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ISW: Russia Prepares Second Phase of Offensive in Northern Kharkiv Region

Russian forces are likely preparing for the second phase of their offensive operation in northern Kharkiv region, which they intend to launch after their expected capture of Vovchansk, according to analysts at the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

“A second wave of tactical attacks is not the same as a second phase of an operation, and Russian troops may need to launch several 'waves' of tactical attacks to achieve the objectives of any individual phase of their offensive operation in northern Kharkiv region,” according to ISW’s report.

“It is unclear if the second phase of the Russian offensive operation in northern Kharkiv region will prioritize Russia’s operational objective to expand the desired ‘buffer zone’ further in width along the international border or Russia’s operational objective to advance to within effective tube artillery range of Kharkiv,” the report says.

Russia also recently stepped up its efforts to capture Chasiv Yar amid the offensive in northern Kharkiv region, ISW noted. Experts recall that Russian army did not achieve significant tactical gains in the area of the city after conducting a mechanized assault on the city on April 4 and did not conduct similar assaults in the area until May 17.

“Russia’s capture of Chasiv Yar would have operational significance, as it would provide Russian forces with advantageous positions to launch further offensive operations on Konstantynivka and Druzhkivka, cities that form the southern part of the Ukrainian defense belt, which is the backbone of Ukraine’s defense in Donetsk region,” the report says.

The Institute for the Study of War also believes that Russia is hoping to make a significant operational advance anywhere along the front line, but will likely prioritize the Chasiv Yar area.

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