UKRAINE: Ukraine’s defence minister said Russia is preparing a major offensive to coincide with the first anniversary of the battle in Kyiv on February 24.
To mark the anniversary of the initial invasion last year, Moscow had gathered thousands of soldiers and could “try something,” said Oleksii Reznikov.
In the meantime, a Kramatorsk attack has claimed the lives of three people.
Following a Russian missile strike on a residential building in the city of Donetsk, the provincial government reported that eight other people were hurt. The death toll is anticipated to increase as rescue workers search through the debris.
On social media in response to the attack, Zelensky stated: “The only way to stop Russian terrorism is to defeat it. By tanks. Fighter jets. Long-range missiles.” Ukraine has recently renewed its request for fighter jets to defend itself from air attacks after Germany, the UK, and the US agreed to give them tanks.
Late Wednesday, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy claimed that Russian forces were attempting to achieve gains that they could demonstrate on the February invasion anniversary and issued a gloomy assessment of the situation in the eastern region of Donetsk.
“A definite increase has been noted in the offensive operations of the occupiers on the front in the east of our country. The situation has become tougher,” in a video address, Zelenskiy said.
Reznikov claimed that Moscow had assembled some 500,000 troops for the impending offensive.
According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, about 300,000 conscripted soldiers were to be mobilised nationwide to protect the nation’s “territorial integrity.”
But Reznikov opined that the actual number of troops recruited and sent to Ukraine might be far higher.
“We do not underestimate our enemy. Officially, they announced 300,000 troops, but when we see the troops at the borders, according to our assessments, it is much more,” Reznikov told the French media.
The attack, according to Reznikov, will likely focus on two regions: the south and east of the country, which has recently seen intense fighting.
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, issued a similar alert last week, saying that Russia was getting ready to launch a series of offensives to commemorate the invasion’s anniversary on February 24.
He asserted that Russian troops had been ordered to advance “beyond the borders” of the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk areas.
The Donbas, which consists of the Russian border cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, was designated as a target for invasion by President Vladimir Putin at the commencement of the conflict.
Serhiy Haidai, Luhansk’s governor, said that Russian forces are evicting people from areas close to the front line that are under their control so that they won’t be able to inform the Ukrainian artillery forces about troop movements.
“There is an active transfer of [Russian troops] to the region, and they are preparing for something on the eastern front in February,” said Haidai.
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