The end of the Russian “operational pause” during its full-scale invasion of Ukraine is unlikely to lead to a massive increase in ground attacks across Ukraine, but ground assaults, focused on the directions of Slovyansk-Siversk-Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, will continue, reported the U.S.-based Institute of the Study of War (ISW) on July 16.
This so-called “operational pause” is believed to have begun on July 6, and was accompanied by a noted decrease in Russian ground operations during the period.
The Russian Ministry of Defense officially announced that "operational pause" ended on July 16, corresponding with ISW projections written on July 15.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is said to have ordered Army General Sergei Surovikin, commander of Russia’s Southern Group, and Colonel General Aleksander Lapin, commander of the Central Group, to intensify offensive operations in all directions, but the pace at which the Russian offensive to resume is likely to fluctuate in the near future, says the ISW.
The ISW notes that in practical terms, Russian troops carried out fewer ground strikes on all axes on July 16 than the day before, but increased the quantity of their artillery and rocket strikes.
Shoigu has reportedly indicated that Surovikin and Lapin would continue to command forces on the eastern axis of the full-scale invasion, although a troop concentration of this size requires only one high-level commander according to standard Russian military doctrine, ISW analysts believe. They further noted that the dual command of operations over a comparatively could hinder further Russian actions.
While the reasons for such a move have not been made public, a number of high-ranking Russian officers and generals have already been fired by Russian dictator Vladimir Putin for their perceived underperformance in Ukraine. In a June 21 analysis, the ISW noted that the Kremlin may be in the process of conducting a “radical reshuffle” of senior Russian officers.