Russia planning major new offensive in Donetsk region in coming months, ISW says

Ukrainian soldiers of the 71st Jaeger Brigade fire a M101 howitzer towards Russian positions at the frontline, near Avdiivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Friday, March 22, 2024.
Ukrainian soldiers of the 71st Jaeger Brigade fire a M101 howitzer towards Russian positions at the frontline, near Avdiivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Friday, March 22, 2024. Copyright Efrem Lukatsky/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Efrem Lukatsky/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Oleksandra Vakulina
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A recent battalion-sized action that was repelled by Ukrainian forces gives an indication of Russia's new priorities.

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Russia looks set to focus a potential late spring or summer offensive on the western part of Ukraine's Donetsk region, according to a new assessment.

The Institute for the Study of War think tank says the Russian military command may be considering the area near Avdiivka, a key front-line city in Donetsk region captured by Russia in February, as a renewed target.

Ukrainian forces appear to have repelled a Russian battalion-sized mechanised assault near Avdiivka, Donetsk region, on March 30 – the first action on such a scale since Russian forces began the campaign to seize Avdiivka in October 2023.

Quoting an unnamed Ukrainian serviceman, the ISW says that Russian forces may have used 36 tanks and 12 infantry fighting vehicles near the village of Tonenke.

The scale of the assault and the Russian military command’s willingness to commit a battalion’s worth of tanks to an attack near Avdiivka indicates that this assault was a priority effort, perhaps aiming to build upon Russian forces’ steady but marginal advances in the area.

Ukrainian officials have warned that Russian forces are accumulating personnel along several axes, but the ISW continues to assess that Russian forces will likely only be able to launch a concerted large-scale offensive operation in one operational direction at a time due to Russia’s own manpower and planning limitations.

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