Russia will need to draw on reserves for offensive, its troops are exhausted – ISW

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All of Russia’s entire airborne forces are already engaged in offensive or defensive operations in Ukraine, and Russia needs to deploy significant reserves for an offensive, as its troops are exhausted and disorganized, the Institute for Study of War posted in its latest update.

The pattern of Russian deployments throughout Ukraine strongly suggests that most of the available maneuver elements of all military districts, as well as major surviving Airborne forces, are already committed to either active offensive or defensive operations in Ukraine. Russia will need to commit significant reserves to any discrete axis in order to conduct effective offensive operations, and the generally exhausted condition of troops and the apparently disorganized and fragmented deployment pattern in some areas will likely pose significant obstacles to Russia’s prospects for defending critical sectors of the frontline,” ISW wrote, analyzing in detail the seven directions where Russia is conducting operations:

  1. Kupyansk;
  2. Luhansk Oblast;
  3. Bakhmut;
  4. Avdiivka-Donetsk City;
  5. western Donetsk/eastern Zaporizhzhia;
  6. western Zaporizhzhia;
  7. Kherson Oblast.

Russian forces are pursuing active offensive operations on at least five of these axes (Kupyansk, Luhansk, Bakhmut, Avdiivka-Donetsk City, and western Donetsk/eastern Zaporizhzhia) and predominantly pursuing defensive operations on the western Zaporizhzhia Oblast and Kherson Oblast axes, ISW notes.

“The forces currently committed to both offensive and defensive operations in Ukraine are both regular (doctrinally consistent based on Russian pre-war units) and irregular (non-standard and non-doctrinal) forces, and it is highly likely that the majority of Russian elements throughout Ukraine are substantially below full strength due to losses taken during previous phases of the war,” ISW writes.

The think tank assumes that Ukraine will be able to conduct a coordinated multi-brigade mechanized offensive operation making full use of the reported nine brigades being prepared for that operation.



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