British intelligence believes that Russian forces carried out attacks around Ugledar and Pavlivka in order to open a new axis of attack in the Donetsk region.
“Over the past three days, Russia may have developed exploratory attacks around the cities of Pavlivka, Ugledar into a more coordinated attack. Russian commanders are likely aiming to open a new axis of attack. into the Ukrainian-held Donetsk region, and divert Ukrainian forces away from the fiercely fighting Bakhmut area,” the British Defense Ministry intelligence report said today.
Pavlivka and Ugledar are located in the Donetsk Oblast, 50 km southwest of the city of Donetsk.
Since 2014, Russian-backed separatists have controlled parts of the industrial province of Donetsk, including the largest city of the same name. Russia is seeking control over the entire Donetsk region after announcing its annexation last year.
“There is a real possibility that Russia will continue to make advances in Bakhmut,” the British intelligence report added. “However, it is unlikely that Russia has enough troops ready in the region to make a significant breakthrough.”
Ukraine last week said “heavy” fighting was underway for control of Ugledar, a city of about 15,000 people before the war. Ugledar is about 150 kilometers south of Bakhmut, where months of fighting resulted in heavy losses on both sides.
On January 30, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that it had begun to attack the city of Ugledar, occupying many favorable positions and causing damage to the 1st Ukrainian tank brigade. Meanwhile, Yevgen Yerin, spokesman for the Ukrainian military forces in charge of the region, said that the first Russian attack on Ugledar was unsuccessful.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on January 29 that the situation on the eastern front was “very difficult”, with Bakhmut, Ugledar and other areas in Donetsk “under constant attack by Russia”.
Huyen Le (Theo Reuters, Guardian)