Russian invaders likely to take a break before new offensive in Donbas, says ISW

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Destruction in Lysychansk
Destruction in Lysychansk

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ISW analyzed the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from Lysychansk and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's comment that the Russian units that had participated in the battle for Lysychansk should "rest to increase their combat capabilities."

The ISW's key takeaways include:

  • Russian leadership may be setting conditions for an operational pause following the seizure of Lysychansk and the Luhansk Oblast boundary.

  • Russian forces are consolidating territorial and administrative control over Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.

  • Russian forces continued offensive operations to the east of Bakhmut to prepare for advances on Bakhmut and Siversk.

  • Russian forces continued limited and unsuccessful assaults north of Kharkiv City.

  • Ukrainian partisan activity is targeting Russian railway lines around Melitopol and Tokmak.

  • Russian leadership may be setting conditions for the conscription of Ukrainian citizens living in occupied territories.

Map of Russian hostilities <span class="copyright">ISW</span>
Map of Russian hostilities ISW

Battle for Donbas

Ukraine’s General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted a reconnaissance in force on the outskirts of Berestove and undertook offensive operations around the Vuhledar Power Plant, Vasylivka, Spirne, Klynove, and Mayorsk.

ISW predicts that Russian forces will likely continue efforts to move west of the T1302 Bakhmut-Lysychansk highway to eventually drive on Bakhmut and Siversk, although their ability to do so successfully following losses sustained during attempts to take Lysychansk is questionable.

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Russian forces also continued offensive operations northwest of Slovyansk near the Kharkiv-Donetsk Oblast border and made incremental gains on July 4. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that Russian forces had "partial success" in Mazanivka, about 20 km northwest of Slovyansk, and fought in Bohorodychne and Dolyna.

Battles in Kharkiv Oblast – map

Russian forces continued air, artillery, and rocket strikes on Ukrainian military infrastructure and settlements north, northeast, and east of Kharkiv City. However, Russian forces did not make any territorial gains on the Kharkiv City Axis on July 4, ISW said. Ukrainian sources reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian assaults on Prudyanka along the T2117 highway and Sosnivka, less than 10 km from the Russian border.

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Battles in southern Ukraine: Kherson, Mykolayiv, Zaporizhzhya oblasts

Russian forces focused on regaining lost positions in northeastern Kherson Oblast on July 4. Ukraine’s General Staff reported Russian attacks on Ivanivka, Potiomkyne and Myrne. Russian forces reportedly deployed 17 railway wagons with ammunition from Crimea to northern Kherson Oblast, likely to resupply Russian artillery units. NASA's FIRMS data showed abnormally high numbers of fires along the Mykolayiv-Kherson Oblast frontline on July 4, indicating intense indirect fire attacks.