kyiv believes that Russia is preparing a major offensive in Ukraine with up to 500,000 mobilized troops around February 24, first anniversary of the war, while Russia warns that it will not stop at Western tanks or any long-range weapons.
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“We all know: now Russia is concentrating its forces, preparing for a revenge attempt not only against Ukrainebut also against free Europe and the free world,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday.
The General Staff of Ukraine confirmed that Russia “is actively carrying out reconnaissance tasks, preparing for an offensive in certain directions.”
“Russia maintains a military presence in the areas close to the border with Ukraine” and trains “troops in various polygons in Belarus,” he also noted in his daily war report.
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Ukraine and allies prepare for the Russian offensive
The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valery Zaluzhny, and the Chief of Staff of the Presidency, Andriy Yermak, They discussed this Thursday by phone “the possible actions of the enemy in the near future” with the White House National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, and the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley.
We think they will try to do something around February 24
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told French television channel BFMTV that the Russians “live in symbolism and We think they’ll try to do something around February 24.”
He said that kyiv does not underestimate its enemy and that there are some “500,000 Russian soldiers” mobilized by the Kremlin. “Officially they announced 300,000, but when you see the troops at the borders they are many more, according to our calculations,” he said.
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Ukraine believes that the offensive can take place in two directions: in the Donbas, in the east, and in the south.
The Kremlin gives hints of a new offensive
Zelensky stressed the day before that there is already “a certain increase in offensive actions by the occupiers on the front, in the east of the country”, where “the situation is increasingly serious”.
The situation is especially difficult around the city of Bakhmut, which Russia considers strategic, since it believes that it can advance from there to the two Ukrainian strongholds in the Donetsk region, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, the latter town where Russia has attacked civilian targets twice in the past few hours.
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This climb is like a snowball. It all started with (sending) some kind of helmets
Russia acknowledged on Thursday having carried out an attack on Kramatorsk last night, but maintained that it was to eliminate two Western missile launchers.
The two attacks against residential buildings caused at least three deaths and 23 injuries, according to the Prosecutor’s Office and the Ukrainian authorities of the province.
(Keep reading: Ukraine announces EU summit as ‘strong signal’ to Russia)
As told to the Kyiv Post newspaper Andriy Chernyak, representative of Military Intelligence, Russian President Vladimir Putin, He has ordered his troops to fully seize the Donetsk and Lugansk regions by March, something that even the head of the Russian Wagner mercenary group, Yevgueni Prigozhin, believes impossible.
On the 19th, he said that the mercenaries were advancing only “meter by meter”. Last October it was “between 100 and 200 meters a day.”
Faced with the feared Russian offensive, Ukraine once again asked its Western partners for long-range missiles in addition to a greater number of tanks and armored vehicles.
Russia has ‘with what to respond’ to aid to Ukraine
For his part, Putin assured this Thursday in Volgograd during a commemorative act of the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the battle of Stalingrad, that Russia has “with what to respond” to the tanks of the West.
We don’t send tanks to your borders, but we have something to respond with and it won’t just be tanks.
“We are not sending tanks to its borders, but we have something to respond with and it will not be just tanks,” said the head of state.
The statements can be seen as a warning, again evoking the possibility of Russia resorting to its nuclear arsenal.
In kyiv, Reznikov ignored Russian warnings and upped the ante by calling on Europe to send long-range missiles to Ukraine.
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“If we had the opportunity to strike at a distance of 300 kilometers, the Russian Army would not be able to defend itself and would have to give in,” he stressed in a meeting with the European Commission (EC).
assured that “Ukraine is ready to provide guarantees that these weapons will not be used to attack Russian territory.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov however warned that Russia will not stop at Donbas and the south if Ukraine receives these missiles from the West.
“The greater the range of the weapons that are sent to the kyiv regime, the further it will have to be removed from the territories of our country,” he told the official RIA Novosti news agency.
He stressed that the West with “every step it takes sinks deeper into the swamp” and that the escalation is “like a snowball.”
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warnings to the west
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that the delivery to kyiv of modern weapons it is impossible without the arrival of military personnel from NATO countries.
“All the equipment, which has already been partially delivered, according to experts, cannot be operated by Ukrainians even though they have undergone two-three-month training courses,” Lavrov said.
(We invite you to read: With heavy tanks, the West seeks to break the Russian fortifications)
(German Chancellor Olaf) Scholz promises that will never happen, but Scholz is known for his ability to change positions quite quickly.
He added that there are systems whose personnel cannot be trained in reduced times and if the West supplies them, it is because it also sends its military.
“It is seen that they will give them vacations in the army and they will register them as mercenaries,” he opined.
The head of Russian diplomacy stressed that The West with “every step it takes sinks deeper into the swamp” and that the escalation is “like a snowball”.
“This escalation is like a snowball. It all started with (sending) some kind of helmets to the Ukrainian army, then light weapons came, atNow they are already talking strongly about airplanes. (German Chancellor Olaf) Scholz promises that will never happen, but Scholz is known for his ability to change positions quite quickly,” Lavrov said.
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He lashed out at statements by Western politicians calling for Russia to be dealt a battlefield defeat from which it may not recover for decades.
“Isn’t that racism, isn’t that Nazism, isn’t that an attempt to solve the ‘Russian question’?” he asked. Lavrov noted that Russia is at the “center of a geopolitical battle.”
He added that the Russian military who are on the front line are “heroes” and perform “feats for the future of humanity that will prevent the creation of conditions for the hegemony entire United States”.
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