Russia Expects Counteroffensive ‘Surprises’ as Crimea Fears Grow


A Ukrainian soldier from the 28th Brigade trains for a critical spring counteroffensive against Russian troops. Moscow should be ready for “surprises” during the offensive, according to a pro-Russia analyst on state TV.SCOTT PETERSON/GETTY

Russian troops should expect “surprises” if the long-anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive gets underway, according to a pro-Kremlin analyst.

Ukrainian forces are expected to go on the offensive in the coming months, after repelling Russian attempts to capture the Donbas city of Bakhmut over the spring and summer, with heavy casualties reported on both sides.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed his military is preparing to counter-attack during an interview with Scandinavian media on Saturday. Over the coming weeks the ground, which is currently saturated in mud, is expected to harden in eastern Ukraine, making offensive military operations easier.

Russian journalist Mikhail Khodaryonok said in an appearance on the state-run Russia-1 television network that there is “no doubt” that a Ukrainian offensive will take place due to the level of Western military support provided to Kyiv over the past few months, which he says needs to “justify themselves.”

“Due to this, there may be technological innovations that we are not yet aware of. Unfortunately, there will be surprises,” he said.

Newsweek reached out to the Ukrainian and Russian Defense Ministries via email for comment.

Early on Saturday morning, a Russian oil depot in the Crimean city of Sevastopol caught fire, sparking an inferno that reached 21,500 square feet in size. Mikhail Razvozhaev, the pro-Moscow Sevastopol governor, said the blaze was caused by an attack from two Ukrainian drones.

Natalia Humeniuk, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military, confirmed Kyiv was behind the attack, which she said was “in preparation for the broad, full-scale offensive that everyone expects.”

Humeniuk added that, in response to the attack, some Russian officials in Crimea were trying “to evacuate their families and leave Crimea themselves.” Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014 after being seized by force, though it remains internationally recognized as part of Ukraine.

On Monday, the British Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence report that Russian forces have “constructed some of the most extensive systems of military defensive works anywhere in the world for many decades.”

“Imagery shows that Russia has made a particular effort to fortify the northern border of occupied Crimea, including with a multi-layered defensive zone near the village of Medvedevka,” the briefing said. “Russia has also dug hundreds of miles of trenches well inside internationally recognised Russian territory including in the Belgorod and Kursk regions.”

The Ukrainian city of Pavlohrad was struck by Russian missiles on Monday, leaving 34 people injured. General Valeri Zaluzhny, who commands the Ukrainian military, said other missiles were fired at Kyiv by long-range bombers but were successfully intercepted by air defense.

One comment

  1. “Due to this, there may be technological innovations that we are not yet aware of. Unfortunately, there will be surprises,”

    Above all, the cockroaches will see what a real offensive is composed of, put together by real generals and experts, performed by a real army, without committing massive crimes, and crowned by success.

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