Is There Really a Large Russian Winter Offensive in the Works?
Where are all the soldiers?
First, let’s hear from the man with the best prediction record on this war so far and what he has to say about the current situation on the front.
From Igor Strelkov’s Telegram blog:
Briefly about the situation at the front.
Kherson front - skirmishes, sniper duels, in general - an alarming lull.
Zaporizhzhya Front - the exchange of artillery and missile strikes, as well as the movement of reserves in the frontal zone from both sides, continues. There is no information regarding serious changes on the front.
In the Ugledar region, another (I don’t know what number) attempt by our troops to advance and break through the enemy’s long-term defenses with their foreheads [banging their heads against the wall, as Strelkov likes to call it]- as expected, died out.
In the Marinka area, a tactical-level meat grinder continues with losses on both sides, but without the advancement of the DPR / RF Armed Forces.
In the Avdiivka area - no changes.
In the Bakhmut area, fighting continues in the area of Opitnaya (now these fights - since Opitnaya has been "taken" for two weeks already - are called "cleaning operations"), as well as fierce skirmishes in the city outskirts. Over the past few days, Wagner subunits (and cooperating units) have not achieved significant tactical advance here, the enemy is responding to our attacks with counterattacks (also without much success). Both sides suffer significant losses. The enemy is replacing battered units with reserve ones and is not going to leave his positions. A similar situation is in the Soledar region.
In the Seversk direction - no changes.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine continue to regularly shell Donetsk, Horlivka, Yasinovataya, Makiivka and other settlements, both targeted (at military and industrial facilities) and "in other areas".
On the front of the LPR, local battles continue in the Krasnolimansky and Kupyansky directions. On both sides, there is an exchange of attacks and counterattacks by forces of platoon / company level units, tactical strongholds in the area northwest of Kremennaya (near the R-66 highway) and southwest of Svatovo regularly change hands. Artillery is actively working on both sides, and attack aircraft are also used (the Armed Forces of Ukraine also have it and are very active). In general, the front line remains unchanged - the Kremennaya-Svatovo road is under the fire control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
On the Border Front (along the borders of the Belgorod, Kursk and Bryansk regions - to the border with Belarus) - regular artillery skirmishes, sorties of the DRG, skirmishes of outposts and patrols. None of the sides makes any attempts to go on the offensive.
On the territory of Belarus, active movements of Russian and Belarusian troops are being made with unclear goals (it is possible both to prepare an offensive and divert the forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to this direction, as well as defensive measures in case of invasion of NATO troops from Poland). For its part, the Armed Forces of Ukraine also pulled up a number of reserve units and formations to the Belarusian border, allowing them to offer active resistance if an attempt to repeat the offensive actions of February-March 2022 should be made.
The situation at the front as a whole remains unchanged. The approach of the command of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation to conduct operations under the general command of General Surovikin has not changed at all - unpromising tactical-level forehead banging on the fortified positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, mainly by the forces of the LDNR Armed Forces and PMCs, continue. The strategic initiative has been completely given over to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but the enemy is in no hurry to use it for reasons unknown to me.
The last part comes as a bit of a surprise to me as well. Ukraine basically took both Kharkev and Kherson without much of a fight. They should have been able to continue into Zaporozhye. Perhaps it is too soon to breath a sigh of relief though. There has always been a tactical pause between each of these operations and so, in the coming days and weeks, we may hear the news that we have been waiting for: that the Ukrainians have grouped up and are about to breakthrough another point in the contact line using their numerical superiority.