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CNN: Officials say new Russian offensive 'more aspirational than realistic'

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 16, 2023 2:52 AM 1 min read
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The U.S., U.K., and Ukraine do not believe that Russia has amassed the resources to make meaningful gains in its new offensive in eastern Ukraine, officials from the countries told CNN.

“It’s likely more aspirational than realistic,” one senior U.S. military official said to the news outlet.

Russia has increased its troop presence in and around Ukraine in recent months and, according to Western intelligence, has amassed fixed-wing fixed-wing and rotary aircraft near Russia’s border with Ukraine, two officials privy to the information told the Financial Times on Feb. 14.

Western officials, however, do not think that these numbers will translate into successes on the battlefield.

“It’s unlikely Russian forces will be particularly better organized and so unlikely they’ll be particularly more successful, though they do seem willing to send more troops into the meat grinder,” one senior British official told CNN.

Serhii Cherevatyi, the spokesman of the Eastern Group of Ukraine's Armed Forces, said on Feb. 15 on national TV that Russian troops had lost 119 people killed and 163 wounded near Bakhmut in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk Oblast over the last 24 hours.

While the U.S. had assessed that Russia would need at least until May to amass enough force for a new large-scale offensive, Russian forces may be pressured to move faster by the Kremlin, despite heavy losses, the senior U.S. military official told CNN.

“(The Russians) amassed enough manpower to take one or two small cities in Donbas, but that’s it,” a senior Ukrainian diplomat said to CNN. “Underwhelming, compared to the sense of panic they were trying to build in Ukraine.”

Defense Ministry: Wagner Group losing up to 80% of some assault units near Bakhmut
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