Breaking news about the war between Russia and Ukraine: live updates

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With Russian forces in the middle of a supposed “operational pause,” some Ukrainians in the country’s badly battered eastern frontline are wondering what that means while their cities are still under incessant shelling.

Military analysts say they have indeed seen a Russian breakthrough – an attempt to regroup and prepare reinforcements for a new assault on cities in the Donetsk region.

Russian President Vladimir V. Putin warned this month that his forces have yet to unleash their most ferocious efforts against Ukraine. But according to some assessments, as well as leaking information about Russia’s desire to send additional troops on the offensive, some analyzes cast doubt on the effectiveness of the units that Russia is putting forward.

“Despite President Putin’s July 7, 2022 announcement that the Russian military has ‘not even started’ operations in Ukraine, many of their reinforcements are ad hoc teams deployed with outdated or inappropriate equipment,” the British ministry said in an assessment. defense on Saturday. .

One of the signs pointed out by the Ministry of Defense was its expectation that fresh Russian troops would be deployed in MT-LB armored personnel carriers. MT-LB, first developed in the 1950s for towing artillery, does not have strong armor and can only be equipped with a machine gun to protect its forces.

“Russia has long considered them unsuitable for use in most front line infantry transport tasks,” the British ministry said in an analysis.

Previous deployments, he said, have been carried in heavily armored BMP-2 combat vehicles, which can also fire anti-tank missiles.

In addition, there are reports from Russian channels on the Telegram app about strenuous efforts to raise more troops for the fighting. Russia has resorted to creating volunteer battalions to deploy in Ukraine, avoiding a national conscription that Moscow fears is too politically risky.

The locations where many of these reports are coming from indicate that many of these volunteers are recruited from regions where Russia’s impoverished ethnic minorities live, as well as Ukrainians from separatist-held territories in eastern Ukraine. Some analysts in discussion of the war The University of Cambridge said on Friday that this suggests the government was trying to avoid taking too many losses from Moscow or other areas that are mostly ethnic Russians or wealthier classes.

But whatever the difficulties Russia’s plans are facing, local officials in Ukraine said the “pause” has done little for areas on the eastern frontline, with some cities still being hit hard.

“The enemy does not stop the terror of our cities and villages,” said the head of the Dnepropetrovsk regional military administration, Valentin Reznichenko, on Telegram, citing several night shelling of Krivoy Rog.

The Washington-based Institute for the Study of War noted in its daily assessment that a successful military pause usually includes continued attacks on some enemy installations. Thus, it says, Russia will seek to prevent Ukraine from launching a successful counterattack while Moscow’s forces are regrouping.

The purpose of such tactics, the assessment says, is to “convince the enemy that no breakthrough is expected or occurring, or that it will be too short to benefit the enemy, and thereby convince the enemy that he not in a position to seize the initiative.”

“The plan of the Russian campaign,” it added, “however inadequate, is nonetheless good enough to display this basic principle of operational art.”