Zelensky: Russia planning major offensive
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday that Russia is planning a major “new offensive” but did not give an estimated timeline for the attack.
In a speech on Tuesday, Zelensky warned the Ukrainian people of “new mobilization processes” that Russia is preparing.
“We have no doubt that Russia’s current masters will throw everything they have left and whoever they can muster into trying to turn the tide of the war and at least postpone their defeat,” Zelensky said. “We must disrupt this Russian scenario. We are preparing for this. Terrorists must perish.”
Several Ukrainian officials also warned last month of a possible new Russian offensive in January or February, including General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, a senior commander in the Ukrainian military, who told The Economist that Russia is preparing about 200,000 troops and could to have another attack in Kiev.
But the claims contradict US intelligence which says both armies are likely to slow down in the winter months and that no major new ground offensive is likely until the spring.
The Hill has reached out to the Department of Defense for comment.
Zelensky’s speech, however, comes after a major Ukrainian attack on a temporary Russian base in the eastern Donetsk region, which Moscow said killed 89 soldiers, while Ukraine put the death toll at up to 400.
That attack, which Ukraine carried out with US-supplied HIMARS missiles, has sparked anger in Russia and led to some pointing fingers at commanders stationing troops in buildings near ammunition depots.
Ukraine has recaptured significant territory in major ground offensives over the fall, including recapturing the cities of Kherson and Kharkiv. Most of the fighting is now taking place in eastern Donbass, which includes the Donetsk region.
Since October, Russia has bombarded Ukraine’s infrastructure and energy grids with rocket attacks and explosive drones. Ukraine has begun attacking Russian bases with supply depots, although Ukrainian leaders have generally not claimed direct responsibility for the attacks.
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With the war expected to slide into a protracted conflict, the US included $47 billion in a year-end spending package for Ukraine, which came after Zelensky personally traveled to Washington to address Congress.
On Tuesday, Zelensky said he had recently spoken with Western leaders, including Canada and the United Kingdom, and raised concerns about a new offensive by Russia and more spending on Ukraine’s defense.
“Any attempt at their new offensive must fail,” Zelensky said in his speech. “This will be the final defeat of the terrorist state. I thank all partners who understand this.”