Russian forces unlikely to break through after buildup in southeastern Ukraine: British intelligence

The United Kingdom’s Defense Ministry this week said that Russian forces are unlikely to achieve a breakthrough in movement within the borders of southeastern Ukraine as its nearly year-long conflict with the neighboring country continues. 

In a Twitter thread, the British Ministry of Defense noted that in the last three days, Russian forces were able to develop their probing attacks “into a more concerted assault” around the Ukrainian towns of Pavlivka and Vuhledar. 

“The settlements lie 50km south-west of Donetsk city, and Russia previously used the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade in an unsuccessful assault on the same area in November 2022,” the ministry said. 

British intelligence also said the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade had likely advanced several hundred meters beyond the Kashlahach River, saying that Russian forces had marked the front line for several months. 

“There is a realistic possibility that Russia will continue to make local gains in the sector,” the ministry said. “However, it is unlikely that Russia has sufficient uncommitted troops in the area to achieve an operationally significant breakthrough.”

The British Defense Ministry noted that Russian commanders have plans to develop a new axis of advance into the Ukrainian-held province of Donetsk, adding that forces want to divert Ukrainian forces from the heavily contested city of Bakhmut. 

The British intelligence report comes as Russian forces have made significant advances around Bakhmut over a two-week period, their biggest gain in the war since Ukrainian forces took back most of the territory in the latter part of 2022, according to a Reuters report.

In an effort to slow Russia’s advances in the war, both the U.S. and Germany agreed to send tanks to support Ukrainian forces last week, with the U.S. announcing it will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began in February 2022, has killed thousands on both sides and displaced nearly eight million Ukrainian citizens.

Tags Abrams tanks Bakhmut Russia Russia-Ukraine conflict Russia-Ukraine war Ukraine United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence

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