Looking to get ahead of Western tanks arriving in war-torn Ukraine, Russian forces will likely launch a renewed offensive within a week, according to a report from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) think tank.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Sunday that the country was expecting a new large-scale offensive in eastern Ukraine in the coming weeks because of the “symbolism” of attacking close to the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24.
According to Ukrainska Pravda, a fresh assault from Russian forces would most likely come before Feb. 24.
On Monday, Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region, wrote on his Telegram channel that an “enemy offensive can begin at any time after February 15.” Later on Monday, he said the increased number of attacks in the region were “not a full-scale offensive, but preparation for it.”
Citing a Russian military blogger linked to the mercenary Wagner Group, the ISW said that Russian forces had a limited window of opportunity to launch a renewed offensive before it becomes too difficult.
Other comments from the blogger give the impression that Russian commanders are “in a rush to launch the decisive offensive,” the ISW said.
According to the think tank, this is probably to get ahead of “the arrival of Western military aid and the muddy spring season in Ukraine around April that hindered Russian mechanized maneuvers in spring 2022.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Berlin would send the Ukrainians 14 Leopard 2A6 tanks and allow other countries to also equip Kyiv with the German-made main battle tanks, Newsweek reported.
President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. would contribute 31 M1 Abrams tanks, although it is expected to take months before they are operational on the battlefield, due to delivery and training for Ukrainian crews.
The first of Canada’s donated Leopard 2 tanks arrived in Poland on Monday, prior to being transported to Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said recently that he is “very happy” Germany, Britain and the United States “made the decision” to donate the technologically advanced tanks and publicly thanked the countries.
"But speaking frankly, the number of tanks and the delivery time to Ukraine is critical," he told Sky News.
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