Russia may make small gains but will not achieve their main goal to occupy Sloviansk& Bakhmut cities in Donbas.
“The current Russian offensive may secure limited additional territorial gains in Donbas northeast of the E40 highway but will likely culminate before seizing major populated areas such as Sloviansk or Bakhmut,” ISW says. “Russian troops are now struggling to move across relatively sparsely-settled and open terrain. They will encounter terrain much more conducive to the Ukrainian defenders the closer they get to the E40 around Sloviansk and Bakhmut due to the increasing population density and built-up nature of these areas. The current Russian offensive in Donbas is therefore highly likely to culminate somewhere along the E40 in the coming weeks.”