Russian forces’ offensive in Kharkiv region appears to have slowed, they are using new tactics - ISW

Russian forces’ offensive in Kharkiv region appears to have slowed, they are using new tactics - ISW

The pace of Russian offensive operations in the northern Kharkiv region appears to have slowed over the past 24 hours; Russian troops are using new tactics in this area.  

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said this in its latest report, according to Ukrinform.

It is noted that the pattern of Russian offensive activity in this area is consistent with ISW's assessment that Russian forces are prioritizing the creation of a "buffer zone" in the international border area over a deeper penetration of Kharkiv region.

Several Ukrainian military officials reported on May 14 that they believe the situation in Kharkiv region is slowly stabilizing.  The Ukrainian General Staff noted that Ukrainian forces have begun to "clear" Vovchansk by targeting visible Russian assault groups in the settlement.

Read also: Ukrainian border guards repel Russian attack in Kupiansk direction

Several Russian and Ukrainian sources also reported that Russian forces are using new tactics in this direction — using smaller assault groups of no more than five people to penetrate Ukrainian positions before merging with other small assault groups to unite into a larger strike group.

According to ISW, drone footage purportedly from Vovchansk shows Russian foot mobile infantry operating within the settlement in small squad-sized assault groups, consistent with Ukrainian reports.

However, the use of small assault groups may be contributing to higher Russian manpower and materiel losses and slowing the overall pace of the Russian offensive in this direction, ISW said.

Ukrainian Chief of the General Staff Major General Anatoliy Barhylevych suggested that Russian forces have lost up to 1,740 soldiers in this direction over just the past day, which would be a very high rate of losses.

ISW cannot independently confirm this number, but the purported loss rate may be consistent with the generally slower rate of offensive operations observed on May 14.

“If the pace of Russian operations remains relatively lower, Russian forces will likely focus on consolidating new positions and building out a lateral salient in Kharkiv Oblast by merging the Lyptsi and Vovchansk efforts and creating a ‘buffer zone’ in the border area, as opposed to pushing further into the oblast, as ISW has previously assessed,” the report says.

As Ukrinform reported earlier, the Russian army’s combat losses in Ukraine from February 24, 2022 to May 15, 2024 amount to about 486,940 invaders, including another 1,510 troops killed or wounded in action in the past day.

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