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ISW: Russian forces test Ukrainian defenses with limited assaults

Russian forces conducted four limited mechanized assaults across multiple axes in Donetsk Oblast, likely intended to test Ukrainian defensive reactions, according to a report from the Institute for the Study of War.
Ukrainian soldier
A Ukrainian soldier on the frontline. Credit: President Volodymyr Zelenskyy via Telegram.
ISW: Russian forces test Ukrainian defenses with limited assaults

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports that Russian forces recently conducted four reduced-company-sized mechanized assaults on multiple operational axes in Donetsk Oblast “likely to test Ukrainian reactions following the first wave of the Russian offensive effort in northern Kharkiv Oblast.”

According to the ISW, Russian forces have not made significant advances.

Footage published on 27 May and 28 shows Russian forces conducting reinforced platoon-sized mechanized attacks east of Chasiv Yar and east of Novopokrovske (northwest of Avdiivka) and roughly-company sized mechanized attacks near Novomykhailivka (southwest of Donetsk City) and in Staromayorske (south of Velyka Novosilka).

The ISW report states, “Russian forces only marginally advanced in the attacks east of Novopokrovske and in Staromayorske and did not make confirmed advances near Chasiv Yar or Novomykhailivka.”

The ISW suggests that “Russian forces have reduced their tempo of attacks and advances in northern Kharkiv Oblast and increased their tempo of attacks in the Pokrovsk (Avdiivka) direction in recent days.”

The analysis reports, “These Russian mechanized attacks – one across each of Russia’s current four operational axes – are limited compared to prior Russian mechanized attacks at the start of or during a dedicated offensive effort.”

“The May 27 and 28 attacks were likely intended to gauge Ukrainian forces’ reactions and defensive abilities in the Donetsk direction,” the report said.

It also states that the recent Russian offensive effort in northern Kharkiv Oblast likely aimed to take advantage of Ukrainian manpower and materiel shortages before anticipated Western military assistance arrived at the frontline and created opportunities for Russian forces elsewhere. Russian forces likely aimed to test whether and where any of these opportunities for exploitation may exist on the Donetsk Oblast frontline, according to the ISW.

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