FT: Russia may be gearing up for large-scale offensive against Ukraine

A view of the city of Kharkiv during the blackout on March 25, 2024. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Yan Dobronosov/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images) © Kyiv Independent (UK)

Russian forces may be preparing for a large-scale offensive in late spring or summer, aiming to capture more land in Ukraine’s partially-occupied Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, the Financial Times reported on April 13, citing unnamed Ukrainian and Western officials.

Ukrainian officials also said that Russia might plan to attack Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city that is located close to the Russian border, FT reported.

As crucial military aid for Ukraine remains stalled in the U.S. Congress, outnumbered and outgunned Ukrainian forces are struggling to repel intensifying Russian offensives in several directions.

Both foreign and Ukrainian officials have said the lack of U.S. aid has begun to hurt Ukraine’s position on the battlefield and warned that the situation could worsen without a new infusion of military assistance.

The situation on Ukraine’s eastern front has “significantly deteriorated in recent days,” as Russia intensified its offensive efforts, Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Oleksandr Syrskyi said earlier on April 13.

Warm, dry weather has enabled Russia to increase its armored assaults in the areas of Bakhmut, Lyman, and Pokrovsk, according to Syrskyi.

Russian troops have recently been focusing their efforts near Chasiv Yar in Donetsk Oblast, which is located about 70 kilometers northwest of the occupied city of Donetsk and about 10 kilometers west of occupied Bakhmut.

According to Ukraine’s military, Russia sees the potential capture of Chasiv Yar as a crucial milestone for further advances westward toward Kostiantynivka, Kramatorsk, and Sloviansk.

In late March, President Volodymyr Zelensky did not rule out that a major Russian offensive may come at the end of May or in June.

Russia has also recently intensified attacks on Kharkiv, targeting residential areas and critical infrastructure.

A number of media outlets have reported that Russia may launch a ground offensive against the city this year.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on April 6 that “Kharkiv is protected” in case Russia attempts to launch an offensive.

“Today, Kharkiv is not in danger,” Zelensky said, referring to the local defensive lines and the readiness of the army. “Russians do not hide that it (Kharkiv) is a desirable target,” Zelensky said.

Ukraine’s military intelligence called the news of a potential attack on Kharkiv “part of a Russian psychological operation,” adding that there were no signs of Moscow preparing new attack formations to carry out a ground offensive.

Source: Kyiv Independent