Ukraine warns Russia massing 500,000 troops on border for offensive

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Ukraine has warned that Moscow is regrouping hundreds of thousands of troops at its borders for a major new offensive, weeks before the one-year anniversary of Russia’s aggression.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a harsh message to the West on Thursday, predicting that the Kremlin would be expanding its power to “retaliate”.

“Now Russia is concentrating its forces. said at a press conference with EU Secretary-General Ursula von der Leyen, Agence France-Presse.

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told French media on Wednesday that Russia 500,000 troops were ready for the attack in a few weeks. That number is far higher than the 300,000 newly recruited soldiers that Russian President Vladimir Putin called up this fall.

“Officially it was announced as 300,000, but if you look at the troops at the border, according to our assessment, it is much higher,” Reznikov said.

and Ukrainian Defense Ministry official Yury Sak told NBC News Officials on Thursday fear Moscow’s military is preparing for an upcoming offensive aimed at turning the war in the Kremlin’s favor.

“Until we defeat Russia, we must understand that the threat of new attacks will remain,” Sack said.

Western and Ukrainian officials have long warned that Russia is planning a new spring offensive after suffering a series of embarrassing defeats last summer and fall and a near-stalemate in the winter.

But ahead of the one-year anniversary of the end of the war on February 24, warnings are intensifying.

Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said: tweeted on thursday He was speaking with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley about the new Kremlin offensive.

Russian forces have made significant advances around the eastern city of Bakhmut over the past two weeks, their biggest gain in the war since the summer, finally taking the city and surpassing their gradual gains. We aim to win on the bigger battlefield.

Moscow hopes that the hundreds of thousands of reservists and new conscripts drawn up this fall will help it reorganize its military forces, which were depleted last year.

Advancing the timeline is a small gap between newly promised Western combat vehicles and tanks, and when Ukraine will actually have weapons, experts predict

The US and Germany agreed last month to send tanks to the Kyiv army, including 31 M1 Abrams tanks from Washington.

In his nightly video address, Mr Zelensky warned that Ukrainian defense officials would face difficult choices as the battle for Bakhmut escalated, saying the situation in the region was “getting tougher”. rice field.

“The enemy is trying to achieve at least something to show that Russia has a chance on the anniversary of the invasion,” he said.

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