Russian troops and detachments of pro-Russian separatists form six groups in Ukraine, and the composition of each of these groups is heterogeneous, the American Institute for War Studies (ISW) estimates in the latest report. According to analysts, the current distribution of Russian forces on Ukrainian territory proves that Moscow’s priority is an offensive in eastern Ukraine – around Bakhmut and possibly in the direction of Siwersk.
The first group focuses around Kharkiv and in the northeast of the Kharkiv region. The second one is located along the connecting line Izium (in the Kharkiv region) and Slavyansk (in the Donetsk region). Another is in the area Siwierska and Lisiczańska Street in the Donetsk region. The fourth group operates under the attacked Bacchmouththe fifth – a circle Avdiivka and Donetsk. The sixth and last group is here on the south Ukraine – indicated in the report of the US Institute of War Studies (ISW), published on Monday.
“The groups near Kharkiv and on the Siwersk-Lisiczańsk line are probably formed by forces, the core of which are, respectively, units of the Western and Central Military District Russia“- estimate ISW experts.” On the Izium-Slavyansk axis there are more and more battalions formed recently of volunteers, the combat strength of which is probably very low. The group near Bachmut is led by soldiers of the ‘Wagner group’a private military company, while forces drawn from the Donetsk People’s Republic (DRL) predominate in the Avdiyivka-Donetsk region, “the study reads.
As the American institute adds, in the group in the south, in the Ukrainian oblasts of Kherson and Zaporizhia, the core of the Russian troops was first formed by the troops of the Southern Military District. They were then reinforced with the troops of the Eastern Military District, airborne troops and the Russian National Guard (Rosguard).
Russia’s new priority
In the opinion of the HEI, such a distribution of forces proves that Russia’s priority is now an offensive around Bakhmut and possibly towards Siwersk. The high concentration of volunteer battalions around Izium and Słowiańska proves that this area is not currently in the center of attention.
It will also be vulnerable to Ukrainian counterattacks. In the south, “the groups of forces in and around Kherson Oblast may create serious challenges for the Russian command, especially if the counter-offensive of Ukrainian forces is pressed here,” assesses the American think tank.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY PRESS SERVICE