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Ukraine's offensive operations near Bakhmut may force Russia to make a difficult decision on whether to pull defending forces from other regions of Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest analysis.
Russia has already deployed reinforcements to the Bakhmut area, where Ukrainians reported making headway in clawing back captured territory.
ISW cited Russian sources, which reported Ukrainian counteroffensives along four sections of the front.
Ukraine's counteroffensive, which began in early June, has so far been going slow, with Ukraine saying that the bulk of its forces hasn't yet been committed.
Russia lacks the troops to defend the entire 800-kilometer front line with equal vigor, experts told the Kyiv Independent in May.