Ex-State Duma member assesses Russia’s chances in possible new offensive

6 February, 03:45 PM
Ukrainian fighters fire from a German howitzer Panzerhaubitze 2000 near Bakhmut, February 5 (Photo:REUTERS/Marko Djurica)

Ukrainian fighters fire from a German howitzer Panzerhaubitze 2000 near Bakhmut, February 5 (Photo:REUTERS/Marko Djurica)

Ilya Ponomarev, a former member of Russia’s State Duma and now a citizen of Ukraine, in an interview with Radio NV on Feb. 5, assessed the prospects for a new large-scale Russian offensive against Ukraine.

“(Russian troops) may try (to launch) a new offensive before Feb. 24 to wreck all these events planned by the Ukrainian president for this anniversary,” Ponomarev told Radio NV.

He noted that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had planned to go to the UN and speak there, as well as start the process of creating a tribunal and officially condemning the war crimes of the Russian Federation.

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“To wreck all this, to disrupt it, they can start (actions) on the battlefield. But the success of this is very unlikely,” the Russian opposition leader said.

According to him, the Russian military “as professionals, believe that it is impossible to create any successful strategic offensive now.”

Meanwhile, he said that if Russian dictator Vladimir Putin orders them to advance, they “will go (ahead) and die, because it is their duty, from their point of view.”

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov stated in an interview with NV sister publication Ukrainska Pravda that during a possible new offensive of Russia in Ukraine in February, the invaders will not try to seize the entire territory at once, but will conduct focused battles in specific directions. According to Reznikov, now the key risks are the east, the south and only then the north.

On Feb. 5, Reznikov stated that Ukraine does not rule out a new offensive by Russia in February, but so far, no strike formations have been detected.

Meanwhile, UK newspaper the Financial Times reported on Feb. 5 that new large-scale offensive by the Russian invaders might begin within the next 10 days, before Ukraine receives new supplies of weapons.

Citing sources in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the newspaper said that Kyiv “had received very reliable intelligence about Russia’s intentions” to launch a renewed offensive.

According to Bloomberg, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin expects that a new offensive by the Russian army in February-March 2023 will allow the occupiers to seize the initiative in the war.

Meanwhile, he is determined to wage war against Ukraine for many years, Bloomberg said.

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