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Ukraine is waiting for a new Russian offensive on the anniversary of the start of the war

Russia is preparing for the maximum escalation of the war against Ukraine in the next two to three weeks: according to intelligence, Russia is likely to try to conduct simultaneous attacks from the north, south and east, timing the offensive to coincide with the anniversary of a full-scale invasion on February 24. Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, stated this in an interview with the British TV channel Sky News . According to him, the most difficult battles for Ukraine are yet to come, and the next few months will be decisive in the war.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also announced the impending new Russian offensive . According to him, there are no signs that Vladimir Putin has changed his goals in the war against Ukraine: on the contrary, Russia is preparing for a new offensive.

Is a new Russian offensive possible and when will it happen? On the air of Present Time, Ukrainian military expert Mikhail Zhirokhov spoke about this .

– Alexey Danilov says that Russia can go on a large-scale escalation and offensive from the north, south and east, as it was a year ago on February 24, on the same days. And this, in his opinion, will happen in just three weeks. Is it real, what do you think?

– I would say that everything depends solely on the weather. Because now the weather is warm and the field roads are absolutely unsuitable for wheeled vehicles. Therefore, an offensive in such conditions looks at least suicidal.

– If we now recall the events of a year ago, then already three weeks before the first Russian offensive on February 24, all the equipment that eventually attacked was at the border, it accumulated there. Then the pro-Russian authorities denied the plans for the offensive. Now there is this technique at the borders, what do you think?

– Yes, there is constant accumulation at least in Belarus. Constant accumulation goes on constantly, at least in the Kursk region. But the forces and means are clearly not enough now. And many times less than it was a year ago.

– How many times less?

– Somewhere in one and a half times less forces are now being brought to the border territories.

– Can we compare what was then and what is not now, if we talk about equipment and military formations?

– It is very difficult to compare, because now most of them are mobilized. New parts were formed from them, those parts that were before February 24 last year were supplemented. Therefore, less, but not so dramatically.

– Can you explain where Russia gets these forces from? Where does she get the equipment from, given that the Russian army is now advancing in the Donbass, although not too quickly, for the past six months, the Russians have been capturing meter by meter there. If there is a war going on there, if Russia is fighting there, can it really still accumulate reserves separately?

“You need to understand who is currently fighting. It is absolutely certain that Wagner PMCs are fighting in Bakhmut and Soledar. The so-called army corps, formed in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, are conducting an offensive in the Donetsk direction near Avdiivka. The only place where the Russian cadre army is fighting is Ugledar. And then there he fights literally with one brigade, one regiment. All those mobilized, all that regular army is not participating in active battles now. Therefore, Russia has the opportunity to accumulate reserves.

– Can you imagine what this new large-scale offensive on February 24 might look like? Danilov says that it will be from three directions: from the northeast and from the south – from the side of the occupied Crimea. It’s real? Will it be exactly the same as it was a year ago?

– Absolutely not. The Russians have made their conclusions. The offensive, if it is, for example, from Belarus, it will be reinforced by Belarusian troops, who will go in the second echelon and take control of the territory. For example, I do not exclude the possibility of an attack on Kharkov, because the Belgorod region is the rear, the logistics are simpler and it will be much easier to attack there. But here [a big role is played by] military art – not military science, but art. And it all depends on what the plans will be and how much they will make this offensive unexpected for the Ukrainian command.

Do you think it might be unexpected?

– I think no. All options are calculated not only by our generals. There is also a large amount of intelligence information from our Western allies. I think different options are being worked out. Everything’s under control.

– If we talk about the Ukrainian military now, what is the state of the Ukrainian military and border guards now? Are they in the same state of alert as they were a year ago? Now they are able to simply not let the Russian army, for example, in the north of Ukraine from Belarus or in the east in the Sumy region, as it was in the first days of the war a year ago?

– Absolutely, the degree of readiness is many times greater. This is fortification, this is minefields, this is, in general, the readiness to fight and the readiness to defend specific lines. Moreover, the experience has already been studied, the experience of the war has also been introduced. I think it will be a completely different situation in the event of a second Russian offensive.

We talked a lot about this at the very beginning of the war. Then, literally, it seems, in the first month of the war, near Kyiv, there was a column of Russian military equipment that stretched for tens of kilometers. Is this possible again?

– Now it is absolutely impossible, because the reconnaissance and strike capabilities of the Ukrainian army are many times greater. Now we have both HIMARS and 155 mm artillery. And, most importantly, the information field. Intelligence information is updated very quickly and implemented quite quickly.

– Now there is a lot of talk that Vladimir Putin will try to have time to carry out this new large-scale attack before the moment when the tanks that the Western partners promised Ukraine will arrive in Ukraine. Do you really think it will?

– I would not say that it depends on the supply of some weapons. These plans are being worked out in Russia regardless of whether the Ukrainian army is ready or not to attack.

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