Ukraine intel says Russia prepares Donbas offensive in spring, partially confirming ISW’s standing assessment – ISW

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Editor’s Note

The US-based Institute for the Study of War says that Ukrainian intelligence assessed that Russian forces are preparing for an offensive effort “in the spring or early summer of 2023, partially confirming ISW’s standing assessment that Russian troops may undertake a decisive action in the coming months.”

Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (HUR) representative Vadym Skibitskyi stated on January 20 that the spring and early summer of 2023 will be decisive in the war and confirmed that the HUR has observed indicators that Russian troops are regrouping in preparation for a “big offensive” in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. Skibitsky also reiterated that Russian forces are unlikely to launch an attack from Belarus or in southern Ukraine.

Russia prepares for new offensive in spring; Ukraine is de facto NATO member – Ukraine defense minister

ISW has previously assessed that Russian forces may be preparing for a decisive effort (of either offensive or defensive nature) in Luhansk Oblast and observed a redeployment of conventional forces such as Airborne (VDV) elements to the Svatove-Kreminna axis after the Russian withdrawal from Kherson Oblast.

ISW also maintains that it is highly unlikely that Russian forces are planning to relaunch a new offensive on northern Ukraine from the direction of Belarus.

Russia preparing for long war – Ukraine’s intelligence

Skibitskyi’s assessments largely support ISW’s running forecasts of Russian intentions in the first half of 2023 and underscore the continued need for Western partner support to ensure that Ukraine does not lose the initiative to a renewed Russian offensive operation.

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