Russia sends reinforcements to the east Ukraine ahead of a new offensive that could begin next week along this front where fierce fighting has raged for months, a Ukrainian provincial governor said.
Kyiv is expecting a new, major attack from Russia, which may for reasons of “symbolism” begin around February 24, the first anniversary of the Russian invasion.
For its part, Ukraine is planning a spring offensive aimed at recapturing lost territory, but is awaiting the arrival of long-range missiles and tanks promised by the West. Some analysts estimate that the country needs months to prepare.
“We are seeing more and more Russian reserves being deployed in our region, we are seeing more and more equipment arriving,” said Serhiy Haidai, governor of Luhansk province, much of which has been captured by the Russia.
“They bring ammunition that is used differently than before. Now the bombings are not continuous. Little by little they have started to make savings, to prepare for a full-scale attack,” Heidai estimated, speaking to Ukrainian television.
“Most likely it will take them 10 days to assemble reserves. After February 15 we can expect (this attack) at any time,” he added.
The war is reaching a turning point as the first anniversary of its start approaches, with Ukraine no longer scoring victories as it did in the second half of 2022 and Russia sending thousands of reservists to the front, Reuters reports and relays the Athens News Agency.
The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky he said the changes to border and frontline personnel would bolster the country’s military efforts amid uncertainty over the future of the defense minister as Russia advances eastward for the first time in six months.
In his video last night, Zelensky said he wanted local administrations and the central government to combine military and government experience, but did not address the confusion surrounding the fate of Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov.
On Sunday, David Arahamia, head of Zelensky’s parliamentary group, said Reznikov would be transferred to another ministry. But yesterday, Monday, he wrote that “there will be no changes to defense personnel this week.”
The Ukrainian president has said he needs to show that Ukraine is managing the billions of dollars in Western military and other aid it receives and has embarked on the biggest reshuffle of the administration since the Russian invasion.
“In some provinces, especially those on the border and on the front line, we want to appoint leaders with military experience. Those who can prove that they are more effective in defending us against existing threats,” Zelensky emphasized.
New Russian attack
Reznikov told Ukrainska Pravda over the weekend that new intelligence data indicated that any Russian attack would come from the east or south.
“Their dream is to extend the land corridor to Crimea in order to continue to get supplies through. Consequently, the main dangers are: the east, the south and then the north.”
Ukrainian analyst Oleksandr Kovalenko said a new Russian attack could come from one of four directions: eastern Luhansk province, Donetsk province, Zaporizhia province or Mariupol.
“Things are more serious in the Donetsk region, mainly around Bakhmut and Avdiivka. And the Russians are building up their forces there as well as equipment and paratroopers,” Kovalenko of the Information Resistance group explained to NV radio station.
For months, the main target of Russian troops has been Bakhmut, where, as Russian state media have reported, the Russian mercenary organization Wagner has managed to establish its presence there.
Kovalenko also estimated that Mariupol, which was captured by Russia in May, might be used by the Russian army to transport troops and equipment ahead of the new offensive.
He noted that the Ukrainian counterattack will not happen soon and that Ukrainian forces will take up defensive positions, mainly in Donetsk.
Source: News Beast
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