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Prime Ukrainian safety official says Russia making ready for ‘most escalation’ within the struggle

CNN  — 

Russia is gearing up for a “most escalation” of the struggle in Ukraine, doubtlessly as quickly as the subsequent few weeks, in response to a high Ukrainian nationwide safety official.

“These will likely be defining months within the struggle,” Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s Nationwide Safety and Protection Council, informed Sky Information in an interview broadcast Tuesday.

“I’m acutely aware the primary fights are but to come back and they’ll occur this 12 months, inside two to 3 months,” he mentioned.

Russian army soldiers training in eastern Ukraine on January 31.

“Russia is making ready for max escalation. It’s gathering the whole lot potential, doing drills and coaching. In terms of an offensive from totally different instructions, as of now, I can say that we aren’t excluding any situation within the subsequent two to 3 weeks.”

Ukrainian officers have warned for a while of a renewed Russian offensive and have requested for extra highly effective weaponry from Western allies to counter the menace.

Following Danilov’s feedback, a Ukrainian navy spokesperson mentioned Wednesday that there are indicators Russia is making ready for a renewed offensive in southern Ukraine.

A Russian Mi-28 military helicopter pictured in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine on January 19.

“Not simply on land, however on the ocean and in air as effectively,” Natalia Humeniuk, head of the United Coordinating Press Middle of Safety and Protection Forces of the South of Ukraine, mentioned on nationwide tv.

Ukrainian intelligence had famous modifications to exercise of Russian naval forces within the Black Sea, she added.

“It will increase and reduces quickly, and the missile carriers are transferring forwards and backwards,” she mentioned.

In the meantime, the Belarusian Protection Ministry on Tuesday mentioned it will maintain an extra week of joint navy drills with Russia.

“In the course of the week, navy representatives from the 2 nations will follow joint planning of using troops based mostly on the prior expertise of armed conflicts in recent times,” the ministry mentioned in a press release.

In latest weeks Western allies, together with Germany, the USA and the UK, have promised to ship tanks to Ukraine to assist its forces combat again towards a Russian offensive that’s anticipated to start when climate situations enhance within the spring.

Germany has pledged to ship an preliminary 14 Leopard 2 tanks, the UK has promised 14 Challenger 2 tanks and the US has dedicated 31 Abrams.

Nonetheless delivering the tanks and coaching Ukrainian troops to make use of them will take time.

German Protection Minister Boris Pistorius mentioned its Leopard 2s will attain Ukraine by the tip of March, whereas UK Protection Secretary Ben Wallace mentioned the Challenger 2s needs to be offered to Kyiv “this aspect of the summer time.” And on January 26, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh mentioned that deliveries of the Abrams tanks will take “months.”

Ukrainian officers have additionally requested for fighter jets, however their plea has to this point gone unanswered.

On January 30, US President Joe Biden reiterated that Washington wouldn’t ship its F16 fighter jets to Ukraine, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has additionally mentioned that he doesn’t envisage offering warplanes to Kyiv.

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