Ukraine’s intelligence says missiles, ‘provocations’ are main threats to Kyiv from Russia

23 January, 05:04 PM
Defense structures in the Kyiv Oblast (Photo:t.me/Pavliuk_KSV)

Defense structures in the Kyiv Oblast (Photo:t.me/Pavliuk_KSV)

The Ukrainian capital city Kyiv may see missile strikes and provocations from Russia in the near future rather than another ground offensive from Belarus, Vadym Skibitskyi, Ukrainian military intelligence spokesman said told Latvia-based news outlet Delfi on Jan. 20.

According to the official, there are currently no signs indicating that Russia is preparing another offensive on Kyiv through Belarus.

“There is no powerful strike and offensive group there,” Skibitskyi said.

“The 2nd mechanized division of the 1st Tank Army, which took part in military drills at training grounds in Belarus, is now being redeployed and will advance from the territory of Russia in the Kupyansk area (Kharkiv Oblast). This suggests that there will be a rotation there.”

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He said that Russian would not be able to form a powerful strike group in two months.

At the same time, Ukraine has bolstered its defenses around Kyiv, the official said.

“There are two serious issues: the first is the task of missile strikes, there are Iskanders (ballistic missile systems) on the territory of Belarus, and the second is aviation, namely Tu-22 aircraft, which can also launch Kh-22 missiles,” Skibitskyi said.

“In addition, we don’t rule out provocations. But this is not the kind of threat that indicates the preparation of a new offensive on Kyiv.”

Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine General Valerii Zaluzhnyi in an interview with UK news magazine the Economist in December said that Russia may launch a new major offensive in February 2023. These actions may start from the territory of Belarus in the direction of Kyiv, Zaluzhnyi said.

In turn, the spokesman of the State Border Service of Ukraine, Andriy Demchenko, reported on Dec. 27 that no offensive groups are forming on the territory of Belarus, and that Ukraine is monitoring the situation.

Later, speaking on Jan. 6, Demchenko said that Ukrainian border guards still hadn’t observed any threatening movements by Belarusian military personnel or vehicles.

Lieutenant General Oleksandr Pavlyuk, who commands the Kyiv garrison, said on Jan. 5 that any Russian offensive launched from Belarus was doomed to fail, as the Ukrainian military is taking measures to stop them at the border.

“Kyiv Oblast is prepared quite strongly for a possible new offensive,” Pavlyuk said.

“There are several lines (of defenses) around Kyiv with a total length of about 1,000 kilometers, with a strong defense system being created on the basis of fortified positions and long-term defense structures, and it will be impossible for them to get through so easily.”

The general emphasized that the entire border with Belarus is now “thick with rubble and minefields,” and it will take the invaders a lot of effort to get through them.

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