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ISW: Russian forces will likely lose the initiative in Ukraine within the coming months

06 Mar, 2023
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ISW: Russian forces will likely lose the initiative in Ukraine within the coming months

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The likely imminent culmination of the Russian offensive around Bakhmut, the already culminated Russian offensive around Vuhledar, and the stalling Russian offensive in the Luhansk region are likely setting robust conditions for Ukrainian counteroffensive operations. 


ISW previously assessed that Russian forces had regained the initiative in Ukraine as of February 8, but Russian forces have since failed to capitalize on that initiative to secure any operationally significant gains.

Russian forces will likely lose the initiative in Ukraine within the coming months due to the likely culmination of their three main offensive efforts. Ukrainian forces previously seized the initiative after the culmination of the Russian offensive to capture Severodonetsk and Lysychansk in July of 2022 and conducted counteroffensives operations a few months later that resulted in the liberation of large swathes of territory in Kharkiv and Kherson regions. 

The culmination of Russia’s current three offensive efforts will likely allow Ukrainian forces to launch counteroffensives anywhere along the frontline that they deem best suited for such operations. The high manpower and equipment costs that the Russian military has spent in failed offensive operations in Luhansk and western Donetsk oblasts and on the operationally insignificant city of Bakhmut will benefit these likely upcoming Ukrainian counteroffensives. 


The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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