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ISW: Russian forces looking to make 'tactical gains' west of Avdiivka, Chasiv Yar remains primary pressure point

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk April 26, 2024 8:57 AM 3 min read
Smoke rising near the town of Chasiv Yar, Donetsk Oblast, on April 11, 2024. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russian forces are seeking "tactical gains" northwest of Avdiivka, but the primary offensive operation, and the one most likely to be successful, is still Chasiv Yar, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said on April 25.

Chasiv Yar is situated in Donetsk Oblast, around 10 kilometers (six miles) west of Bakhmut and 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Avdiivka, cities Russia captured in May 2023 and February 2024, respectively.

Russian forces have been focusing their efforts near Chasiv Yar, which they see as crucial for further advances toward the nearby cities of Kostiantynivka, Kramatorsk, and Sloviansk, the Ukrainian military said.

The ISW said that while it is possible that Russian forces may make some gains northwest of Avdiivka, an offensive in the area is "unlikely to develop into an operationally significant penetration, let alone cause the collapse of the Ukrainian defense west of Avdiivka."

The operation to seize Chasiv Yar has the most potential in the short term to be an operational victory for Russian forces, the ISW added.

The taking of Chasiv Yar would present an opportunity for Russia to "launch subsequent offensive operations against cities that form a significant Ukrainian defensive belt in Donetsk Oblast," the ISW said.

Nazar Voloshyn, the Khortytsia Group of Forces' spokesperson, said on April 22 that as many as 20,000 to 25,000 Russian troops are attempting to storm Chasiv Yar and surrounding settlements.

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President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier in April that Russia is attempting to capture Chasiv Yar by Victory Day on May 9, a heavily militarized holiday in Russia marking the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Russia is likely trying to take as much territory as possible before the impact of the recently passed U.S. Ukraine aid bill can be felt on the battlefield, which will likely be within the next few weeks.

Despite the infusion of much-needed aid, unnamed U.S. officials told Politico on April 24 that the package may not be enough for Ukraine to regain all of its territory. The aid also does not address Ukraine's manpower shortage or the need to improve its military-industrial capacity.

Russia prepares for a major offensive in Ukraine, eyes Chasiv Yar
Since March, President Volodymyr Zelensky has said more than once that Ukraine is expecting a major Russian offensive that could start in May or June. Ukrainian experts and military officials now say it might begin even sooner. All eyes are currently on the Bakhmut axis as Russian troops gradually…
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