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ISW warns of Russian breakthrough risk on frontline: Expert explains why it's not case

ISW warns of Russian breakthrough risk on frontline: Expert explains why it's not case Photo: There is currently no risk of a sudden breakthrough by Russian troops at the front (Getty Images)
Author: Liliana Oleniak
Expert: Petro Chernyk

ISW analysts write that the shortage of ammunition and other weapons in Ukraine could make the current front line more fragile, which could be used by Russian troops for a sudden breakthrough. But the enemy does not currently have the potential to make this happen, according to military expert Petro Chernyk.

Sources used: analytics of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and an exclusive commentary by expert Petro Chernyk.

ISW's statements

In a recent review, analysts at the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW) wrote that Ukraine allegedly prioritizes sectors that are most threatened by intense Russian offensive operations. And allegedly, this could create vulnerabilities elsewhere.

Analysts suggest that the occupiers could take advantage of this by making a sudden and unexpected advance. But at the same time, they emphasize that this could happen if the supply of weapons to the Ukrainian Defense Forces continues to decline.

ISW believes that Russia's retention of the initiative in the entire theater of operations increases the risks of such a development, allowing the Russian military command to increase or decrease the scale of operations at any point on the front line almost at its own discretion.

Expert's commentary

Military expert Petro Chernyk says in a commentary to RBC-Ukraine that at the moment the Russian occupation forces have no one and nothing to make a breakthrough in certain areas of the front. If they had this potential, they would have used it long ago.

"The Russians can't replace 1000-1200 people a day anymore. And until Putin is reappointed as president and the concept of "get up, the great country" is used, I don't see how we can break through anything," Chernyk says.

He explains that a real breakthrough is when there is an advance in one point at least 3 km wide and 5 km deep.

"These are the operational indicators of a mechanized regiment. Nothing like this is happening at the moment. Is the enemy putting pressure? Yes, it is. Does it have local successes? Yes, it does. But after Avdiivka, he hasn't had any major successes. That's for sure," Chernyk emphasizes.

According to the expert, such messages in the media about the danger of a sudden breakthrough of Russian troops put pressure on the consciousness of the population. And first of all, the establishment.

"And this is right. After all, people make decisions under the influence of a variety of information factors. That's all," Chernyk believes.

When asked whether it is possible to say that Russia currently retains the initiative in the entire theater of operations, as ISW writes, he said: "If they (ISW analysts - ed.) mean that Russian troops are on the attacking side, then yes. But the initiative is when there is a development of success in terms of advancing across the territory. That's the real initiative, and the Russians don't have that."

Situation at front

The Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to hold their positions and repel attacks by Russian units in several areas. The operational situation in the east and south remains difficult. In total, according to the General Staff, 79 combat engagements took place on the frontline over the past day.

At the same time, according to a recent UK intelligence report, Russian troops are concentrating operations west of Avdiivka and Maryinka in the Donetsk region. These areas accounted for 60% of recorded Russian attacks over the past four weeks.

At the same time, in the Zaporizhzhia direction, despite the rather difficult situation along the entire front line, the Ukrainian Armed Forces managed to launch the process of rotation and replacement of units and subunits that have been performing combat missions on the front line for a long time.

Read more about the situation at the front and Russia's plans in RBC-Ukraine's article Syrskyi's raids and new front: Battlefield shifts and Russia's readiness for summer.