Russian troops exploit gaps ahead of expected US military support in Ukraine

Defenders of Ukraine in Kherson Oblast, March 2024
Defenders of Ukraine in Kherson Oblast, March 2024

Russia is intensifying efforts to bolster its position in eastern Ukraine and penetrate the front line before the first batch of a U.S. military package arrives, The New York Times reported on April 30.

Top Ukrainian General Oleksandr Syrskyi stated that Russian forces have recently taken control of or entered a half-dozen villages, as Ukrainian forces face challenges due to being outgunned and outnumbered. The Ukrainian military has retreated from three villages near Avdiivka—Berdychiv, Semenivka, and Novomykhailivka—in anticipation of the long-awaited American support.

Military analysts interpret Russia's aggressive push as an attempt to capitalize on a "window of opportunity" before the U.S. aid bolsters Ukrainian defenses. "The Ukrainian command had to choose between a bad situation and an even worse one," Serhii Kuzan, chairman of the Ukrainian Security and Cooperation Center, told The NYT. The decision was made to concede territory in order to save lives.

Read also: Russian forces exploit Ukrainian defense weaknesses on Avdiivka front, military official reports

Compounding the tactical challenges, Russian troops have exploited a gap in the Ukrainian defense near Ocheretyne, advancing toward the town of Pokrovsk. The extent of Russian control over Ocheretyne remains uncertain.

U.S.-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has also reported that Russia's successes in Ocheretyne have placed Russian command in a dilemma: to continue advancing westward to Pokrovsk or northward to Chasiv Yar.

Ukrainian officials report that up to 25,000 Russian soldiers are engaged in the offensive around Chasiv Yar, a key hilltop town that, if captured, would expose the town of Kostiantynivka to direct Russian artillery. This could potentially allow Russian forces to encircle Kostiantynivka from the south.

Advancing north of Ocheretyne could also enable Russian forces to attack Kostiantynivka from the south, surrounding it.

Read also: Russia’s arms boom powered by Chinese supplies, despite Western embargoes

Russians currently have the opportunity to achieve operationally significant successes near Chasiv Yar and are preparing reserves to support a large-scale offensive expected in the summer.

Read also: Escalating situation in Donetsk Oblast: Military observer reports increasing severity

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine