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Russian attacks could make "threatening gains" west of Bakhmut – ISW

Tuesday, 16 April 2024, 05:30
Russian attacks could make threatening gains west of Bakhmut – ISW
Ukrainian soldiers. Photo: General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Russian attacks could make significant and threatening gains, especially west of Bakhmut, if the US does not provide assistance to Ukraine.

Source: Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

Details: ISW assessed that Russian troops are currently using the Ukrainian side's lack of resources to achieve minor tactical successes. 


This situation is a result of the lack of US security assistance.

Ukrainian officials also continue to warn that US security assistance is vital to the ability of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to defend themselves against current and future Russian offensives, which are expected to begin in late spring and summer. Kyrylo Budanov, Head of Defence Intelligence of Ukraine, said that Ukrainian troops are preparing to repel an upcoming major Russian offensive expected in late May or early June, but noted that this would be "catastrophically difficult" without Western military assistance. 

Ukrainian Defence Minister Rustem Umierov said on 14 April that the current situation in Ukraine’s east is "tense" and that Russian troops are concentrating their efforts west of Bakhmut towards Chasiv Yar. Umierov said that Ukrainian troops were successfully using modern equipment against larger numbers of Russian personnel.

Lieutenant Colonel Nazar Voloshyn, spokesman for the Khortytsia Ukrainian group of forces, said on 15 April that Ukrainian forces on the Bakhmut and Avdiivka fronts could use one to five artillery shells for every 10 artillery shells fired by Russian forces, but that Ukrainian artillery was more accurate than Russian artillery. 

ISW noted that the ability of Ukrainian forces to repel intensified Russian offensives in Ukraine’s east has deteriorated due to a lack of materiel and is likely to continue to deteriorate in the near future if delays in US security assistance continue.

To quote the ISW’s Key Takeaways on 15 April:

  • Ukrainian officials continue to warn that US security assistance is vital to Ukrainian forces’ ability to defend against current and future Russian offensive operations forecasted to begin in late spring and summer.
  • A senior Estonian military official described intensified Russian offensive frontline operations and deep rear area strike campaigns as intended to degrade both Ukraine’s will to fight and Western unity.
  • Russian forces continue to adapt their drone tactics along the frontline as part of an offence-defence arms race to mitigate Ukrainian technological adaptions to offset Russian materiel advantages along the frontline.
  • Russian officials doubled down on efforts to amplify Iran’s "justification" for the 13 April large-scale Iranian strikes against Israel that falsely equates them with an 1 April Israeli strike targeting Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officials in Damascus.
  • A Russian insider source claimed that Russian officials are preparing to redeploy some former Wagner Group elements serving in Africa Corps to Belgorod Oblast.
  • Crimean occupation administration head Sergei Aksyonov passed a decree restricting migrant labor in occupied Crimea, undermining the Kremlin’s effort to mitigate labor shortages.
  • Russian state media seized on Georgian protests against a proposed law similar to Russia’s "foreign agent" law, likely as part of Kremlin efforts to amplify political discord in Georgia.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Siversk (northeast of Bakhmut), Avdiivka, and west of Donetsk City on 15 April.
  • Russian prosecution rates of men who had fled compulsory military service have reportedly increased since fall 2022.

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