After an almost two-month break, the Russians attacked Kiev using the Iskander ballistic missile. Estonian intelligence reported that the Russians “took the initiative” in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Heavy fighting is taking place in the Avdiivka area, where Russian forces are preparing for a new wave of attacks. We summarize the last week of fighting in Ukraine.
Russians attacked Kiev with an Iskander ballistic missile on Saturday morning, after a 52-day break. Kiev authorities reported that the missile did not reach the capital. He was shot down “on approach to the city”. Two more Russian rockets fell in a field in the Kiev Oblast. No significant losses were recorded. The shock wave damaged only a few private buildings.
Capital Ukraine is the target of attacks by the Russians, who usually send drones in this direction. The Ukrainian military explains that it is this way Russia among other things, it “tests” Kiev’s air defense system.
Directions where Russians have made progress
In its daily reports on the situation on the front, the general staff of the Ukrainian army reports that heavy fighting is taking place in several areas and that the Ukrainians are “resisting”. The commander of the land forces, General Oleksandr Syrski, announced that the Russian occupiers have become “more active” in the area of the city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk Oblast, where they want to regain previously lost positions.
Russian forces have been fighting to capture Bakhmut since May 2022, suffering heavy losses. The private mercenary Wagner Group, among others, withdrew from there.
According to the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Russian troops resumed attacks near Bakhmut and “made slight progress there.” Near Avdiivka, another important city in Donbass, the Russians continued their attack and also made progress, including they broke through the railway line near the town of Stepowe.
The Russians managed to “take the initiative”
According to the assessment of Estonian intelligence, the Russians managed to take the initiative in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts.
“Over the past week, Russian forces have attacked Ukrainian positions on average 64 times a day. The Russians have enough troops and equipment to keep Ukrainian troops in constant tension. They have taken the initiative in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. This shows that Russia’s goals have not changed: the occupation of both oblasts within their administrative borders remains a priority task,” the Estonian services said in a statement, quoted by the website of the Estonian broadcaster ERR.
Estonian intelligence officers also analyzed the situation around Avdiivka, predicting that the possible capture of this city by the Russians would enable the creation of an approximately 10-kilometer buffer zone in front of Donetsk, which they control.
The mayor of Avdiivka, Vitaly Barabash, told Espreso television that Russian forces are preparing for new attacks on the city. – The first wave was different from the second, and the third will be different from the previous ones. Currently, the occupiers have gathered large supplies of equipment and people, but weather conditions do not allow for a larger attack. As soon as the ground dries, they will definitely start, he said.
War enters ‘protracted phase’
The website of the Ukrainian weekly “Novoye Vremya” – nv.ua – emphasized in its analysis that war in Ukraine enters a “prolonged phase”. The portal refers to the assessments of Western and Ukrainian experts, as well as the forecasts of politicians in Kiev.
“The counteroffensive of the Ukrainian armed forces in the south, which has been going on for four months now, has encountered not only constant counterattacks by the Russians, who do not spare soldiers during the assaults, but also huge minefields and other obstacles, which has significantly slowed down the progress in the direction from Zaporozhye to Melitopol and Berdyansk. Even more so that the Ukrainians are moving forward without air superiority,” the portal wrote.
According to military analysts in Kiev, “Ukrainian forces have no chance of conducting effective offensive operations without incurring major losses.”
The Russians are still suffering heavy losses. On Sunday, the General Staff in Kiev reported that 1,100 Russian soldiers had died on the front in the last 24 hours. Saturday’s staff report stated that 1,130 Russian servicemen were killed in Ukraine in the past 24 hours.
The losses of the Russian army since the beginning of the armed invasion exceeded 311,000 soldiers.
Main photo source: Sergei Aksionov/Telegram