Ukraine's Defence Intelligence shares expectations from February and March, explains changes in Russia's tactics

Chief Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine's Defence Ministry predicts active military operations in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts in February-March and notes a change in the tactics of the Russian invaders.

Source: Vadym Skibitskyi, deputy head of Ukrainian Chief Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence, in an interview with"l Ukrinform

Quote: "There will be active military operations in the Donetsk and Luhansk fronts. Valery Gerasimov (Chief of Russia's General Staff – ed.) did not complete the task that was set for him. The first is the complete occupation of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

So, in February-March, there will be active military operations, and it is in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts (because Vladimir Putin ordered to "take Donbass" until March – ed.)

We are seeing the transfer of the 2nd Mechanised Division of the 1st Tank Army from Belarus. We do not rule out that they may again try to enter our territory across the border, this is the Kupiansk front, and it is possible to resume offensive operations in order to return the territories previously captured by the enemy in the Luhansk region under control."

Details: Skibitskyi noted that Ukrainian Chief Intelligence Directorate sees "how they [troops] are now moving, where their (Russian) airborne units are being regrouped," and called it the "handwriting" of Valery Gerasimov, who replaced Sergei Surovikin as commander of the joint group of troops in Ukraine.

Quote: "This is Gerasimov's handwriting. Why? Because at the beginning of the full-scale aggression, we clearly knew that in all directions, in the second echelon, in fact, there were paratroopers in the strategic reserve, and in the offensive on Kyiv, they generally performed the main task. We expect that even now there will be a more active use of airborne troops.

Apparently, it was against this background that misunderstandings arose between Gerasimov and Commander of the Airborne Forces (during a meeting in the Russian General Staff, Mikhail Teplinsky told Gerasimov to go f*** himself and was dismissed – ed.).

First of all, due to the fact that under Gerasimov's command, almost half of the Russian airborne troops were knocked out in the first half of the Great War in Ukraine. And these are elite troops – the 76th Division, the 106th, the 98th… by the way, the latter was transferred from the Kherson front to other, more important ones, according to their estimates."

Details: Skibitskyi also noted that the Russians were changing tactics, because they "are not just learning, they have now begun to assess our power more realistically."

If in February 2022 they "entered in columns without any cover, without an organised air defence system, and we destroyed everything that went to Kyiv, right in the columns, now they realised that no one would meet them with flowers here."

Quote: "The more we fight, the more they draw conclusions. They are now building a clearer management system along the entire front line, and we can clearly see this. They are changing the tactics of using their units.

If a year ago they were BTG, battalion tactical groups, now they have returned to the classic scheme of forces' management: a brigade,  a regiment, a battalion. They began to create assault detachments numbering 140-160 people. Such detachments include mechanised units, tanks, artillery, mortars, and anti-tank weapons – to break through in certain areas precisely because of assault operations.

And there's also the Wagner Group tactic, which was used first in Bakhmut, then in Soledar. They are trying to conduct assault operations by delivering powerful artillery strikes in order to completely destroy our defensive positions. And wave after wave, they go on, despite the colossal human losses that they are suffering."

Details: The deputy head of the Chief Intelligence Directorate noted that the Russian invaders are also making certain changes in the use of cruise missiles: they choose other launch lines, other aviation flight routes, and try to "bypass" the Ukrainian air defence system.

"The longer the fighting lasts, the more experience the enemy gains. And the threat is that their current mobilised people are already different from those who came to our territory in October," Skibitskyi said.

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