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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Live Day 641
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Ukrainian Military Intelligence Chief Says Separatists Preparing For Offensive
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The head of the main intelligence directorate of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, Vadim Skibitskiy, told the 112 television channel late last night that Russian-backed forces in the Donbass appear to be preparing for an offensive.

The Interpreter translates:

"We have recorded several signs indicating that preparations are under way for offensive operations. I'll say more. Various ranks of military officers are continuously deployed there, for example from the General Staff, the 12th Command Reserve of the Russian Armed Forces. This is on a permanent basis," he said.

In addition, intelligence has reports that a deputy commander of the Russian General Staff is in Donetsk, inspecting the readiness of the militants to fight without support from Russian soldiers.

Previous offensives in eastern Ukraine have been spearheaded by Russian troops and tanks, with local or Russian volunteer fighters moving in afterwards to hold territory. For the separatist paramilitaries to reach the same level of combat effectiveness as Russian regular forces would allow a major shift in tactics, also relieving pressure on the already overstretched Russian armed forces.

This may be especially important if ground troops are deployed to Syria. While the Kremlin explicitly denies this is planned, officials have admitted that artillery forces are already providing fire support to Syrian regime troops

Worryingly, the 'defence ministry' of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) announced this afternoon that their military forces were conducting exercises and had reached a "new level of combat readiness."

-- Pierre Vaux