Russia redeploying troops from Kherson to Donbas, expecting reinforcements after training in Belarus — ISW

20 November 2022, 12:12 PM
Ukrainian military in Bakhmut, November 1, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne)

Ukrainian military in Bakhmut, November 1, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne)

The Russian military will try to strengthen their positions in the parts of Ukraine it has occupied after retreating from the city Kherson, U.S. think tank the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest update on Nov. 19.

ISW said Russian troops are beginning to reinforce their positions with personnel from Kherson Oblast and mobilized men in the occupied territories of Luhansk, Donetsk and eastern Zaporizhzhya oblasts.

Referring to the Ukrainian military’s General Staff, the analysts said there has been an increase in the number of Russian groupings in the city of Luhansk, and note that the troops are stationed in abandoned houses in Krasne and Simeykyne — about 30 kilometers southeast of the city.

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ISW said it believes Russia will bring in additional forces in the coming weeks, given that mobilized units of the Russian 2nd Motorized Rifle Division of the 1st Tank Army have completed training in Brest Oblast in Belarus. Russia will likely continue to use conscripts and redeployed troops to resume offensive actions in Donetsk Oblast and hold defensive positions in Luhansk Oblast.

Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence officials said on Nov. 19 that Russian and Iranian officials had signed an agreement earlier this month to produce Iranian drones in Russia. Washington believes that it may allow Russia to "dramatically increase its stockpile" of Iranian drones, ISW experts write.

The report also suggests that Russia may try to circumvent Western sanctions to acquire microchips needed to program the drones it plans to produce. Citing a Russian blogger on the military, ISW said that the deal allows Russian officials to claim that they are building Russian drones, thus ensuring an "informational win."

Other conclusions drawn by ISW analysts over the past day:

  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on the Svatove-Kreminnaline;
  • Russian forces maintained offensive operations around Bakhmut, Avdiyivka, and west of the city of Donetsk, despite reports of high losses around Bakhmut;
  • Russian forces continued efforts to fortify areas around ground lines of communication in southern Ukraine, while struggling with the partial loss of the use of the Kerch Bridge;
  • Russian media sources continued active discussions of an impending second wave of mobilization;
  • The number of prisoners in Russian jails appears to have dropped by about 6.5% since January of 2022, likely due to intensive Wagner Group recruitment;
  • Russian authorities are working to establish control over the information space in occupied territories and identify Ukrainian partisans.

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