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ISW experts highlighted key problems with Russian forces advancing in Donetsk region

ISW experts highlighted key problems with Russian forces advancing in Donetsk region Photo: ISW identified key issues with Russian forces near Chasiv Yar (Getty Images)

Russian forces are attempting to advance towards Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk region, but are unlikely to pose a threat of encirclement or occupation to the populated area in the nearest months, according to the ISW report.

In November 2023, Russian forces launched a localized offensive operation in the Bahmut direction aiming to reclaim territory liberated by Ukraine during the summer 2023 counteroffensive and to capture Chasiv Yar. However, over the past four months, Russian forces have achieved only minor tactical successes in the northwest and west of Bahmut.

Some Russian sources describe the recent activity in the Bahmut area as preparatory for a possible offensive operation to encircle and capture Chasiv Yar.

Available imagery, which ISW analysts currently refrain from publishing and will describe in more detail to maintain the operational security of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, shows that Ukrainian forces have constructed significant fortifications in the form of a ring around Chasiv Yar, and Russian forces are likely to attempt to breach them.

Ukrainian and Russian sources reported that Russian forces planned to redeploy additional troops to the Bahmut area from the Avdiivka direction in mid-February, but the possibility of exploiting tactical vulnerabilities directly west of Avdiivka prompted Russian forces to maintain the pace of offensive actions in this area.

According to ISW experts, this could significantly hinder the Russian command from concentrating additional forces on the Bahmut direction. It is unclear whether the occupiers have sufficient forces in the Bahmut area for a potential advance on Chasiv Yar. However, Russian forces will likely need to achieve noticeable tactical successes to the southeast and northwest of Chasiv Yar before attempting to encircle the populated area.

Earlier, the Ukrainian Armed Forces noted that the occupiers were making a "powerful thrust" towards the town of Chasiv Yar in the Donetsk region. This could provide them with a foothold for an advance on Kostiantynivka. Russian forces are actively deploying reserves and heavy equipment to the Bahmut direction for this purpose.