Russia preparing ‘next offensive stage’ – military stepping up in ‘all operational areas

Vladimir Putin under pressure to announce victory in Ukraine

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New intelligence reports claim that Vladimir Putin’s forces are reinforcing their defensive positions and regrouping units in order to move forward. Journalist Mark Galeotti notes in his latest podcast that “there’s something of a lull” in the “special military operation” at this moment, with “both sides… going through an operational regroup”.

This comes less than a month after Western officials argued Russia could soon exhaust its combat capabilities due to the rapid rate of ammunition and artillery firing.

One senior figure told the Washington Post at the end of June: “There will come a time when the tiny advances Russia is making become unsustainable in light of the costs.”

They added Russia “will need a significant pause to regenerate capability”.

It now appears Moscow’s forces have taken the opportunity to regroup and to prepare for a new move forward.

The latest intelligence update from the UK Ministry of Defence reports: “Russia is reinforcing its defensive positions across the occupied areas of the South of Ukraine.

“This includes the movement of manpower, equipment and defensive stores between Mariupol and Zaporizhia, and in Kherson.

“Russian forces in Melitopol are also increasing security measures.”

It is likely soon to become clear what exactly this regrouping has been in aid of.

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The Kremlin this week said its forces would step up military operations in “all operational areas”.

Following this, Ukrainian military intelligence spokesman Vadym Skibitskyi said: “There is indeed a certain activation of the enemy along the entire front line…

“Clearly preparations are now underway for the next stage of the offensive.”

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He added that Russian rockets and missiles are continuing to pound upon cities.

Skibitskyi said: “It is not only missile strikes from the air and sea.

“We can see shelling along the entire line of contact, along the entire front line.

“There is an active use of tactical aviation and attack helicopters.”

Ukraine will also have made efforts to regroup and restock amid the recent “lull” in affairs, particularly given its weaker capabilities.

An intelligence report by Ukrainian and Western officials last month revealed that Kyiv’s forces were outgunned 20 to one to Russia in artillery and 40 to one in ammunition.

The Financial Times also last week published a report suggesting the West could soon find itself incapable of backing Ukraine at current levels given its own low stockpiles.

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