The British Ministry of Defense assesses that Russia has strengthened its defenses in eastern Ukraine, in the context of Ukrainian forces moving towards Lugansk.
“Russia has increased its defense forces compared to the past, possibly because Ukraine’s advance is threatening parts of Lugansk province, when the referendum on joining Russia here ends,” the British Ministry of Defense said. comments in the report dated September 28.
The agency said Ukrainian forces have increased their activity in the northeastern part of the country in the past few days, advancing slowly in at least two directions east of the Oskil and Siverskyi Donets lines, where Russia has fortified its defenses after a counter-offensive. Kiev’s offensive in early September. Fighting also continued in Kherson province, “Russian forces on the right bank of the Dnieper remain vulnerable”.
“Russia continues its efforts to get close to the city of Bakhmut in the Donbass region even as it faces severe pressure on its northern and southern flanks,” the British Ministry of Defense assessed.
Russia has not commented on the British Ministry of Defense report.
Fighting in Ukraine continues as the Russian-appointed authorities in the four provinces of Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia hold a referendum on joining Russia on September 23-27. Pro-Russian officials later announced that most people agreed to annex Russia, calling it a “reunion with the great homeland”.
The Russian parliament can approve the process of merging four Ukrainian provinces in late September or early October if enough votes are in place. Meanwhile, Ukraine and the West accused the referendum of being “staged” and said it would not recognize the result.
Russia controls most of Lugansk, Kherson, 73% of Zaporizhzhia and 60% of Donetsk. As of January, about 1.4 million people live in Lugansk, 2.2 million in Donetsk, more than a million in Kherson and 1.6 million in Zaporizhzhia. After the war broke out, many people evacuated to other parts of the country and abroad.
Nguyen Tien (Theo Guardian)