Russia’s operational pause in the Donbas continues amidst heavy shelling in Ukrainian cities in Donetsk, a region Russia will likely soon advance upon. British intelligence assessed that shelling was coming from occupied Izyum and Lysychansk, the latter captured recently by Russian forces after a hurried Ukrainian withdrawal.
Recently, Ukraine has managed to halt several Russian attacks in Kherson, Kharkiv, and Sloviansk. Though Russia has likely made limited gains from Luhansk, Russian forces have been unable to maintain significant momentum comparable to the onset of the battle for the Donbas. Whereas Ukrainian positions in Luhansk were nearly completely encircled, preventing the delivery of Western weapons, Ukrainian positions in Donetsk have already been delivered materiel.
To pressure Ukraine, Russia would need to make advances in the southern areas of Donetsk, areas where Ukrainian forces have recently made counterattacks. Currently, the bulk of the Russian offensive in Donetsk seems concentrated around Sloviansk and Bakhmut, with the likely objective of capturing Kramatorsk. Suppose the Russian offensive remains stalled as Ukraine’s Western weapons continue battering Russia’s logistics and command. In that case, Russian forces could lose their artillery advantage, the primary reason cited by Russian and Ukrainian analysts alike for Russian success on the battlefield.
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