Ukraine expects key offensive as Russia plans to expand army | Russia-Ukraine war News

Russia has announced plans to create 17 new divisions and one new corps, restoring much of the former Soviet army’s glory, as it continues to wage a relentless war for its territories. east of Ukraine in the 43rd week of the war.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu debut plans on December 21 to expand the army from 1.15 million to 1.5 million, impending quote expand NATO to include Finland and Sweden. Within that force, professional troops would nearly double to 695,000 — a potential admission that Russia’s conscripts have proved ineffective in the offensive.

“The expansion of NATO’s forward presence near the borders of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus, coupled with the intention to continue Western military operations in Ukraine to weaken Russia as much as possible, is special concern,” said Shoigu. speak.

Russia mobilized 300,000 troops in September and October to send to Ukraine, and another 200,000 in its usual enlistment cycle last month. Shoigu’s announcement suggests that another 350,000 will be employed.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington-based think tank, has agreed with Ukraine’s military leadership that Russia may be preparing for an attack. big winter ground attack — possibly against Kyiv — as a way to force Ukraine to negotiate terms more favorable to Moscow.

The ISW said Russia’s main offensive in eastern Ukraine and its terrorist missile campaign against its people “cannot force Ukraine to negotiate or make pre-emptive concessions”.

[Al Jazeera]

The ISW assesses that Russia currently does not have the economic capacity to scale up its armed forces, but that could change.

“Putin could decide to allocate Russian state funds in a way that would allow the Kremlin to deploy a large conventional military force at the expense of economic growth and the comfort of consumers like the United States.” The Soviets did,” the article said.

air campaign

Russia continues its psychological warfare against Ukrainian civilians. Air raid sirens are off across the country on December 16 when Russia launched 76 missiles at critical energy infrastructure – the ninth launch since launching the air campaign in early October. Forty missiles were launched. was thrown into Kyiv. Most were shot down, but 16 hit their targets, causing power and water outages in several major cities, including the capital.

Two days later, the Ukrainian general staff said that the air force the defense has been destroyed 30 of the 35 Iranian-made Shahed drones fired into Ukrainian territory from the Sea of ​​Azov.

ground war

Throughout the week, Russia and Ukraine launched ground attacks in the two regions east of Luhansk and Donetsk.

The action is concentrated in two areas – between Svatove and Kreminna in Luhansk, which is under Russian occupation just a few kilometers from the line of contact, and between Soledar and Bakhmut in Donetsk, where Russia is about to overrun.

On December 16, Russia said its forces repelled reconnaissance and sabotage units that were probing Kreminna’s defenses. Three days later, Russia announced it had destroyed four reconnaissance groups near Rozivka, likely to probe Russian defenses around Svatove, just 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from the front line.


Ukraine’s General Staff says its forces are repelling Russian ground attacks on a daily basis, causing high casualties. “Due to the significant losses of the invaders, the re-use of hospitals in the temporarily occupied territory of Luhansk province into military hospitals continues… Locals are denied service and recommended to be transferred to other medical facilities.”

Russia claims to have captured “interesting new lines and positions” in Donetsk every day. The only verifiable territorial interest is the Russian occupation of the settlement of Yakovlivka in Donetsk on December 18.

The heaviest fighting took place in and around the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk, whose eastern suburbs are now occupied by Russia.

Independent Russian newspaper Published by Meduza photos of everyday life there, showing people living in half-bombed buildings and crossing streams on skis. Much of everyday life is thought to take place underground.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a daring visit to the town on December 20, setting himself apart from Russian forces, and thanking the soldiers “for their courage, resilience and strength.” surname”. Zelenskyy frequented various places along the front without warning, but this was his bravest appearance to date.

On the same day, Deputy State Duma Andrey Gurulev said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was in the area of ​​the so-called special military operation, did not disclose the location and “talked to all the commanders” – an obvious attempt to bolster Putin’s image as a relevant person. military leader equal to Zelenskyy.

Putin tried this for the first time on December 16when the Kremlin said he was at the joint headquarters of the armed forces. video analysis assumed that he was on Russian soil, at the headquarters of the Southern District in Rostov.


The day after Bakhmut, Zelenskyy visited Washington, DC, appearing with US President Joe Biden, in his first known trip outside of Ukraine since the February 24 invasion of Russia. Thank the Americans for their military support and ask for more.

“We have artillery, yes, thanks. … Enough? Honestly, not really,” Zelenskyy told the US Congress, where many Republicans have expressed opposition to spending more on Ukraine. “Your money is not charity. It is an investment in democracy and global security that we handle in the most responsible way,” he said.

Biden is ready to respond to Zelenskyy. He unveiled the sophisticated US Patriot air defense system for use in Ukraine – which the Russian Embassy in Washington warned would have “unforeseen consequences”. Congress is set to approve $45 billion in new financial and military aid to Ukraine by the end of the year, in addition to the $70 billion approved so far.

Russia’s relentless campaign has prompted other NATO members to reconsider self-imposed limits on arms supplies to Ukraine.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said he would reconsider Britain’s refusal to provide long-range weapons if Russia continued to attack civilians.

Sky News quoted Wallace as telling parliament on December 13: “I am constantly looking at the weapons systems we can provide. Geneva Convention, then I will be open to see what we do next,” he said, referring to the basic humanitarian principles that were agreed during the war.

Slovakia said on December 12 that it was preparing to send MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, pending a NATO agreement. Poland is also known to be pushing for NATO to allow it to send its MiGs.

A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Greece is considering sending Ukraine a set of Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles currently located east of Crete. Maria Zakharova says would be a “blatantly aggressive move against Russia”.

When asked if the US would supply Greece with the Patriot air defense system to replace the S-300, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price refers to Slovakia giving the S-300 to Ukraine at the start of the war. “We were able to help support and facilitate that contribution by responding to the needs of Slovakia,” he said.

Russia also said it was acquiring new weapons, sending its most advanced T-90 “Breakthrough” tanks to the eastern front, but did not specify the number. Moscow says the tank is best protected and has a “highly automated fire control” system.

Putin made a trip to Minsk. He said the Russian and Belarusian militaries were conducting “combined combat”, raising fears of a new attempt to enter Kiyv from the north. Russia launched the invasion of Ukraine from the territory of Belarus as well as Russia on 24 February.

Putin, who has repeatedly alluded to the possibility of using nuclear weapons against Ukraine, also said he will continue to “train the crew of fighter jets of the Belarusian army, which have been converted to be able to use air-launched ammunition with a special ammunition. warhead”.

Although Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko denied using nuclear weapons from his territory in February, in August he agree with Putin’s proposal modified Belarusian Su-24 aircraft to carry nuclear warheads.

The economic war also continued to unfold rapidly.

The European Union’s energy ministers on December 19 agreed on a gas price cap of 180 megawatt-hours in the EU’s internal market, to limit energy costs for governments and consumers. EU increased due to war. This limit will come into effect starting February 15 at the Transfer of Title Facility (TTF), Europe’s main gas hub, and on March 31 in all European gas hubs. Europe.

Bloomberg news reported that Russia’s oil exports have 54 percent decrease in a week after the Group of Seven (G7)’s $60-a-barrel price cap went into effect while warning that the sample was still too small to be certain that the cap was the cause of the drop.


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