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On Feb. 23, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported that intense shelling in Vuhledar, Donetsk Oblast, suggests that Russia may be preparing for another offensive in the area, despite suffering heavy setbacks.
According to the report, Ukrainian forces have maintained resupply routes around Bakhmut despite Russia's attempts to encircle the city. The fighting has been particularly intense over the past 48 hours.
The report adds that the Vuhledar operation is probably still the responsibility of Russia's Eastern Group of Forces. Its commander, Colonel General Rustam Muradov, is likely facing significant pressure to achieve better outcomes after receiving strong criticism for previous failures. However, it is doubtful that Russian forces have a strikeforce capable of achieving any significant gains.