The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence believes Russia plans to mobilize 500,000 troops to launch a spring-summer offensive in the east and south.
General Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s Military Intelligence Service, said on January 6 that the order to mobilize troops would be issued by Russia on January 15, after the winter break in the country.
According to Skibitsky, this mobilization plan will help add 500,000 troops to the Russian army, and 300,000 reservists called up under a partial mobilization order in September 2022.
“They are focusing on numbers of soldiers and equipment, intending to overwhelm us,” he said, estimating that Moscow will need about two months to train and build new units and consider this a long time. Time is very important to Russia.
General Skibitsky also said that the outcome of the spring-summer offensive in the next 6-8 months depends greatly on Russia’s ability to train and equip new forces and the weapons that the West provides to Ukraine.
If General Skibitsky’s prediction is correct, Russia will nearly double its forces in Ukraine in just a few months. Ukrainian military intelligence estimates that 280,000 Russian infantry are fighting in Ukraine.
Moscow has not commented on General Skibitsky’s statement but has previously said it will not mobilize more troops. Last month, President Putin said this was “nonsense,” adding that only half of the reserve forces were sent to Ukraine.
Andrey Gurulyov, a member of the Russian lower house of parliament and former commander of the Southern Military District, said on January 4 that there was “no reason or condition” for Moscow to issue a second mobilization order in the next six months.
“Not all of those mobilized before are sent to the front lines,” he said, referring to the tens of thousands of reservists undergoing military training.
However, pro-Kremlin military commentators predict that after the recent setbacks, Russia will have no choice but to issue further mobilization orders to gain more resources and increase momentum. They have opened a new front in Ukraine.
In December 2022, Defense Minister Ukraine raised the possibility that Russia would open a new offensive from Belarus in February. General Skibitsky said that Russia currently has only one division, about 15,000 troops, in Belarus, and it is difficult to advance. Attack from this direction if you don’t add more minions.
In February last year, Russia sent about 45,000 troops to Belarus to attack Ukraine from the north, but they were unsuccessful and then had to withdraw. Skibitsky said that Ukraine’s northern defenses are much stronger than they were at the beginning of last year.