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The war between Russia and Ukraine “is about to enter a new phase,” British intelligence officials said Saturday.
British defense intelligence said in an intelligence report that Russian forces were “certainly surprising” in southern Ukraine and that strategic fighting would now shift from the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine to the area between the Mykolaiv Oblast, Kherson and the Crimean Peninsula in the South.
“Russia’s war with Ukraine is about to enter a new phase, with the heaviest fighting moving on an approximately 350km front line extending southwest from Zaporizhzhya near Kherson, parallel to the river. Dnepr, “the UK Ministry of Defense said.
“Russian forces are almost certainly massing in the south in anticipation of the Ukrainian counter-offensive or in preparation for a possible assault,” the intelligence report added.
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The UK Department of Defense also detailed a major movement of Russian troops, tanks and support vehicles in the southern region.
“Long convoys of Russian military trucks, tanks, towed artillery and other weapons continue to move away from the Ukrainian Donbas region and are headed south-west. Equipment has also been reported to be moving from Melitopol, Berdiansk, Mariupol occupied by the Russians and from mainland Russia across the Kerch Bridge into Crimea, “the intelligence update said.
“Battalion Battle Groups (BTGs), which compromise between 800 and 1,000 troops, have been deployed in Crimea and would almost certainly be used to support Russian troops in the Kherson region,” the report added, noting that another BTG is would likely join these forces “in the next few days.”
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After more than 160 days of fighting in a war that many experts thought would last less than two weeks, Ukraine successfully launched counterattacks and recaptured the territories on its eastern front that were once occupied by Russia.
The country has also been successful in targeting the critical transport infrastructure that Russia was using to assist front-line forces.
“Ukrainian forces are focusing their targets on bridges, ammunition depots and rail links with increasing frequency in the southern regions of Ukraine, including the strategically important rail spur connecting Kherson to Russian-occupied Crimea, almost certainly using a blocking combination. , damage, degrade, deny, destroy and interrupt the effects to try to influence Russia’s ability to logistically resupply, “the report said.
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The report comes as Ukrainian authorities moved and responded to a Russian offensive in Kherson last month.