The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) think tank reported that "Russian officials, Kremlin advisors and other unspecified knowledgeable figures, who spoke on condition of anonymity" to the Bloomberg news agency had said that Putin "seeks to conduct a new major offensive" in Ukraine.
'Russia’s tolerance to accept causalities'
Those officials also said that Putin "believes that Russia’s tolerance to accept causalities will allow Russia to win the war in the long run despite Russian failures so far," according to the ISW.
The Washington-based think tank said the Bloomberg report was consistent with its own assessment and forecast that the Kremlin "is likely preparing to conduct a decisive strategic action—most likely in Luhansk Oblast—in the next six months intended to regain the initiative and end Ukraine’s current string of operational successes."
The ISW also said that recent limited Russian ground attacks in Ukraine's southern Zaporizhia region "may be intended to disperse Ukrainian forces and set conditions for an offensive in Luhansk" in the east.
Attack on northern Ukraine from Belarus 'extremely unlikely'
It added that, although Russia was redeploying elements of its 2nd Motorized Rifle Division from Belarus to the Luhansk region, this new offensive "is extremely unlikely" to target northern Ukraine from Belarus.
"There continues to be no indication that Russian forces are forming strike groups in Belarus," the ISW said.
It reported that "Russian elements in Belarus are largely using Belarusian infrastructure and training capacity for training rotations."
Saturday is day 339 of Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Source: IAR, PAP, understandingwar.org