Ukraine and Russia are simultaneously preparing for the resumption of active hostilities, which could happen as early as early spring. Russia is mobilizing, and Ukraine is building muscle thanks to military assistance from the West.
Russia's new big offensive is no longer in doubt. Therefore, in 2023 we should expect the continuation of hostilities. Channel 24 journalistAleksey Pechiy analyzed what the situation could be at the front and what role Western aid plays.
The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense named the decisive months of the war
Ukrainian intelligence noted that spring and early summer would be decisive, because it is during this period that the Russians are planning their new offensives. GUR expects in February-March, hostilities intensify in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. In addition, the enemy can launch an offensive in the Kupyansk direction in the Kharkiv region.
Deputy Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense Vadim Skibitsky recalled that Vladimir Putin ordered the invaders to seize Donbass by March. The order was given to the new commander of the occupiers in Ukraine, Valery Gerasimov.
The intelligence also notes that the transfer of the Russian military to the east of Ukraine from Belarus is now being recorded. Consequently, one of the areas where the Russians may again try to cross the border is the Kupyansk direction.
In addition, it is also possibleto resume offensive operations in order to return the territories of the Lugansk region previously captured by the enemy to control.
What a threat to Kyiv and Lvov
Skibitsky dispelled the dreams of Kremlin propagandists who are trying in every possible way to spin the thesis that Russia prepares for a great war, and thereforesupposedly can attack Lvov and as a result cut off Ukraine from Europe. The major general said that such stuffing is information warfare.
The US Institute for the Study of War (ISW) assesses the risk of another Russian invasion to Ukraine from the territory of Belarus as very low.
Analysts noted that military activity has indeed been observed on the territory of Belarus over the past 24 hours, but its level indicates that an attack remains unlikely.
It is worth adding that the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine once again emphasized that as of On January 23, there is no formation of a strike group of Russian troops in Belarus.
Moreover, the Deputy Commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Alexander Pavlyuk assured that now the installation of long-term fortifications at the strongholds of units around Kyiv is underway.
< p>In addition, the installation and arrangement of firing structures on possible routes of advance of the occupiers continues. The process of equipping shelters to protect personnel is also underway.
Russia's preparations for the offensive do not allow Ukraine's partners to relax
At the same time, it should be understood that the threat of a new large-scale offensive still remains, and Ukraine's partners emphasize this. This is very important, because it does not allow our partners to relax.
The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, explained Germany's delay in the supply of Leopard tanks by saying that they believe that the war has entered a period of stagnation.
However, Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said that Russia's recent steps indicate its preparation for big offensive in the coming months. Therefore, Pevkur believes that Western assistance to Ukraine is now extremely important.
The West is putting pressure on Germany
Without generally rejecting the threat of a large-scale offensive, it should be understood thatsuch a statement from Estonia is intended activate help, primarily from Germany.
According to Hanno Pevkur, at the talks at the Ramstein base, the new German Defense MinisterBoris Pistorius had nothing to say in his defense.
Pevkur noted that the option that other allies, such as Poland, supply German tanks to Ukraine without the consent of Berlin,is not a good solution. He noted that this would still not be enough. They say that real changes will occur if tanks, combat vehicles, equipment provided by the allies act as a single fist. from the commander of the occupiers
It is worth paying attention to Pevkur's statement on the appointment of Valery Gerasimov as the commander of the occupiers in Ukraine. Ukrainian intelligence said thatRussia may send more elite units, including paratroopers, to the front.
Like, this is a typical strategy of the commander of the occupiers Gerasimov. According to Skibitsky, the current movement of Russian airborne units is Gerasimov's handwriting. He noted that such a strategy was also monitored at the beginning of a full-scale war.
Then, Russian paratroopers were moving in all directions in the second echelon, and during the attack on Kyiv they played the main role. Consequently, Ukrainian intelligence believes that during the new offensive of the Russians, there will be more active use of airborne troops.
It should be added that the Russian airborne units were half knocked out in the first six months of the war. In addition, the elite Russian 98th division was driven out of Kherson and then transferred to the East.
Russia cannot provide the mobilized, which it plans to go on the offensive
At the same time, the GUR stressed that, despite attempts to mobilize additional forces, Russia can no longer provide new citizens mobilized for war with weapons and equipment.
Therefore, in the event of mobilization, another 500 thousand people will have with this more problems. According to intelligence estimates, as of todayabout 315,000 Russians have already been mobilized.
At the same time, another mobilization is taking place in the temporarily occupied territories of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Intelligence officials are sure that Russia already has a directive not to let those who fall under the mobilization abroad, even if this is not officially announced. However, there are no longer enough weapons and equipment for the mobilized, thrown to the front.
Regular army or militants: who will Putin bet on< /h2>
The ISW assures thatthe Kremlin will nevertheless try to rely on the regular army, since the leader of the Wagnerites Yevgeny Prigozhin has lost his authority in Putin's eyes. Especially after unsuccessful attempts to capture Bakhmut.
According to analysts, Putin relied on the tandem of Prigozhin and Surovikin in the hope that the first would seize as many territories as possible, and the second would morally break Ukrainians with massive rocket attacks.
Analysts are discussing how they will continue to behave Kremlin. On the one hand, they note that a return to the tactics of using ordinary military officers, such as Gerasimov, may indicate that Putin will try to behave more rationally. Therefore, he will refuse to escalate the situation.On the other hand, the focus on the regular army suggests that Putinwill try to really put all his resources into it.There is therefore a threat in the long term, not only in the context of the war in Ukraine, but also for the future security of NATO.
Threats against Russia with nuclear weapons are not supported by anything
Although there is another side of the medal – the Russian army, which was considered the “second in the world”, turned out to be completely different from what it was painted. Intelligence assures that Russia uses tactical nuclear weapons as one of the elements of intimidation. At the same time, the aggressor countrydid not even test a combat charge on Iskander or Caliber missiles.
Ukrainian intelligence reports that there are indeed nuclear weapons carriers in Crimea. The occupiers constantly worked out the issues of delivering a nuclear warhead, preparing weapons for possible combat use.
But, as for the technical condition, this is a tactical nuclear weapon, manufactured back in the USSR. How it will behave, even the Russians themselves do not know. But the scarecrows that a nuclear charge is being installed on Iskanders and Calibers are also somewhat inflated.
War in Ukraine will last in 2023: what the Defense Forces need
The international agency Fitch Ratings has made its forecast regarding the continuation of the war. The agency said thatthe war will continue into 2023 within its current broad parameters.
That is, in the near future there will be no political concessions that could form the basis of a negotiated settlement. They assure that, despite the advantage of Ukraine on the battlefield, neither side has enough strength for a big breakthrough.
Therefore, only one conclusion can be drawn from this –Ukraine needs more powerful weapons< /strong> to speed up the offensive operations of the defense forces. In particular, the Ukrainian army needs modern tanks.
The theme of tanks has moved forward
There are still discussions on this topic, but they have begun to reach a new level. After the delay in the process and official statements by Poland about the desire to transfer tanks even without the consent of Germany, in the Scholz government said they would not mind if Warsaw transferred Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine.
This was stated by German Foreign Minister Annalena Berbock. Immediately after this statement, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that his country would immediately send Germany an official request for the transfer of Leopard-2 to Ukraine. However, he added thatthe issue is no longer a resolution, but open pressure on the Scholz governmentand the creation of at least a small coalition of countries ready to transfer tanks.
Germany may find itself in isolation because of “Leopards”
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mulyarchik made a very important statement on this topic. According to him,Germany may find itself in international isolation, if it refuses to transfer tanks to Ukraine, because all the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, Great Britain and the USA are already exerting pressure on Berlin.
Consequently, in case of refusal, the position of Berlin will be, to put it mildly, very weak. According to him, Germany is trying to realize its geopolitical vision. But today they must face the fact that their vision is contrary to what they say, what they have committed to defend – international law, the integrity and sovereignty of countries.
Therefore, if Germany, as Scholz says, wants to become a guarantor of security in Europe, it must make a positive decision on the transfer of “Leopards” to Ukraine. Otherwise, all her aspirations will turn out to be lies, and then Germany will face hard times when most of its partners will turn away from it.
Defense Minister Boris Pistorius is already assuring that a decision on whether to send German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine will be approved soon. Pistorius explained that he was talking about factors that included security issues for the German population. But, most likely, this concerns the fact thatGermany seeks to create some kind of its own coalition.
For example, the day before, Scholz made a significant visit to Paris, where he met with French President Emmanuel Macron to try to strengthen the Franco-German alliance. During the briefing, Macron said that France would consider the transfer of Leclerc tanks to Ukraine, but if this does not interfere with the security of his country and does not lead to an escalation.
After the briefing, a joint Franco-German declaration on security and defense. It says that Germany and France have decided that they will adapt their military support to Ukraine depending on the development of the situation on the battlefield.
The West cannot yet demand negotiations from Ukraine
At the same time, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said today that European countries cannot yet ask Ukraine to return to negotiations with Russia, but noted that this is possible.
According to him, some of the world leaders are trying to ask European countries to soften their position in favor of negotiations with Russian dictator Putin.
However, Tajani is confident that Ukraine will be able to start negotiations with Russia only when the fighting and bombing cease. They say that it is after the cessation of hostilities and missile strikes that Europe can start asking Kyiv for negotiations.