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Occupants are conducting a "creeping offensive" in the Toretsk direction: ISW explained what the Kremlin is betting on

Russian occupation army. Source: from open sources

Russia is maintaining the pace of offensive operations in the Toretsk sector after enemy troops intensified their activities in the area on June 18. The occupiers are seeking to reduce the Ukrainian-controlled advance in this area, but they have deployed too few forces and have had too little success for Russia to achieve this goal in the near future.

In the Toretsk sector, the invaders are conducting a so-called creeping offensive, which is quite satisfactory to the Kremlin. Analysts at the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) explained what the Russian government is betting on in a new article.

Russian troops began more active offensives in the Toretsk sector on June 18. They launched frontal offensives by large infantry groups against small settlements south and east of Toretsk. At the same time, the invaders have never conducted a significant mechanized assault in the area.

Analysts attribute the intensification of the invaders' activity in the Toretsk area to the offensive operation of Russian troops in the north of Kharkiv region, which required the Ukrainian command to deploy additional forces there. The invaders decided to take advantage of this to try to achieve success in other critical frontline areas, particularly in the Donetsk region.

Analysts have speculated on the reasons for the choice to activate the Toretsk direction, which had been an inactive section of the frontline until June.

"The further Russian forces advance in the Chasiv Yar area and northwest of Avdiivka without making similar gains in the Toretsk sector, the deeper the Ukrainian advance in the Toretsk sector will become, offering Ukrainian forces a zone for conventional fire on the immediate Russian rear in the Chasiv Yar and Avdiivka sectors. A deeper advance in the Toretsk area would also make 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 Russian offensive operations near Toretsk are likely intended to reduce the threat posed by this Ukrainian salient, while Russian troops continue to pursue objectives in the Avdiivka and Chasiv Yar directions," analysts tried to explain the motives of the Russian command.

Occupants are conducting a ''creeping offensive'' in the Toretsk direction: ISW explained what the Kremlin is betting on

The ISW also noted that Russian offensive actions in the Toretsk sector indicate that the Russian military command does not consider a large-scale offensive on Kostyantynivka from several operational directions to be appropriate. Compared to April of this year, when the Russians made relatively quick tactical gains northwest of Avdiivka, their advance has slowed considerably. They have failed to capture Chasiv Yar in order to enter the Toretsk area from there and create a threat of encirclement for Ukrainian forces.

"Continuation of Russian offensive operations to the west and southwest of Avdiivka and further concentration of Russians on advancing northwest of Avdiivka towards the T0504 (Kostiantynivka-Pokrovsk) highway, rather than further north of the Avdiivka salient, suggests that Russian forces are currently seeking to advance west toward Pokrovsk rather than pursue operations that could support a broader operation to capture Kostyantynivka from the south and east. The Russian military command may intend to use operations in the Toretsk sector to support the envisioned offensive from Chasovyi Yar to Kostiantynivka in a narrower offensive to capture the city. On the other hand, Russian forces may not intend to achieve significant tactical success in the Toretsk sector and hope that offensive operations in this area will put pressure on Ukrainian forces on the broader front in Donetsk region and contribute to success in the Chasiv Yar and Avdiivka areas," the article says.

At the same time, the Russian command has sent forces with limited combat power to the Toretsk direction: units of the so-called "DPR" and units of the Russian territorial troops (which are less combat-ready than units of the regular Russian army) are fighting there. Therefore, analysts believe that it will be difficult for them to achieve significant tactical success without serious reinforcements.

The forces that the occupiers have accumulated near Toretsk are not enough to capture the city.

"The arrival or dispatch of Russian reinforcements to the area would be an indicator that Russian troops intend for operations in the Toretsk area to be more tactically significant than sabotage. Even if Russian forces were able to capture Toretsk, advancing beyond the city would be equally, if not more difficult given the open terrain and large bodies of water to the north and northwest. ISW currently assesses rapid tactical successes by Russia in the Toretsk sector as unlikely. However, Russian troops may intend to conduct successive offensive operations in the area to achieve creeping tactical successes, as is the case throughout the theater," the report says.

The tactic of a creeping offensive, analysts say, is fully consistent with the theory of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, who believes that Russian troops will be able to continue their gradual creeping advance indefinitely, prevent Ukraine from conducting successful counteroffensive operations, and win the war by depleting Ukrainian forces.

The ISW believes that the current pace of Russia's advance suggests that Russian troops can pursue individual operational objectives for many months, if not years, so the occupiers may well agree to several months of attacks to capture Toretsk and move on to Kostiantynivka.

Analysts have also noted that the Russian command probably hopes that pressure on the Toretsk direction will help prevent Ukraine from amassing troops and resources that would help seize the initiative on the battlefield. This desire may be driving the Russians to conduct offensive actions near Toretsk even more than the desire to grab another piece of territory or occupy an operationally important city.

"The West should actively provide Ukrainian forces with the necessary equipment and weapons on the scale, time, and regularity that Ukrainian forces need for operations that liberate large areas of occupied Ukraine and challenge Putin's belief that he can gradually conquer Ukraine if a quick, complete victory seems unattainable," the analysts summarized.

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