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The Russians can unite with the Ukrainians in the region south of Kharkov and west of Donetsk

A Ukrainian counteroffensive northeast of Kharkov may have forced Russian forces to redeploy their forces and deploy more troops to the city rather than support a Russian offensive stuck in other parts of eastern Ukraine, according to a recent analysis by the US-based Institute of Military Sciences. It is possible that Russian forces will gather in Belgorod to advance into the city of Kharkov to prevent a Ukrainian counterattack.

The American think tank added that the Russian forces continued their efforts to reach the administrative borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, but they did not achieve significant regional benefits since the acquisition of Bubasna on Saturday.

Russian tank on the border of MariupolSource: Agence France-Presse / 2022 Anatolia / Leon Klein

It is likely that Russian forces will continue to consolidate offensive forces south of Izgum to encircle Ukrainian forces in southern Kharkov Oblast and western Donetsk. Russia could change the status of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, perhaps by merging them into a single “Donbass Republic”, which would directly annex it to Russia.

According to an analysis by the Institute of Military Sciences, the Russian forces apparently decided to occupy Azovstal with a ground offensive and are likely to continue operations accordingly.

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