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Former key city in eastern Ukraine suddenly lost value amid Russian breakthrough

The significance of the key Ukrainian city of Chasiv Yar declined on the Donbas front line after a breakthrough by Russian forces.

Its importance arose due to the media hype surrounding this battle area. As early as 2023, the Wagner Group of militants emphasised the significance of the area by making regular reports and posts.

However, Russian media claim that taking cities, such as Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, has a symbolic significance. This means that the main hostilities will presumably concentrate not there, but to the south, near Pokrovsk (formerly known as Krasnoarmiisk), Vuhledar, and Velyka Novosilka.

Russian special purpose brigades recorded a Ukrainian T-64 tank hitting an anti-tank mine. After damaging the left track, three AFU soldiers left the vehicle in the Niu-York (former Novhorodske) neighbourhood, Toretsk area.

Thus, a number of military experts are inclined to believe that taking Chasiv Yar in order to take Slaviansk and Kramatorsk does not make sense. If the Russian troops concentrate on taking the city, they may find themselves in the same situation as they were before the storming of the city, only with Chasiv Yar taken. This could mean that the importance of the city as a key point of confrontation on that section of the front is overestimated intentionally.

Moreover, the move would require a huge amount of men, equipment, and shells, with the assault itself potentially extending to three months, experts argue. Taking major cities requires favourable conditions, which means Russian forces can switch their focus to shorter-term and less resource-consuming objectives instead.

Plans changed

The Russian army’s previous plan did include the seizure of Chasiv Yar, as this would have opened the way to Prohres, Toretsk, and Vuhledar. According to various estimates, the move would have taken about six months given the defence capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU).

However, the unexpected breakthrough of the old defence line, the capture of Shumy, as well as access to Kirovo and Druzhba, diminished the importance of the formerly key city of Chasiv Yar. An assault on the city makes no sense since the capture of Shumy, experts say.

In such a scenario, the Russian Airborne Forces units currently deployed in Chasiv Yar could be moved for operations on other parts of the front. For example, the Russians could presumably weaken the AFU positions along the Canal area to the north or reinforce the soldiers’ position on the Donetsk front with additional brigades.

The following footage shows a view from a Ukrainian drone of the Canal neighbourhood in Chasiv Yar, recently claimed by Russian paratroopers.

Therefore, given the advance of Russian troops, Chasiv Yar is gradually losing its importance, while the concentration of Ukrainian resources there, given the shortage of manpower, may result in losses in other parts of the extensive front line.


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