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Time running out for Ukraine to liberate Russian-occupied areas: report

20.07.2022 11:30
Time may be running out for Ukraine to mount a counteroffensive into Russian-occupied territory before the Kremlin officially annexes those areas, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a US-based think tank. 
Time may be running out for Ukraine to mount a counteroffensive into Russian-occupied territory before the Kremlin officially annexes those areas, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said on Wednesday.
Time may be running out for Ukraine to mount a counteroffensive into Russian-occupied territory before the Kremlin officially annexes those areas, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said on Wednesday.PAP/EPA/Roman Pilipey

In its latest analysis of the war in Ukraine, published on Wednesday, the ISW wrote that Russian President Vladimir Putin "could leverage nuclear threats to deter a Ukrainian counteroffensive into annexed Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts."

After annexation, Putin "may state, directly or obliquely, that Russian doctrine permitting the use of nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory applies to newly annexed territories,” the US think tank said.

It added: “Such actions would threaten Ukraine and its partners with nuclear attack if Ukrainian counteroffensives to liberate Russian-occupied territory continue.”

As a result, “Ukraine and its Western partners may have a narrowing window of opportunity to support a Ukrainian counteroffensive into occupied Ukrainian territory before the Kremlin annexes that territory,” the ISW said.

Russia to annex occupied Ukrainian territory in September?

The US think tank quoted US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby as saying, on the basis of newly declassified intelligence, that “the Kremlin is beginning to roll out a version of its 2014 ‘annexation playbook’ in Ukraine and is examining detailed plans to annex Kherson, Zaporizhia, and all of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.”

Russia may attempt to carry out the annexation, on the basis of rigged referenda, as early as September 11, the ISW reported.  

Calls for Putin to expand Russia’s war aims

There have been growing calls among Russian nationalist and pro-war circles for Putin “to expand Russia’s war aims, mobilise the state fully for war, and drop the pretext that Russia is not engaged in a war,” the US analysts said.

Some Russian military bloggers have claimed that “Russia has been pursuing the ‘Syrianization’ of the war in Ukraine by never articulating specific deadlines or goals for operations in Ukraine,” according to the ISW.

Meanwhile on the front, Russian forces on Tuesday continued efforts to resume offensive operations toward Slovyansk in the Donetsk Oblast. They also “continued ground attacks to the east of Siversk and had partial success in ground attacks to the east of Bakhmut,” the US experts noted.


The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Wednesday reported that “the occupiers are conducting combat operations with the aim of creating conditions for an offensive on the city of Bakhmut and taking over the territory of the Vuhlehirska Thermal Power Plant.”

Moreover, “the enemy carried out airstrikes on Berestove, Yakovlivka, Bakhmut, Vershyna ... and Pokrovsky,” as well as shelling Bilohorivka and Soledar, among other settlements, Ukraine’s military command said.

Also in the Donetsk direction, Russian forces shelled the areas of Kramatorsk, Siversk and Verkhnokamianske, among other settlements, Ukraine’s military command added.

Artillery fire was also aimed "in the Slovyansk direction," according to the Ukrainian General Staff.


In the northeastern Kharkiv direction, “the enemy carried out fire damage in the areas of Mospanove, Petrivka, Ruski Tyshki, Bazaliyivka, Pechenigy, Tsyrkuny, Pytomnyk, Dementiyivka, Korobochkyne and Prudyanka settlements,” according to the Ukraine’s military command.

Also in the north, “the enemy shelled the areas of Mykolaivka, Chernihiv oblast, and Volfyne, Yastrubyne, and Pavlivka, Sumy oblast, with barrel and jet artillery,” as reported by the Ukrainian General Staff. 


Ukraine’s military command also wrote: “The enemy maintains a high intensity of reconnaissance with unmanned aerial vehicles in the South Buh direction.” 

It added: “Reciprocal shelling from barrel, rocket artillery and tanks continues along the entire contact line.”

Elsewhere, “in the Avdiyika, Novopavlivka, and Zaporizhzhia directions, shelling was noted in the areas of the settlements of Novobakhmutivka, Vuhledar, Novopil, Poltavka, Hulyaipole, Kamianske, and a number of others,” the Ukrainian General Staff said, adding that the enemy "launched an airstrike near Avdiyivka.”

Meanwhile, “Ukrainian aviation and missile artillery units continue to successfully fire missions at enemy command posts and logistic support bases,” Ukraine’s military command reported.

Wednesday is day 147 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Source: PAP, understandingwar.orgfacebook.com/GeneralStaff.uadorzeczy.pl