Ukraine denounced this Thursday a “maximum escalation” in the eastern Lugansk region less than two weeks before the first anniversary of the Russian invasion, which according to some analysts could be an indication that the Russian offensive, expected by many, has already begun in Donbas.
“The number of attacks by the occupiers has increased significantly,” the head of the Regional Military Administration, said on Telegram. serhi haidainoting that “the Russians are trying to advance in the direction of Kreminna”, although they do not have “significant successes”.
The US Institute for the Study of War (ISW) found that “Russian forces have regained the initiative in Ukraine and have begun their next major offensive at Lugansk.”
“The pace of Russian operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line in the west of Lugansk has increased markedly over the past week,” added the ISW, according to which the Russian Army has achieved “marginal advances along the border between Kharkiv and the Lugansk region”.
US analysts noted that the presence in this area of ”at least three major Russian divisions engaged in offensive operations” suggests “that the Russian offensive has begun.”
Haidai, who had previously described the situation as a “maximum escalation”, pointed out that the Russian Army also continues to bombard towns in the area such as Makiivka, which have been “destroyed to their foundations”.
For the past few months, Russian forces have focused their efforts on the Lugansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine.annexed by Russia in September 2022, with special emphasis on the cities of Vuhledar and Bakhmut.
The capture of these cities and, above all, the last one, would open the way for the Russians to Slaviansk and Kramatorsk, the main Ukrainian strongholds in Donbas.
kyiv believes that the Russians will focus mainly on completely conquering Lugansk and Donetsk, but they could also launch operations in the Zaporizhia and Kherson regions, in the south of the country and also annexed by Moscow.
Andriy Yusovspokesman for the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU) warned today during an intervention on Ukrainian television that “the main (Russian) objective is, in fact, the east and Donbas.”
“Other areas may also be affected, but with those attacks (Russia) would mainly try to distract and bog down Ukrainian forces” in those areas, he explained.
According to Yusov, there are currently 300,000 “invaders” in Ukrainewhich represents “an increase in the number, but not in the quality of the Russian army.”
“The highest quality units and the highest quality (Russian) weapons have been mostly disabled or destroyed on Ukrainian territory over the past year. And it will certainly not be possible to prepare an adequate force with the same level” in the short term, he indicated.
In addition, he did not rule out that the Russian Army considers the possibility of starting an offensive in the north of Ukraine or disembarking in the south, although he described this decision as “suicidal”.
“A landing like this would be quickly annihilated on Ukrainian soil”he said, recalling heavy Russian losses during their attack on the Hostomel airfield north of kyiv early in the hostilities last February.
And while the President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelenskycalled today at the summit of leaders of the European Union in Brussels “quick and reliable decisions” to stop the advance of Russia, the former Russian president, Dmitry Medvedevvisited a tank factory in the Siberian region of Omsk.
Medvedev, also vice president of the Russian Security Council, returned to his usual warmongering rhetoric, noting that “while our enemy begs for planes, missiles and tanks abroad” Russia must “increase the production of various types of weapons, including modern tanks ”.
“It is about the production and modernization of thousands of tanks,” he said in a video broadcast on Telegram.
According to the Dutch intelligence analysis group Oryx, Russia has lost 1,688 tanks in the Ukrainian conflict, 1,000 of which were destroyed by Ukrainian troops; 544, captured; 79 suffered minor damage and 65 were abandoned.
This figure only includes cases documented with photos or videos, but could rise to more than 2,000, according to experts.
For its part, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army claims to have destroyed 3,255 Russian tanks, while kyiv places its hopes on the next shipments of European and American tanks and armored cars, which could turn the conflict around.
(With information from EFE)
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