• In the last three days, pro-Russian forces have made tactical advances towards the centre of the town of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast.
  • Elements of 2nd Army Corps, the pro-Russia militia of the Luhansk region, likely advanced into the villages of Opytine and Ivangrad to the south of the town.
  • There have been few, if any, other settlements seized by regular Russian or separatist forces since early July.
  • However, forces led by the private military company Wagner Group have achieved some localised gains in the Donbas: Wagner likely remains heavily involved in the Bakhmut fighting.
  • Russia likely views seizing Bakhmut as a preliminary to advancing on the Kramatorsk-Sloviansk urban area which is the most significant population centre of Donetsk Oblast held by Ukraine.
  • Russia continues to prosecute offensive operations in central Donbas and is, very slowly, making progress.
  • However, its overall operational design is undermined by the Ukrainian pressure against its northern and southern flanks, and by severe shortages of munitions and manpower.
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