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UK intel: Russian forces make minor gains in Donetsk Oblast as Ukrainian troops face shell shortages

Russian forces are intensifying their efforts to expand control northwest of Donetsk city, with a strategic focus on contesting a string of villages including Orlivka, Tonenke, Pervomaiske, and Nevelske.
Ukrainian tank
A Ukrainian tank on the frontline. Credit: Ukraine’s General Staff
UK intel: Russian forces make minor gains in Donetsk Oblast as Ukrainian troops face shell shortages

Russian forces have continued to concentrate their operations in the Donetsk Oblast region of eastern Ukraine, achieving minor territorial gains, UK intelligence said in its latest report. The focus of their efforts has been to expand control areas northwest of Donetsk city, with the villages of Orlivka, Tonenke, Pervomaiske, and Nevelske currently contested.

Since the start of 2024, the advantage in artillery fire along the front line has been 7:1 in favor of the Russian forces, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ivan Havryliuk said.

According to UK Intel. the pace of Russian advances has notably slowed in the past few weeks. This deceleration is attributed, in part, to the heavy losses suffered during the Avdiivka offensive. Despite these setbacks, the situation “remains unstable.”.

On the Ukrainian side, challenges persist as shortages in personnel and munitions are likely hindering their ability to maintain defensive positions, the report reads.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported earlier that shortages in artillery and delays in receiving Western military assistance are expected to introduce uncertainty into Ukrainian operational strategies. This is likely to lead Ukrainian forces to face difficult choices regarding the allocation of resources across different front sectors. Specifically, they might have to prioritize some sectors over others, where minor territorial losses would be less detrimental, ISW assessed.

Currently, the Czech Republic leads an initiative aimed at purchasing 800,000 155mm shells for Ukraine outside the EU with the help of allies. The initiative comes as a response to the EU’s failure to meet its pledge of providing Ukraine with 1 million rounds of artillery by this month while Russia continues to produce more ammunition and receive support from North Korea.

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