Russia Signals Start of a New Military Offensive in Ukraine

Moscow ( – The Russian military has indicated that it is preparing for a new offensive in Ukraine following a recent surge in missile strikes across the country.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Saturday ordered Russian forces to “intensify” actions on all fronts in Ukraine, to prevent Ukrainian forces from shelling the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine and other territory under Russian control.

Shoigu’s remarks, in a statement by the defense ministry, appear to allude to a recent wave of Ukrainian strikes against Russian targets in eastern and southern Ukraine. They are believed to have been carried out with newly-delivered Western weaponry, including the U.S. HIMARS precision guided rocket systems and French Caesar howitzers.

Hours after Shoigu’s order, the RIA Novosti state news agency reported that Russian troops had begun deploying large quantities of new hardware to the frontline in Donbass. RIA Novosti correspondents reported seeing BMPT “Terminator” armored fighting vehicles, which were designed by the Russian military for conducting urban warfare.

Ukrainian military intelligence directorate representative Vadym Skibitsky told reporters on Saturday evening the agency saw clear signs that Russian forces were preparing to launch a new offensive.


“There are not only missile strikes that are carried out from the air and from the sea,” he said. “We see shelling along the entire contact line, tactical aviation and attack helicopters are being actively used.”

Earlier this month President Vladimir Putin in a meeting with top lawmakers hinted that a potential escalation was coming, saying, “Everyone should know that, by and large, we have not started anything seriously yet.”

Putin also warned the West against stepping up military support for Ukraine. “Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield,” he said. “Well, what can I say? Let them try!”

Evgeny Buzhinsky, a retired Russian Army lieutenant general, told on Friday that Russia had capability to ramp up military pressure on Ukraine by either ordering a mobilization of its two million reservists or conducting more extensive air strikes.

“Putin meant to emphasize that Russia is currently employing at most 20 percent of its total ground forces in Ukraine,” Buzhinsky said of the president’s earlier remarks.

“We are currently waging a ‘special military operation’ against Ukraine. If we decided to declare war against Ukraine, then we would use a much larger force and much different means.”

(Although Russia sent troops into Ukraine almost four months ago, neither side has issued a formal declaration of war against the other. A formal Russian declaration of war would give the Kremlin the legal right to conduct a partial or full military mobilization. So far, however, Moscow has publicly insisted it has no plans to order either.)

The frontline in Ukraine has seen few changes since Russian troops captured the eastern town of Lysychansk on July 3. The fall of the city allowed Russia to establish full control of the Luhansk region, one of the two provinces in the Donbass.

After the Russian victory at Lysychansk, Putin ordered that troops involved in the battle be given time to rest and “increase their combat capabilities.”

Over the past two weeks, fighting on the ground has mostly been limited to skirmishes over small villages and settlements, although both sides have stepped up their missile and artillery strikes.

Ukrainian forces have destroyed several Russian logistical and ammunition hubs in southern and eastern Ukraine with the help of Western weapons systems. Last Wednesday, Ukrainian troops blew up a warehouse in the southern city of Kherson, which has been under Russian military control since late February.

For their part, Russian forces have launched a series of missile strikes against cities in central and western Ukraine. On Sunday, officials at the southwestern city of Mykolayiv reported that a local shipbuilding center came under “massive shelling” in the early morning hours.

Both sides have accused one another of causing significant civilian casualties during the recent strikes.


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