The Kremlin is sending reinforcements to Zaporizhia, in southern Ukraine. It is a desperate attempt to prevent a major breakthrough into Ukraine along a crucial axis.
The reinforcements come from the 76th Guards Air Assault Division, which is “arguably the best division in Russia and is relatively young”. according to Rob Lee is an analyst at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. The division recently launched an offensive earlier this year around Kremina, where the Russians are still conducting a limited offensive.
The Russians’ redeployment of the 76th GAAD indicates the growing momentum of the Ukrainians’ 2023 counteroffensive, which began with simultaneous armored offensives along several axes in southern and eastern Ukraine.
In just the last two weeks, the Ukrainian army and an independent air strike force have liberated Ropotyn in Zaporizhia, while the Ukrainian Navy has driven Russian forces out of Oruzhin, 60 miles east of Robotyn in the Mokry Yali River valley.
The double Ukrainian victories bring Kiev’s forces within a few miles of their main targets in southern Ukraine. the Ukrainians It aims to liberate the cities of Melitopol and Mariupol from the Russian occupiers. the Russians It aims to maintain control of the cities in order to protect the overland supply routes to Russian-occupied Crimea.
The outcome can determine which side will make the best use of its reserves. To achieve its breakthrough around Ropotyn, Ukraine’s Southern Command deployed one of its few formations in reserve: the 82nd Air Assault Brigade. Now the Kremlin is deploying one of its own. king A few backup profiles.
The Ukrainian reserve officer tweeting @Tatarigami_UA was one of the first to notice the redeployment of the 76th GAAD Division from the Krymina sector in northeastern Ukraine to the Robotyne-Tokmak-Melitopol axis.
“According to Russian military doctrine, at least on paper, the 76th Division is part of its strategic reserves, which confirms the seriousness of this step.” Written on Saturday.
Reason: The officer confirmed that the 76 GAAD is a reserve unit on paper is that the division, which oversees three infantry regiments of 2,000 soldiers each, has been on the front line during most of Russia’s wider 19-month war in Ukraine.
The division fought around Kiev in the early weeks of the wider war, and reportedly participated in the massacre of Ukrainian civilians in Bucha in the spring of 2022. After withdrawing from north-central Ukraine, the division redeployed to the east with T-90s and T-90s. 72 tanks and combat vehicles BMP-2 and BMD.
Six months later, in August 2022, the 76th GAAD temporarily relocates the battalions to the Kherson region of southern Ukraine in a frantic attempt to halt the 2022 Ukrainian counter-offensive.
And the 76th GAAD could not prevent the Ukrainians from liberating much of southern Ukraine north of the Dnipro River last fall. But he an act He made the Ukrainians pay for every mile they drove. In late October, the 76th Division’s artillery destroyed a column of the 35th Ukrainian Marine Brigade outside Kostromka, 20 miles north of the Dnipro River.
By committing to the 76th GAAD meeting to stop the Ukrainian offensive in southern Ukraine, for the second time in a year, the Kremlin is doing its best. “On the one hand, this enhances Russia’s operational capabilities,” @Tatarigami_UA wrote. “On the other hand, their failure would seriously weaken…fight-ready reserves for rapid deployment.”
Any future effort to strengthen the Russian defenses in one sector could come at the expense of the Russian defenses in it last section, according to Institute for the Study of War in Washington, D.C. “The lack of significant operational reserves would force the Russian command to conduct more flank redeployments and make decisions about which sectors of the front should be prioritized.”
The meaning is clear. If the Ukrainians can maintain their momentum in the south, they may force the Russians to make a difficult choice: hold out in the south. or hold in the east. They probably won’t be able to do both.
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