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Russia is "highly likely" to create a new military formation — the 18th Combined Arms Army (18 CAA) — aiming “to free up more experienced units to fight on key axes" in Ukraine, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on Aug. 21.
According to the ministry, the formation will likely be "an amalgamation and uplift" of other units currently operating in Kherson Oblast, including the 22nd Army Corps, which normally forms the Russian garrison in occupied Crimea.
"18 CAA is likely to consist mostly of mobilized personnel and to focus on defensive security operations in the south of Ukraine," reads the latest British intelligence update.
"There is a realistic possibility that this has led to the recent re-deployment of airborne forces from Kherson to the heavily contested Orikhiv sector."
Ukraine’s counteroffensive is ongoing in the south and east, with one of its key goals being to reach Melitopol and cut off the land bridge between Russia and occupied Crimea.
Over the past week, Ukrainian forces have liberated three square kilometers of land near Donetsk Oblast’s Bakhmut, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said on Aug. 21.
Maliar also said that Ukraine made gains southeast of Robotyne and south of Mala Tokmachka in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.