President Vladimir Putin has fired the top Russian commander in Ukraine, just three months after his appointment.
Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov will now take command, replacing Sergei Surovikin, who has overseen recent brutal attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
The Institute for the Study of War says that current Russian force generation efforts are likely aimed at supporting some kind of new offensive operations, and it is unlikely that Gerasimov, who approved and did not oppose the disastrous war plan Russian February 2022, start opposing Putin now.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry believes that Gerasimov’s appointment as theater commander is an indicator of the increasing gravity of the situation facing Russia and a clear recognition that the campaign is not living up to strategic objectives. russians.
It is likely that your appointment aims to support a decisive Russian military effort in 2023probably the resumption of Russian offensive operations.
The question is where can it be?
The Institute for the Study of War has previously assessed that Russian forces appear to be preparing for a decisive military effort, possibly in the Luhansk region.
Intense fighting has continued in recent days on the approaches to Kremina, where Russia has almost certainly committed part of its airborne force to reinforce the front line after assessing that the sector was significantly vulnerable.
The Institute for the Study of War has also predicted a new Russian invasion of Ukraine from Belarus into northern Ukraine as the most dangerous course of action, although this remains the worst possible scenario.
According to the British Ministry of Defense, a new Russian-Belarusian joint tactical flight exercise is planned in Belarus: “The redeployment of Russian aircraft in Belarus is probably a genuine exercise, rather than a preparation for any further offensive operations against Ukraine.”
Although Russia maintains a large number of forces in Belarus, they are mainly engaged in training. They are unlikely to constitute a credible offensive force.
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