out a strike in the port city of Odessa. According to photos from the area at least one Geran-2 struck a military target in the port area.
Pro-Kyiv sources also claimed that two Geran-2 munitions were employed in the area of Dnepropetrovsk (Kyiv authorities renamed the city into Dnipro).
Meanwhile, referendums on officially becoming a part of Russia started in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as well as in Kherson and Zaporozhie Regions. The voting is taking place from September 23 to 27. The voting is held in the state of a permanent threat from Kyiv’s forces that regularly and intentionally shell civilian targets there. This is why the important part of the voting takes place in the format of home-to-home (door-to-door in the case of apartment) votes. Authorities try to prevent creating of large crowds for voting because they will become targets of strikes of Kyiv’s forces. Therefore, the voting process is set to take several days.
The voting on reunion with Russia is the key turning point in the fate of these regions after the fall of the USSR. Taking into account the posture of Kyiv’s regime towards civilian population, it is easy to expect how population of these regions will choose to vote. Furthermore, together with the partial mobilization in Russia itself, these developments show an important shift in actions of the Russian leadership towards the conflict.
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