Russian army focused on trying to capture Siversk and Bakhmut, says ISW

19 July, 07:50 PM
Consequences of the Russian strike on Toretsk, Donetsk region (July 18, 2022) (Photo:Public service center Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS)

Consequences of the Russian strike on Toretsk, Donetsk region (July 18, 2022) (Photo:Public service center Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS)

The Kremlin has likely decided to make it a priority for the Russian military to try to capture the cities of Siversk and Bakhmut before focusing on capturing Slovyansk, U.S. think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in their report on July 18.

ISW analysts reached this conclusion after analyzing a meeting between Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the leadership of the eastern group of invading troops.

ISW notes that at this stage of war, this is the first time this group, which is under the command of Lieutenant-General Rustam Muradov, has been mentioned directly. Earlier, it was reported that Russian military groupings Center and South participated in the capture of Luhansk Oblast.

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Colonel-General Aleksander Lapin and General Sergei Surovikin are in command there. The East group most likely consists of the forces of the Eastern Military District of Russia, which operate on the Izyum axis in Kharkiv Oblast.

“Muradov holds a lower rank than both Lapin and Surovikin, suggesting that the Kremlin considers the Izyum-Slovyansk area to be a lower priority than capturing territory in Donetsk Oblast as part of the wider Donbas campaign,” the ISW believes, adding that in their estimation, the Kremlin is likely to focus military resources and senior leadership on achieving "local and scattered gains around Siversk and Bakhmut, despite Shoigu's earlier calls for intensified operations on all axes."

Other conclusions of ISW analysts about the situation in Ukraine over the past day:

  • Russian troops carried out a series of ground attacks east of Siversk and south of Bakhmut;
  • Russian forces intensified efforts to advance on Avdiivka and conducted limited ground assaults along the Donetsk City-Avdiivka frontline.
  • Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s likely effort to put the burden of supporting operations in Ukraine on ethnic minorities to avoid conducting a general mobilization of ethnic Russians may be sparking resistance in ethnic enclaves in Russia.
  • Russian authorities are continuing to integrate occupied areas into the Russian trade economy.

The Russian war against Ukraine: a map of hostilities

ISW
Фото: ISW

Battle for Donbas

On July 18, Russian troops launched a series of unsuccessful ground attacks east of Siversk. The Armed Forces of Ukraine repulsed the attempts of the Russian army to improve their tacti-cal positions in the areas of Bilohorivka-Hryhorivka, Zolotarivka-Verkhnokamyanske, Zolotarivka-Serebryanka, and Verkhnokamyanka-Verkhnokamyanske.

Russian troops also continue to carry out local ground attacks south of Bakhmut. They unsuccessfully tried to advance along the Myronivka-Vuhledar Power Plant line, about 20 km south-east of Bakhmut.

On July 18, the Russian invading forces also intensified ground attacks in the direction of Avdiivka.

ISW
Фото: ISW

Fighting in Kharkiv Oblast

Russian invading forces continue to focus their efforts on preventing the advance of Ukrainian troops to the border with Russia in Kharkiv Oblast.

At the same time, Russian forces continues to conduct air, artillery and missile strikes on civilian and military infrastructure in Kharkiv and settlements to the north, northeast, east and southeast of the city.

ISW
Фото: ISW

Fighting in the south of Ukraine: Kherson, Mykolaiv oblasts

Invading Russian forces have focused their efforts on holding occupied zones of control and preventing a Ukrainian offensive in southern Ukraine. On July 18, Russian forces launched airstrikes on Ukrainian positions on the Kherson-Mykolaiv and Kherson-Dnipropetrovsk Oblast borders, as well as on settlements on the front line in Zaporizhzhya Oblast. Ukraine’s General Staff reported that Ukrainian and Russian troops launched mutual artillery strikes along the con-tact line on the Southern axis. The report also states that the Russian army continues to change the areas of concentration of its forces to densely populated areas of Kherson Oblast, trying to prevent Ukrainian attacks on Russian positions and bases.

ISW
Фото: ISW

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