Institute for the study of war said on August 4 that Ukraine is likely seizing the strategic initiative and forcing Russia to reallocate forces and reprioritize efforts in response to Ukrainian counteroffensive operations.
As analysts of the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) note, Russian forces increasingly transfer personnel and equipment to the Kherson region and the west of the Zaporizhzhia region (south of Ukraine) in response to Ukrainian counteroffensive operations.
Russia is also redeploying military equipment, in particular artillery and aviation, from the regions of Ukraine to occupied Crimea.
“Russian forces have previously withdrawn from or suspended offensive operations in Kharkiv City and the southern axis to prioritize capturing Luhansk Oblast, but they did so on their own initiative based on the changing priorities of their commanders. Russian forces, in this case, appear to be responding to the Ukrainian counteroffensive threat in Kherson Oblast rather than deliberately choosing objectives on which to concentrate their efforts.”
At the start of a full-scale war, even after an attempt to capture Kyiv had been repulsed, the Russians were free to focus their operations to the east. But now the situation has changed.
“Ukraine’s preparations for the counteroffensive in Kherson and the initial operations in that counteroffensive combined with the dramatic weakening of Russian forces generally appear to be allowing Ukraine to begin actively shaping the course of the war for the first time.”