It is unlikely that Russia will be able to amass troops of sufficient quality to seize the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, British military intelligence said on Saturday.
Both Russia and Ukraine have deployed “significant forces” to the area around the towns of Pavlivka and Vuhledar in south-central Donetsk Oblast, Britain’s Defense Ministry said in its daily intelligence update published on Twitter.
Although the area has been “the scene of intense fighting” over the past two weeks, little territory has changed hands, according to the ministry.
“This area remains heavily contested, probably in part because Russia sees the potential as a launching pad for a future major advance north to capture the rest of the Ukrainian-held Donetsk Oblast,” it said.
“However, it is unlikely that Russia will be able to concentrate enough highly skilled forces to achieve an operational breakthrough.”
Russia has stepped up its attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure after suffering a series of battlefield setbacks nine months after invading the country.
On Saturday, British defense officials said Russia’s forces would resort to removing nuclear warheads from aging nuclear cruise missiles to fire on targets in Ukraine, saying it underscored Russia’s dwindling missile stockpile.
The winter war will intensify as the ground freezes
The Institute for War Research (ISW) said the overall pace of military operations in Ukraine could increase in the coming weeks.
In its latest assessment on Saturday, the US-based think tank said operations had slowed in recent days due to deteriorating weather conditions but “are likely to pick up over the next few weeks as temperatures drop and the ground freezes.” .
According to the ISW, reports from critical frontline areas throughout eastern and southern Ukraine indicate that operations on both sides are “currently stalled by heavy rain and the resulting heavy mud”.
However, the temperature is forecast to drop across Ukraine in the coming week. That will “likely freeze the ground and quicken the pace of fighting as mobility increases for both sides,” analysts wrote in the report.
Temperatures in north-eastern Ukraine, for example along the Svatove-Kreminna line, are said to drop to near or below freezing between November 28 and December 4.
The ISW noted that it would likely take a few days for the soil to harden with consistent below-freezing temperatures, meaning conditions will likely be set to allow operations from the weekend of December 3 through the following week can increase.
“It is unclear if either side is actively planning or preparing to resume major offensive or counter-offensive operations at this point, but the meteorological factors that have hampered such operations will begin to resolve,” the ISW concluded -Analysts.
news week has reached out to the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/russia-cannot-gather-forces-quality-achieve-donetsk-aims-uk-1762523 Russia cannot gather forces of sufficient quality to achieve Donetsk objectives: UK