The war in Ukraine is about to enter another, even deadlier phase. As the weather slowly improves, the two militaries are getting ready for another round of offensive and counteroffensive operations.
Upcoming Russian Offensive
It is no secret that the Russian military is getting ready to launch a large-scale offensive soon.
The chief of the Ukrainian Military Intelligence (GUR) said that it is most likely that any large-scale Russian offensive would focus in the east, particularly in the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces that make up the Donbas. Kyrylo Budanov added that the Russian military currently has more than 320,000 troops in Ukraine and an additional 150,000 mobilized reservists in the training grounds in Russia and Belarus getting ready for offensive operations.
The Ukrainians assess that the Russian military will try to counter its shortcomings in weapon systems and the poor quality of its equipment through numbers. Kyiv anticipates a Russian manpower superiority once the offensive begins. Future Western security aid could be tailored to counter this expected Russian superiority in men.
Recently, the British Military Intelligence suggested that the Russian military has been using Belarus as a training ground for some of its elite forces before they are deployed to Ukraine. More specifically, Moscow had deployed the 2nd Guards Motor Rifle Division in the country for training before redeploying it back to Russia to be ready for the upcoming offensive.
The unit is part of the 1st Guards Tank Army, one of the Russian military’s most elite armored formations; Both units suffered heavy losses at the beginning of the conflict and during the Ukrainian counteroffensives last fall.
“It is now primarily made up of mobilised personnel operating older equipment taken from storage. Its combat effectiveness will likely be limited despite several weeks of training. There is a realistic possibility that other Russian units are being rotated into Belarus for similar training, and that Russia will continue this model to regenerate and prepare units to maintain its force in Ukraine,” the British Military Intelligence recently assessed.
Back in September, after a series of sham referenda, the Kremlin illegally annexed the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces in addition to Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. But that action was quickly negated by the Ukrainian advances.
The Ukrainian Counteroffensives
Ukraine, too has, amassed forces in preparation for large-scale counteroffensive operations.
The Ukrainian forces are also getting ready for a large-scale counteroffensive operation in the upcoming months. Kyiv will most likely wait for the Russian forces to attack first, absorb the strike, and then launch a counteroffensive to take advantage of any vulnerabilities on the Russian lines. Budanov suggested that the Ukrainian forces would launch their attack in the spring in order to recapture the Crimean Peninsula by the summer.
But the Ukrainians are waiting for the new security aid from the West before they launch their counteroffensive. Tanks and infantry fighting vehicles will be crucial to the success of a Ukrainian push against a Russian military that has been fortifying its positions for several months.
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Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. He is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Strategy and Cybersecurity at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.
February 2, 2023 at 10:20 pm
*Turn into* a bloodbath? Certainly it has been that already to some extent! And helped along by a host of people. A bloodbath helped along by Pathetic Joe. A bloodbath on the part of the U.S. Congress. A bloodbath on part of loony-do Boris Johnson. A bloodbath on the part of NATO generals. A bloodbath on the part of the U.S. media. A bloodbath cheered on by the arms makers. A bloodbath even on the part of Lord Voldy Zelensky himself. And of course, Mr. Putin is a given, no real need to hightlight it. And despite all the U.S/NATO help to date, the bleeding shows no sign of slowing down. Everyone seems intent to continue to drain the patient, and that is the Ukrainian people collectively, who have been caught in the middle. And heaven knows, call this such for what it is and you are snootily dismissed as a ‘Putin puppet’ or ‘troll’ (what*ever* that really is or means here). So before it expands into a real *worldwide* bloodbath on an immeasurably larger scale, somebody somewhere has to step up and take control of the narrative, change the dynamic, one which ends up yielding at least a cease-fire, if not a lasting armistice that puts an end to this needless international spat.
February 3, 2023 at 9:21 am
It’s already a bloodbath for Ukrainian troops. 150k dead. 35k missing. American tanks will change nothing. Except the numbers of Ukrainian armor listed as lost on the Oryx website
February 3, 2023 at 11:36 am
Ukraine is playing it smart. Wait for the Russian attack, Russia needs 3 to 1 in forces to have even a chance. It is very humorous to me that Russia is acting like the Nazis and Ukraine like the Red Army. Recall the annual German offensive, that would gain a ton of land then the counter in late fall would take it all back. Every year the German offensive took less and less land, I expect the same thing to happen in Ukraine.
February 3, 2023 at 5:49 pm
It appears that any Russian offensive will depend heavily on newly-mobilized troops with limited training, mostly using older equipment taken out of storage, and led by less-experienced officers who replaced those killed or wounded in earlier combat. I would not expect better results than when Russia used its elite units & best weaponry, and had some element of surprise. If Ukraine halts the Russian offensive, perhaps after giving up some meaningless ground while inflicting heavy casualties, they would be well-positioned for their own offensive. Need to get Western tanks, armored vehicles, and the Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb (~ 94 mile range!) to Ukraine ASAP for the best results.
February 3, 2023 at 7:58 pm
Then you’re an imbecile Matt. Ukraine is fighting with the tactics of the Wehrmacht, not the Russians. The longer the war continues to greater the fundamentals favor Russia.
February 4, 2023 at 1:33 pm
Tamerlane, you are utterly clueless. Matt is far closer to the truth than you. Putin ha taken a number of things from Hitler’s playbook. Putin, however, knows less of military issues than Hitler did, and is far more incompetent.
Time is not on the side of Putin. He’s already into his seed corn as far as manpower is concerned. All he is doing is wasting his country’s potential on the battlefield. Russia will not recover from this war.
February 5, 2023 at 8:56 am
First, dont invade if you cant stomach losses.
The government and military are to protect citizens and sovereignty.
Ukraine is protecting, Russia is invading.
Its irrelevant how many Russians are killed to Ukrainians.
It is relevant how many Russians are killed to Russians.
Everyone will sell every weapon needed to prevent and weaken Putins dream which is now his nightmare.
There is no threat to Russia.
Trade was good, No army was threatening them.
Paranoia of leaders results in war.
from Russia with love
February 6, 2023 at 11:45 am
The offensive had already begun, back in January. there is every reason to believe that the offensive will continue as slowly as the last month. Considering that one of the main goals of the special operation is the demilitarization of Ukraine, attention (!!!), not the seizure of territories, but the demilitarization of Ukraine, Russia needs to minimize its losses and inflict maximum damage on the enemy.
at the same time, it is vital for Zelensky not to allow the loss of territory and, regardless of losses, to hold the territory. this is important both for internal propaganda and for obtaining weapons from the West (the flow of weapons is money).
how it works can be seen on the example of the Kremennaya or Artemovskaya (Bakhmut) meat grinder. Russia grinds with artillery everything that the Ukrainians are transferring near Artemovsk and Zelensky cannot allow the loss of Artemovsk and continues to send “soldiers for a week” there.
BUT! this is the real world, not a computer game, and the number of those who can be sent to the front is a very limited number. Ukraine has about 2 million, Russia has about 30 million. while in Russia there was 1 partial mobilization, but in Ukraine mobilization has been going on for 8 years and the last year has been as intensive as possible. There are more and more cemeteries in Ukraine, and fewer and fewer people want to go to these cemeteries.
The Financial Times published an interesting article about Ukrainians who were brought to Germany to learn how to drive Leopard tanks, but two Ukrainian recruits asked for political asylum in Germany instead of training.
February 6, 2023 at 12:50 pm
Quartermaster, you are utterly wrong. Ukraine does not have time on its side. Ukraine is well into their seed corn and are going deeper into their he attrited red each day. That is self-evident to this G-staff officer. Russia, unlike Ukraine, has the strategic depth of manpower and capacity to prevail over time. Ukraine must win quickly, or it will lose.
First: don’t become an existential threat to the existence of a regional conventional power and global nuclear superpower if you can’t stomach losses. Ukraine is being attrited.
Second: government and government armed forces exist to protect citizens and sovereignty.
This is why Russia has invaded, to prevent Ukraine from entering NATO and becoming an existential threat to Russian existence.
Third: you are correct that “it’s irrelevant how many Russians are killed to Ukrainians. It is relevant how many Russians are killed to Russians.” Russia is fighting for its existential national interest, a core strategic interest that it cannot retreat from. This was clearly stated 25 years ago, and our senior leadership has been well aware of it. Ukraine within NATO is a fundamental existential threat to Russia, to Russians, and how it is viewed within NATO by Ukrainians or Brits is irrelevant.
Fourth: no, everyone will not sell every weapon to Ukraine. Ukraine has no money to purchase anything for starters, and has a totalitarian single party state ruling it at present.
The existence of a threat to Russia is for Russians to decide, and they have maintained for 25 plus years that Ukraine in NATO is the ultimate of red lines for them… this is the case for Russians of all ideological or philosophical persuasions.
Fifth: the blockade and sanctions regimes against Russia by NATO countries are casus belli in and of themselves, and they tell the rest of the world—the countries who are neutral or who are supporting russia (which comprise of 2/3rds of the world’s population), that the U.S. is perfectly willing to violate its full faith and credit against a non-belligerent nuclear superpower like Russia, and that these countries must support Russian efforts to break the U.S. dollar’s position as global reserve currency.
February 6, 2023 at 5:59 pm
Tamerlane: “The existence of a threat to Russia is for Russians to decide . . . “
Nope. Putin can’t just make up ‘threats’ and invade who he pleases. Ukraine was no threat to Russia, Putin just didn’t want to abide by its borders because he dreamed of restoring Russia to the size of the Soviet Union, despite Russia’s repeated pledges to recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty.
NATO is a purely defensive alliance. A Russia that stays within its borders had nothing to worry about.
from Russia with love
February 7, 2023 at 4:35 am
Steve:”NATO is a purely defensive alliance.”
ha ha ha ???????????? great joke guy! ???????? tell this joke to Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Serbia and other 8 countries whose territory has been bombed by a “purely defensive alliance” over the past 30 years.
“Ukraine was no threat to Russia”
Since 2014, after the United States organized a coup d’état in Ukraine and brought a neo-Nazi junta to power, Ukraine has been an existential threat to Russia. the basis of Ukrainian nationalism is the hatred of everything Russian, and this has been the case since the emergence of Ukrainian nationalism in the early 20th century. this Ukrainian regime will be destroyed.
“Putin just didn’t want to abide by its borders because he dreamed of restoring Russia to the size of the Soviet Union, despite Russia’s repeated pledges to recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty.”
Russia did not give any promises and guarantees to the Ukrainian junta that seized Ukraine in 2014. no need to lie. even the Minsk agreements were concluded between the LDNR and the junta. in these agreements, Russia is the guarantor on the part of the LDNR, Germany and France are the guarantors on the part of the junta.
By the way, about the Minsk agreements. a month before February 24, Russia gathered the military ataches of Western countries for a press conference and announced that in an attempt to resolve the LDNR issue by force, it would take the most stringent measures. everyone knew what would happen. the West knew and Ukraine knew. Ukraine, with the support of the West, tried by launching massive shelling on February 19-21, and got what Russia warned about. an instructive story for those who think that Russia’s “red lines” are ridiculous.
“A Russia that stays within its borders had nothing to worry about.”
Are you sure? ???? If Russia places its military bases on the US border, then the US has nothing to worry about?
February 7, 2023 at 8:06 pm
Steve: The existence of a threat to Russia is for Russians to decide, just as threats to the United States are for us Americans to decide. You don’t get to decide what threats to my country are any more than you do about threats to Russia. Keep your hyper leftist EU worship to yourself.
We in the United States make up threats and invade who we please. This is a fact, and is evidenced by our attacks on non-belligerents Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and more over the past 25 years alone. Ukraine within NATO is certainly an existential threat to Russia, just as Mexico within a communist Chinese alliance would be perceived an existential threat by us Americans.
NATO is a 100% NOT a purely defensive alliance. As someone who has served the United States in uniform during these last several moronic interventions, you are completely misinformed. I don’t know what country you are from, but we here in the United States, particularly those who have served on Gstaffs, are well aware of the completely unprovoked aggressive NATO attacks on two different non-beligerents in the last 25 years alone, Yugoslavia and Libya. If the neoconservatives and liberal interventionist utopians hell-bent on remaking the world in their own image were not expanding a “NORTH ATLANTIC” treaty organization into the entirety of Europe sans Russia alone, Russia would not be threatened. Who is NATO armed against in Europe? Are you with a straight face saying it isn’t Russia?
February 7, 2023 at 8:10 pm
As Thucydides wrote 2400 years ago:
“the strong do as they will, and the weak suffer as they must”.
Countries exist in a state of nature with one another, and they will always act in their own existential national self-interest. If they do not, then their governments are betraying their own people.