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Luring Ukraine from the south: US think tank: Russia may be planning a diversionary offensive

Lure Ukraine from the south
US think tank: Russia may be planning a diversionary offensive

Ukraine is apparently preparing a counter-offensive in the south of the country. In order to slow this down, Russia may want to spark new fighting in the east. The battles could therefore also distract from the failures of the past few days.

That US Institute for War Studies (ISW) considers a new Russian offensive in Donbass possible to slow down the Ukrainian counterattack in the south of the country. The Russian army noticeably scaled back its attacks near Siwersk in the north-east of the Donetsk region at the beginning of August, the think tank reports in its most recent analysis of the war. Since August 11, however, significantly more attacks have been recorded again.

Pro-Russian troops are marching towards the embattled suburb of Pisky in the Donetsk region.

(Photo: picture alliance / AA)

“This, together with the ongoing attacks near Bakhmut, could be an attempt to lure Ukrainian defense equipment and personnel to the Donbass,” write the military experts – presumably from the south, where the Ukrainian armed forces have created all the conditions for an effective counteroffensive. The fact that Moscow wants to distract from the failures of the past few days could also play a role in the new tactics.

British intelligence recently reported that Ukraine had successfully disabled the main Russian supply lines in the southern Kherson region. Accordingly, the most important road bridges over the Dnipro can no longer be used for larger deliveries. A key railway bridge across the river and a key rail link running from annexed Crimea to the region are also said to be disrupted after Ukrainian attacks. Thousands of Russian troops stationed on the western side of the Dnipro could be cut off from further supplies. On the Black Sea peninsula itself, several explosions occurred at a Russian military base during the week.

Heavy fighting in the east

At the same time, both the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Ukrainian military had confirmed heavy fighting in the Donetsk region. The ministry in Moscow announced that the Donetsk suburb of Pisky in the north-west of the city had finally been taken. The Ukrainian military disagreed: Fierce fighting continued in Pisky, the general staff said. “The occupiers are trying to break through the defense lines of our troops in the direction of Oleksandropol, Krasnohorivka, Avdiyvka, Maryinka and Pisky,” it said.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 and currently occupies around a fifth of the neighboring country, including the Crimea peninsula annexed in 2014, including the Luhansk and Cherson regions and large parts of the Zaporizhia region. Ukraine is urgently demanding heavy weapons from the West to stop the Russian advance and retake territories.

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