According to a report by a senior Ukrainian official serving in the Main Operations Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Russian forces are working to regroup and attack after the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly ordered Russian forces to reach the administrative borders of Donetsk region by September 15. Russia will try to redeploy its third army corps to cope with the Donetsk shift, deputy chief of the Main Operations Directorate Oleksiy Gromov said on Thursday, according to Interfax.
“We are considering that directly with the participation of this unit, an attempt will be made to conduct offensive operations in the direction of Donetsk,” Gromov said. “The enemy continues to hold the occupied areas of the Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia, Kherson and Mykolaiv regions, and is also trying to create favorable conditions for resuming the offensive.”
But the new army corps that Russia plans to send to Donetsk to overwhelm Ukrainian forces isn’t necessarily the most formidable force. In recent days, Russia has tried to bolster the new group of fighters by removing an age limit on recruits and even recruiting prisoners so they can increase their numbers, according to a senior US defense official.
“Russia has already begun expanding recruitment efforts to provide at least one volunteer battalion per federal district and create a new third army corps. They have done so in part by removing the upper age limit for new recruits, and also by recruiting prisoners,” the senior US defense official said in a briefing with reporters on Monday. “Many of these new recruits are seen as older, unfit and poorly trained. So all of this suggests to us that any additional personnel that Russia can muster by the end of the year will not in fact increase Russia’s total…combat capability.”
Putin’s forces have faltered since the war began. Some troops have started sabotaging Russian equipment. And Russia has not achieved major war goals either. Moscow wanted to take Donetsk by June but failed to do so, according to the head of the military-civilian administration of Donetsk region Pavlo Kyrylenko. Russia has failed to capture the capital, Kyiv, and hasn’t gained much ground since mid-summer.
After several months of troubles, Putin has tried to dismiss the idea that Russia tried hard to move forward only to fail. He warned in July that “by and large we haven’t started anything serious yet.”
But Russia’s goals of adding 137,000 additional troops to its armed forces by January are also unlikely to prove helpful to Moscow’s war plan, the senior US defense official said.
“It is unlikely that these efforts will be successful,” the official said.
News of Russia’s efforts to regroup comes after Russia’s top military official announced that Russian forces are reaching a slowdown point in the war. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed just last week that Russian forces had slowed down their war effort in recent weeks.
And in recent days, the Russian armed forces have suffered further setbacks. As Ukrainian forces work to launch a counteroffensive in southern Ukraine to retake Kherson, a city Russia captured in the early days of the war this year, Russian units are stalling, according to the Pentagon.
“Ukrainian military operations … have made some progress, and in some cases … in the Kherson region,” Pentagon press secretary Pat Ryder told reporters in a briefing this week. “We are aware that in some cases Russian units are falling behind.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/ukraine-reveals-vladimir-putins-new-deadline-for-a-major-russian-victory-in-donetsk?source=articles&via=rss Ukraine unveils Vladimir Putin’s new deadline for a major Russian victory in Donetsk