The situation on the fronts remains serious for Ukrainian defenders. The Russian army is on the offensive, and Ukraine is still struggling with an acute shortage of ammunition. Nevertheless, Putin’s troops are also suffering. This was announced by t-online Gustav Gressel, Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).who believes that Putin will not enter into negotiations without the defeat of his army.
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«The situation is serious. The Russian winter offensive is progressing slowly, the number of attacks and their intensity have recently decreased somewhat, but the Ukrainian defenders are still in a difficult position. The Ukrainian army still has problems with ammunition, and Russia has great advantages, especially in the field of artillery. Russian artillery is often out of reach of Ukrainian drones. That is why the greater firepower of the Russians is currently very noticeable in this area. On the other hand, Ukraine continues to be very successful in disabling armored vehicles. Accompanied by heavy artillery and supported by battle tanks, small assault units of the occupiers are advancing towards Ukrainian positions. Now they attack only in companies, that is, up to 150 soldiers. But they use a lot of ammunition from Iran and North Korea. Yes, the Ukrainian army lost some positions, but they lose only a few hundred meters. So far, Putin’s winter offensive has not been successful. The Russian army failed to encircle Avdiivka. The heart of Ukrainian defense here is the coke plant in the northwest. The defensive positions there still remain intact. In the southeast of the city, on the other hand, the situation is more problematic, since the wooden houses there are not very suitable for building defenses. Many of these buildings are now completely destroyed by artillery. It’s a desert and ruins.”
According to the expert, Russia started its offensive prematurely, the army does not make any breakthroughs, and Ukraine manages to destroy a lot of Russian equipment.
«putin continues to exhaust his soldiers and he may continue to exhaust men and material for some time to come. It appears that this Russian offensive has reached its climax. The Russians probably won’t be able to make any major breakthrough. Their offensive power is now weakening, and the Russian offensive is running out of steam. Then the weather will deteriorate again, and in March presidential elections will be held in Russia. Then the Russian army can try again in the spring or early summer. There were rumors that the Kremlin would like to conquer the entire Donetsk region before the presidential elections in Russia. But it won’t work. So I don’t think there is any particular goal. On the other hand, Avdiivka is unknown to many Russians. Therefore, I do not believe that military success will play a big role in this election. Ukraine manages to destroy six to ten times more troops and equipment than it loses. The lack of resources plays into Putin’s hands, but from his perspective, this is a long-term war that could last until 2027 or 2028. The Russian president is aiming for a long-term, exhausting war».
According to Gressel, Putin now feels very confident, but this optimism is a little premature.
«He may rejoice too soon, because the ammunition situation will improve significantly for Ukraine in the second half of 2024. Unfortunately, decisions are always taken too long in the West. But it is at this stage that it becomes clear that Russia does not really want to negotiate. Why would Putin negotiate if he can get more than 18 percent of the neighboring country? He hopes that Trump will give him Ukraine».
Earlier it was reported that Germany is ready to sign an agreement on security guarantees of Ukraine.
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