Russia’s invasion forces in Ukraine have identified a new target in their tough winter-to-spring offensive in the country’s east. This was confirmed by the head of Kyiv’s intelligence, who predicted “months” of tough fighting and a “lot of casualties” ahead.
The head of the Main Directorate of Military Intelligence (GUR) of Ukraine, Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov, said in an interview on Tuesday on the Mi-Ukraine channel that Moscow units will spend the coming months pushing to reach the Zherebets River, which separates Luhansk and Kharkiv provinces. Information echoed by Newsweek.
Such a collapse would mean Russian control of the entire Luhansk oblast, which, along with the neighboring Donetsk region, has been at the center of Kiev’s war against eastern Ukrainian separatists and their Russian backers since 2014, not only since the invasion.
Currently, fierce fighting continues in Donetsk, where Russian troops are trying to dislodge the Ukrainians defending the Avdiivka fortress. Its capture would bring Moscow’s forces a major step closer to full control of Donetsk oblast.
Luhansk and Donetsk are at the heart of President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to break up Ukraine. Days before the full-scale invasion, Putin officially recognized the separatist puppet “people’s republics” in the two territories first established in 2014, with the backing of Russian military and intelligence units. . As of September 2022, they are areas unilaterally annexed by the Kremlin.
Budanov emphasized that the Russians, despite everything, disappointed their commanders because of the limited progress. “You can see the results yourself,” said the spy chief about the operations, which he said have been going on for two and a half months. “Unfortunately for us, they have some land development, like what happened near Avdiivka. But that’s not what they’re counting on.”
However, he admitted to “some progress” by Russian forces on the ground but was confident that his troops would regain the initiative within a few months, after the start of spring in Europe. “Their (Russian) offensive will continue. At the beginning of spring, it will end,” he stated in his interview.