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The War in Ukraine Is About To Get Even More Horrific

Russian TOS-1A in Ukraine. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

The war in Ukraine continues with no end in sight.

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On the contrary, both sides are getting ready for the next phase of the conflict that promises to be even deadlier than the war so far. 

The Russian military is gearing up for a major offensive, which looks to have already started in some places.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainians are getting ready to absorb the Russian blow before launching their own counterstroke. 

Ukraine War: The Next Steps 

Ukrainian and Western officials have stated that the Kremlin is preparing for a major offensive operation somewhere in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Military Intelligence (GUR) indicates that the attack will take place on or around February 24 to make the one-year anniversary of the Russian “special military operation.” 

In its latest estimate of the war, the British Military Intelligence assessed that the Russian military has been “attempting to re-start major offensive operations” since the first days of 2023, with the goal of capturing the whole of Donetsk province. 

That would also explain the extremely heavy casualties that the Russian forces have been taking on the ground. For progress of just a few hundred meters of territory every week, the Russian forces have been losing an average of 700 troops killed and wounded a day.

That is more than 4,000 men—or an entire brigade—every week. Indeed, the Russian military is losing every week almost the same number of troops the U.S. military lost throughout the war in Iraq

“Senior commanders likely make plans requiring undermanned, inexperienced units to achieve unrealistic objectives due to political and professional pressure,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

One of the primary reasons behind the failure of the Russian military to achieve significant progress on the ground is the lack of munitions and mobile warfare capabilities. The current Russian way of war favors mass frontal assaults against fortified positions.

To be sure, the Ukrainian defenses often crumble under extreme pressure, and that is why Russian units advance in some places. But that is a very costly and inefficient way to fight a war, and it also leaves the exhausted and depleted Russian forces vulnerable to Ukrainian counteroffensives. 

Russian leaders will likely continue to demand sweeping advances. It remains unlikely that Russia can build up the forces needed to substantially affect the outcome of the war within the coming weeks,” the British Military Intelligence added. 

The Ukrainian Counterstroke 

On their end, the Ukrainians are also getting ready for some large-scale offensive action. Ukrainian officials have suggested that a major counteroffensive is coming in early spring, most likely around May or even June.

Crimea continues to be within Kyiv’s crosshairs, and Ukrainian officials continuously reiterate their commitment to liberate the peninsula, which has been under Russian control since 2014.

When it comes to the Ukrainian side, the availability of Western weapon systems, such as the incoming M1A2 Abrams, Leopard 2, and Challenger 2 main battle tanks, and the familiarity of the Ukrainian troops with them is one of the most important factors in deciding when to launch a counterstroke. 

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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. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.