Ukraine bracing for new year offensive from Putin

Ukraine: Kherson regional administration hit by Russian missile

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Vladimir Putin is aiming to launch a brand new offensive in the new year against Ukraine, according to senior officials. The Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov said in an interview that although Kyiv was able to defend itself against the barrage of missile attacks from Moscow, evidence has begun to emerge of new plans from the Kremlin.

Similar fears have also been raised by President Zelensky, the head of the armed forces, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, and the chief of ground forces, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskii.

In spite of Russia’s failed attempts to take much of Ukraine’s territory the government in Kyiv has warned the West not to be complacent about the threat Putin poses.

Mr Reznikov believes the offensive could be launched in February, one year since the invasion began, however others have suggested it could come as early as January.

The defence minister has indicated that half of Russia’s 300,000 mobilised troops may be being trained more intensely for future offensives.

He told The Guardian: “The second part of the mobilisation, 150,000 approximately, started their training courses in different camps.

“The [draftees] do a minimum of three months to prepare. It means they are trying to start the next wave of the offensive probably in February, like last year.

“That’s their plan. The Kremlin is trying to find new solutions [for] how to get the victory.”

Putin is showing no signs of wanting to back down from the conflict, as he has obtained missiles from Iran and is continuing with the Russian “meat grinder” tactic.

This strategy involves throwing as many troops into the battle as possible in the hope that eventually bigger numbers will defeat Ukraine.

While many have said Russia’s partial mobilisation order has been a failure, General Zaluzhnyi warned The Economist: “Russian mobilisation has worked. They are 100 percent being prepared.”

He added that the new attack could come “in February, at best in March and at worst at the end of January”.

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In a briefing on Thursday deputy defence minister Hanna Mailer stated: “We and the world should not relax, because the ultimate goal of the Russian Federation is to conquer all of Ukraine, and then it can move on.”

However Mr Reznikov offered hope in his assessment that Ukraine’s hybrid tactics, well-trained armies and aid from overseas would ultimately lead to victory.

He said: “If it was meat grinder against meat grinder, we would lose. It was a mistake to perceive us as a small Soviet army [that] will fight a big Soviet army.

“Certainly, a big Soviet army would win and a small Soviet army would lose but we are not a Soviet army.”

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