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US Official: Russian forces could launch new offensive operations once weather improves

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 24, 2023 10:30 PM 2 min read
John Kirby, White House national security council spokesperson, speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., on March 21, 2023. (Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Russia can launch offensive operations in several areas once the weather improves, White House National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby said in an interview with Voice of America on April 24.

"We know that in the spring, when the weather improves, and it is already starting to improve, we can expect that the Russians will want to go on the offensive in some areas," Kirby said.  

"We don't know exactly where and how they will do it, but we want to ensure that the Ukrainians able to better defend against it."

If Russia decides to launch offensive operations "they would have the ability to carry them out" and that's why the U.S. is "developing the capacities" that it provides to Ukraine, Kirby added.

According to Kirby, the primary needs of the Ukrainian military are armored vehicles, artillery, air defense, and logistical support.

In late March Kirby told CNN that the likelihood of Russia launching a new offensive along with Ukraine's planned spring counteroffensive made the next few weeks of the war "critical" and that the U.S. and other Western allies had to do everything in their power to make sure Ukraine was prepared.

U.S. officials said on April 21 that 250 Ukrainian troops would be trained "in the coming weeks" on how to maintain and use 31 M1A1 Abrams tanks. The training course will last for a total of 10 weeks and upon its completion the 31 M1A1 battle tanks will be sent to the frontline.

Compared with Soviet tanks, which Ukraine and Russia both currently use on the battlefield, the mobility and firepower of western equipment could help Ukraine launch more effective counteroffensive operations.

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