The expected Russian offensive in Ukraine has already begun, Zelenskyi said

The expected Russian offensive in Ukraine has already begun, Zelenskyi said

The expected Russian offensive in Ukraine has already begun, Zelensky said

Illustration photo – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks at the European Parliament in Brussels, February 9, 2023.

Kyiv – In an interview with the BBC, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ruled out as part of a possible peace deal with Russia, Kiev gave up any Ukrainian territory. At the same time, he warned that ceding territory to Moscow would mean that Russia could “continually return”. According to him, the expected Russian offensive in Ukraine has already begun.

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Expected Russian offensive in Ukraine it has already begun, Zelenskyy stated

Expect Russian offensive it has already started in Ukraine, Zelenskyy said

Expected Russian offensive in Ukraine has already begun, Zelensky said

< p>The expected Russian offensive in Ukraine has already begun, Zelensky said

“Russian attacks are already coming from several directions,” he said. According to him, the Ukrainian defenders can resist the Russian advance until they are able to launch a counter-offensive themselves. At the same time, he repeated calls for greater military aid to Ukraine from the West. “Of course, modern weapons accelerate peace. Weapons are the only language Russia understands,” Zelenskyy said.

Western countries are gradually providing Kiev with more and more powerful weapons so that the country can defend itself against Russian military aggression. However, Kiev is increasingly frustrated with the pace at which Western weapons are arriving, writes the BBC. It is expected to take weeks for the battle tanks, promised to Ukraine by a number of Western countries last month, to arrive on the battlefield.

Zelenskyj also commented on the words of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday that Belarus will join the fighting in Ukraine alongside The Russians, if they themselves are attacked. “I hope (Belarus) will not join (the war). If it does, we will fight and survive,” the Ukrainian president said, adding that allowing Russia to attack Ukraine again from Belarusian territory would be a “huge mistake”.

Belarus, which is Russia's closest ally, did not send its troops to the war against Ukraine, but provided Moscow with its territory to attack the neighboring country. In the initial phase of the invasion, Russian troops led the offensive on Kiev from there. After heavy losses, it withdrew from the north of Ukraine after several weeks.

At the same time, Zelensky said that Ukraine wants security guarantees. “Any territorial compromises would weaken us as a state,” he said, noting that it was not a compromise as such. “Why should we be afraid of him? Every day we have millions of compromises in our lives. The question is, with whom? With (Russian President Vladimir) Putin? No. Because there is no trust. Dialogue with him? No. There is no trust,” he added.

Russian forces failed in attacks and lost hundreds more soldiers, Kiev claims

Over the past day, Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks in 16 villages and eliminated another 800 Russian soldiers from the fighting; in total, Russia has lost 141,260 men since the beginning of the war, according to the Ukrainian General Staff. Real military success still eludes the Russians and they will barely take control of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine by February 24, i.e. the first anniversary of the start of the war against Ukraine, according to the experts of the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

“The enemy concentrated its main efforts on offensive operations in the direction of Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdijivka and Shakhtarsk,” the Ukrainian command says. Among the places where Russian attacks have failed, he mentions municipalities in the Kherson region in the south of the country and in the Donbass in the east, including Bakhmut and Vuhledar.

ISW analysts point out that, according to Ukrainian officials, the goal of Russian troops is to capture Bakhmut before February 24, when the first anniversary of the start of the war will pass. But that would require significantly faster progress than the pace of recent months. According to experts, the pragmatic estimate of the head of the Russian mercenaries Yevgeny Prigozhin, that his fighters will surround Bakhmut by March or April, seems closer to reality.

However, the Russian troops will probably not speed up their progress near Bakhmut and will hardly reach their goal by February 24, according to ISW. The institute estimated that the Kremlin could launch another wave of air and missile attacks targeting civilian targets across Ukraine on the anniversary of the war, as real military successes continue to elude Russian forces in Ukraine.

Casualty claims by the parties usually in the war cannot be verified from independent sources.

Five local residents died in Russian shelling of Bakhmut, authorities said

During the Russian shelling of the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, five local residents died in its residential area, nine other people were injured. According to Reuters, this was announced by the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office, which is investigating the death of civilians as a potential war crime. Ukrainian defenders and the Russian invasion army are engaged in a fierce battle for Bakhmut, which is located in the Donetsk region.

“The shots of the occupiers hit the residential part of the city again,” reads the statement of the prosecutor's office, according to which the Russians shelled Bakhmut with cannons and Grad rocket launchers on Thursday. According to the Ukrainian authorities, they killed three men and two women. Moscow has not yet responded to the accusations, Reuters noted. Similar statements by the individual parties to the conflict cannot be immediately independently confirmed in the conditions of the war.

Bakhmut is one of the current hotbeds of the war, and some of the heaviest battles of the conflict, which Moscow unleashed almost a year ago with its invasion of the neighboring country, are taking place there. Bakhmut, which the Russians have been trying to capture for months, is constantly under fire, the BBC noted on its Russian-language website.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in connection with the death of five civilians that it is necessary for all remaining residents to leave the city. According to her, if they stay there, they will endanger themselves and also complicate the situation for Ukrainian soldiers and rescuers. “To be honest, I am very surprised what 6,000 civilians are still doing there,” she wrote in a telegram, where she also called on the city's residents to evacuate. Before the war, around 70,000 people lived in Bakhmut.

Russia is changing its air attack tactics, presidential adviser said

Russia is changing its air strike tactics to deceive Ukraine's air defenses, using missiles without explosive warheads and balloons, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of Ukraine's presidential office, said in an interview with the AP. According to him, the missiles serve as decoys to overwhelm the Ukrainian air defense system by presenting a large number of targets.

“They want to overload our anti-aircraft system to get another chance to hit infrastructure facilities,” Podoljak said, adding that Ukraine's air defenses are adapting to the challenge. According to the presidential adviser, Russia is facing “missile depletion” and their lack is forcing it to change its tactics. It is mixing older Soviet-era missiles with “new missiles that have some value,” an adviser to the chief of the presidential office said.

Last October, Russia intensified its aerial attacks on Ukraine, sending missiles and attack drones into its neighbor's territory in massive strikes to knock out electricity supplies and other essential infrastructure. At the same time, Ukrainian and Western officials believe that the invading army is facing an increasing shortage of missiles.

The British Ministry of Defense said in November that Russia appears to be removing nuclear warheads from old cruise missiles and then launching these missiles into Ukraine like blind. “Russia almost certainly hopes that such missiles will act as decoys and distract the attention of Ukrainian air defenses,” the department said. Moscow has not acknowledged problems with arms deliveries.

Russian forces fired 36 missiles into Ukraine on Thursday, and Ukrainian air defense batteries shot down 16 of them — a lower Ukrainian success rate than some previous Russian strikes, the AP noted. Thursday's Russian strike hit targets in multiple locations across Ukraine, according to Ukrainian officials, killing a 79-year-old woman.

Another new element of Russia's strategy is the use of what Podoljak called “special air balloons,” the AP said, declining to elaborate. regarding their intended purpose. However, they may be intended to potentially confuse or provide intelligence on Ukrainian air defenses, the agency writes.

Ukrainian authorities announced on Wednesday that they had detected about six enemy balloons over Kyiv, with Ukrainian air defenses shooting down most of them. According to the authorities, they may have carried, among other things, reconnaissance equipment. “The enemy wants us to use our air defenses, which protect our strategic objects, on these balloons, which cost nothing,” said Air Force spokesman Yuri Ihnat.