Russian escalation expected in Ukraine - Dispatch Weekly

February 6, 2023 - Reading time: 3 minutes

​According to Ukraine’s departing defence minister, the nation is bracing for a major Russian offensive later this month.

Oleksiy Reznikov stated at a news conference that not all Western weapons would have arrived by then but that Ukraine had sufficient stocks to repel Russian soldiers.

According to President Volodymyr Zelensky, forces are engaged in severe combat in the eastern cities of Bakhmut, Vuhledar, and Lyman.

Hours before he was ousted as defence minister in a government shuffle, Mr. Reznikov made these remarks.

According to a Ukrainian legislator from Mr. Zelensky’s party, military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov was appointed on Sunday night.

According to media reports, some defence officials are accused of embezzling money from the public coffers to buy food for the army, but Mr. Reznikov has refuted these claims.

On Sunday, Ukrainian legislator David Arakhamia made the announcement, claiming that “war dictates personnel practises.”

In a previous press conference, Mr. Reznikov stated that although Russia did not have all of its resources prepared to start an offensive, it might still do so as a show of force on February 24, the one-year anniversary of Moscow’s full-scale invasion.

He stated that in order to establish a land corridor connecting all the areas it now controls, Russia is anticipated to prioritise capturing the entirety of the eastern Donbass as well as beginning offensives in the south and east of Ukraine.

The defence minister also stated that starting on Monday, troops will begin training with Leopard tanks built in Germany.

According to Mr. Reznikov, Ukraine has acquired new long-range missiles with a range of 90 miles (150 km), but they will only be deployed against Russian soldiers in areas of Ukraine that are seized by Russia.

Reznikov declared, “I am confident that we will win this battle, but it will cost us more deaths without the delivery of Western fighter jets.”

Russia has gained ground recently near the Bakhmut region despite the flow of Western weapons into Ukraine as Russia’s army continues to send additional soldiers into battle.

The majority of the fighting in the region has been led by the Russian paramilitary mercenary company Wagner.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, its leader, claimed that severe street skirmishes were taking place in several parts of the city and that Ukraine’s armed forces were “fighting to the death.”

The fight to retake Bakhmut from Russian soldiers has lasted for months, making it the protracted conflict since Russia invaded Ukraine almost a year ago.

Taking the territory is crucial for Russia since it wants to dominate the entire Donbas region in the east of the country.

Additionally, it would represent a turnaround in Russia’s fortunes after it recently lost ground in Ukraine.

President Zelensky said: “Things are really bad in Donetsk region – violent fights” during his nightly address. But “we have no choice but to defend ourselves,” he continued.

According to the UK Ministry of Defence, Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut are becoming more and more isolated as Russia makes incremental gains in its drive to encircle the town.

It further mentioned that there was probably direct fire threatening the two main entry points into Bakhmut.

DW Staff

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