Russian tactics in Kharkiv distract from major push in Chasiv Yar

Ukrainian artilleryman at a position in Donetsk Oblast, archive photo, May 2024
Ukrainian artilleryman at a position in Donetsk Oblast, archive photo, May 2024

Russia's limited offensive in northeastern Ukraine is achieving its goal of diverting attention from its intense offensive operations in eastern Ukraine, particularly near Chasiv Yar, the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War said on May 21.

This strategy was detailed in an ISW report and supported by remarks from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a May 20 Reuters interview, where he highlighted the ongoing stability in northern Kharkiv Oblast but pointed out the lack of attention to the fierce battles in Donbas, specifically in Chasiv Yar along the Bakhmut front, and other critical fronts in Pokrovsk and Kurakhove.

<span class="copyright">ISW</span>

According to the ISW, while the Russian advance in the north of Kharkiv Oblast has slowed, there has been a recent intensification in efforts to seize the strategically important town of Chasiv Yar, west of Bakhmut. The institute suggests that the northern operations are designed to fix Ukrainian forces in place, thereby opening the door for Russian troops to achieve significant operational gains in Donetsk Oblast, potentially threatening key Ukrainian defensive strongholds such as Slovyansk, Kramatorsk, Druzhkivka, and Kostiantynivka.

Read also: Elite HUR combat unit Kraken shows footage of ongoing Chasiv Yar battle

The report further notes that the focus on Chasiv Yar is seen as a near-term opportunity for Russian forces to exploit the current defensive challenges faced by Ukrainian troops, particularly before the expected influx of U.S. military support. Despite some stabilization in northern Kharkiv, the Ukrainian General Staff last week reported that Russian offensive actions continue unabated near Avdiivka.

Read also: Kharkiv Oblast front quiets down - Half as many clashes on May 20 as day before

Recent developments in the village of Klishchiyivka, southeast of Chasiv Yar, illustrate the ongoing intensity of the conflict. ISW analysts confirmed, via geolocation, videos posted by Russian military bloggers showing Russian tanks deploying troops to Klishchiyivka's southern outskirts and conducting operations in the village center. Russian sources claim to have secured Klishchiyivka, pushing Ukrainian forces out, although ISW found no visual proof that Russian troops control the northern and western parts of the village. The military bloggers themselves conceded that full control is not yet achieved, as Ukrainian forces maintain positions on strategic heights surrounding the area.

Read also: Russian troops advance near 10 Ukrainian settlements in Kharkiv Oblast, monitoring group claims

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine