Day 349: Fighting Intensifies in East as Russia Prepares for Possible Offensive

    Day 349: Fighting Intensifies in East as Russia Prepares for Possible Offensive
    Last updated Feb 07, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters [via BBC]


    • Ukrainian governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Haidai, said on Tuesday that tens of thousands of Russian reinforcements are being sent to eastern Ukraine as Russia reportedly prepares for an offensive planned for later this month. However, the UK's Ministry of Defense said that any plans for a new offensive may be "unlikely" to be successful given a lack of munitions and manpower.
    • A new offensive would come as Russian forces continue their push to capture the Donetsk city of Bakhmut, which has seen heavy fighting in recent months. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that Russian forces were making good progress, but Ukraine maintains that the city has not yet been encircled.
    • As the fighting continues, Ukraine claimed that the last 24 hours were the deadliest of the entire war for Russian troops, increasing its tally of Russian military dead by 1,030 overnight to 133,190. These figures cannot be verified and are often seen as unreliable.
    • This comes as Russia’s state Investigative Committee said it was examining whether Ukrainian forces used chemical weapons near Bakhmut and Soledar. Ukrainian officials said that its forces have never used chemical weapons anywhere at any time. Russia’s allegations couldn't be independently verified.
    • Meanwhile, Ukrainian Pres. Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday said, in response to the continued controversy and speculation regarding whether Ukraine's Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov will be removed, that "rumors or any other pseudo-information" that could undermine unity in the war against Russia must end.
    • Elsewhere, some analysts predict that Switzerland is close to breaking its centuries-old policies of neutrality in global and European affairs as the Swiss public increasingly has supported Ukraine, and the current political mood has put pressure on the government to end a ban on exports of Swiss weapons to war zones.


    Anti-Russia narrative

    In attempting to take Bakhmut, Russian forces have used scorched earth tactics and turned the once-popular tourist destination into a hell-on-earth. The Kremlin is so hungry for any success that it's willing to go to any length to take the city — even if it's been turned to rubble.

    Pro-Russia narrative

    If Russian forces take control of Bakhmut, it would be a devastating loss for Ukraine. Not only has Ukraine lost hundreds of troops in trying to retain the city, but this operation would also enable Russia to continue its advance into key areas of Donetsk, including Slovyansk and Kramatorsk.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 40% chance that at least 100,000 Russian soldiers will be killed in the Russo-Ukrainian war before 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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