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Poor troop quality slows Russia in northeastern Ukraine – ISW

Russian forces will not likely make an operationally significant breakthrough in the Kharkiv Oblast, ISW says
Poor troop quality slows Russia in northeastern Ukraine – ISW

Russian forces have not achieved major territorial gains between northeastern Kharkiv and Luhansk oblasts despite increased offensive operations there, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) assessed in a July 18 update.

The think tank noted both Russian and Ukrainian sources have reported intensified Russian attacks in the Kupiansk area along the oblast border. Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed troops progressed up to 2km along the front and 1.5km in depth in an unspecified Kupiansk sector.

However, the ISW believes “Russian forces will not likely make tactically significant advances or an operationally significant breakthrough” between the two regions partly due to the poor quality of deployed troops.

ISW pointed to the involvement of the “heavily degraded” 1st Guards Tank Army and convict-formed “Storm-Z” units known for low morale and discipline.

In southern Ukraine, the dismissal of a top commander over troop conditions may continue impacting Russian operations. According to the ISW, a prominent Russian blogger accused Ukraine of trying to exhaust Russian defenders, while forces still face rotation issues the commander outlined.

Meanwhile, the Institute assessed that a recent surrender of small Russian units partly stemmed from persistent supply line problems.

The think tank also stated the July 17 attack on the strategic Kerch Bridge to Crimea is already disrupting logistics to Russian troops in the south. Footage showed major traffic jams on a key highway through occupied territory after occupation authorities rerouted traffic from Crimea.

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