Russians returning from "operational pause", focus on offensive near Siversk and Bakhmut — ISW
18 July, 2022

Russian occupying forces continue their "measured return" from the "operational pause" and prioritize advance near Siversk and Bakhmut, announced the American Institute for the Study of War in its latest update.

The experts previously noted that the end of the "operational pause" is unlikely to lead to a new mass wave of ground assaults at once across multiple axes of advance of the invading forces, despite the public order of the Minister of Defense of Russia, Sergei Shoigu, to this effect.

"Russian troops are prioritizing advances around Siversk and Bakhmut while maintaining defensive positions north of Kharkiv City and along the Southern Axis," say ISW analysts.

In addition, the occupiers continue to create conditions for resuming the offensive on Slovyansk. It is worth noting that on July 17 the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation did not announce new "territorial gains".

ISW predicts that the end of the "operational pause" will be characterized by fluctuating and gradual resumption of ground offensive operations.

Other conclusions of analysts regarding the Russo-Ukrainian war as of July 17:

  • Russian forces continued a measured return from the operational pause and did not make any confirmed territorial gains on July 17;
  • Russian forces continued limited ground assaults around Siversk, Bakhmut, and Donetsk City and otherwise fired at civilian and military infrastructure throughout the Donbas;
  • Russian forces focused on defensive operations north of Kharkiv City and along the southern axis;
  • The Kremlin may be setting long-term conditions for force generation efforts in anticipation of protracted hostilities in Ukraine;
  • Russian occupation authorities are likely using the threat of partisan activities to justify harsher societal controls in occupied areas.