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Russians attack Toretsk to advance further on Chasiv Yar or Avdiivka – ISW

Wednesday, 3 July 2024, 04:56
Russians attack Toretsk to advance further on Chasiv Yar or Avdiivka – ISW
Chasiv Yar. Photo: Olha Kyrylenko and Alex Klymov, Ukrainska Pravda

The Russian military command intends to use the offensive on Toretsk to create operational opportunities to advance either in the area of Chasiv Yar or Avdiivka.

Source: Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

Details: Russia's current activities, which could evolve into comprehensive strategies on various fronts, showcase a more sophisticated level of operational planning and foresight than what the Russian command demonstrated in early 2022. However, their ability to execute these plans is constrained by the generally low tactical proficiency of the Russian forces currently engaged on these fronts.


In an interview with Suspilne Donbas on 2 July, Lieutenant Colonel Nazar Voloshyn, the spokesman for the Ukrainian Khortytsia Operational Strategic Group, reported that Russian troops are mounting an offensive on Chasiv Yar from Toretsk, situated to the south. The Russian forces are pushing towards Toretsk-Chasiv Yar, predominantly employing small infantry units and occasionally launching mechanised assaults.

Map: Deep State

Ukrainian military analyst Kostiantyn Mashovets has linked the Russian manoeuvres on the Toretsk front to their efforts to break through to the Pokrovsk front, also known as the Avdiivka front, located to the west and southwest of Toretsk.


Mashovets' and Voloshyn's insights into the Russian offensive near Toretsk suggest a critical dynamic in the fighting. The Russian command might have escalated their operations in mid-June, seeing Toretsk as a strategic point from which they could advance either north towards Chasiv Yar or west/southwest towards Avdiivka, based on which direction appears more favourable.

As highlighted by the ISW, the primary contingent of Russian forces on the Toretsk front consists of poorly trained units from the self-declared and non-recognised "Donetsk People's Republic" and local territorial defence forces. These units are likely to face significant difficulties in executing successful attacks, particularly as Ukraine continues to receive increasing military support in the upcoming weeks and months.

To quote the ISW’s Key Takeaways on 2 July: 

  • The interplay between ongoing Russian offensive operations on the Chasiv Yar, Toretsk, and Avdiivka fronts indicates that the Russian military command may intend to leverage the ongoing Toretsk push to create operational opportunities for advances in either the Chasiv Yar or Avdiivka areas. Russian preparations that can support multiple future branch plans suggest a more developed level of operational planning and foresight than the Russian command has proven capable of executing thus far in the war since early 2022. The ability of this operational planning to come to fruition, however, will be bounded by the overall poor tactical-level capabilities of Russian forces currently fighting in these areas.
  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán likely used his unannounced visit to Kyiv on 2 July to posture himself as a peacemaker following Hungary's accession to the European Union (EU) Council presidency on 1 July, but Orbán’s efforts are very unlikely to bring about any robust peace in Ukraine.
  • The Kremlin is waging an intensified information campaign aimed at pushing Ukraine to negotiate with Russia on Russian terms, and any Russian, Western, or other efforts to cajole Ukraine to prematurely negotiate with Russia would only weaken Ukraine and embolden further Russian aggression inside and beyond Ukraine.
  • Several Russian State Duma MPs proposed a bill that would exclude a significant number of ethnicities from Russia's "compatriots" resettlement programme, undermining the Kremlin's efforts to leverage its "compatriots abroad" to offset Russian labour shortages and set informational conditions to justify potential hybrid operations against other countries with Russian and Russian-speaking populations.
  • Ukrainian forces struck an ammunition depot at a Russian military base in occupied Crimea on 1 July that reportedly housed Shahed drones.
  • Russia may be intensifying its efforts to conduct reconnaissance and disrupt communications in the underwater and air space near NATO states.
  • Russian authorities appear to be publicly fixating on crackdowns against fight clubs and restricting the niqab to signal that Russian authorities are adequately combating terrorist threats in the North Caucasus instead of addressing systemic issues of Islamist extremism in the region.
  • Russian leader Vladimir Putin signed a decree on 2 July assigning the Russian 999th Air Base in Kant, Kyrgyzstan the "guards" honorific for "mass heroism and bravery".
  • Russian forces recently advanced near Vovchansk, Chasiv Yar, Avdiivka, and the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area.
  • Russia is reportedly recruiting women from Russian penal colonies to fight in Ukraine, and some of these recruits are reportedly fighting on the frontline.

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