Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev claimed that Ukrainian forces were preparing for a counteroffensive. He said the Russian general staff is aware of the developments and calculating a response.
“They are preparing for an offensive, everyone knows that. Our general staff is calculating this and is preparing its own solutions,” Medvedev was quoted as saying by the Guardian and Russian broadcasters.
Medvedev is the deputy chair of the Russian security council and said Moscow will “absolutely” use “any weapon” if Ukraine attempts to retake the Crimean peninsula which Russians annexed in 2014.
This is the latest nuclear threat issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s successor.
Also the Guardian in its report pointed out that as Moscow’s winter offensive slows down, there is a growing realisation among Russian forces in Ukraine that they may soon be on the defensive.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the mercenary Wagner group, in a video released on his social media channels on Thursday claimed that Ukraine is planning to encircle the private military’s forces in Bakhmut and advance towards the Black Sea, towards the Zaporizhzhya region, which Russia has partially annexed.
Prigozhin estimated that Ukraine amassed more than 80,000 soldiers around the eastern Ukrainian-held city.
The battle for Bakhmut has raged for months now as Russia keeps deploying troops to take control of the strategically important town and its adjoining areas.
Ukraine’s western allies have warned that Bakhmut could fall to Russian forces led by Wagner private military corporation (PMC) at any point of time.
The Guardian in its report said that the city has now “emerged as a potent symbol of Ukrainian resistance” given that Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, vowed to defend Bakhmut.
The report also said that Ukrainian soldiers are growing optimistic about turning the tide in the heavily damaged city as more shipments of modern western weapons arrive.
Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Ukraine’s land forces, said Bakhmut will be retaken in the same manner the Ukrainian forces retook control of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Balakliia and Kupyansk, in a message on his Telegram account.
Ukraine’s western allies claim Russia has lost 30,000 soldiers in Bakhmut.
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