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ISW: Russian forces pose credible threat of seizing Chasiv Yar

They’re intensifying efforts since March, trying to capture the city before US aid boosts Ukraine’s defenses.
ISW Chasiv Yar april 2024
Assessed control of terrain around Chasiv Yar in Donetsk Oblast as of 25 April 2024. Credit: ISW
ISW: Russian forces pose credible threat of seizing Chasiv Yar

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported on 26 April that Russian forces do pose a credible threat of seizing Chasiv Yar, although they may not be able to do so rapidly.

A strategic city, Chasiv Yar, is located 10 kilometers from Bakhmut and situated on commanding heights that are beneficial for defensive operations.

Russian forces currently on the eastern outskirts of Chasiv Yar have been intensifying efforts to seize the city since March 2024. According to the Ukrainian military, the situation on the frontline in Donetsk Oblast has intensified in recent days, with the Russians trying to break through to the town of Chasiv Yar.

According to the ISW, the Russian pressure on Chasiv Yar is more significant” compared to the Russian offensive northwest of Avdiivka.

According to the ISW, “the offensive effort to seize Chasiv Yar offers Russian forces the most immediate prospects for operationally significant advances as the seizure of the town would likely allow Russian forces to launch subsequent offensive operations against cities that form a significant Ukrainian defensive belt in Donetsk Oblast.”

While reporting that “Russian forces do pose a credible threat of seizing Chasiv Yar,” the ISW notes, “they may not be able to do so rapidly.”

The ISW assessed that “Russian forces are likely attempting to seize as much territory as possible before the arrival of US security assistance significantly improves Ukrainian defensive capabilities in the coming weeks.”

It further posits that “the Russian military command may be intensifying offensive operations northwest of Avdiivka because the area provides greater opportunities for making more rapid tactical gains despite the relative operational insignificance of those gains.”

Politico reported, citing a senior Ukrainian official, that a potential Russian victory in the Ukrainian-held city of Chasiv Yar “would jeopardize the security of the remaining Ukrainian-held cities in Donetsk.”

Other takeaways from the report:

  • Russian forces are stabilizing their small salient northwest of Avdiivka and may make further tactical gains that could cause Ukrainian forces to withdraw from other tactical positions along the frontline west of Avdiivka to a more defensible line.
  • US officials are reportedly worried that the latest package of US military aid to Ukraine may not be enough for Ukraine to regain all of its territory. US military assistance is only part of what Ukraine currently needs, moreover; but Ukraine is itself working to address other war fighting requirements — primarily manpower challenges and the expansion of its defense industrial base (DIB).
  • Russian forces are reportedly fielding drones adapted to be more resilient against Ukrainian electronic warfare (EW) capabilities on critical sectors of the frontline, likely in an attempt to leverage new technological capabilities to exploit a limited window before US security assistance arrives in Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian forces recently made confirmed advances near Siversk, and Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Avdiivka and the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area.

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