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TOPIC: winter offensive

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

This Is How Russia's New Offensive Could Backfire

Latest reports show that Russia is stepping up its operations in eastern Ukraine, with a major offensive looking to be imminent. But international military strategists and tactical experts think that instead of sealing Kyiv's fate, this rushed assault could precipitate the demise of Vladimir Putin and his war.


There are growing signs that a Russian winter offensive in eastern Ukraine is underway. Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov said recently that his country expected a full-blown assault around Feb. 24, on the anniversary of the Russian invasion. “Of course we expect there may be Russian offensives, as they love symbolism,” Reznikov said.

One Ukrainian military adviser told the Financial Times that there was reliable intelligence indicating an attack may move up the calendar to mid-February — before the tanks and armored personnel carriers promised to Kyiv by the West are fully operational.

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For weeks now, experts from the Institute for the Study of War have been reporting that Russia is moving troops and equipment into the Donbas region. Moscow is expected to introduce more troops into the battle around Bakhmut, where the Russian army is advancing slowly and suffering heavy casualties. According to Ukrainian estimates, this past Monday alone, more than 1,000 Russian soldiers were killed and 14 Russian tanks and 28 armored personnel carriers destroyed.

These figures can’t be independently verified, but they would confirm a clear upward trend and indicate that the fighting is indeed intensifying. Military expert Phillips O’Brien from the University of St Andrews in Scotland predicts that we will see a “winter/spring of slaughter,” adding that “It looks like it’s going to be a really bloody few months.”

So far, all the signs suggest that Moscow will focus on the Donbas region, with reports that President Vladimir Putin gave the order to seize the territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions by March.

The question is: Does Moscow have the means to do so?

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