Russia accumulating force for possible attack on Kharkiv, but it’s not enough — ISW

Kharkiv city. Photo:

The Russian military has concentrated over 31,000 troops in Belgorod Oblast; over 10,000 troops in Kursk Oblast; and over 8,000 troops in Bryansk Oblast, which is still not enough for a successful offensive operation toward Kharkiv.

“Ukrainian officials have increasingly warned about the threat of a possible future Russian offensive operation to seize Kharkiv City. ISW continues to assess that the Russian military lacks the forces necessary to seize the city but that Russian offensive operations against Kharkiv or Sumy cities would draw and fix Ukrainian forces from other, more critical parts of the frontline,” the ISW report says.

ISW references Ukrainian military observer Kostyantyn Mashovets who stated that the Russian military had gathered roughly 50,000 personnel in Belgorod, Kursk, and Bryansk oblasts as part of its Northern Grouping of Forces.

Previously, Ukrainian Ground Forces Commander Oleksandr Pavliuk said that the Russian forces still want to capture Kharkiv and Sumy, though it’s not clear whether they are able to do it

On May 5, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan stated that he expected Russian forces to continue making marginal advances for an unspecified time and emphasized that US military assistance will not “instantly flip the switch” on the battlefield in Ukraine.

ISW predicts that several weeks weeks are needed for Western weapons to arrive to the frontline and impact the situation on the battlefield. At the same time, the analytics agree it will likely allow Ukrainian forces to seize the initiative.

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