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Pace of Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine slowing down: U.S. think-tank

The offensive operation of the Russian troops in the Luhansk region may have already reached its maximum point, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) estimated in its latest report.

Experts recall the opinion expressed by the Ukrainian army’s press office that the Russian troops’ offensive capacity had been diminished as a result of the losses of personnel and equipment. The ISW notes that this is in line with the conclusion reached by the institute’s analysts. Even though Russia has engaged the majority of at least three divisions along the Svatov-Kreminna line, they feel that the Russian offensive operation in the Luhansk region is definitely approaching, if not already at, its peak.

In recent days, Russian soldiers have achieved only limited tactical gains along the whole front line in Luhansk Oblast and Ukrainian forces likely managed to conduct counterattacks and recapture territories there, the ISW assesses.

NEW: The overall pace of #Russian operations in #Ukraine appears to have decreased compared to previous weeks.

Latest w/ @criticalthreats:

— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) March 16, 2023

According to Ukrainian sources, quoted by ISW, the number of attacks on Bakhmut, which is under Russian siege, is also diminishing. The institute emphasizes that the Russian forces would very certainly have to deploy major reserves to prevent the onslaught of the Wagner Group mercenaries from happening. They might be able to pull it off – ISW identified components of Russian airborne regiments in and around Bakhmut that do not appear to be substantially involved in the battle at the time.

The Russians might also engage elements of other conventional formations, including drawing troops from elsewhere on the front, the ISW stated. Yet, the institute believes that the Wagner Group offensive alone is insufficient to take over Bakhmut.

According to the U.S. think-tank, Russian forces are not conducting aggressive or effective offensive operations elsewhere in the battle zone. In their opinion, Ukraine may retake the initiative on the battlefield when the pace of Russian operations slows down on the vital sections of the front.

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