Russia intents to launch new offensive in eastern and southern Ukraine when ground freezes — ISW
On Friday, January 12, Russian literary critic and alternative historian Sergei Pereslegin said that Russia would launch a large-scale offensive in Ukraine sometime between January 12 and February 2 after the ground in the east and south freezes
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported the information.
In Pereslegin's opinion, the offensive is likely to begin after Ukrainian troops are "exhausted" from defending their positions in Avdiivka and the left bank of the Kherson region.
He said that they should be more concerned about Russia launching its offensive at the wrong time or making the same "mistakes" that Ukraine made during the counteroffensive in 2023 than about a renewed Ukrainian offensive in 2024.
Pereslegin also expressed concern that Russia does not have enough manpower to conduct the large-scale offensive he expects.
In addition, a Russian milblogger stated that the number of Russian troops at the front allows Russian forces to conduct local tactical maneuvers, but that their number is unlikely to be sufficient to support operationally significant "breakthroughs."
The blogger claimed that the freezing weather was affecting Russian and Ukrainian ground activity, artillery, and unmanned systems along the entire front, especially in the Kherson direction.
The ISW noted that the frost was preventing Russian troops from conducting ground operations and advancing north of Verbove in the western part of the Zaporizhzhia region.
Ukraine's Southern Operational Command reported that Russian aviation could not operate in southern Ukraine due to freezing weather conditions.
The former head of Roscosmos (Russia’s state corporation for space activities) and ultranationalist Dmitry Rogozin said that the front line in western Zaporizhzhia region is "buzzing like a beehive" due to the large number of Ukrainian drones, which are nonetheless operating.
Rogozin claimed that Ukrainian forces are using half a dozen drones to hit every important target in the western Zaporizhzhia region, making it difficult for Russian troops to rotate.
According to ISW's preliminary assessment, sub-zero temperatures in Ukraine are likely to hold back operations on the frontline for now, but will likely create more favorable terrain for mechanized maneuver warfare as the ground freezes over the coming weeks.
The ISW assessed that Russian forces will likely try to maintain or intensify localized offensives in eastern Ukraine to seize and retain the initiative, despite the winter weather and terrain conditions. ISW also estimates that Russian troops will not be able to make operationally significant breakthroughs.
On Sunday, January 14, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced new aid packages for Ukraine: drones, air defense systems, electronic warfare equipment, and artillery.