Russia may launch new offensive in two directions, says defense minister

2 February, 12:15 PM
Oleksii Reznikov (Photo:REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes)

Oleksii Reznikov (Photo:REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes)

Invading Russian forces are preparing a new major offensive in two directions, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on French television channel BFMTV on Feb. 1.

“We cannot lose the initiative,” he said.

“We think that, given that they live by symbols, they may try something around Feb. 24… We don’t underestimate our enemy.”

Reznikov noted that according to Ukrainian intelligence, the Kremlin was able to mobilize about half a million Russians.

“They officially declared 300,000, but when we see the troops at the borders, according to our estimates, it’s much more,” the minister said.

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“They can launch an offensive in two directions: either Donbas, or the south.”

Due to the new threat, Reznikov called on Ukraine’s partners to speed up the supply of weapons to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

“We’re telling our partners that we also must be ready as soon as possible,” the official said.

“That’s why we need weapons to deter the enemy because the initiative decides everything in the war.”

In a December interview with UK news magazine The Economist, Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi said that Russia could launch a new offensive in February.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov earlier stated that a new large-scale offensive by invading Russian forces would begin in the spring 2023.

Military intelligence spokesperson Vadym Skibitsky said on Jan. 20 that the spring and early summer of 2023 will be a decisive period in the war and confirmed that intelligence suggests  that Russian troops are regrouping in preparation for a “big offensive” in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

On Jan. 30, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine would repel any forthcoming Russian offensive and prepare its own major counteroffensive.

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