ISW: Russia is losing the initiative in Ukraine

The overall pace of Russian operations in Ukraine appears to have slowed compared to previous weeks. The spokesman for the Ukrainian Joint Press Center of the Tauriy Defense Forces, Col. Oleksiy Dmytrashkivskyi, said on March 15 that Russian offensive actions had decreased significantly over the past week, noting that daily Russian ground attacks had decreased from 90-100 attacks per day to 20-29 per day.

Dmitrashkivski reported that Russian forces had somewhat lost their offensive potential due to significant losses of manpower and equipment.

This is stated in the daily analysis of the situation in Ukraine by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Dmitry Drashkovsky’s statements are consistent with ISW’s general observations regarding the pace of Russian operations along the entire front line in Ukraine. The Russian offensive operation in the Luhansk region is probably nearing its climax if it has not already reached it, although Russia has committed most elements of at least three divisions on the Svatovo-Kremina line.

Furthermore, it appears that the Wagner group’s all-out offensive toward Bakhmut is coming to an end. Ukrainian military sources note that the number of attacks in and around Bakhmut has significantly decreased, especially in the past few days.

Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin recently stressed that the lack of ammunition was affecting Wagner’s ability to continue the advance toward Bakhmut, and said on March 15 that due to ammunition shortages and heavy fighting, Wagner had to expand his entourage of Bahmut.

Russian forces will likely need to commit significant reserves to prevent this culmination. It is possible that they will be able to do so, as the ISW has observed elements of Russian airborne regiments in and around Bakhmut, which do not currently appear heavily engaged in combat.

The Russians could also commit elements from other conventional units, including possibly the 2nd Motorized Rifle Division, or units drawn from other parts of the theater of operations. But it seems that Wagner’s offensive alone will not be enough to take Bahmut.

Russian forces are not conducting active or successful offensive operations in other parts of the theater, and as the pace of operations slows along critical sectors of the front, Ukrainian forces likely have a greater opportunity to regain the initiative.

Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin has commented on reports of the dismissal of Russian Airborne Forces Commander Colonel General Mikhail Teplinski (first reported on January 20) – possibly revealing Teplinski’s connection to Wagner.

On March 15, Prigozhin stated that Teplinski was an honest and competent commander whom he met before the war in passing and during the “tragic” operations near Berestovo, Donetsk region.

Prigogine stated that one possible reason for Teplinski’s dismissal was his refusal to lie about the situation at the front.

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