July 14, 2022

Institute for the Study of War: Russian forces continue their systematic attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure

Institute for the Study of War

Russian forces are likely emerging from their operational pause as of July 15. Russian forces carried out a series of limited ground assaults northwest of Slovyansk, southeast of Siversk, along the T1302 Bakhmut-Lysychansk highway, southeast of Bakhmut, and southwest of Donetsk City.[1] These assaults may indicate that Russian forces are attempting to resume their offensive operations in Donbas. The assaults are still small-scale and were largely unsuccessful. If the operational pause is truly over, the Russians will likely continue and expand such assaults in the coming 72 hours. The Russians might instead alternate briefer pauses with strengthening attacks over a number of days before moving into a full-scale offensive operation. A 10-day-long operational pause is insufficient to fully regenerate Russian forces for large-scale offensive operations. The Russian military seems to feel continuous pressure to resume and continue offensive operations before it can reasonably have rebuilt sufficient combat power to achieve decisive effects at a reasonable cost to itself, however. The resuming Russian offensive may therefore fluctuate or even stall for some time.

Ukrainian HIMARS strikes have likely killed or wounded four Russian 106th Airborne Division deputy commanders. Russian news outlets reported the deaths of 106th Division’s deputy commanders Colonel Sergey Kuzminov, Colonel Andrey Vasiliev, and Colonel Maxim Kudrin, seemingly confirming Ukrainian claims that HIMARS strikes on Shaktarsk on July 9 killed or wounded a significant portion of the 106th’s leadership.[2] Ukraine’s Center for Strategic Communications claimed on July 12 that one unspecified 106th Airborne Division deputy commander remains in critical condition.[3]

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces are likely emerging from their operational pause, launching ground assaults north of Slovyansk, southeast of Siversk, around Bakhmut, and southwest of Donetsk City.
  • Russian forces continued to defend occupied positions in the Kharkiv City direction to prevent Ukrainian forces from advancing toward the Russian border in Kharkiv Oblast.
  • Russian forces continued their systematic attacks on civilian infrastructure targeting residential infrastructure, recreational facilities, and educational institutions in Mykolaiv City on July 15.
  • Chelyabinsk Oblast officials announced the completion of a volunteer battalion on July 15.
  • Russian occupation authorities continued to institute new societal control measures in occupied territories.
  • Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine (comprised of one subordinate and three supporting efforts)
  • Subordinate Main Effort—Encirclement of Ukrainian Troops in the Cauldron between Izyum and Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts
  • Supporting Effort 1—Kharkiv City
  • Supporting Effort 2—Southern Axis
  • Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts
  • Activities in Russian-occupied Areas

Full report:   https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-july-15

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