Moscow/Kyiv, Jan 6 (EFE).- Russia may be massing forces to launch a new offensive on Kharkiv. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on Ukrainians to prepare for a year of intense resistance to Russian aggression.
“Russian forces appear to have conditions conducive to intensifying operations in the Kupyansk direction (Kharkiv-Luhansk oblast area),” said the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), reporting on the situation on the Ukrainian battlefield.
Russian threat to Kharkiv
According to the ISW, this Russian tactic would be “with the intent of making territorial gains in areas that are more operationally significant than other areas that Russian forces are currently attempting to seize.”
A Russian advance in this direction could force Ukrainian forces to leave the eastern bank of the Oskil River, paving the way for future Russian operations on the Kupiansk–Svatove–Kreminna–Bilohorivka line, according to the US study center.
Andriy Yusov, spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence, admitted to some build-up of enemy forces and means in the Kupiansk sector.
The governor of the Kharkiv Oblast, Oleh Syniehubov, stated that there were currently no objective reasons to suggest that the enemy was ready to launch an immediate offensive. However, he cautioned that this situation could change at any moment, as Russia had not abandoned its plans to occupy the region.
Meanwhile, Ukraine has kept up the pressure on the Russian border region of Belgorod, near Kharkiv, which has been the target of massive attacks by the Ukrainian army since Dec. 29, causing several civilian deaths.
After these attacks, on Saturday, the mayor of Belgorod, Valentin Demidov, announced that all religious services around Russian Orthodox Christmas Eve would be canceled.
Earlier on Saturday, the governor of Belgorod Oblast, Vyacheslav Gladkov, reported the downing of a Ukrainian “air target” flying towards the regional capital.
Another year of resistance
Meanwhile, there is no end in sight to the war: Zelensky called on Ukrainians to continue resisting Russian aggression.
“Enduring this year means enduring this entire war. It’s a crucial and decisive time,” he said in his daily message.
Ukraine’s president took this opportunity to welcome a new military aid package from Germany, “including missiles for air defense, 155mm artillery, and other essential items.”
“Thank you! It’s a very timely package. We are expecting similar steps from our other partners, including the United States, to ensure that Russian terror cannot prevail this winter,” he said.
Zelensky also reiterated his call for the West to hand over frozen Russian assets to Ukraine, which he said would hit the aggressor country hard.
Zelensky called on the West to move quickly in creating a legal basis for this, emphasizing the primary role of the G7 in achieving such measures.
In the first months of the military campaign launched by Russia in Ukraine, the EU froze around 19 billion euros held by Russian oligarchs.
Additionally, the West has blocked a total of $300 billion in gold and foreign exchange reserves of Russia’s central bank, contemplating the possibility of transferring them to Kyiv.
Russia has warned that it will respond symmetrically to such a move, as there are enough frozen European assets in the country that could be confiscated. EFE