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Russian troops conduct at least three operational-level efforts – ISW

Sunday, 14 April 2024, 05:38
Russian troops conduct at least three operational-level efforts – ISW
Ukrainian soldiers. Stock photo: General Staff

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that the invading Russian troops are conducting at least three operational-level efforts and have intensified their efforts to capture Chasiv Yar.

Source: ISW

Details: Russian troops are conducting at least three operational-level efforts, which are not mutually reinforcing but allow Russian troops to prioritise tactical successes in their chosen sector.


Analysts note that it will become increasingly difficult for Ukrainian forces to counter these Russian efforts the longer Ukraine is deprived of further US military assistance.

Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrskyi, Ukraine's Commander-in-Chief, said on 13 April that the situation in eastern Ukraine had deteriorated significantly in recent days and that Russian troops were conducting mechanised attacks on the Lyman, Bakhmut and Pokrovsk fronts.

The report adds that Ukrainian forces are currently struggling with significant shortages of both artillery shells and air defence equipment, which are critical components of their defence, and that Russian forces are taking advantage of these shortages and improving weather conditions.

According to the observations and analyses of the Institute's experts, the Russians are intensifying their efforts to capture Chasiv Yar.

"If the United States does not resume its assistance to Ukraine, and Ukrainian troops continue to lack the necessary artillery ammunition and air defence equipment, even poorly trained and poorly equipped Russian troops may be able to conduct successful offensive operations," the report states.

In addition, analysts said that the offensive to capture Chasiv Yar would open up the nearest prospects for Russian troops to make an operationally significant advance, as the capture of the town is likely to allow the Russian troops to launch further offensive operations against towns that actually form a significant defensive belt of Ukraine in Donetsk Oblast.

Russian troops have long been aiming to capture a group of large cities in Donetsk Oblast, including Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Druzhkivka and Kostiantynivka.

The ISW does not predict that the Russians will succeed in capturing any of these cities in the near term.

However, it does express these views on the threat posed by the capture of Chasiv Yar by Russian forces, as it is the most likely most dangerous scenario (MDCOA), especially if the United States does not quickly resume military assistance to Ukraine.

To quote the ISW's Key Takeaways on 13 April:

  • Russian forces are pursuing at least three operational-level efforts that are not mutually reinforcing but let Russian forces prioritise grinding, tactical gains on a single sector of their choice at a time. Ukrainian forces will increasingly struggle to defend against these Russian efforts the longer Ukraine lacks further US military assistance.
  • The Russian military command likely assesses that Ukrainian forces will be unable to defend against current and future Russian offensive operations due to delays in or the permanent end of US military assistance.
  • The offensive effort to seize Chasiv Yar offers Russian forces the most immediate prospects for operationally significant advances as the seizure of the town would likely allow Russian forces to launch subsequent offensive operations against the cities that form, in effect, a significant Ukrainian defensive belt in Donetsk Oblast.
  • Russian threats to Druzhkivka and Kostiantynivka are very operationally significant since these "fortress" cities help form the backbone of the Ukrainian defence in Donetsk Oblast and of eastern Ukraine in general.
  • Russian forces may not be able to seize Chasiv Yar rapidly and would likely struggle to leverage its operational significance immediately as long as Ukrainian forces have the resources needed to hold their positions.
  • Ukrainian artillery and air defence shortages resulting from the lack of US security assistance are allowing Russian mechanised forces to make marginal tactical advances, and future Russian mechanised assaults may be able to achieve more significant gains should the US continue to withhold assistance to Ukraine.
  • Germany announced that it will immediately transfer another Patriot air defence system to Ukraine in response to recent very urgent Ukrainian requests for additional Patriot systems to defend against the increased Russian strike campaign and ongoing Ukrainian efforts to expand Ukraine’s air defence capabilities.
  • Russian forces made confirmed advances near Chasiv Yar (west of Bakhmut) and Donetsk City.

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