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The war in Ukraine. The Russians are getting ready for the next offensive. ISW report

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Russian troops in Ukraine are on an operational hiatus, but are still conducting heavy artillery fire in key areas to prepare the ground for a future offensive, the US Institute for War Studies assessed.

The Russians are also conducting attacks on a limited scale to explore possible weaknesses in Ukrainian defense. The operational break does not mean a complete cessation of hostilities, but at present these activities are of a more preparatory nature – according to the latest report of the Institute.

A soldier of the pro-Russian so-called of the Donetsk republicALESSANDRO GUERRA / EPA / PAP

Russian troops are likely to intensify missile and artillery attacks northwest of Bakhmut in the Donetsk Oblast, wanting to cut off the city from key ground communication lines, experts from the Institute for the Study of War said. They added that the Russians carried out on Sunday a limited-scale probing operation northwest of Slavyansk, as well as an ineffective land attack north of Donetsk.

Recruiting mercenaries and conflict with journalists

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The Russian military command continues to form ad hoc units of volunteers and individuals recruited by private military companies. They include, among others, criminals and men aged above the upper limit for traditional conscription, the report added.

Russian soldier in Ukraine (June 2022)Yuri KADOBNOV / AFP / East News

The HEI also draws attention to the growing conflict between the Russian military command and Russian war correspondents and bloggers who have criticized the way the Kremlin waged war. According to one blogger, military commanders are trying to silence journalists who highlight the mistakes and failures of the Russian army at the front.

Main photo source: PAP / EPA / SERGEI ILNITSKY

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