Russia is gathering military forces on the eastern side of Ukraine, says the head teacher of military skills at the National Defense University, lieutenant colonel Jarmo Mattila.
– We estimate that Russia is amassing troops in the eastern part of Ukraine for some bigger operation, he says.
Mattila does not want to say in more detail where the troops will be assembled. Information on the movement of Russian armed forces is available, for example, from commercially available satellite images.
Assistant professor at the Swedish National Defense University Ilmari Käihkön according to which information on the movements of Russian troops can be obtained from other sources as well.
– After all, larger troop movements can be seen from satellite images, but information about troop movements can also be obtained through signals intelligence, spies, defectors and ordinary social media users, he says by email.
According to Käihkö, there have been no signs of the expected major attack yet.
– Russia’s offensive capability has been considered weak at least until spring, but according to some estimates, Russia could go on the offensive in the next few weeks, Käihkö reflects.
According to Mattila, after the campaign launch in the fall, Russia has brought new troops from the training centers to the front. Some of them have been taken to units at the front to compensate for losses. New units have apparently been formed from some of them. New trainees are also flowing into the training centers.
The time of the attack is a question mark
According to Mattila, it is impossible to know the time of the Russian attack, but according to expert estimates, the end of February and March are considered the most likely.
The spring frost season is thought to prevent major armored operations. Mattila points out, however, that even last year the fighting continued despite the keleriko season.
Military experts have been expecting Ukraine to launch its own offensive during the winter. It has even been considered necessary for the overall success of the war, as Russian forces are known to be strengthened by spring.
The situation has now changed, as Ukraine has received promises from the West about modern battle tanks. Training their crews takes time, so the wagons will not reach the front until spring.
Mattila does not believe that Ukraine would attack at this stage without effective Western armor. Ukraine may have already received lighter assault armor, but they are still not enough for success.
– Yes, they are waiting for those battle tanks to come. Together, assault tanks and battle tanks form the whole of a tank force. They need each other, Mattila analysed.
Have you learned from spring?
Mattila believes that Russia has learned from its poor military success last spring. At that time, Russia spread its forces over the entire long border of Ukraine and also Belarus.
Now, Russia is probably creating a centralized force group and center of gravity in accordance with traditional warfare doctrines. Several units would be concentrated there, the use of fire would be stronger and the attack would be tried to move quickly. In this way, Russia would pursue its military goals more quickly.
Russia is forming coalitions that are currently detached from the front. So they don’t have to participate in the ongoing fighting in the Donetsk region.
The big question is how Ukraine will be able to respond to a possible major attack when it has not yet received Western armor. Mattila is quite confident.
– When you look at Bahmut’s situation, for example, quite well. And Ukraine has been able to prepare for a Russian attack for a long time, it does not come as a surprise.
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