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Russia moves reserves to eastern Ukraine in an attempt to intensify its offensive - ISW

Russia moves reserves to several areas in eastern Ukraine - ISW

The aggressor country Russia is currently deploying tactical and operational reserves to eastern Ukraine, trying to maintain and potentially intensify the pace of its current offensive operations. Such actions demonstrate the enemy's possible ability to dynamically balance and reassess its offensive efforts.

This was stated by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). At the same time, analysts continue to believe that any ability of the Russian Federation to achieve success still depends on the level of support for Ukraine from the West.

On March 14, Ukrainian military observer Kostiantyn Mashovets reported that the Russian military command was allocating tactical and operational reserves for an offensive in the Lyman direction near Bakhmut, as well as to the west and southwest of the Donetsk region, to prevent the Defense Forces from further stabilizing the front line.

He said that many of these reserves were intended to exploit an anticipated Russian breakthrough of Ukrainian defenses, and not necessarily to support ongoing Russian offensives against the stabilization of Ukrainian defensive positions.

Russia moves reserves to eastern Ukraine in an attempt to intensify its offensive - ISW

It is noted that Russian troops recently sent additional units of the 3rd Army Corps to fight southwest of Bakhmut; an unspecified reserve regiment of the 20th Motorized Rifle Division (8th Combined Arms Army of the Southern Military District) and the 10th Tank Regiment (1st Army Corps "DPR") to fight southwest of Donetsk; units of the 272nd Motorized Rifle Regiment (47th Tank Division of the 1st Guards Tank Army) to the Liman direction.

Mashovets added that Russian forces still have adequate reserves to further intensify offensive operations, but they are likely to be insufficient to allow the occupiers to destroy the Ukrainian defense.

"Russian troops have been struggling to achieve more than gradual minor tactical success in Ukraine since mid-2022, and the introduction of tactical or even limited operational reserves does not change their prospects for achieving significant operational success as the Russian Armed Forces have not yet demonstrated the ability to conduct smart mechanized maneuvers to quickly capture large areas of territory," ISW emphasized.

The analysts suggested that reports of Russia's redeployment of tactical reserves to new areas demonstrate the enemy's likely ability to dynamically balance and reassess its offensive efforts. Mashovets's reports of the deployment of Russian army units are noteworthy because these units were probably reserves in other areas where the occupiers are conducting offensive operations.

Russia moves reserves to eastern Ukraine in an attempt to intensify its offensive - ISW

In particular, units of the 10th Tank Regiment participated in the capture of Avdiivka in mid-February. Their deployment southwest of Donetsk, rather than west of Avdiivka, suggests that the Russian command does not want to increase the pace of offensive operations there by slowing down the pace of fighting southwest of the regional center of Donetsk.

"The redeployement of Russian forces in the Avdiivka area could apparently allow Russian forces to intensify their efforts to advance further west of the city at a time chosen by the command, which may have decided that this potential reserve is sufficient without elements of the 10th Tank Regiment," ISW emphasized.

It is also noted that units of the 1st Guards Tank Army were responsible for Russian offensive operations northwest of Svatove from the beginning of the Russian offensive in the winter-spring of 2024 on the lines of Kharkiv and Luhansk regions. The 272nd Motorized Rifle Regiment was apparently intended as a reserve to support these offensive operations. Its redeployment to the Lyman direction may indicate that Russian troops are now prioritizing an offensive there rather than on other parts of the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line.

"These tactical movements are relatively minor, but they are examples of how the Russian military command can increase or decrease commitments to operations anywhere along the front line at its discretion due to the operational flexibility provided by Russia's initiative in the entire theater of war," analysts say.

As reported, the Institute of War Studies said that the delay in Western aid would make the front line in Ukraine "fragile". If the Ukrainian Armed Forces do not receive the necessary ammunition and equipment, the occupiers may use this to attempt a breakthrough in some vulnerable area of the front.

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