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Russians attack Toretsk to advance further on Chasiv Yar or Avdiivka – ISW

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Russians attack Toretsk to advance further on Chasiv Yar or Avdiivka – ISW

The Russian military command intends to use the offensive on Toretsk to create operational opportunities to advance either in the area of Chasiv Yar or Avdiivka.

Source: Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

Details: Russia’s current activities, which could evolve into comprehensive strategies on various fronts, showcase a more sophisticated level of operational planning and foresight than what the Russian command demonstrated in early 2022. However, their ability to execute these plans is constrained by the generally low tactical proficiency of the Russian forces currently engaged on these fronts.

In an interview with Suspilne Donbas on 2 July, Lieutenant Colonel Nazar Voloshyn, the spokesman for the Ukrainian Khortytsia Operational Strategic Group, reported that Russian troops are mounting an offensive on Chasiv Yar from Toretsk, situated to the south. The Russian forces are pushing towards Toretsk-Chasiv Yar, predominantly employing small infantry units and occasionally launching mechanised assaults.

Map: Deep State

Ukrainian military analyst Kostiantyn Mashovets has linked the Russian manoeuvres on the Toretsk front to their efforts to break through to the Pokrovsk front, also known as the Avdiivka front, located to the west and southwest of Toretsk.

Mashovets‘ and Voloshyn’s insights into the Russian offensive near Toretsk suggest a critical dynamic in the fighting. The Russian command might have escalated their operations in mid-June, seeing Toretsk as a strategic point from which they could advance either north towards Chasiv Yar or west/southwest towards Avdiivka, based on which direction appears more favourable.

As highlighted by the ISW, the primary contingent of Russian forces on the Toretsk front consists of poorly trained units from the self-declared and non-recognised „Donetsk People’s Republic“ and local territorial defence forces. These units are likely to face significant difficulties in executing successful attacks, particularly as Ukraine continues to receive increasing military support in the upcoming weeks and months.

To quote the ISW’s Key Takeaways on 2 July: 

The interplay between ongoing Russian offensive operations on the Chasiv Yar, Toretsk, and Avdiivka fronts indicates that the Russian military command may intend to leverage the ongoing Toretsk push to create operational opportunities for advances in either the Chasiv Yar or Avdiivka areas. Russian preparations that can support multiple future branch plans suggest a more developed level of operational planning and foresight than the Russian command has proven capable of executing thus far in the war since early 2022. The ability of this operational planning to come to fruition, however, will be bounded by the overall poor tactical-level capabilities of Russian forces currently fighting in these areas.
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