Tensions within the Russian leadership are likely to increase if an expected spring offensive marking the first anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine fails to achieve anything, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said Monday.
The latest assessment of the status of Russia’s war against its neighbor from the ministry’s Defense Intelligence unit said Russian forces are likely to come under “increasing political pressure” as Friday’s anniversary approaches.
“It is likely that Russia will claim that Bakhmut has been captured to align with the anniversary, regardless of the reality on the ground,” the report stated.
Russia was continuing to pursue several offensive axes in the eastern Ukraine regions of Donetsk and Luhansk centered on the cities of Vuhledar, Kremina, and Bakhmut but casualties reportedly remain high, particularly in Bakhmut and Vuhledar, according to the report.
“Specifically, the ‘elite’ 155th and 40th Naval Infantry Brigades have sustained very high losses in Vuhledar and are likely combat ineffective,” the report said.
Suspilne Ukraine, the state broadcaster, said that in the past 24 hours Russian forces launched 10 rocket and 25 air strikes against targets in the Luhansk, Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions and 62 attacks from rocket salvo systems. The attacks caused civilian deaths and injuries, the report said without providing numbers.
Russian troops shelled the Kharkiv region three times Monday morning injuring two people with a third person reported possibly buried under rubble.
Britain’s forthright assessment comes as it becomes more and more apparent that the success or failure of a Spring offensive hinges on ordinary Russian soldiers’ commitment; or lack of.
Source : UPI