Analysts say it is likely that Russia has temporarily slowed the pace of its offensive in Ukraine in an attempt to realign forces for a new attack.
On Wednesday, for the first time in 133 days of war, Russian forces made no territorial advances in Ukraine, according to the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War. The group of experts suggested that Moscow may be conducting an ‘operational pause’, but that this does not mean a ‘complete cessation of military action’.
“Russian forces are likely to be limited to relatively small military actions as they try to prepare the ground for larger offensive operations, and regain the combat power necessary to attempt more ambitious operations,” the institute’s representatives said.
In a statement on Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry appeared to confirm this assessment. Moscow said Russian military units involved in fighting in Ukraine had been given time to rest.
“Departments carrying out combat missions, during the special military operation, are recovering in order to regain their combat capabilities,” the statement quoted by the Russian state news agency “Tass” said.
Meanwhile, in the east of Ukraine, artillery bombardment continues. Ukrainian officials announced that at least nine civilians had been killed and six others wounded in the past 24 hours.
The office of the president of Ukraine announced on Thursday that in the cities and villages, which are located in seven regions of Ukraine, there were artillery attacks the day before. Most of the civilian deaths occurred in Donetsk province, where fighting continues. Seven civilians were killed, including a child, Ukrainian authorities announced.
Ten towns and villages were hit by artillery in Donetsk, resulting in the destruction of 35 buildings, among them a school, a vocational college and a hospital.
Donetsk is part of Donbass, a predominantly Russian-speaking industrial region where Ukraine’s most experienced soldiers are concentrated. Pro-Russian separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces and have controlled most of Donbas for eight years./VOA
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