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ISW: Russia Concentrates Forces in Sumy Region, Aims to Pin Down Ukrainian Troops

Analysts from the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) stated in their daily review released on Tuesday, May 21, that Russia is concentrating limited, poorly equipped, and disjointed forces in the Sumy direction. However, even this may achieve the desired effect for Russia of diverting and fixing Ukrainian forces to the international border area.

“The deputy commander of a Ukrainian brigade operating in northern Kharkiv region reported on May 20 that Russian forces, including Chechen forces, are accumulating in the Sumy direction but that the limited number of Russian personnel suggests that the Russian objective is to draw and fix Ukrainian forces to the international border area,” says the review.

Analysts also noted that, according to Ukrainian military analyst Konstantin Mashovets, the Russian grouping in the Kursk region of the Russian Federation numbers 9-10 thousand people.

“ISW continues to assess that even limited Russian activity in other areas of the international border below the threshold of Russian offensive operations could have the effect of stretching Ukrainian forces along a wider front, and that Russian forces will be able to draw and fix Ukrainian forces to this area,” according to the statement.

The spokesman for the State Border Service of Ukraine (DPSU) Andriy Demchenko did not rule out an offensive by the Russian army in Sumy region.

“We can never rule out, and I have emphasized this, that this includes the Sumy direction. The enemy can at any moment, even despite the fact that he does not have enough forces, try to do something similar to what is happening now in the Kharkiv direction,” he said on the air of Radio Liberty on May 21.

According to Demchenko, each component of the Ukrainian Defense Forces has its own area of responsibility in the Sumy direction, they all act in a coordinated manner, and the defense in this direction should continue to be strengthened.

The spokesman also pointed out that the length of the border with Russia in Sumy region is more than 560 kilometers, and the Russian army outnumbers the Ukrainian Defense Forces in terms of both equipment and means of destruction, and in terms of personnel.

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