Institute for the Study of War: Russian forces in an operational pause 

July 6, 2022

FULL ARTICLE

 

There were no claimed or assessed Russian territorial gains in Ukraine on July 6 for the first time in 133 days of war, supporting ISW’s assessment that Russian forces have largely initiated an operational pause.[1] The Russian Defense Ministry claimed territorial gains every day from the start of the war but has not claimed any new territory or ground force movements since completing the encirclement of Lysychansk on July 3.[2] However, Russian forces still conducted limited and unsuccessful ground assaults across all axes on July 6.[3] Such attempts are consistent with a Russian operational pause, which does not imply or require the complete cessation of active hostilities. It means, in this case, that Russian forces will likely confine themselves to relatively small-scale offensive actions as they attempt to set conditions for more significant offensive operations and rebuild the combat power needed to attempt those more ambitious undertakings.   

The Kremlin continued to set conditions for the crypto-mobilization of the Russian economy in anticipation of protracted operations in Ukraine. The Russian State Duma adopted the third and final reading of a law introduced by the cabinet of ministers on June 30 that will allow the Russian government to oversee and regulate labor relations in Russian enterprises (both state and privately-owned).[4] This law, as ISW has previously reported, will allow government officials to recall workers from personal vacations, reschedule time off without employee consent, and require employees to work weekends, holidays, and nights. These measures allow the Kremlin to take much more direct control of most aspects of the Russian economy, including suspending rights and protections some workers would normally have.[5] The law must still be sent to the Federation Council before it reaches Russian President Vladimir Putin and is officially published, but the Kremlin is likely seeking to use the law to leverage domestic labor to maximize economic output and prepare for protracted operations in Ukraine.[6] Russia’s largest lead production plant reportedly stopped production on July 6 due to the almost-total halt of Russian metallurgical exports, and the Kremlin will likely continue to take measures to codify economic mobilization to offset or mitigate the effects of sanctions and the war on essential industries.[7]

Key Takeaways

  • The Russian Ministry of Defense has not claimed any territorial gains since July 3, supporting the assessment that Russian forces are conducting an operational pause while still engaging in limited ground attacks to set conditions for more significant offensive operations.

  • The Kremlin continues to prepare for a protracted war by setting conditions for crypto-mobilization of the economy and largely initiating an operational pause in Ukraine.

  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations northwest and east of Slovyansk.

  • Russian forces continued efforts to push westward toward Siversk from the Luhansk-Donetsk oblast border.

  • Russian forces continued attempts to advance toward Bakhmut from the south.

  • Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks north of Kharkiv City.

  • Russian forces conducted unsuccessful ground assaults in northwestern Kherson Oblast.

  • Ukrainian forces may be setting conditions for a counteroffensive toward Kherson City.

  • Russian forces may be forming a new military unit in Mulino, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast.