Ukraine: Russia reinforcing for February offensive

Ukraine: Russia reinforcing for February offensive

Offensives are also expected on February 24, to mark a year since the invasion. 

Thousands of Russian troops are being deployed to eastern Ukraine as Russia plans fresh offensives on February 15, claims Ukraine’s Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai.

“We are seeing more and more reserves being deployed in our direction, we are seeing more equipment being brought in,” Haidai told Ukrainian television.

“They bring ammunition that is used differently than before — it is not round-the-clock shelling anymore.

“They are slowly starting to save, getting ready for a full-scale offensive.

“It will most likely take them 10 days to gather reserves. After February 15 we can expect [an assault] at any time.”

Britain’s daily Ministry of Defence briefing estimated that Russia’s aim is to seize what remains of eastern Donetsk region.

The report, however, said: “Russian leaders will likely continue to demand sweeping advances. It remains unlikely that Russia can build up the forces needed to substantially affect the outcome of the war within the coming weeks”.

Russian troops have reported few gains as they “lack munitions and manoeuvre units required for a successful offensive”, the report said.

Mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner Group have spent six months trying to capture Bakhmut, which had a pre-invasion population of 70,000. Russian forces purportedly continue to advance slowly through the city. 

Russian troops have made little progress in eastern Ukraine since their retreat from the large southern city of Kherson last November. Last month they captured the town of Soledar after intense fighting and suffering heavy losses.

Ukraine is also planning a spring offensive but is awaiting delivery of longer-range Nato missiles and tanks. Some analysts predict the weapons might not be available to be used in combat for months. 

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky faces uncertainty over his defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, ahead of predictions for military offensives by both sides. 

David Arakhamia, leader of Zelensky’s parliamentary party, on Sunday said Reznikov would be given another ministerial job but then contradicted the statement on Monday.

Zelensky says he is on an anti-corruption drive to avoid graft as billions in western aid arrive in Kyiv. His government is engaged in a major political and civil service overhaul. 

Donetsk. Picture credit: YouTube

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