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ISW: 'Exhausted' troops, 'disorganized' deployment will likely hinder Russia's prospects of holding critical frontline areas in Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 24, 2023 2:46 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian artillerymen of Aidar battalion fire a 122mm D30 howitzer artillery field gun, at a front line near Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region, on April 22, 2023, amid the Russian invasion on Ukraine. (ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images)
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Most of Russia's available maneuver elements of all military districts, as well as the main surviving airborne troops, are already involved in offensive or defensive operations in Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported.

Russia will have to transfer "significant reserves" to any single axis to carry out effective offensive operations, the ISW wrote in its April 23 update.

"The generally exhausted condition of troops and the apparently disorganized and fragmented deployment pattern in some areas will likely pose significant obstacles to Russia's prospects for defending critical sectors of the front line," reads the update.

The Washington-based think tank published a special edition assessment on April 23, describing the current Russian order of battle (ORBAT) in Ukraine, Russian troops' offensive and defensive capabilities along the front line, and the main factors that could complicate Russian defensive operations during upcoming Ukrainian counteroffensive.

According to the ISW estimates, Russian troops are currently operating in seven areas: Kupiansk, Luhansk region, Bakhmut, Avdiivka-Donetsk, the western part of Donetsk Oblast/eastern part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the western part of the Zaporizhzhia region and Kherson Oblast. They are conducting active offensive operations in the first five sectors.

"It is highly likely that the majority of Russian elements throughout Ukraine are substantially below full strength due to losses taken during previous phases of the war," the ISW added.

Flanks around Bakhmut hold as brutal urban fighting continues for city blocks
Two months after Ukraine’s defense of Bakhmut seemed doomed, the bloodiest battle of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine is still going against all expectations. Making rapid advances at the end of February, Russian forces seemed to be on the cusp of surrounding the city, as the only roads
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