The ISW made the assessment in its latest update on the war in Ukraine, published on Wednesday night.
“The overall pace of Russian operations in Ukraine appears to have decreased compared to previous weeks,” the US experts said.
The Washington-based think tank quoted a spokesman for the Ukrainian army as saying on Wednesday that “Russian forces have somewhat lost offensive potential due to significant manpower and equipment losses.”
‘Significant decrease’ in daily number of Russian attacks
Col. Oleksiy Dmytrashkivskyi stated that “Russian offensive actions have decreased significantly over the last week,” adding that “daily Russian ground attacks have decreased from 90 to 100 attacks per day to 20 to 29 per day.”
The ISW said the Ukrainian military official’s words were consistent with its own general assessment of “the pace of Russian operations along the entire frontline in Ukraine.”
For instance, the think tank said, “the Russian offensive operation in Luhansk Oblast" in eastern Ukraine "is likely nearing culmination, if it has not already culminated, although Russia has committed most elements of at least three divisions to the Svatove-Kreminna line.”
According to the US experts, over the last week, “Russian forces have made only minimal tactical gains along the entire Luhansk Oblast frontline,” whereas “Ukrainian forces have likely recently managed to conduct counterattacks and regain territory in Luhansk Oblast.”
‘Markedly decreased number’ of attacks on Bakhmut
Moreover, there has been “a markedly decreased number of attacks in and around” the besieged city of Bakhmut in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region, “particularly over the last few days,” the ISW said, citing Ukrainian military sources.
“The overall Wagner Group offensive on Bakhmut additionally appears to be nearing culmination,” the US think tank reported.
The ISW said that “Russian forces would likely have to commit significant reserves to prevent this culmination.”
According to the US experts, “they may be able to do so,” as the ISW has observed “elements of Russian airborne regiments in and around Bakhmut that do not seem to be heavily committed to the fighting at the moment.”
Ukraine marks first anniversary of Mariupol theatre bombing
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday took to social media to commemorate a year since the Mariupol theatre bombing.
The Ukrainian president said in a tweet: “A year ago, Russia deliberately dropped a bomb on the Drama Theater in Mariupol. Next to it was the inscription ‘Children’, which was impossible to overlook.”
He added: “Hundreds of people were hiding there. We are working to hold the terrorist state to account for what it has done.”
Zelensky attached a video reconstructing the March 2022 bombing.
'We remember all those whose lives were taken by Russian terror': Zelensky
In a message posted on the Telegram social messaging app, Zelensky added: “Step by step, we are moving towards ensuring that the terrorist state is fully held to account for what it has done to our country and our people.”
He president vowed, as quoted by UK’s The Guardian newspaper: “We will not forgive a single life ruined by the occupiers. We remember all those whose lives were taken by Russian terror.”
A week after the bombing, Ukrainian officials said the death toll had reached as many as 300 people, based on the accounts of witnesses, The Guardian reported.
Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilians or civilian infrastructure although its invasion of Ukraine has resulted in a high number of urban civilian casualties, according to news outlets.
Thursday is day 386 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Source: PAP, understandingwar.org, The Guardian