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Pace of Russian operations in Ukraine slowing down in recent weeks – ISW

Siutation in Ukraine. March 15, 2023. Source: ISW.
[editorial]The US-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says Russian offensive actions in Ukraine have decreased significantly over the last week, likely due to significant losses of manpower and equipment. Despite committing most of three divisions to the Svatove-Kreminna line, Russian forces have made minimal tactical gains in Luhansk Oblast and Ukrainian forces may have regained territory.[/editorial]

The overall pace of Russian operations in Ukraine appears to have decreased compared to previous weeks. 

A spokesperson for the Ukrainian Joint Press Center of the Tavriisk Defense Forces, Colonel Oleksiy Dmytrashkivskyi, stated on March 15 that Russian offensive actions have decreased significantly over the last week and noted that daily Russian ground attacks have decreased from 90 to 100 attacks per day to 20 to 29 per day. Dmytrashkivskyi reported that Russian forces have somewhat lost offensive potential due to significant manpower and equipment losses.

Dmytrashkivskyi’s statements are consistent with ISW’s general observation regarding the pace of Russian operations along the entire frontline in Ukraine. The Russian offensive operation in Luhansk Oblast is likely nearing culmination, if it has not already culminated, although Russia has committed most elements of at least three divisions to the Svatove-Kreminna line.

Russian forces have made only minimal tactical gains along the entire Luhansk Oblast frontline over the last week, and Ukrainian forces have likely recently managed to conduct counterattacks and regain territory in Luhansk Oblast (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

ISW has been unable to confirm the commitment of the 2nd Motor Rifle Division (1st Guards Tank Army, Western Military District) to the offensive in Luhansk Oblast since certain unspecified elements reportedly deployed to Luhansk Oblast in January–the only large formation assessed to be operational but not yet engaged.

It is unclear if the 2nd Motor Rifle Division has already deployed and has not been observed or if it is waiting to deploy to either Luhansk Oblast or other areas of the front. The commitment of two or three of the 2nd Motor Rifle Division’s constituent regiments, however, is unlikely to significantly delay or reverse the culmination of the Russian offensive in Luhansk Oblast, especially considering that at least five Russian regiments have definitely been fully committed in this area, likely along with several others, but Russian forces have still been unable to make substantial gains.

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