ISW: It is becoming increasingly difficult for Russia to organize referendums in the occupied territories

ISW: It is becoming increasingly difficult for Russia to organize referendums in the occupied territories
ISW: It is becoming increasingly difficult for Russia to organize referendums in the occupied territories

Ukrainian sources increasingly report that the Russian occupation authorities probably recognize their own inability to hold large-scale referendums in the occupied Ukrainian territories due to the failure of the Russian military to capture the desired territory and the pressure of local resistance and guerrillas in the occupied territories, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports in its daily analysis of the development of hostilities.

The Ukrainian Resistance Center said on September 1 that The Kremlin expected to control all of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions by the summer of 2022. and that the inability of the Russian military to take control of these territories has undermined the Kremlin’s prospects of organizing large-scale referendums in the occupied regions.

The Resistance Center added that the Russian authorities will continue to spread the concept of large-scale referendums in the information space, but that occupation officials basically understand that even a phased vote may not take place at all due to the dual effect of Russian military failures and the pressure exerted by Ukrainian guerrilla and civil resistance.

As ISW reports, military operations on the scale of the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive they cannot be judged whether they succeed or fail in a day or a week..

Ukraine’s General Staff said Russian President Vladimir Putin had extended the deadline for Russian forces to retake Donetsk region from August 31 to the still-unlikely target date of September 15 and Russian forces are making several pre-deployments to achieve this goal. Oleksiy Gromov, the deputy chief of Ukraine’s Main Operational Directorate, said that Russian forces are regrouping elements of the Central Military District (CMD) operating in the Luhansk-Donetsk region in an attempt to increase troop numbers west of Donetsk city. Gromov added that Russian forces have deployed two battalion tactical groups (BTGs) from Belgorod Oblast towards the western front line of Zaporozhye Oblast, which he said could support renewed Russian offensive operations in Donbass. Gromov said the Russian military continues to form the 3rd Army Corps to be deployed in the Donetsk region, and is also likely to resume offensive operations in the Donetsk operational zone. He noted that it was unclear whether all mobilized servicemen from the 3rd Army Corps had undergone military training. Russian forces are also reported to have deployed one BTG each in the direction of Slavyansk and Nikolaev.

The Ukrainian military reiterated that Ukrainian forces continued to attack Russian logistics and reinforcements and remained operationally silent on the progress of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in southern Ukraine on September 1. Gromov said Russian losses are currently severe due to a series of Ukrainian missile, air and artillery strikes on Russian command posts, positions and ammunition depots between August 29 and August 31.

The Ukrainian Southern Operational Command reported that Ukrainian forces destroyed a pontoon bridge over the Ingulets River in Darevka, about 18 km northeast of the city of Kherson and located on the Kherson-Nova Kakhovka highway. Ukrainian forces have been attacking the pontoon bridges since August 29, likely to tactically impede Russian forces and support ongoing Ukrainian offensive operations. Ukraine’s Southern Operations Command also noted that Ukrainian forces hit six ammunition depots in Bersylav and Kherson regions (in the central part of Kherson region and Hennichen region, near the eastern border between Kherson region and Crimea.

Russian military bloggers reported that Ukrainian forces continue to attack in at least four directions in the Kherson region, but these claims remain largely unverifiable. Various sources claim that fighting continues west of Vysokopolye, south of the border of Kherson and Dnipropetrovsk regions, east and northeast of the Ukrainian bridgehead over the Ingulets River, around Snigurovka about 65 km east of the city of Nikolaev and north of the city of Kherson.

Russian forces have committed ground attacks northwest of Slavyansk, south and northeast of Bakhmut, and northwest and southwest of Donetsk city.

Russian forces have conducted a limited ground attack northwest of Slavyansk on September 1. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian troops had tried to advance towards Dolyna, 18 km northwest of Slavyansk along the E40 highway. Russian forces have additionally continued routine shelling, airstrikes and aerial reconnaissance along the Izyum-Slavyansk line and near the border of Kharkiv and Donetsk regions. Russian forces did not carry out any confirmed ground attacks towards Siversk on 1 September and continued routine artillery strikes on the city and surrounding villages.

Russia continues limited ground attacks northeast and south of Bakhmut (Artyomovsk). The Ukrainian General Staff stated that Russian troops attempted to advance towards Vesela Dolina (5 km southeast of Bakhmut), Zaytsevo (8 km southeast of Bakhmut), Soledar (10 km northeast of Bakhmut) and Bakhmutskoye (8 km northeast of Bakhmut). . Both Ukrainian and Russian sources indicated that Ukrainian troops may escalate operations around Bakhmut, potentially to regain lost ground.

Russian forces have conducted limited ground attacks on the western outskirts of the city of Donetsk . The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian troops tried to improve their positions around Pervomaiskoe, Nevelskoe and Optino, all located 15 km from the northwestern edge of the city of Donetsk. Russian forces also continued routine air and artillery strikes along the Avdeevka-Donetsk front line .

Russian forces did not carry out any confirmed ground attacks along the axis of the city of Kharkiv on 1 September. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces continued to carry out aerial reconnaissance using UAVs near populated areas on the front lines. Russian forces continued to use artillery to shell settlements north and northeast of Kharkiv city.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Russian forces repelled a Ukrainian offensive near Ruski Tishki, roughly 20 km northeast of the city of Kharkiv, on September 1. However, ISW is unable to independently verify this claim.

Russian forces have not conducted offensive operations in Kherson or Zaporozhye regions and routine shelling along the contact line continued.

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