What the Ukrainian leadership says

At the end of January, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, warned that a new offensive by the Russian occupiers could begin in any direction.

"The attack can come from any direction. The attack can be in the south or the east. He (Putin - ed.) set the goal of reaching the administrative borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. These constant tasks, hundreds and thousands of people die every day, and he sets these tasks anyway," the president said.

Zelenskyi added that 

Russia's revenge, in particular, in Donbas, did not stop

, but the plans of the Russian Federation to seize larger territories of Ukraine will most likely fail.

Mykhailo Podolyak, adviser to the head of the President's Office, also believes that Russia's new attack on Ukraine will not be the same as on the night of February 23-24, 2022, due to the enemy's lack of resources and the change in the position of the aggressor country. 

"We will simply destroy them much more effectively than at the beginning of this war. This is the logic of war. Therefore, there will definitely not be such an option as they had on the night of February 23-24. It will be an option of counterattacks, maximally effective defensive or even counteroffensive actions of the Ukrainian army," announced Podolyak.

In turn, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, said that about 300,000 men have already been drafted into the army in Russia.

Half of them have already been thrown to the front, the other part is kept in reserve for a new offensive, which will begin in a month or two.

Photo: Getty Images

According to him, the occupiers are primarily preparing for an attack in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The Secretary of the National Security Council added that there are many mobilized and "iron" troops of the Russian Federation, so the Armed Forces must be "in maximum concentration and readiness."

At the same time, Danilov believes that the Russian invaders will not be able to repeat the situation of February 2022 and go on a full-scale offensive.

However, the head of the Luhansk OVA, Serhiy Gaidai, assumes that the "freshly mobilized" Russians, whom Danilov refers to, and who are completing the so-called "training", will be transferred to Luhansk Oblast.

According to him, the occupiers gave the Gauleiter of the temporarily occupied territories of the Luhansk region an ultimatum: "either the Russian Federation will go

to the administrative borders of the region by April 1

, or there will be personnel decisions."

"The Russians are definitely preparing for something on the eastern front in February. The training course for the newly mobilized will end next month and, most likely, they will come to Luhansk region," Gaidai suggests.

In turn, the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Oleksiy Reznikov, also warned about the risk of a new 

offensive by the Russians


According to him, in the


the enemy can attack from the areas that the Russians

have already occupied in the south and east of Ukraine


Forecasts of the General Staff and the military

In December, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces 

Valery Zaluzhny

 warned that the Russian Federation was

 preparing for a new major offensive

 against Ukraine.

According to him, for this purpose, Putin is gathering a group of up to 200,000 troops, which can launch an offensive in 


 or in the



In his opinion, Kyiv may also be under threat.

Photo: Associated Press

However, the commander of the group of forces and means of defense of Kyiv, Oleksandr Pavlyuk, says that today on the territory of Belarus, the Russians do not have a suitable group that could carry out an attack on the capital.

However, the Ukrainian military still does not rule out the possibility that Russia may again march from the north, in particular to Kyiv.

At the same time, the Kremlin's focus is currently

on Donbas.

Ukrainian intelligence is also inclined to the fact that the most active battles will continue in the Donetsk and Luhansk directions in the coming months.

Kyrylo Budanov, head of the Ministry of Defense, is convinced that in 2023, the Russian invaders will try to capture most of 

the territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions

According to Vadym Skibitskyi, deputy chief of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the enemy is currently transferring the 2nd mechanized division of the 1st Tank Army from Belarus.

Therefore, there is a risk of a new attempt by the occupiers to attack across the border in the Kupyan direction.

It should be noted that Vadym Skibitsky previously warned that the 

spring and early summer of 2023 will be decisive in a full-scale war.

 According to his forecast, around

February-March, the

Russians will try to take control of Kupyansk, Svatove, and Kreminna in the direction of the Kharkiv region.

Opinions of foreign partners

The director of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William Burns, believes that the next six months of war will be "critical".

According to him, 

key events

will take place at the front in the next six months .

This period will be decisive, according to Burns.

"Putin, I think, is just now betting that he can make time work for him," says the CIA director.

The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Lithuania Valdemaras Rupshis believes that Russia is 

preparing a new large-scale offensive

, and

it is possible to prevent this only with the help of an established supply of weapons to the Ukrainian military in sufficient quantity.

General of Poland Waldemar Skzypchak suggests that Russia can attack Ukraine from its own territory - from the direction of Voronezh, Kursk, Bryansk, move from there in a southern direction, west of Kharkiv, along the Vorskla River, which flows into the Dnipro.

Under this scenario 

, Poltava and Dnipro are under attack.

Photo: Associated Press

In turn, the Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki, believes that Putin is probably planning to surround Kyiv again.

According to him, the occupiers during the new offensive can leave from two or three different directions.

Probably, the Polish Prime Minister believes, "Putin will want to wait until all the mud, swamps and poorly prepared ground for the offensive dries up."

"I think that the plan of Putin and his people ... is to surround Ukraine. As he prepares all these plans, he probably feels that he needs to attack from two or three different directions. So I think that the Ukrainians are not can rule out an offensive from the Belarusian northern part of Ukraine to surround Kyiv from the west," Moravetskyi believes.

Security expert and former high-ranking British intelligence officer Philip Ingram is convinced that the 

next phase of the war between Russia and Ukraine will not be able to start 

in the spring because of the weather, in particular that the ground is too soft at this time.

According to him, there are three areas where battles will be concentrated if the area is sufficiently strengthened -

 Zaporizhzhia, Kreminnaya district and Bakhmut

At the same time, the Institute for the Study of War is inclined to think that the Russian Federation will try to carry out a new offensive


 only in the


region in the next six months, because Russia does not have the strength to capture more than 11,300 square kilometers of the unoccupied Donetsk region.

In general, according to the assessments of American and European officials, a Russian offensive in the east of Ukraine is inevitable, even "on the condition that Kyiv refuses additional supplies of weapons for its own offensive in the south in the spring."

So, high-ranking American officials are advising Ukrainian forces to bide their time and withdraw from Bakhmut to wait for weapons and gather resources for

the spring offensive


Assumptions of military experts

Mykhailo Samus, deputy director of the Army, Conversion and Disarmament Research Center, believes that the Russians are no longer capable of carrying out such a large-scale offensive as it was on February 24.

However, the Russian Federation may try to enter the administrative borders of

Donetsk and Luhansk regions

"What Russia really wants is to capture Donbas as soon as possible, because Putin has no more time, he can't wait. In particular, he can't wait until February 24, because he needs to speak before the federal assembly," he said. Myself

Military expert Dmytro Snegiriov also supports this opinion.

According to him, the new offensive of the occupiers will primarily concern the Donetsk direction.

Currently, we are talking about the efforts of the Russian Federation to break through the first line of defense and reach the second: Kostyantynivka, Chasiv Yar, Kramatorsk, Sloviansk.

During February-March, the occupiers will try to solve a strategic issue, namely to enter the administrative borders of Donetsk region and occupy this territory.

Photo: Associated Press

Military expert Serhii Grabskyi warned that the

 new probable offensive of the Russian army may fall on February 24

, but the exact date is unknown, because it will depend on the dynamics at the front.

Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia directions are dangerous


He explained that the timeline for a possible new offensive by the invaders may be moved closer to spring.

However, the possibility that the Russians may try to launch an attack earlier should not be ruled out.

"But at the same time, it is necessary to understand that the dynamics at the front are developing in such a way that these dates may shift, and in most cases they shifted to a later date," Grabskyi added.

Military analyst Oleksiy Hetman doubts that the Russians will be able to launch a new large-scale offensive.

According to him, under the current conditions, the Russian military-industrial complex will not be able to provide large army units of the occupiers with a sufficient amount of heavy equipment.

Light infantry troops will probably go on the offensive. 

The expert assumes that new motorized rifle regiments will be formed and those already fighting will be supplemented: "It will be something similar to the "black jackets" during the Second World War.

Poorly armed people, but in large numbers, will make this rush.

They are already doing it in the Bakhmut direction."

According to Hetman, the Russians themselves do not hide the directions of the attacks.

Obviously, the attacks will be attempted from the South, in order to reach the Dnieper through Zaporizhzhia, and from the North, in order to reach the Dnieper again through Kharkiv and Poltava.

Photo: Associated Press

Army General, head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine in 2005-2010, Mykola Malomuzh assumes that during its new offensive, Russia will act in two stages: the first stage is expected in February-March, and the second - in late spring or early summer.

According to him, during the first stage, the Russian invaders will attack Donetsk region, Luhansk region and Zaporizhzhia.

"Russia will act in two stages. 

The first stage it is already using is February-March - an offensive in Donbas:

 Donetsk, Luhansk regions. The task is to capture the entire Donetsk and Luhansk regions by March 1: not only Bakhmut, but also Kramatorsk, Slov Yansk. And 

the second position is the Zaporizhzhia region

, where the Russian command anticipates that we will begin preparations for offensive operations to liberate the south. That is why all forces are being thrown there today. For this, it will take about three to four weeks to raise reserves and counterattack our military positions," said Malomuzh.

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