Russian forces may attempt to attack Ukraine from Belarus, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) wrote on its website, Report informs.
According to Ukrainian officials’ and ISW’s assessments based on Kremlin statements and actions, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s objectives in Ukraine have not changed: “Putin continues to pursue maximalist goals in Ukraine using multiple mechanisms intended to compel Ukrainians to negotiate on Russia’s terms and likely make preemptive concessions highly favorable to Russia. This fundamental objective has underpinned the Kremlin’s various military, political, economic, and diplomatic efforts over the past 10 months in Ukraine. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar stated on December 15 that the ultimate goal of Russia is the “complete conquest and control over Ukraine” and noted that recent Russian information operations have been aimed at compelling Ukraine to enter negotiations with Russia.”
Russian forces continued offensive operations in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka areas.
ISW continues to assess that Putin has given the order for Russian troops to complete the capture of the entirety of Donetsk Oblast,
“Ukrainian officials reiterated that the immediate focus of Russian efforts is securing territorial gains in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. The massive Russian missile strikes against critical Ukrainian infrastructure are Putin’s second military effort to compel Ukraine to surrender or enter negotiations on Putin’s terms. Ukraine has retained the battlefield initiative following its two successive counteroffensive operations in Kharkiv and Kherson oblasts. Russian commanders may be keeping options open for a potential attack against Ukraine from Belarus in winter 2023,” the ISW said.