American experts claim that the Russians misjudged the state of their army

"Challenger" tank, donated by Britain to the Ukrainian army / photo: Ukrainian Ministry of Defense

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has released a new analysis of the war in Ukraine that says the Russians are likely planning a new offensive based on mistaken assumptions about their military's capabilities. They also state that the Russians are currently trying to replace the exhausted forces of the Wagner group after the conquest of Soledar.

"Russian forces probably do not have the combat power necessary to sustain more than one major offensive operation. There is no evidence to suggest that Russian forces have regenerated enough combat power after losses in the early stages of the war to enable simultaneous large-scale offensives. to be implemented in the next few months,” says ISW.

They add that the Russian army conquered the areas around Bakhmut relying on large numbers of people and at a huge human cost.

"Furthermore, the conventional Russian military is unlikely to be prepared to take such horrific losses as the 'human wave' tactic inflicted on Wagner's convicts." "The ability of the Russians to conduct rapid, large-scale and multi-pronged offensives this winter and therefore spring is highly questionable," they said.

ISV states that even if Ukraine loses Vuledar, it is unlikely to lead to a Russian breakthrough on multiple lines of advance in Donetsk or on the battlefield in general.

The spring rainy season in Ukraine, which usually occurs around April, will worsen the terrain's suitability for maneuver warfare. If Russian forces were to attempt a simultaneous mechanized offensive in the next two months, they would likely disrupt Ukraine's efforts to mount a counteroffensive in the short term, but such a Russian offensive would likely culminate prematurely.

This would create conditions that Ukrainian forces could use for a counteroffensive in the spring or summer of 2023. Ukraine may also increasingly benefit from the Western tanks it has just been promised.

ISV believes that the Russians are unlikely to achieve operationally decisive successes in their current and likely future offensive operations, although they are likely to achieve tactical and perhaps even operationally significant gains.

Ukraine is very likely to find itself in a good position from which to conduct successful counteroffensive operations after the culmination of Russian offensives before or during the spring rainy season.

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