The Russian attack on the Ukrainian region of Kharkiv continues, but there are signs that the situation is stabilizing. Experts see several reasons for this.

The pace of Russian advances in the eastern Ukrainian region of Kharkiv appears to have slowed, according to the US Institute for War Studies (ISW). The pattern of military activity in the area supports ISW’s assessment that Russian forces are prioritizing the creation of a “buffer zone” on the border between Russia and eastern Ukraine over deeper penetration into the region, the Washington-based think tank wrote on Tuesday (local time) in its latest report.

Reports from Russian and Ukrainian sources as well as drone footage suggested that Russia was working in the region with small strike groups of no more than five soldiers each. This tactic may lead to higher personnel and material losses and could slow the overall pace of the advance. According to estimates by the Ukrainian General Staff, Russia has lost around 1,700 soldiers in the area in the past few days alone. The information cannot be independently verified, but the slowdown in the offensive could be due to the losses, the US think tank wrote.

On Tuesday night, Ukraine moved additional units into the area to defend itself against Russian attacks, the ISW reported. According to the head of the Ukrainian military intelligence service HUR, Kyrylo Budanov, this led to a stabilization of the situation. In the city of Vovchansk near the Russian border, Ukrainian forces began targeting Russian attack groups.

Russia, which has been waging a war of aggression against neighboring Ukraine for more than two years, began a new offensive on Kharkiv in the border region last week. As a result, Russian troops also occupied several Ukrainian villages. For Ukraine, which is currently in a particularly difficult situation due to the halting Western aid, it is now a matter of preventing the front from expanding.