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ISW: Ukrainian ammo shortages hinder defense against even depleted Russian forces

ISW reported even earlier that low Russian morale affected the prospects of Russian offensive operations. However, the report said, “Ukraine’s current material shortages may make it difficult for Ukrainian forces to defend against Russian forces — even those that are exhausted and unmotivated.”
The village of Bohorodychne, Donetsk Oblast. Credit: Roman Pilipey
ISW: Ukrainian ammo shortages hinder defense against even depleted Russian forces

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported on 17 April that Russian forces in eastern Ukraine are using smaller groups to conduct assaults and are reportedly suffering from morale issues.

However, ISW assesses that “Russian attacks are unlikely to culminate in the near term despite these challenges because of Ukrainian material shortages.”

According to the spokesperson of the Ukrainian National Guard, Colonel Ruslan Muzychuk, Russian forces “have not recently used large units to conduct assaults but are instead using groups split into two detachments reinforced with armored vehicles to conduct ground attacks.”

Muzychuk said that Russian forces are also “using small vehicles without protection to approach Ukrainian positions quickly and set conditions for a subsequent Russian infantry group to secure these positions.”

The Ukrainian 26th Artillery Brigade press officer, Oleh Kalashnikov, said that Russian forces in the Bakhmut direction “are not conducting battalion-sized ground attacks because Ukrainian drones immediately detect them and that Russian forces are instead using company-sized groups at most.” Kalashnikov reports that Russian forces “suffer from low morale and are also using barrier troops to prevent Russian soldiers from retreating.”

While Russian forces previously used mass infantry-led frontal assaults, ISW notes that “Russian forces appear to have shifted to using smaller infantry groups recently to conduct ground attacks.”

Russian sources have indicated that “Russian forces suffered from exhaustion and lacked rotations but had to continue to fight on new lines west of Avdiivka following Russia’s seizure of Avdiivka.”

ISW assessed earlier that low Russian morale and exhaustion affected the prospects of Russian offensive operations.

However, the report said, “Ukraine’s current material shortages may make it difficult for Ukrainian forces to defend against Russian forces — even those that are exhausted and unmotivated.”

ISW also reported that “Russia’s opportunities to exploit Ukrainian vulnerabilities will widen as Ukrainian material shortages persist.”

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