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    Recent Russian gains in Soledar aren’t imminent Bakhmut encirclement, ISW claims

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    Russian troops are still too far away to threaten supply supplies to the Ukrainian army-defended Bakhmut, this was the opinion of analysts at the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW) following recent reports as yet unconfirmed of limited successes by Putin’s troops near Russia’s Soledar.

    “Recent Russian gains in Soledar do not portend an imminent encirclement of Bakhmut; Russian forces are still far from being within striking distance of an operational encirclement of Bakhmut,” the ISW assessed in its latest report.

    Unjustified Russian pressure on Bakhmut

    “Recent Russian gains in Soledar do not portend an imminent encirclement of Bakhmut, contrary to claims made by Russian sources,” – ISW stressed.

    The centre’s analysts pointed out that even if the most positive reports by their military bloggers for the Russians were confirmed that the aggressor forces had reached the suburb of Rozdolivka, 6 km north-west of Soledar, these troops would still be too far away to be able to cut off Ukrainian supply routes.

    “In order to effectively cut Ukrainian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) into Bakhmut, Russian forces would have to establish control of the T0513 Siversk-Bakhmut highway (currently 7km west of the furthest point of confirmed Russian advances in the Soledar area) and reach the E40 Slovyansk-Bakhmut highway (13km from the furthest point of confirmed Russian advance in the Soledar area) at least. Considering that the recent rate of gains in this area has been on the order of a few hundred meters a day, at most, it is highly unlikely that Russian forces will be successful in cohering a mechanized push towards these GLOCs and move towards encircling Bakhmut,”

    notified the ISW.

    The discussion of encircling the city, which has been a continuous target of bloody attacks by Russian troops, including mercenaries from the so-called Wagner group, since at least the summer, was assessed by ISW analysts as “bizarre” at this stage.

    Russian troops have enough missiles to destroy Ukraine

    Analysing the Ukrainian defence minister’s information on the stockpile of missiles at Russia’s disposal, the ISW assessed that “Russian forces reportedly continue to deplete their missile arsenal but will likely continue to be able to threaten Ukrainian critical infrastructure and civilians at scale in the near term.”

    Data quoted by Minister Oleksiy Reznikov shows that the Russians have used around 81 per cent of strategic missiles and 19 per cent of tactical missiles. According to these reports, Russia has also used most of the kamikaze drones (Shahed-136/131) supplied by Iran so far.

    According to media and military analysts, including Ruslan Leviev of the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) project, despite Western sanctions, Russia has retained the capacity to produce armaments, including several cruise missiles.

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