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Russians push northwest of Avdiivka, but their ultimate goal is unclear – ISW

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Russians push northwest of Avdiivka, but their ultimate goal is unclear – ISW

ISW analysts have noted that Russian troops have taken advantage of a tactical advantage north-west of Avdiivka, where they are continuing to exert pressure, but the ultimate goal of the invaders in this sector of the line of contact remains unclear.

Source: Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

Details: ISW analysts noted that on the night of 3-4 May, Russian troops made a noticeable tactical advance north-west of Avdiivka near Arkhanhelske.

Experts suggest that Ukrainian troops may have decided to exchange space for time, anticipating the arrival of large-scale assistance from the US to the front line in the coming weeks, a fitting decision for an under-resourced force that risks being outflanked.

At the same time, the ISW continues to assess that Russian troops are probably trying to take advantage of the limited temporary „window“ before the arrival of Western military aid, intensifying offensive operations, and that Russian troops could make further tactical moves on that front soon.

Experts also add that Russian troops seem to have taken advantage of the tactical situation north-west of Avdiivka. However, their ultimate goal in this sector of the line of contact remains unclear.

The Russians have likely decided to exploit the area where they would most likely gain tactical advantages in the immediate future, but it is unclear whether they will continue to move north towards Toretsk or return to their previous focus on Pokrovsk in the north-west.

„Russian forces have already committed roughly a division’s worth of combat power (comprised mainly of four Central Military District [CMD] brigades) to the frontline northwest of Avdiivka and were reportedly continuing to introduce additional forces in this general area.,“ the report says.

The review also covered reports that President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Commander of the Ukrainian Ground Forces Lieutenant General Oleksandr Pavliuk and former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko have been put on Russia’s wanted list.

The Kremlin’s decision, analysts say, is part of Russia’s Maidan 3 information operation and it broader efforts to discredit the current and previous pro-Western Ukrainian governments that came to power after Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity in 2014, as well as to isolate Ukraine from a diplomatic point of view.

To quote the ISW’s Key Takeaways for 4 May:

Russian forces made a notable tactical advance northwest of Avdiivka near Arkhanhelske on the night of 3 to 4 May, likely following a Ukrainian decision to withdraw from the area on 3 May.
The Kremlin continues efforts to portray its unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine as something other than what it is while continuing to assert the jurisdiction of Russian federal law over sovereign states.
The Russian law enforcement conducted a search on 4 May of supporters of imprisoned Russian ultranationalist and former officer Igor Girkin (aka Strelkov) in Tula Oblast, possibly in an attempt to set information conditions to ban the movement in Russia.
Russian forces recently advanced near Avdiivka and Donetsk City and in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area.
The Kremlin is continuing its ongoing campaign to centralise control over Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DNR) irregular forces by co-opting DNR commanders and officials.

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