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Russia planning major offensive to mark first anniversary of war: Ukraine defence minister. Oleksii Reznikov said that as many as 500,000 troops may have been mobilised by Russia as he calls for more weapons to be sent to Ukraine” by Jonathan Yerushalmy Thu 2 Feb 2023 01.16 GMT https://www.theguardian.com
Excerpt: “Speaking to French media, Reznikov warned that Russia would call on a large contingent of mobilised troops [1]. Referring to Russia’s general mobilisation of 300,000 conscripted soldiers in September last year, he claimed that numbers at the border suggest the true size could be closer to 500,000.

“We do not underestimate our enemy,” Reznikov said. “Officially, they announced 300,000, but when we see the troops at the borders, according to our assessments it is much more.”
Reznikov said the offensive would probably be concentrated in two areas: the country’s east, which has seen heavy fighting over recent weeks; and the south.

“We think that, given that [Russia] lives in symbolism, they will try to try something around February 24.”

Last week Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, also warned that Russia was preparing a wave of offensives to mark the anniversary of the 24 February invasion.

He claimed Russian troops had been given the task of going “beyond the borders” of the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Donetsk and Luhansk make up the Donbas, a region bordering Russia that President Vladimir Putin identified as a goal for takeover from the war’s outset.

Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai has claimed that Russian forces are expelling residents near the Russian-held parts of the front line so they can’t tell Ukrainian artillery forces about troop deployments.

“There is an active transfer of [Russian troops] to the region and they are definitely preparing for something on the eastern front in February,” Haidai said…
[1] https://www.bfmtv.com/international/europe/ukraine/le-ministre-de-la-defense-ukrainien-pense-que-la-russie-va-tenter-une-offensive-vers-le-24-fevrier_AV-202302010716.html Excerpts from the Guardian, Open Licence: “Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd”. Read the entire article here: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/feb/02/russia-major-new-offensive-to-mark-one-year-anniversary-ukraine-war

French original here: “LE MINISTRE DE LA DÉFENSE UKRAINIEN PENSE QUE LA RUSSIE VA “TENTER UNE OFFENSIVE” VERS LE 24 FÉVRIER Hugues Garnier Le 01/02/2023 à 20:44 https://www.bfmtv.com/international/europe/ukraine/le-ministre-de-la-defense-ukrainien-pense-que-la-russie-va-tenter-une-offensive-vers-le-24-fevrier_AV-202302010716.html

Putin Has Ordered Troops to Seize Donetsk and Luhansk Regions by March” February 2, 2023
A Russian dictator Putin has ordered his troops to seize the whole territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine by March. This was said by Andrii Cherniak, a representative of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine, in a comment for Kyiv Post. https://www.kyivpost.com/post/11732

The representative of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine stated that there are signs that Russia is preparing for a new attempt of massive attacks and seizing the east of the country.

“We observe that the Russian occupation troops are redeploying additional assault groups, units, weapons and military equipment. According to the military intelligence of Ukraine, Putin has given the order to seize the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions by March,” Andrii Cherniak noted.

DIU’s representative also said that Russia is using the territory of Belarus to train mobilized soldiers, it will not have sufficient forces and means to launch a massive offensive against Ukraine from this direction in the coming weeks.

“As of today, there are no formed strike groups. There is no threat of Belarus being involved in a full-scale invasion on the side of Russia against Ukraine but this is also definitely a risk that we have to take into account,” the representative of Ukraine’s military intelligence said”. https://gur.gov.ua/en/content/putin-nakazav-viiskam-zakhopyty-donechchynu-ta-luhanshchynu-do-bereznia.html

Russians do not return aircraft after joint military exercises in Belarus 02.02.2023 20:56 https://www.ukrinform.net
In Belarus, joint aviation exercises of the Russian and Belarusian armed forces have ended. However, the return of enemy aircraft to their base airfields has not been recorded.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said this in an operational update as of 18:00 on February 2, Ukrinform reports. https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua

According to the General Staff, throughout the day, Russian troops launched two missile strikes on the civilian infrastructure of Kramatorsk city, Donetsk region. The Russian shelling damaged 13 two-story buildings, 3 four-story buildings, a children’s clinic, a school, garages, and cars.  There were victims among the civilian population.

The invaders carried out 3 air strikes and more than 15 attacks using multiple launch rocket systems. In particular, they struck civilian objects in the village of Komyshany, Kherson region, injuring four civilians, including a five-year-old child, whose condition is moderate. In addition, the Russians damaged the civilian infrastructure of Ochakiv city, Mykolaiv region.

It is emphasized that the threat of enemy air strikes and missile attacks remains high throughout the territory of Ukraine.

“The enemy continues to conduct active reconnaissance and preparations for an offensive in certain directions, taking measures to strengthen its troops. Offensive operations are ongoing in the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Novopavlivka directions,” the General Staff said.

It has been established that Russian troops are suffering heavy losses.

“At the same time, joint exercises of the aviation component of the regional grouping of the armed forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus have ended. The return of enemy aircraft to base airfields has not been recorded,” the General Staff noted.

During the past day, the Ukrainian Air Force launched four strikes on the areas of concentration of Russian troops. In addition, Ukrainian defenders destroyed a Russian Merlin drone. Units of the missile forces and artillery of Ukraine’s  Defense Forces, for their part, struck three areas of concentration of enemy manpower and a command post.

As reported by Ukrinform, as of February 2, 2023, the Armed Forces of Ukraine eliminated about 129,030 Russian invaders”. https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-ato/3664425-russians-do-not-return-aircraft-after-joint-military-exercises-in-belarus.html

Entire video BFMTV interview here:

YouTube now has auto-translate on most videos, including this one, for those who haven’t mastered the French language: “L’interview du ministre de la Défense ukrainien sur BFMTV en intégralitéhttps://youtu.be/Cn7djuRao9E