Russia believes that it has halted the counter-offensive by Ukraine and is on track to seize back the initiative, a source close to the Kremlin has told News18.
Manpower reinforcements, which will be in place in the next few weeks, will allow Russia to hold the line and go on the attack simultaneously, the person said.
“The Ukrainians tried a counter-offensive; it was stopped. Our side is beginning to advance again in the centre, while expecting yet another Ukrainian attempt in the south,” said the Russian official, who is a close confidante of President Vladimir Putin. “Worry is for the wider public that maybe expected a quick victory. While the high command, seeing that the West is in fact taking over command from the Ukrainians, is quietly preparing for more serious action."
The war in Ukraine is poised dangerously as Ukrainian forces prepare for an assault on the southern city of Kherson, from where civilians have mostly been evacuated by Russia. Kherson will be a vital prize because it sits very close to the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
Ahead of that key battle, Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu has been briefing his counterparts, including Rajnath Singh, about what he says are Ukrainian plans to use a “dirty bomb”. Ukraine has denied the allegation.
“Ukrainians did it before, several times, but with chemicals,” said the Russian official. “They were preparing tanks of chemicals from some factories close to battle lines, they were also preparing TV crews with foreign participation. But it is somehow happening, that our friends in Kiev were telling us all about it in detail. So we were making these plans open, and they did not materialise. Let’s hope it won’t happen this time. They were planning to fake a hit deep inside Ukrainian territory, murdering their own people; so they, hopefully, cannot risk disclosure.”
While Russia is preparing for the defence of Kherson, it is not altogether convinced that an assault is imminent, or that it could even happen.
“Maybe it’s a feint, and the real attempt will happen in other places,” the Russian official said.
Nevertheless, the Russians are convinced that they have regained the initiative and are on the right track now.
“They may try a very big Kherson offensive; we may retreat, but the general idea, judging by our current action, is certainly not about a retreat,” he said.
This is because the mobilisation exercise has replenished Russian forces and the military-industrial complex is functioning at full capacity to turn out arms and ammunition in aid of the war effort.
“The airstrikes destroy communication and electric power all over Ukraine. That says something about advancement,” he said.
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