Russia has redoubled its air attacks and reinforces its lines on the different fronts to stop the announced and imminent counteroffensive by the Armed Forces of
Russian assault planes and bombers attacked enemy positions in eastern and southern Ukraine, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov said in his daily report.
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Attacks from the air in the east and south
In the Liman and Donetsk (east) sectors, aviation together with artillery fire and the actions of ground troops caused more than 320 fatalities in the Ukrainian ranks, assured.
Russian planes also attacked Ukrainian positions to the south the city of Donetsk and in the region of Zaporizhiawhere they caused the enemy “up to 120 dead,” according to Konashenkov.
He stressed that during the past day the Russian anti-aircraft defense shot down two Storm Shadow cruise missiles, 19 HIMARS rockets, two HARM anti-radar missiles and 12 drones.
The counter-offensive can start “tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or within a week”,
The unknown of the Ukrainian counteroffensive
According to the adviser to the Office of the President of Ukraine, Mikhailo Podolyak, the Ukrainian counteroffensive has been underway for several days “with certain military operations.”
In an interview published this Friday on YouTube with the exiled Russian journalist Yulia Latinina, the Ukrainian adviser explained that these military operations are aimed at undermining the defensive capacity of the Russian lines, attacking their command posts and logistics chains.
However, the secretary of Defense Council National Security of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilovdisavowed Podolyak, stating that the spring counteroffensive announced by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has not yet started.
The counteroffensive could start “tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or within a week,” Danilov said in an interview with the BBC, in which he indicated that “it would be rare” for him to set a date for one event or another.
“We have a mission of great responsibility before our country. And we know that we have no right to be wrong,” he stressed. Signals of the imminence of the Ukrainian counter-offensive were reinforced on Saturday by a publication of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valeri Zaluzhni, on his Telegram channel.
“The time has come to take back what is ours,” with that caption Zaluzhni posted a video of a military prayer with images of tank units getting ready for combat.
The Ukrainian general was missing from public space for several weeks, sparking speculation in Russia that he had been seriously injured and even died. His absence was also attributed to preparations for the Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Russia wants to negotiate, but on its terms
In this context, experts from the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW) stressed that Russia does not give up its information campaign to pressure the West to force Ukraine to negotiate under favorable conditions for Moscow.
According to the ISW, the statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia is open to dialogue, “blocked by Kiev and its Western backers”, does not mean that it is willing to negotiate with Ukraine.
“The Kremlin has not created serious premises for negotiations and does not give up its maximalist goal: to force the Kiev government to capitulate,” the ISW experts maintain.
This conclusion was confirmed in fact by the spokesman of the Russian PresidencyDmitry Peskov, who affirmed that “Russia will continue the (military operation in Ukraine) and, in one way or another, Russia will guarantee its interests and achieve the tasks set”.
The Kremlin spokesman ruled out that the increasing direct and indirect involvement of the West in the conflict in Ukraine will change the situation.
“This can prolong the conflict, but it cannot radically change the situation. In general, it cannot change the situation,” he reiterated.
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