SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 23 April 2024, Tuesday |

Russian forces continue to attack eastern Ukraine, new offensive by Moscow possible in 10 days, says governor

A Ukrainian governor claims that Moscow is pouring reinforcements into eastern Ukraine and signalled a possibility of a new offensive in the region, on Monday (February 6). Similarly, the Ukrainian president’s office, also said that intense fighting has been raging in the past couple of weeks in and around the city of Bakhmut and the nearby towns of Soledar and Vuhledar. However, British intelligence, on Tuesday, said that it is unlikely that Moscow has enough forces to change the course of the conflict in the upcoming weeks.

The aforementioned cities are located in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region which along with its neighbouring Luhansk region makes up the Donbas region which borders Russia. Kyiv is also anticipating a major offensive from Moscow which they believe could be “symbolic” as the one-year anniversary of Russia’s “special military operation” approaches on February 24.

The Ukrainian governor of the mainly Russian-occupied Luhansk province, Serhiy Haidai, in a recent interview with Ukrainian television said that the shelling in the region has subsided and they are seeing more and more of Moscow’s reserves being deployed in their direction and additional equipment also being brought in.

Furthermore, the governor also spoke about how this ammunition is different than before, “it is not round-the-clock shelling anymore. They are slowly starting to save, getting ready for a full-scale offensive,” said Haidai. He added, “It will most likely take them 10 days to gather reserves. After Feb. 15 we can expect (this offensive) at any time,” as per Reuters. While Ukraine itself has been planning a spring offensive and launching a counterattack to recapture some of its occupied territory and is waiting for the long-range missiles and battle tanks promised by the Western allies.

The Ukrainian presidential office, on Monday, said that at least one civilian had been killed and 10 others were injured after Russian shelling over the past 24 hours. Among those injured five people were from Kharkiv city where Russian shells struck residential buildings and a university, Ukraine claims.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian military intelligence spokesperson, Vadym Skibitsky, said Kyiv believes that Russian offensives will take place in the eastern and southern regions of the country, reported the Associated Press. He added that Moscow’s forces will likely push an offensive in the Donbas region and the southern Zaporizhzhia region.

Notably, many believe that the conflict is reaching a turning point with its one-year anniversary approaching and so far Ukraine is not faring well as it is no longer making gains which it did late last year, media reports indicate. On the other hand, Russia has been pushing forward with hundreds of thousands of mobilised reserve troops. The Ukrainian military intelligence spokesperson also said that Russia plans to mobilise another 300,000-500,000 in addition to the 300,000 mobilised previously.

Similarly, in a separate interview, Ukrainian defence analyst from the Information Resistance group, Oleksandr Kovalenko said, that the new Russian offensive can come from one of four directions like the eastern Luhansk region, the Donetsk region, the Zaporizhzhia region and the city and port of Mariupol. He added, “Things are more serious in the Donetsk region, particularly around Bakhmut and Avdiivka. And the Russians will be boosting their contingents there as well as equipment and paratroops,” reported Reuters citing Ukrainian radio NV.

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