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Russia is preparing 100,000 soldiers for a possible summer offensive, Ukraine says

Soldiers on the Armored Infantry Vehicle 2 (BMP-2). The road to the city, the outskirts of Avdiivka on February 14, 2024 in Avdiivka district, Ukraine.
Soldiers on the Armored Infantry Vehicle 2 (BMP-2).Vlada Liberova/Libkos/Getty Images
  • Ukraine's ground forces commander warned that Russia is amassing 100,000 troops.

  • He said it could be ahead of a major summer assault.

  • Ukraine is preparing by starting to withdraw some brigades to restore combat capability.

Russia is amassing 100,000 troops ahead of a potential summer offensive, the commander of Ukraine's ground forces said on Friday.

"We do not know Russia's plans to the fullest extent. We only know the data they have and what they are creating. They are creating groups — more than 100,000," Lieutenant General Oleksandr Pavliuk said on Ukrainian TV.

"It will not necessarily be an offensive. Perhaps they will use it to replenish their units that are losing their combat capability," he said.

"But there is a possibility that by the beginning of summer, they may have some forces to conduct offensive operations in one of the directions," he added.

To prepare for the potential assault, Ukraine has started withdrawing some brigades to restore their combat capability, Pavliuk continued.

The think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said that Russia appeared to be continuing consistent offensive operations throughout eastern Ukraine in a bid to retain the "initiative" in the conflict.

Russia likely wants to maintain momentum after its successful seizure of Avdiivka in February, Pavliuk said.

Since capturing the city, Russian forces have had some small successes, this week claiming to have taken two villages near the city.

Pavliuk noted that Russia was committing its resources in the directions of Avdiivka, Lyman, and Bakhmut, all in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region.

The battle of Avdiivka was one of the bloodiest in the war so far, with both sides incurring heavy losses.

The UK Ministry of Defence previously said in an intelligence update that Russia was averaging nearly 1,000 casualties per day in Ukraine in February, the highest since the war began.

The department said on Thursday that while Russia was continuing to make minor gains, its advances have slowed in recent weeks, likely due to the significant losses its forces suffered in the campaign to take Avdiivka.

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