The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is observing a slowdown in the advance of Russian troops in the Bakhmut area and suggests that the invaders will initiate a tactical or operational pause. This is reported in the ISW report.
Experts suggest that the speed of the advance of Russian troops in the Bakhmut area has probably slowed down in recent days, although it is too early to say that the Russian offensive to capture Bakhmut has reached a climax.
Russian military bloggers acknowledged that Ukrainian forces in the Bakhmut area managed to somewhat slow down the pace of the Russian offensive around Bakhmut and surrounding settlements, and one of them claims that Ukrainian forces pushed back groups of «Wagnerites» to the positions they occupied a few days ago.
Russian forces will likely try to maintain the pace of their offensive operations in the Bakhmut area and may try to provide a tactical or operational pause.
Analysts also believe that the limited personnel and ammunition supply of the Russian military is likely to prevent them from sustaining the current high pace of offensive operations in the Bakhmut area in the short term.
In their view, Russia's sustained and costly advance on Bakhmut could also impair Russia's ability to pursue long-term goals in the theater of operations in the Donbass.
ISW suggests that the Russian security forces may create news stories to justify the nationalization of the oligarchs' resources to finance Russia's military operations.
PMC financier «Wagner» Yevgeny Prigozhin attended the funeral of the deceased mercenary in St. Petersburg on December 24, where he said that Russia should confiscate property and housing from the elite who ignore or do not support the war effort for fear of losing their privileged way of life.
Analysts believe that it is possible that Prigozhin is using such populist statements to boost his authority in Russian society or influence the return of tougher nationalization measures.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has also previously criticized Russian oligarchs, saying that Russians who withdraw money from abroad and have no connection with the country «are a danger» for Russia.
The main conclusions of the ISW experts:
- Russian troops will probably try to maintain the pace of offensive operations in the Bakhmut area and may try to initiate a tactical or operational pause.
- The security forces The Russian Federation can create informational occasions to justify the nationalization of the resources of the oligarchs to finance Russia's military operations.
- Ukrainian intelligence continues to claim that the Russian military is not adhering to proper command structures and procedures.
- Russian forces continued to launch limited counterattacks to regain lost ground on the Kremennaya-Svatovo line.
- The occupiers also continued conduct offensive operations around Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
- Russian special forces are probably conducting reconnaissance of the Dnieper Delta in order to study Ukrainian defenses on the right bank of the Kherson region.
- The invaders attacked a residential area of the city of Kherson from multiple launch rocket system «Grad», killing at least 10 and injuring 55 people.
- The Russian Orthodox Church — Kremlin-affiliated institution — appealed to the Kremlin to release her clergy from mobilization, despite the fact that she ardently supports Putin's war in Ukraine.
- Russian officials plan to take children from Gorlovka, Donetsk to Belarus, possibly as a scheme to deport Ukrainian children.