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Russia appears to be creating a ‘buffer zone’ to stop Ukraine raiding Russian towns, experts say

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  • Russian troops appear to be creating a “buffer zone” in northeast Ukraine, military experts said.

  • The goal is likely to stop Ukraine from carrying out cross-border raids on Russian towns, they said.

  • Earlier this year, the Kremlin pledged to do everything it could to protect Belgorod.

Russian forces appear to be creating a “buffer zone” instead of pursuing deeper offensives in northeast Ukraine, likely in a bid to stop Ukraine from raiding Russian towns, military experts said.

The Institute for the Study of War said in an assessment on Monday that Russian forces are making swift but limited advances and are destroying bridges over critical waterways in the Kharkiv area.

Russian troops took out bridges over the Vovcha River on Sunday and targeted bridges and logistics lines in the city of Vovchansk itself on Monday, leaving only two operable bridges in the region, the ISW said, quoting geolocated footage shared by Russian war bloggers.

Russian forces also launched an offensive using an unspecified number of tanks against Vovchansk on Sunday night and into Monday, the ISW reported.

According to the think tank, Russia’s military presence in the area suggests that its forces are looking to make quick advances but do not seem to be trying to make inroads on the southern side of the Vovcha, deeper into northern Kharkiv.

Instead, the evidence points to Russian forces prioritizing trying to establish a “buffer zone” in the border area rather than advancing deeper into Kharkiv Oblast or toward Kharkiv City, it said.

In January, the Kremlin pledged to do everything it could to protect the Russian region of Belgorod after it suffered a series of cross-border raids, some of which Ukraine claimed.

In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he didn’t rule out the idea of establishing a demilitarized “sanitary zone” in Ukrainian-controlled areas in response to the raids.

While a buffer zone would protect the area, it would also bring Russian troops within artillery range of Kharkiv, which could be a major threat to Ukraine.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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