The US has seen “limited offensive operations” undertaken by Russia southwest of Donetsk and south of Izium in Ukraine, according to a senior US defense official, who added that the US believes these are “preludes to larger offensive operations.”
The official said the new operations have consisted of “ground movements … supported, of course, by some long-range fires, mostly artillery.”
But the official also stressed that Russia is still conducting “shaping operations” as well “to make sure they have logistics and sustainment in place” along with other “enabling capabilities.”
The US expects to see a “more blended approach” to the new operations in Ukraine after their failures in the north of the country, according to the official.
Russia has added two more battalion tactical groups (BTGs) to its forces inside Ukraine in the last 24 hours, according to the official, bringing the total to 78 BTGs.
However, the official said the US assesses that Russia is now down to 75% of the “combat power” that had been amassed before the latest invasion of Ukraine.
“This is across all functions … it's infantry, it’s artillery, it’s aviation, both fixed and rotary, it’s ballistic missile, cruise missile,” the official said on a call with reporters. “When you just add it all up, our general assessment is he’s about 75% of his original combat power.”