Expert: Russia's big offensive has already been going on for some time

Russia has already started its next big offensive in Ukraine and it has been going on for some time, security expert Rainer Saks said on Tuesday.

Ukrainian officials and the world's media are reporting a new offensive is imminent and will likely coincide with the anniversary of the start of the full-scale invasion on Feburary 24.

But Saks said rumors about the start of a new major offensive are largely coming from the Russian side.

"By my reckoning, it's been going on for a while. Russia has no time. If someone starts talking about a big offensive starting in two or three weeks, then that's when the roads in Ukraine will start to fall apart in spring, the weather will become warmer. I don't imagine it [the offensive] can get much bigger than now," the expert told ETV's "Ringvaade".

Saks said Russia's heavy losses arise because they attack very actively.

"I doubt very much that they will manage to increase this activity very much," he added. "Russia does not have time to delay a major offensive. If they want to get started, the moment is now and in the coming weeks."

Ukraine estimates 300,000 Russian troops have been deployed against the country. Saks said they are not facing combat on Ukrainian territory, some are in reserve in both Russian and occupied territory.

Saks said the Ukrainians are fighting fairly successful battles of attrition around Bakhmut but the situation is still dangerous as supply routes are at risk.

In recent weeks senior Ukrainian officials have said Russia is preparing a new large-scale offensive to coincide with the fullscale invasion.

Outgoing defense minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Russia is expected to prioritize taking the whole of the eastern Donbas as well as launching offensives in the south of Ukraine, the BBC reported.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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