Fear of a new offensive in the Ukraine war: does Putin dare to storm Kyiv again?
Created: 12/22/2022, 6:51 p.m
By: Victoria Krumbeck
There has long been speculation about a Russian offensive in the new year.
A speech by Putin seems to show some concreteness.
But how likely is a new major offensive?
Munich/Moscow - In the Ukraine war, concerns about a new offensive by Moscow on Kyiv are growing.
There has been speculation for days as to whether Russia will attack Ukraine with a major offensive at the beginning of next year.
Putin fueled the speculation in a speech on Wednesday (December 21), in which he spoke, among other things, about the increase in the Russian military.
Ukraine is preparing for an offensive.
However, one expert sees no potential for an attack.
Ukraine war: does Putin dare another major offensive on Kyiv?
"I am sure that step by step we will achieve all our goals," Vladimir Putin said at a state-television meeting of the Russian Defense Ministry on Wednesday.
Putin already has concrete plans to achieve his goals.
"Our units have gained extensive combat experience in this special operation," said the Kremlin chief.
Putin now wants to use this experience.
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
© Vadim Savitskii/IMAGO
Combat experience should be analyzed for the development of the Russian armed forces.
"Our military capabilities are growing every day." Contrary to expert reports, his judgment of the Russian armed forces is positive.
During the partial mobilization, 300,000 people were drafted.
Some would already be in Ukraine.
Around 150,000 people are receiving military training.
According to Putin, the number of soldiers should be sufficient “to carry out the operation”.
War in Ukraine: Russian forces increase to 1.5 million
In addition, Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu proposed raising the number of soldiers to 1.5 million.
This corresponds to an increase of 350,000 men.
Putin agreed to the proposals.
The number of regular soldiers should also increase significantly.
Financially there would be no restrictions.
"The country, the government will give whatever the army asks for," Putin said.
But what do Putin's words mean?
The Ukrainian supreme commander, Valeriy Saluschnyi, was already counting on a new major Russian offensive in the coming year.
"In the worst case, at the end of January," he
told the British magazine The Economist.
"I have no doubt that they will attack Kyiv again," Zalushnyi said.
Russian offensive in the Ukraine war: Expert sees no potential for attack
However, one expert sees this as unlikely.
"It's a big challenge for Russia," Ed Arnold, defense expert at the London Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), told
"Both sides will launch counter-offensives next year, but the Ukrainians are in a much better position," Arnold said.
In his estimation, Russia will “limit itself to the rest of Luhansk and Donetsk”.
He sees no potential for an attack west of the Dnieper.
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One reason that speaks against an offensive by Russia is the high losses of the elite units, which are important for an offensive.
Even if Putin plans to increase the military, there is still a difference between trained soldiers and people with little or no combat experience.
"Right now it looks like the basic ability to train the new recruits in offensive action is missing," Arnold said.
Ukraine war: offensive cannot take place “without military support” from Belarus
Additionally, Belarus would play an important role in a new Russian offensive against Ukraine.
"An attack on Kyiv cannot take place without the blessing, and possibly without military support, of the Belarusian government," Ed Arnold said.
On Monday (December 19) Putin traveled to Belarus for the first time since the Ukraine war.
There, both heads of state had agreed, among other things, to continue military cooperation.
Despite the Russian-Belarusian cooperation, Alexander Lukashenko does not want to get involved in the war.
Should Arnold's prognosis come true, then there will be no new major offensive.
But the past shows that Putin is capable of many things.
Many did not want to and could not think of a war of aggression against Ukraine.
War has been raging for almost ten months now.