The third stage of the war in Ukraine – what will happen

It is reported that Russia is preparing for a new major offensive on February 24, one year of the war. This was told to the French network by the Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov. bfmHe added that Moscow is massing thousands of soldiers in anticipation of a new attack. What should we expect in the coming weeks?

Half a million Russian soldiers mobilized

Reznikov said Moscow had mobilized about 500,000 troops for the potential attack. In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a general mobilization of about 300,000 troops, which, according to Moscow propaganda, was necessary to ensure the country’s “territorial integrity”. But Reznikov suggested that the actual number of men recruited could be much higher. “They have officially announced 300,000 new recruits, much more than we estimated,” he said.

Despite some intense fighting in the eastern Donbass region, the war has reached a stalemate in recent months since Ukraine recaptured the southern city of Kherson. Except for the Russian advance in the town of Soledar, neither side had major territorial gains. However, a Russian spring offensive and a Ukrainian counterattack have long been considered probable. The US Institute for War Studies (ISW) recently said Moscow could try to “take decisive action” and launch a “major offensive” in the east. Reznikov said Ukrainian commanders will try to “stabilize the front and prepare for a counterattack” before Russia’s alleged advance. “I believe that 2023 can be the year of military victory,” he said.

Spring Offensive

Kyiv intelligence revealed last week that Putin will order his forces to seize Donbass before the end of spring. But NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned the world earlier this week that there are no indications that Putin will limit his military objectives to invading eastern Ukraine.

According to various observers, the Moscow offensive will begin in twenty days, on the occasion of February 23, the Day of Defenders of the Fatherland of Russia, which celebrates the army. This is exactly what Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council thinks. interview by Republic, he says: “Russians like to tie everything to a striking date. Putin’s birthday, October 7; December 22, the centennial of the USSR; then New Year. Now February 24”. In Kiev, they seem to be waiting for the new Russian offensive to begin on the 24th. Are there accurate intelligence signals? “Of course yes, and they are very clear. But we are prepared,” says Danilov. “The war will not last five or ten years – the reliable collaborator of the Ukrainian president continues – The world today is fast. In 2024 there will be elections in many countries and the election campaign will begin next summer. Our war will also participate indirectly: in the USA, the UK or other “I want to see with my own eyes who will say in countries that they support Putin. And there are many other factors affecting the war, and everything that happens in the world is connected: Putin alone is locked in a dead corner”.

Speaking of striking dates, today is the 2nd February anniversary to commemorate one of the bloodiest episodes of WWII, eighty years after the devastating battle of Stalingrad in southern Russia, to commemorate that this critical battle took on extra meaning in light of the invasion. of Ukraine. The Kremlin has gone to great lengths to present the nearly year-long conflict as yet another struggle against Nazism, as it did two generations ago in the southern city now called Volgograd. And while awaiting the visit of the Russian president, the phrase “Putin is going to Volgograd, but will arrive at Stalingrad” circulates everywhere like a mantra. Along with images circulating on social media showing how “Stalingrad” road signs were placed at the entrance to Volgograd prior to Vladimir Putin’s visit to the city. Symbols of Russian forces in Ukraine – the letters Z and V – are displayed side by side on banners and memorials honoring Soviet troops. The message that Moscow must “once again” fight “European fascism” echoes Russian President Putin’s rationale when he launched the offensive in February last year, promising to “deport” Ukraine.

The third stage of the war in Ukraine

The first phase of the all-out invasion of Russia resulted in a fiasco for Putin’s forces, who were repulsed from the north, then from the Kharkiv region in September, and then again from Kherson province in the north and Kherson province west of the Dnieper. November. The second phase was an attempt at a war of attrition in which thousands of Russian mercenaries and convicts were sacrificed for small territorial gains around the cities of Bakhmut and Soledar, with mass rocket attacks on power plants, electricity transmission infrastructure and water systems.

This second phase of the conflict was almost as complete a defeat as the first. Russia has indeed depleted most of its cruise missile arsenal, and although Ukraine’s power grid is battered, the lights are on everywhere and Ukraine’s will to fight is not extinguished, albeit with limitations. The third phase is about to begin as it was written on it. Guardian Journalist Julian Borger: “An all-out war in which combined weapons (mechanized infantry, artillery, air power and possibly waterborne assault) are used to overcome specific positions to gain a decisive advantage. The world has not seen anything like it since the Iran war. Iraq in the 80s Europe has not seen anything like it since the Second World War”. The death toll in the Bosnian War has already exceeded 100,000. “Launching a major offensive in this next phase of the war would be a massive undertaking, fraught with risks for both sides of the conflict. Attacking fixed positions has always cost lives and machines more than defending them,” writes Borger.

LDara Masicot, a former Pentagon analyst, says Russia’s ability to sustain large-scale offensive maneuvers at this time will “really be put to the test”. “They tried last year and it didn’t go well and the forces they left on the field are not that professional and the equipment is not that good.” But Even poorly managed, poorly equipped and poorly trained troops can be overwhelming if they are in sufficient numbers. According to various analysts, Ukraine will try to attack wherever it deems the Russian lines weaker and more fragile, and this could be primarily in the east, in the Luhansk region, where enemy troops are more exhausted and demoralized. However, other analysts agree on one thing: the Kremlin can afford to throw enormous numbers of people into battle and inflict enormous losses without real large-scale social consequences. But how long can it last? There is no certainty about this.

Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine has reached its 344th day.

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Source: Today IT

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