New Russian offensive in Ukraine’s east “more aspirational than realistic” – Western officials


As Russia begins a new offensive in eastern Ukraine, the U.S. and its allies are skeptical Moscow has amassed the manpower and resources to make significant gains, US, UK and Ukrainian officials say.

That’s according to CNN, Ukrinform reports.

“It’s likely more aspirational than realistic,” a senior U.S. military official said.

Russia has been amassing forces on its border and inside Russian-held territory in Ukraine but, despite the increased numbers, Western allies have not seen evidence of sufficient changes to Moscow’s ability to carry out combined arms operations required to gain and hold more ground.

“It’s unlikely Russian forces will be particularly better organized and so unlikely they’ll be particularly more successful, though they do seem willing to send more troops into the meat grinder,” a senior British official told CNN.

The U.S. military had assessed it would take as long as until May for the Russian military to regenerate enough power for a sustained offensive, but Russian leaders wanted action sooner. The U.S. now sees it as likely that Russian forces are moving before they are ready due to political pressure from the Kremlin, the senior U.S. military official told CNN.

Though Ukrainian officials have been sounding the alarm about new Russian attacks in the East, there is also skepticism on the Ukrainian side about Russian capabilities as those forces currently stand.

“They amassed enough manpower to take one or two small cities in Donbas, but that’s it,” a senior Ukrainian diplomat told CNN. “Underwhelming, compared to the sense of panic they were trying to build in Ukraine.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Tuesday in Brussels that the US is not seeing Russia “massing its aircraft” ahead of an aerial operation against Ukraine.

“In terms of whether or not Russia is massing its aircraft for some massive aerial attack, we don’t currently see that. We do know that Russia has a substantial number of aircraft in its inventory and a lot of capability left,” he said. “That’s why we’ve emphasized that we need to do everything that we can to get Ukraine as much air defense capability as we possibly can.”

Austin also said he expects Ukraine to “conduct an offensive sometime in the spring.”

As Ukrinform reported earlier, yhe losses of the Russian occupation forces are now the largest since the start of the full-scale invasion on February 24. As before, advancing to the administrative borders of Donetsk and Luhansk regions remains a priority for the Russian Federation.

“The enemy losses are the largest since the beginning of this shameful war, and this can be seen with the naked eye,” Ukraine’s defense intelligence spokesman noted.

Photo: Volodymyr Zelensky, social media

Source: New Russian offensive in Ukraine’s east “more aspirational than realistic” - Western officials

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