Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, November 11
Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, November 11
Karolina Hird, Grace Mappes, Riley Bailey, Kateryna Stepanenko, and Frederick W. Kagan
November 11, 6pm 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.
Ukrainian forces are completing the liberation of the western (right) bank of Kherson Oblast after the Russians retreated from it. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Russian forces completed the withdrawal to the eastern (left) bank of the Dnipro River at 5am local time on November 11. While contingents of Russian soldiers likely remain on the west bank, they are likely scattered throughout the Oblast and attempting to retreat as Ukrainian forces push towards the Dnipro River, although some may have remained behind to attempt to conduct partisan activities in small groups. It is unclear how many Russian soldiers remain on the west bank at this time. Russian sources noted that the withdrawal lasted three days and claimed that 20,000 Russian personnel and 3,500 units of military equipment moved across the Dnipro River.
Satellite imagery corroborates statements made by both Ukrainian and Russian sources that Russian troops destroyed the Antonivsky Bridge and Railway Bridge (near Kherson City) and the Nova Kakhovka dam bridge (east of Kherson City near Nova Kakhovka) over the Dnipro River and the Darivka Bridge (northeast of Kherson City) over the Inhulets River in a final attempt to block Ukrainian advances towards central Kherson Oblast (see images in-line with text). Geolocated satellite imagery also indicates that Russian troops have prepared first and second lines of defense south of the Dnipro River and will likely continue efforts to consolidate positions on the left bank in the coming days.
Overview of the damage to the Antonivsky Bridge on November 11. Source: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
Overview of damage to the Antonivsky Railway Bridge on November 11. Source: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
Overview of damage to the Darivka Bridge on November 11. Source: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
Closer view of damage to the damaged section of the Nova Kakhovka dam on November 11. Source: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
Ukrainian troops made major territorial gains throughout Kherson Oblast on November 11 and will continue consolidating control of the western bank in the coming days. Geolocated footage and imagery shows that Ukrainian forces have advanced into Kherson City likely along the T1501 highway from the west and M14 from the north and have taken control of Kherson City and several surrounding settlements along these roads. The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) notably confirmed that Ukrainian troops advanced into Kherson City, and geolocated social media footage shows civilians greeting Ukrainian troops in the center of Kherson City. Ukrainian troops also notably took control of Kyselivka and Chornobaivka, two critical settlements along the M14 northwest of Kherson City. Geolocated social media additionally shows that Ukrainian troops have advanced south along T1505 highway from positions in Snihurivka (northeast of the Kherson-Mykolaiv Oblast border) and liberated several settlements on this line, including Lymanets and Inhulets. Ukrainian forces entered Beryslav (60km east of Kherson City), and social media footage provides evidence of Ukrainian troops in settlements along the P47 highway that runs westward from the Beryslav area towards Kherson City. Footage posted to Telegram notably shows Ukrainian troops in Tiahynka, a settlement between Kherson City and Beryslav, directly on the western shore of the Dnipro River. Ukrainian forces will continue to drive down major roads towards the Dnipro River and liberate additional settlements in the coming days.
ISW has recoded all western Kherson Oblast as liberated based on our high confidence assessment that the Russians have deprived themselves of the ability to hold terrain on the right bank of the Dnipro. Ukrainian forces will complete the liberation of any areas not yet under their control rapidly.
Russian milbloggers criticized the Russian MoD’s statements about the Russian withdrawal to the left bank but generally took a more muted attitude to Ukrainian gains on November 11. The Russian MoD claimed that Russian forces did not leave a single piece of equipment behind during the withdrawal period, which certain milbloggers directly refuted as blatantly untrue. Many milbloggers, however, presented a relatively matter-of-fact overview of the situation in Kherson Oblast, largely confirmed Ukrainian gains, and emphasized that the retreat itself was a militarily-sound and necessary choice. As ISW previously reported, Russian military leadership, namely Commander of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine, Army General Sergey Surovikin, have been developing informational cover to set conditions for the loss of the right bank. The generally muted milblogger response to such a massive Russian defeat is consistent with ISW’s previous observations of informational mitigations carried out by Surovikin and suggests that milbloggers will continue to focus their discontent on the Russian MoD establishment while backing Surovikin — at least for now.
- Ukrainian forces are completing the liberation of the western (right) bank of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast.
- Ukrainian troops have made major territorial gains throughout Kherson Oblast on November 11 and will continue consolidating control of the western bank in the coming days.
- Russian milbloggers criticized the Russian MoD’s statements about the Russian withdrawal to the left bank but generally took a more muted attitude to Ukrainian gains.
- Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations towards Kreminna and Svatove, Luhansk Oblast, and Ukrainian forces targeted Russian logistics in rear Luhansk Oblast.
- Russian forces continued ground assaults around Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Vuhledar.
- Ukrainian forces continued to target Russian force concentrations in Zaporizhia Oblast.
- Wagner Group financer Yevgeny Prigozhin continued to form parallel military structures in Belgorod and Kursk oblasts, even though there is no threat of a Ukrainian ground invasion into Russian territory.
- The Russian Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) subpar conduct of partial mobilization continues to generate social tension.
- Ukrainian partisans continued to target Russian occupation authorities.
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: (Eastern Kharkiv Oblast-Western Luhansk Oblast)
Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in the direction of Kreminna and Svatove on November 11. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Russian forces repelled Ukrainian assaults within 28km northwest of Svatove near Yahidne, Kyslivka, and Volodymyrivka in Kharkiv Oblast. A Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted assaults on Russian strongholds in Kuzemivka (13km northeast of Svatove) and rotated personnel on the Pishchane-Stelmakhivka line. The Russian MoD also claimed that Russian forces repelled Ukrainian forces within 17km northwest of Kreminna near Chervonopopivka and Ploshchanka. A video posted on November 11 shows a Russian servicemember claiming that Ukrainian forces are amassing in Chervonopopivka, however. A Russian milblogger claimed on November 11 that Russian forces fired on Ukrainian forces rotating personnel into the Nevske-Terny area west of Kreminna. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian assaults within 15km northwest of Svatove near Novoselivske and Miasozharivka, 22km northwest of Kreminna near Makiivka, and 12km south of Kreminna near Bilohorivka. The Luhansk Oblast Administration reported that heavy fighting is occurring in areas near Lysychansk. Russian forces conducted counterattacks in eastern Kharkiv and western Luhansk oblasts likely intending to constrain the actions of Ukrainian forces instead of regaining limited territory.
Ukrainian forces continued to target Russian logistics in Luhansk Oblast on November 11. The Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) People’s Militia claimed on November 11 that Ukrainian forces struck Kadiivka, Artemivsk, Krinichne, Svatove, and Lysychansk with 18 HIMARS rockets. A BARS-13 (Russian combat reserve) representative amplified a claim from an LNR People’s Militia officer stating that Ukrainian forces intensified shelling on industrial enterprises in Luhansk Oblast, including a coal mine in Krinichne, a construction company in Kadiivka, and a concrete plant in Svatove.
Southern Ukraine: (Kherson Oblast)
See topline text.
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 ground attacks around Bakhmut and Avdiivka on November 11. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian ground assaults near Soledar, Bakhmut, and south of Bakhmut near Andriivka. Russian sources claimed that Russian forces conducted ground attacks northeast of Bakhmut, near Bakhmutske and Yakolivka, and south of Bakhmut near Kurdiumivka. A Russian source claimed that Russian forces repelled a Ukrainian counterattack south of Bakhmut towards Zaitseve and Odradivka. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian ground attacks north of Avdiivka near Krasnohorivka, west of Avdiivka near Pervomaiske, south of Avdiivka near Opytne and Marinka, and southwest of Avdiivka near Nevelske. A Russian source claimed that Donetsk People‘s Republic (DNR) forces captured Opytne. A Russian source posted footage of DNR forces attacking Ukrainian defensive positions near Avdiivka.
Russian sources claimed that Russian forces seized Pavlivka in western Donetsk Oblast on November 11 amid reports of continued fighting. Geolocated footage shows Russian forces raising a flag in the southeast corner of the village. However, poor weather conditions and heavy losses likely have and will continue to hinder Russian territorial advances near Vuhledar, as ISW has previously assessed. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian ground attacks near Pavlivka and continued routine shelling in the surrounding area. A Russian source claimed that Russian forces attacked Ukrainian positions northeast of Vuhledar near Novomykhailivka.
Supporting Effort—Southern Axis (Russian objective: Maintain frontline positions and secure rear areas against Ukrainian strikes)
Russian forces did not conduct any confirmed ground attacks west of Hulyaipole and continued routine artillery fire along the front line and in Mykolaiv and Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts on November 11. Ukrainian sources reported that Russian forces struck the cities of Zaporizhzhia and Mykolaiv with S-300 missiles. Ukrainian and Russian sources reported that Russian forces continued routine artillery fire against Nikopol and Marhanets on the north bank of the Dnipro River. Russian sources expressed continued concern about a Ukrainian counteroffensive along the Zaporizhia Oblast front line in the coming weeks.
Ukrainian forces continued targeting Russian force concentrations in rear areas. The Ukrainian General Staff reported on November 11 that Ukrainian forces struck a Russian control post in the Enerhodar area, killing over 50 and wounding over 40 Russian military personnel. The General Staff also reported that Ukrainian forces destroyed a Russian Ka-52 helicopter in the area.
Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts (Russian objective: Expand combat power without conducting general mobilization)
Wagner Group financer Yevgeny Prigozhin continued to form parallel military structures in Belgorod and Kursk oblasts, even though there is no threat of a Ukrainian ground invasion into Russian territory. Prigozhin-affiliated Russian outlet RIAFAN published a video on November 11 showing Wagner-affiliated instructors training residents in Belgorod Oblast how to use weapons and tactical medicine supplies. Russian sources claimed that Wagner-affiliated instructors are also conducting similar classes in Kursk Oblast. Prigozhin confirmed on November 6 that the Wagner Group planned to open centers for people’s militias in Kursk and Belgorod oblasts that will function outside of the Russian Armed Forces. Prigozhin responded to claims that it is too early to build border fortifications and establish people’s militias on November 11 by stating that Russia “must be fully prepared to protect [its] land.” Prigozhin also stated that “no one has the right to decide who can defend their homeland,” a likely rebuke to regional authorities in Kursk and Belgorod oblasts that have opposed Prigozhin’s activities. ISW has previously assessed that Prigozhin’s pursuit of parallel military structures in Belgorod and Kursk oblasts is part of an effort to raise Prigozhin’s stature and power and not a part of the overall Russian campaign in Ukraine. Prigozhin will likely continue to absurdly claim that efforts to establish parallel military structures in Belgorod and Kursk oblasts are necessary to protect against the non-existent threat of a Ukrainian invasion of Russian territory. Prigozhin will also likely continue to pursue the formation of parallel military structures more broadly to expand his own influence and standing in Russian political circles and to develop his own private army.
Russian political officials are likely serving in Russian formations in Ukraine for self-promotion. A Russian milblogger claimed on November 11 that United Russia Secretary Andrey Turchak met with State Duma deputies who are currently fighting in the new BARS (Russian combat reserve) division “Kaskad” in eastern Ukraine. The milblogger claimed that the State Duma deputies volunteered to serve in the division during partial mobilization. Another Russian milblogger claimed that former Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin announced that he created a military inspection group that will provide technical military support to Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republic (DNR, LNR) units. These and other Russian political officials likely view participation in the Russian offensive campaign in Ukraine as a means for increasing their political standing within Russia.
Russian officials continued to pursue the formation of volunteer battalions as of November 11. The Republic of Chechnya head, Ramzan Kadyrov, claimed on November 11 that another group of Chechen Akhmat Spetsnaz forces deployed to eastern Ukraine. Ultranationalist milblogger Igor Girkin amplified a call for volunteers for his volunteer detachment serving in Ukraine on November 11. Girkin stated that volunteers will have six-month contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense but then contradicted himself and stated that service would last until the end of the war in Ukraine. Russian officials will continue to pursue an extremely ad-hoc approach to the formation of volunteer battalions, one that may divert resources away from the Russian MoD’s autumn conscription cycle and other ongoing crypto-mobilization efforts.
The Russian military’s subpar conduct of partial mobilization continues to generate social tension as of November 11. Russian outlet Sirena reported that wives of mobilized personnel from Kursk oblast appealed to authorities to return their husbands after outrage over poor conditions. Sirena reported that Russian military officials sent some of the personnel home and that the wives of the remaining mobilized personnel plan to travel to Moscow and demand an audience with the Russian MoD. Russian outlet Astra reported on November 11 that relatives of mobilized men detained in Zaitseve, Luhansk Oblast for refusing to fight arrived at the settlement in Ukraine and appealed to Russian servicemembers to see their detained relatives. A Russian source reported on November 11 that the relatives of mobilized personnel from Belgorod Oblast voiced complaints on social media that payments were substantially less than what Russian officials had promised. Social tensions will likely persist and grow as Russian officials fail to meet the financial promises they made during partial mobilization and as mobilized personnel continue to suffer significant losses at frontline positions in Ukraine.
Russian officials continued to acknowledge on November 11 that the Russian military faces significant supply issues. Amur Oblast Governor Vasily Orlov acknowledged that units of the Russian Armed Forces have lacked necessary provisions from the very start of the war in Ukraine, but that regional authorities concealed the issues so that “enemies” would not use the knowledge to present the Russian military as being in a “great tragedy.” Russian officials will likely continue to publicly acknowledge the substantial supply issues faced by the Russia military as the Russian military encounters more setbacks in Ukraine.
Activity in Russian-occupied Areas (Russian objective: consolidate administrative control of occupied and annexed areas; forcibly integrate Ukrainian civilians into Russian sociocultural, economic, military, and governance systems)
Ukrainian partisans continued to target Russian occupation authorities on November 11. Russian and Ukrainian authorities stated that unspecified actors, likely referring to Ukrainian partisans, attempted to assassinate Zaporizhia Oblast occupation Deputy Minister for Culture, Sports, and Tourism Andriy Boyk with an improved explosive device at Boyk’s residence in Melitopol, Zaporizhia Oblast. Boyk only sustained minor injuries. Ukrainian Luhansk Oblast head, Serhiy Haidai, stated that Ukrainian partisans set fire to an occupation headquarters in Artyema, Luhansk Oblast.
Russia and Ukraine conducted another one-for-one prisoner-of-war (POW) exchange on November 11. The Ukrainian Ministry for Reintegration reported that 45 Ukrainian POWs returned to Ukraine after exchanging 45 Russian POWs on November 11. Russian sources criticized the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) for failing to announce the POW exchange and allowing Russians to learn of the exchange from Ukrainian officials. The Russian MoD has an established pattern of downplaying or failing to announce POW exchanges that may anger the Russian nationalist and milblogger information spaces, as ISW has previously reported.
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.
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