By Bren Belmonte | Staff Writer
Today, Ukraine anticipates a potentially significant Russian offensive conducted for “symbolic” purposes due to the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
As of Feb. 8, Russia is under increasing pressure from Ukrainian forces, sparking fierce battles in the Donetsk region of Eastern Ukraine.
According to the Guardian, “President [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy said Russian forces were trying to make gains that they could show on the anniversary of their invasion, and issued a dire account of the situation in the eastern province of Donetsk.”
Oleksii Reznikov, the minister of defense of Ukraine, warned the French media about the possibility that Russia would mobilize a huge quantity deployment of troops.
“A definite increase has been noted in the offensive operations of the occupiers on the front in the east of our country,” Zelenskyy said in a video address.
Both Russia and Ukraine are reinforcing their defenses during this period in preparation.
A senior sergeant of Ukraine has instructed his men to strengthen their shelters daily. The invading force has also built two further lines of defense across the plain to the south, which include phalanxes of tiny concrete pyramids known as “dragon’s teeth,” minefields, slit trenches, and tank traps.
In a difficult battle that has both symbolic and strategic significance, Ukrainian commanders in the east must make the difficult decision of whether to abandon the city of Bakhmut or defend their positions in the face of punishing losses and the increasing prospect of encirclement.
Military analyst Yevhen Dikiy told the Daily Express that “forces are pushing from both the north and south to encircle Bakhmut, using superior troop numbers to try to cut it off.”
Zelenskyy cautioned that, as Russia sends more troops into the battlefield to weaken Ukrainian defenses, the situation on the eastern front line would become more difficult.
“The Ukrainian military will work to prepare for a counter-offensive ahead of Russia’s push for a greater attack,” stated Reznikov to the New York Post.
After months of issues, Russian forces have been striving for a decisive battlefield win. They are currently working to tighten their hold on the town of Bakhmut and are also attempting to seize the nearby coal-mining city of Vuhledar, which is also located in the eastern area of Donetsk.
“Russian forces would respond to the delivery of the long-range weapons by trying to push Ukrainian troops farther away from the borders,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, according to the New York Post.
As of Feb. 8, Kyiv declared the total number of Russian military casualties as 133,190.
In a tweet, Zelenskyy wrote, “The only way to stop Russian terrorism is to defeat it by tanks, fighter jets, [and] long-range missiles.”
In a $2.2 billion military aid package, Washington declared that America will ship new GPS-guided rockets to Ukraine that will not arrive for at least nine months.
Germany announced that it would deliver additional Leopard 1 battle tanks as further support to Kyiv. This statement happened ten days after President Joe Biden announced that 31 M1 Abrams would be sent to Ukraine as well.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview that “there was agreement that weapons supplied by the West would not be used to attack Russian territory.”