#UKRAINERUSSIAWAR. This is how the Russians are preparing for the Ukrainian counter-offensive


On 30 March, Denis Pushilin was appointed first deputy prime minister of the DPR and Yevgeny Solntsev was appointed prime minister, the ‘New Russia’ has thus made its rulers official, all this while the Ukrainian-Russian conflict is still ongoing and the Ukrainian president is aiming to retake the territories lost and conquered by the Russians. Many are talking about a Ukrainian spring counteroffensive and on the social sphere this has been talked about for weeks.

According to the Russian social sphere, Russian troops are preparing to repel a large-scale offensive of the Ukrainian armed forces from the southern directions, using a defensive strategy.

Many Ukrainian officials say they are ready to launch an offensive. There is a lot of information about this in the social sphere, some of the conversations posted between Russian soldiers were confirmed by the Russian army, which is directly involved in the ‘special operation’ in the DPR and the Zaporozhizhia direction. According to them, the Ukrainian army has concentrated a large amount of equipment and personnel in the Bachmut area and there is a high probability of an offensive by the Ukrainian armed forces in the Kherson and ZaporozhiZhia regions.

Thus, three months later, the Russian army is returning to the concept insisted on by the former commander of the troop grouping in the area of Ukrainian operations, Sergei Surovikin. In December 2022, Valery Gerasimov, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, removed him from his post and a large-scale offensive was preferred to defence.

Blogger Sergey Kolyasnikov, considered the speaker of Russian militarist patriotic circles, also drew attention to this in his Telegram channel. “The concept of “defending our positions, reducing the Ukrainian army and exhausting the West with military actions in the middle of Europe, while simultaneously building our army for subsequent active actions in the future” versus the concept of “let’s go on the offensive and defeat the enemy right away, because we already have everything we need for that. The winning concept is obvious,’ Kolyasnikov wrote.

Vladimir Putin on 30 March signed a decree on spring conscription for military service. From 1 April to 15 July 2023, Russian citizens aged 18-27 who are not in the reserve and subject to conscription for military service will be called up, a total of 147,000 people. In the autumn of 2022, 120 thousand people were called up for military service and last spring 134.5 thousand people. On average, in recent years, each call-up has involved about 130 thousand people. Of these, some will remain in the ranks of the army. The new military training plans to find drone pilots to send to the front as well as personnel for logistics and artillery.

Boosting the military’s confidence were the words of the Chinese Foreign Minister who spoke of a new alliance and cooperation in the defence sector. Russia, according to one account, ‘has it all: oil, gas, coal, vast arable land, and modernisation of Soviet military technology and logistics leading to Europe and the Atlantic. In return, Russia could receive investment and high-tech, not the most relevant, but at least some: the West has given practically nothing’.

Not only 500,000 soldiers and the 50,000 members of Kim Jong-un’s special forces are ready to fight in Ukraine for Russia, if China will allow it. According to military correspondents with reference to the leadership of the Korea War Veterans Organisation, ‘50,000 full-time special forces are ready to be sent’. In order for ‘500,000 employees of North Korea’s PMCs to be able to work here (in the zone of operations)’, China must give the North’s ‘green light’ to set up a kind of private military company.

Whether this issue was discussed during the Chinese leader’s visit to Russia is unknown. As a reminder, all citizens of North Korea perform military service: men 10 years; women 7 years; graduates 5 years; scientists 3 years. Despite the flashy uniforms, Kim’s generals have studied Soviet technology analogues (T-62 and T-72 tanks, self-propelled guns such as ‘Gvozdiki’ and ‘Akatsiya’, Su-25, MiG- 29) and still Kim’s army is considered one of the largest and most motivated in the world. However, in the battles in Ukraine, ‘skill in old equipment’ could come in handy: Russia has a lot of them in stock.

Graziella Giangiulio

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