Russian propagandists preparing public for possible Ukrainian counter-offensive
A Ukrainian tank on the Bakhmut front, March 4, 2023 (Photo:REUTERS / Oleksandr Ratushniak)
Prominent voices in Russian propaganda are increasingly preparing the Russian public for a possible Ukrainian counter-offensive, analysts at the U.S.-based Institute for the Studyof War note in their latest report, published on March 24.
According to the ISW, the Russian spring offensive seems to be reaching its culmination, and the Russian commentators are reacting with considerable concern to the slowdown in Russian operations and the possibility of Ukraine regaining the initiative.
On March 24, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev said that the Russian General Staff was aware of Kyiv's preparations for offensive actions and was considering solutions and responses to prepare for Ukraine's offensive.
One prominent Russian military blogger said that Ukrainians are spreading disinformation about Ukrainian plans to attack Belgorod Oblast in order to draw Russian troops to the border areas and allow Ukrainian troops to attack other parts of the front.
He partially seconded previous statements by the head of the Wagner PMC, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who warned that the front would crumble and the Ukrainian Armed Forces would attack Belgorod Oblast.
Another Russian "milblogger" warned that Ukrainian forces would likely try to launch a counter-offensive before the Russian defense industry has the capacity to increase production and strengthen Russian defense capabilities.
Experts recall that “Putin’s chef" Prigozhin also stated on March 23 that he was aware of plans for a large-scale Ukrainian counter-offensive.
According to the Institute’s analysts, the Russian military command will need to send a significant number of forces to the front line to either prevent a culmination or to start resuming offensive operations.
"And it is unlikely that such forces exist at sufficient scale to do either," ISW analysts said.
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