July 15, 2024

Russian forces have likely been trying to regain the initiative on the battlefield in Ukraine by launching several simultaneous offensives in the east.

Source: Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

Details: Military analysts believe it remains unclear whether Russian troops will manage to fully regain the initiative, considering that Ukrainian forces persist in pressing on critical frontline areas.

Several Ukrainian officials noted that the situation along the contact line is challenging, with Ukrainian forces maintaining control of the battlefield.

Ukrainian officials’ remarks on the current pace of Russian operations on the contact line are consistent with ISW’s assessment of Russian offensives, particularly on the Kupiansk, Bakhmut and Avdiivka fronts.

However, ISW analysts believe that Russian troops will likely find it tough to fully regain the initiative on the battlefield as Ukrainian forces continue their own offensive operations and make tactical gains along the contact line. This is particularly true in the western part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast and the left bank part of Kherson Oblast.

ISW suggests that Russian military leadership will likely have to decide whether to retain certain Russian formations in some areas of the war zone to counter the Ukrainian offensive or to redeploy them to support the offensive elsewhere.

This is likely to hamper Russia’s ability to fully regain the initiative in the coming weeks.

To quote the ISW’s key takeaways on 13 November:

  • Russian forces are likely trying to regain the theatre-level initiative in Ukraine by conducting several simultaneous offensive operations in eastern Ukraine, although it remains unclear if Russian forces will be able to fully regain the initiative as Ukrainian forces maintain pressure on critical areas of the front.

  • Ukrainian President’s Office Head Andrii Yermak stated on 13 November that Ukrainian forces have established a “foothold” on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin approved amendments to the Russian federal election law on 14 November that increase the Kremlin’s control over the conduct of elections and reduce election transparency ahead of the 2024 presidential elections.

  • Russian forces conducted another wave of missile, air, and drone strikes against Ukrainian rear areas on the night of 13-14 November.

  • Ukraine’s western partners announced new efforts to continue providing Ukraine with military and financial aid.

  • The Russian government is likely attempting to force Google to cease operations in Russia.

  • Armenia continues to distance itself from Russia amid deteriorating Russian-Armenian relations.

  • Deputy Chairperson of the Russian State Duma Pyotr Tolstoy suggested a measure that would restrict work opportunities for migrants from countries that have not designated Russian as a state language, likely as part of an ongoing effort to coerce migrants into Russian military service.

  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast on 14 November and advanced in some areas.

  • The Russian government discussed amendments that would more strictly penalise those who evade mobilisation as well as volunteer servicemen who “improperly” perform their duties.

  • Russian occupation officials are beginning to announce that occupied areas of Ukraine will not hold significant public Christmas and New Years’ celebrations due to security concerns.

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