On Saturday, Ukrainian and Russian sources noted a slowdown in the pace of Russian offensive operations along the entire front, the American think tank Institute for War Studies (ISW) writes in its latest report. According to analysts, this is proof that the Russian offensive is “approaching its climax”. As the ISW points out, the Russian military is compensating for the marked decline in the offensive capabilities of its infantry with the increased use of artillery on key sections of the front.

On April 8, Ivan Tymochko, head of the Reservists Council of the Land Forces of Ukraine, announced that Russian forces were fighting along the entire front, but “the offensive potential of Putin’s army is decreasing” . He stated that the Russians “are not making serious progress anywhere on the front.” He noted that the intensity of the assaults in and around Bakhmut itself had slightly decreased, but there were no changes in the front line in other directions. He also pointed out that the offensive against Avdiivka had “stuck”, while Marjinka, despite being reduced to a heap of rubble, was still not controlled by Putin’s military.

The Institute of Internal Affairs points out that the Ukrainian observations are confirmed by Russian military bloggers. “In the Russian information space, Russian offensive capabilities are no longer discussed, but Ukraine’s potential to regain a large part of its territory is assessed,” reads the ISW report.

In addition, ISW analysts point to another factor: the way the Russians use artillery indicates that Putin’s army wants to use it to balance its degraded offensive capabilities.

Analysts note that due to the shortage of artillery ammunition, the Russian command is sending new missile shipments as a priority only to those sections of the front where offensive operations are being carried out.

“The high demand for missiles indicates that the Russian military still relies heavily on artillery to offset key combat capability deficiencies, including the Russians’ poor aiming skills and inadequate air support. Putin’s army continues to pre-empt assaults with heavy artillery fire, which reduce entire cities to rubble to facilitate the task of infantry poorly prepared for combat, and to reduce the need to use aviation, which is exposed to being shot down during bombings” – explains the ISW.