Russia wants to seize more Ukrainian territory before holding sham annexation referendums – ISW

27 July, 01:04 PM
Destroyed Russian equipment (Photo:Ukrainian General Staff/Facebook)

Destroyed Russian equipment (Photo:Ukrainian General Staff/Facebook)

Russia aims to capture more of Ukraine’s territory before holding sham referendums and claiming to annex the areas it has occupied, U.S. think tank the Institute for the Study of War or ISW said in its summary for July 26.

ISW said the sham “republic” Russia created in part of Donetsk Oblast in 2014 had announced its intention to seize the whole of Donetsk Oblast by the end of August. ISW cited a July 25 announcement by Danil Bezsonov, the deputy “minister of information” of the sham Russian-controlled “republic”.

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The Russian-backed leadership announced the deadline for the seizure of additional Ukrainian territory probably to support ongoing preparations to hold pseudo-referendums on the accession of more Ukrainian territories to the Russian Federation, ISW said.

Earlier, various Russian and Western sources reported that Russia intends to hold fake referendums in the occupied territories in the first half of September – probably around Sept. 11.

The Russian-backed so-called occupying power is likely to insist on a deadline for military objectives in order to support an accelerated annexation, even though Russian forces are unlikely to occupy significant additional territory in Ukraine before the stated annexation deadline, ISW said.

Key conclusions by ISW analysts:

·         The occupation leadership has announced an accelerated deadline for the seizure of Ukrainian territory in order to coordinate the Kremlin's efforts to prepare for the annexation of the occupied territories;

·         Russian troops captured small areas northeast of Bakhmut and continue fighting east and south of Bakhmut;

·         Russian forces launched a limited attack northwest of Izyum, probably to secure Russian rear areas on the Izyum-Slovyansk line;

·         The occupiers carried out limited shelling in the southwest of the city of Donetsk near the border of the Zaporizhzhya region;

·         Russian troops are focusing on the defense of occupied areas in Kherson Oblast and conducted a limited ground assault in the north-west of the oblast;

·         Ukrainian troops continued to attack Russian logistical facilities in the Kherson region;

·         The Kremlin continues the formation of regional volunteer battalions for introduction into Ukraine;

·         Ukrainian intelligence sources continue to uncover the Kremlin's plans to annex Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine through holding sham referendums.

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