Autumn will be the decisive period in Russia’s war against Ukraine due to a change in weather conditions, but the hostilities are likely to continue in the winter, a Ukrainian defense ministry spokesman said on Aug. 26
Speaking in an interview with news agency RBC-Ukraine, Ukrainian military intelligence spokesman Vadym Skibitsky said Russian forces might again retreat, but continue shelling Ukraine from Russian territory.
“In terms of natural and climatic conditions, it’s September or October (when the decisive period will be),” said Skibitsky.
“Bad weather, November, and winter will follow, but the hostilities will continue. They may not be so active, but we have the experience of the Russian armed forces (attacking) our Sumy and Chernihiv oblasts last winter. Despite the fact that they fled from there, about four battalion tactical groups remain near our borders on the territory of Russia. First, they’re shelling our territory. Second, they’re … diverting forces and resources.”
According to Skibitsky, the winter period will also be difficult, and Russia will probably prepare to resume more active hostilities in the spring.
“Therefore, no matter what, the winter period will also be difficult, as hostilities will continue to keep the Armed Forces of Ukraine under pressure,” Skibitsky said.
“The second is the energy resource factor, which Russia will definitely use to destabilize our domestic situation. And against this background, they will prepare for the spring, for the resumption of powerful hostilities.”
Skibitsky added Ukraine is doing everything to thwart the enemy’s plans.
“But we hope the measures we’re planning will be successful,” he said.
“And we will disrupt Russia’s plans both regarding the further occupation and Donetsk Oblast. Despite the fact that the resources we have are not enough, we’re getting military aid, we’re planning hostilities. We’re hitting their command posts, ammunition depots, and manpower.”
Skibitsky also noted that the morale of the Russians is low, and they are failing to compensate for high losses.
“And the morale of the Russian troops is changing – it’s completely different from what it was in early March, when they marched into our territory,” he said.
“Today we can see that the staffing of some Russian units that have participated in hostilities since the beginning, since February, is 30%. This is below all required indicators.”
“They need to be replenished, and we see from statistical data the plans that Moscow made for itself regarding recruitment for contract service, regarding voluntary recruitment, are not being fulfilled by more than 50%.”
According to Skibitsky, further Russian attempts to occupy Ukraine may force the Kremlin to announce a full mobilization.
“And with regard to general mobilization: perhaps, there will be a moment when they (the Russians) have to announce a full mobilization to achieve Russia’s goals, i.e. a complete occupation of Ukraine,” Skibitsky said.