Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies.
Date: 31 July 2022 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński
Ukraine’s Two Front Lines: Which One’s More Important?
Russia’s war with Ukraine has entered a phase of rivalry that will force the enemy on the side to accept the location and terms of the next major armed confrontation. Russian forces are making effort to target Ukrainian positions in Donbas while the Ukrainian army has announced a counteroffensive in the Kherson region, possibly to dissuade the enemy from the idea of taking Donbas now when forces are needed along the southern front.
Many signs are that Russia is curbing its targets in Ukraine’s Donbas to build up its forces along the southern front that might soon fall under the Ukrainian attack. Instead of targeting Siversk in the north and Bakhmut in the south, the Russians focused on the latter direction only. Progress will stall while some of the troops could be moved elsewhere, including the Kherson region where Ukrainian forces had managed to take back control from Russian invaders a key patch of land, amid fierce fighting along the Inhulets riverbank. Officially, Russia is seeking to seize the Ukraine-controlled Donets foothold stretching from Izium in the north to Donetsk in the south. The front line runs through the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk. Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops are seeking to win some advantage in the Kherson region. What was announced in early July as a counteroffensive could indeed take its toll on Russian military activities in Donbas. Since then, Moscow has pushed some of its forces to the lower riverbank. Will this give Russia any military gain? Once Ukrainian forces destroyed key bridges, Russian troops on the western bank of the Dnipro River communicate poorly with units on the eastern riverbank. Extra Russian troops advancing from Crimea or Donbas are unlikely to improve the situation of the Russian military. What could be the most plausible scenario is that Ukrainian forces push Russian troops to the left bank of the Dnipro River within the next month while the latter make scarce progress in Donbas.
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