Russian forces have regained the initiative in Ukraine and have begun their next major offensive in Luhansk Oblast, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest update.
According to the D.C.-based think tank's assessment, the pace of Russian operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line in western Luhansk Oblast has significantly increased over the past week.
Russian sources have also widely reported that "conventional Russian troops are attacking Ukrainian defensive lines and making marginal advances along the Kharkiv-Luhansk Oblast border, particularly northwest of Svatove near Kupyansk and west of Kreminna," the ISW said
Geolocated combat footage also confirmed Russian troops' gains in the Dvorichne area northwest of Svatove.
Svatove and Kreminna are located in Ukraine's eastern Luhansk Oblast. Russia occupied parts of the oblast in 2014 and, since February 2022, has managed to capture the majority of the oblast.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address on Feb. 5 that, based on several reports, Russia plans to do "something symbolic" in February to make up for its losses over the past year.
In an interview with Ukrainska Pravda news outlet, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that Russians have learned from their mistakes and won't attempt to attack from all directions at once. According to Reznikov, Russia has major forces in Ukraine's east and south.
"Now they have a new tactic – concentrated, slow attempts, little by little, ten meters at a time, to capture, push, squeeze out (Ukrainian troops)," Reznikov said.