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Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations and made some gains in at least three sectors of the frontlines, including in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast and around Bakhmut as of July 13, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in its most recent assessment.
The ISW also drew attention to a leaked audio clip in which former Russian Major General Ivan Popov claimed that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu dismissed him for expressing persistent grievances about problems on the western Zaporizhia Oblast frontline.
Popov ostensibly expressed concerns over the need for troop rotations in western Zaporizhia Oblast amid successful Ukrainian counteroffensive operations.
The ISW has previously corroborated this concern, assessing that "Russian forces lack the reserves to rotate frontline units," indicating that Russian forces are unable to maintain their defenses in western Ukraine.
Popov’s dismissal corroborated Russian forces' inability to conduct force rotations, indicating that Russian defenses are 'brittle.'