Vladimir Putin is feared to be preparing for a new onslaught on Ukraine with up to 500,000 soldiers. Russia is believed to be plotting an attack across two new fronts – pushing into eastern and southern Ukraine.
Kyiv believes Mad Vlad’s attack may happen around February 24 – the one-year anniversary of the invasion. Putin is desperate to achieve something after a bruising first year which has seen his forces thrown back.
Ukraine however fear the next few weeks will be crucial for the conflict as they continue to call for weapons from the West. Defence minister Oleksii Reznikov believes Putin is gathering up to 500,00 soldiers for the new offensive.
And it comes as Putin’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov said Russia was ready to “gain the world’s attention”. He didn’t provide any further details. It is understood there are around 326,000 Russian troops currently on operation in Ukraine.
And it’s been reported between 150,000 and 200,000 are in camps on training exercises, with Ukraine also warning Putin could call up another 500,000 conscripts.
Reznikov warned the Russians could carry out an offensive on two fronts, pushing into the south and into the east in the Donbas. Kyiv is preparing for the assault – but has admitted things will be difficult and warned they “cannot lose the initiative”.
Vlad’s initial assault last February saw his forces storm toward Kyiv before they were sent back by the Ukrainians. Ukraine then went on the counteroffensive, liberating huge swathes of the country from the disorganized Russians.
The conflict then slowed down over the winter. And in recent weeks it has been reported the Russians were beginning to make gains. Putin will likely be seeking some sort of major triumph or new operation to mark the anniversary – with his future now tied to the success or failure of the war.
“We can’t lose the initiative… We think that, given that [the Russians] live by symbols, they can try something around February 24,” said Reznikov. He spoke of around “500,000” soldiers being mobilized by Putin.
The minister explained: “They officially declared about 300,000, but when we see their troops at the borders, according to our estimates, it is much more. “[They] can carry out an offensive on two fronts: it can be Donbas, and it can be the south.” (SOURCE)