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Russian troops appear to be creating buffer zone in Kharkiv Oblast, not advancing deeper – ISW

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Russian troops appear to be creating buffer zone in Kharkiv Oblast, not advancing deeper – ISW

Russian troops continued tactically significant advances north and north-east of the city of Kharkiv on 13 May and now appear to be giving priority to the rapid establishment of a „buffer zone“ along the border with Ukraine. 

Source: Institute for the Study of War (ISW

Details: The military experts came to these conclusions given the relatively rapid pace of Russian troops’ advances in Vovchansk and reports of the destruction of several bridges over key rivers. 

The ISW noted that Russian forces are trying to create a „buffer zone“ rather than pushing inwards, as the institute had previously assessed. 

To quote the ISW’s Key Takeaways on 13 May: 

Russian forces continued to make tactically significant advances north and northeast of Kharkiv City on 13 May and currently appear to be prioritising the rapid establishment of a „buffer zone“ along the international border over setting conditions for deeper penetrations into northern Kharkiv Oblast.
Russian forces‘ relatively rapid rate of advances in Vovchansk and their reported destruction of several bridges across key waterways within the settlement suggest that Russian forces are prioritising the creation of a „buffer zone“ over a deeper penetration, as ISW previously assessed they would.
Newly appointed Russian Security Council Secretary Sergei Shoigu participated in his first Security Council meeting as secretary on 13 May, amid continued reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin is focusing on mobilising the Russian economy and defence industrial base (DIB) to support a protracted war in Ukraine.
Putin’s decision to remove Shoigu from the Russian MoD appears to have also opened the door for the departure of certain Shoigu affiliates from the MoD, likely one of the intended effects of Putin’s recent cabinet reshuffles.
Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted successful missile strikes against a Russian air defence base in occupied Crimea and successful drone strikes against Russian energy infrastructure in Russia.
Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Lyptsi and Vovchansk in northern Kharkiv Oblast.
The Russian military may be intensifying efforts to recruit conscripts through the Russian Volunteer Society for Assistance to the Army, Aviation, and Navy of Russia (DOSAAF) as part of ongoing crypto-mobilisation efforts.

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