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ISW: Cutting off the Ukrainian salient is the goal of Russia’s offensive on Toretsk in Donetsk Oblast

The Institute for the Study of War assesses that Russia’s Toretsk offensive is unlikely to result in rapid gains due to limited force commitment.
Toretsk-Donetsk-Oblast-June 2024
The assessed control pf terrain around Donetsk Oblast as of 27 June 2024. Credit: ISW
ISW: Cutting off the Ukrainian salient is the goal of Russia’s offensive on Toretsk in Donetsk Oblast

The US-based Institute for the Study of War reported on 27 June that Russian forces have maintained the pace of their offensive operations in the Toretsk direction since 18 June, likely aiming to reduce a Ukrainian salient in the area. However, the ISW assesses that “there is little current likelihood of rapid Russian gains near Toretsk.”

According to the ISW report, Russian forces have committed limited resources to this operation, suggesting a continued prioritization of “gradual advances through consistent grinding assaults over operationally significant gains through rapid maneuver.”

The ISW notes that Russian forces increased the intensity of their assaults in the Toretsk direction on the night of 18 June, marking a shift from their previous inactivity in this sector during 2024.

“Russian forces have so far conducted mainly frontal infantry-heavy assaults on small settlements south and east of Toretsk and have yet to conduct any significant mechanized assaults in the area,” the report states.

The think tank observes that Russian forces have not made any notable tactical gains in the Toretsk area thus far. It suggests that this offensive may be an attempt to exploit the redeployment of Ukrainian forces to northern Kharkiv Oblast, where renewed Russian operations have drawn and fixed Ukrainian units.

The ISW points out the strategic implications of Russian advances in the Chasiv Yar area and northwest of Avdiivka without corresponding gains near Toretsk.

“The deeper the Ukrainian salient in the Toretsk direction would become, offering Ukrainian forces an area from which to conduct routine fire against immediate rear areas of the Russian advance in the Chasiv Yar and Avdiivka directions,” the report explains.

Furthermore, the ISW assesses that a deeper salient in the Toretsk area would leave Russian forces more vulnerable to significant Ukrainian counterattacks on the southern front of the Chasiv Yar direction and the northern front of the Avdiivka salient.

The report concludes that Russian offensive operations near Toretsk likely aim to reduce the threat posed by this Ukrainian salient while Russian forces continue to pursue gains in the Avdiivka and Chasiv Yar directions.

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