Ukraine is currently making preparations for its spring offensive, which seem to be going successfully, security expert Rainer Saks said.
"Ukraine is concentrating on creating an informational premise, which efforts have been very successful – the Russian side has accepted there will be an offensive. There has been speculation as to where it will come from, attempts to guess," Saks told Vikerraadio's "Uudis+" program.
In addition to information warfare, Ukraine, despite lacking a strong air force, has been trying to hit Russian logistics, observation tools, air defense and artillery using HIMARS and other Western missile systems.
"Russia has seen more such losses, especially in recent weeks. I would dare say that laying the groundwork is moving in the right direction for Ukraine. I don't know exactly how they've planned it, they won't tell anyone, but we can see them stepping up preparations," the expert remarked.
Because such strikes are already being carried out, it could be suggested the offensive has begun, he added, pointing to explosions behind the Russian lines and nearby regions caused by Ukrainian missile fire and presumably more frequent air strikes.
"The other thing we can see are operations meant to distract Russia, such as what is going on in Belgorod Oblast," Saks said. He suggested that Belgorod was one area where the offensive was expected to come.
"It is a moment for the Russian leadership where they have to react with force. The ideal outcome for Ukraine would be Russia moving its forces from one area to the other to try and react to a Ukrainian initiative, which would give the latter to them."
The expert said that the ability to surprise Russian troops when liberating occupied territory could bring Ukraine success.
"Russian forces are positioned unevenly and cannot defend the entire area with the same level of efficiency. There is military logic involved when planning offensive operations, where an attack would be the most appropriate. But Ukraine has demonstrated that they have the upper hand when it comes to the element of surprise. Ukrainians find success when they can deliver a surprise, do something no one really thought of," Saks suggested.
He said that it is not in Ukraine's interest to drag out the war, also because it does not have the resources for a drawn-out conflict. "Things won't get any easier for them if they just exhaust Russian troops."
"A decisive step to create a new situation needs to be taken eventually, and we have reason to believe that Ukrainian forces can inflict considerable losses to the Russian side, which could create a favorite moment for somehow ending the war. Ukraine has no way to exit the war in a way to keep itself from further harm without taking the initiative and an active role," Saks said.
If Russia loses the capacity of attacking Ukraine again in the near term, the latter will have achieved its goal.
Editor: Marcus Turovski