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Russia’s new offensive in Ukraine appears to have stalled already, according to an assessment by a U.S.-based think tank.
Compared to previous weeks, the overall pace of Russian operations in Ukraine appears to have decreased, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), based in Washington, noted in its daily assessment of the conflict on Wednesday.
Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs, told Newsweek in a February interview that Russia had already begun an offensive, and that a counteroffensive from Kyiv was coming. The ISW said Russia has barely expanded its territory in Ukraine in a month of its new offensive.
The think tank noted that on Wednesday, Colonel Oleksiy Dmytrashkivskyi, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Joint Press Center of the Tavriisk Defense Forces, said Russian offensive actions have decreased significantly over the last week, while daily Russian ground attacks have fallen from 90 to 100 attacks per day to 20 to 29 a day.
Dmytrashkivskyi reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s forces have somewhat lost their offensive potential due to “significant manpower and equipment losses.”
The ISW said Dmytrashkivskyi’s statements are consistent with its general observation regarding the pace of Russian operations along the entire frontline in Ukraine.
“The Russian offensive operation in Luhansk Oblast is likely nearing culmination, if it has not already culminated, although Russia has committed most elements of at least three divisions to the Svatove-Kreminna line,” the think tank said, using a military term meaning the point where a unit is too stretched or exhausted to continue its advance.
Over the past week, Russian forces have made only minimal tactical gains along the entire Luhansk Oblast frontline, while Ukrainian forces have likely recently managed to conduct counterattacks and regain territory, the think tank said.
Overall, the ISW said, Russian forces have still been unable to make substantial gains in the new offensive.
The think tank told Business Insider that in February, the month Russia’s new offensive began, Russia increased the amount of territory it controls in Ukraine by less than 0.04 percent. Between January 31 and February 28, Russia had gained just 0.039 percent more territory in Ukraine—around 233.94 square kilometers (90.3 square miles)—the ISW said.
Ukraine’s own counteroffensive has been highly anticipated. Gerashchenko told Newsweek last month that Ukraine is “waiting for the supplies of Western equipment to start our own counteroffensive.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky‘s top aide, Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the presidential office, told the Italian newspaper La Stampa that Ukraine’s military is focusing now on trying to retain control of the city Bakhmut. He said the Armed Forces of Ukraine are preparing for a counteroffensive that will begin in about two months.
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