Russian forces have made some progress when attacking Ukrainian positions from the flanks rather than via direct assaults. However, their direct attacks have led to heavy losses and large-scale offensives cannot be carried out in several directions at the same time, said Col. Ants Kiviselg, commander of the Estonian Defense Forces' (EDF) intelligence center.
Active fighting is taking place in the direction of Luhansk and several Russian assault units have suffered heavy losses there, said Col. Kiviselg at the Estonian Ministry of Defense's Friday press conference. These loss have resulted in desertions from some units, he added.
From a Ukrainian perspective, it is from this direction that a major wave of attacks is expected, though not before late January or early February, by which time the ground will have frozen.
At the same time, the concentration of forces in one place means that similar offensive activities are not expected in other directions, as there are simply not enough troops, Col. Kiviselg added.
On the Donetsk side, Russian troops are trying to cut through Ukraine's Avdiivka supply lines. It is there too that the Russians have also tried to carry out attacks with armored vehicles. However, have not been successful, the EDF colonel said.
However, Russian troops have had some success south of Marinka. The reason for this has been the avoidance of direct attacks where casualties are high, in favor of attacks from the flanks. "This requires well-trained and well-led units, fortunately there are not many of them in Russia, but this is one of the few cases," Col. Kiviselg said.
In the Zaporizhzhia direction, Russian troops have been attacking the Kherson region. However, that activity has decreased. The reason in that case is that it is mainly marines fighting there and airborne units are reluctant to go on the offensive, Col. Kiviselg said.
On the eastern bank of the Dnipro River, the bridgeheads set up by Ukraine are still holding, despite continued attacks from Russian forces. However, the freezing of the river means both the Ukrainians and Russians face problems in getting supplies to their troops there.
Editor: Michael Cole