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The war between Russia and Ukraine is “about to enter a new phase”, British intelligence officials said on Saturday.
UK Defense Intelligence said in an intelligence report that Russian forces were “definitely assembling” in southern Ukraine and that strategic fighting would now shift from the Donbass region to eastern Ukraine to the area between 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 to a front line of about 350 km stretching southwest from near Zaporizhzhya in Kherson, parallel to the Dnieper River,” the UK Ministry of Defense said.
“Russian forces are almost certainly massing in the south in anticipation of Ukraine’s counter-offensive or in preparation for a possible assault,” the intelligence report added.
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The UK Ministry of Defense also detailed a major movement of Russian troops, tanks and support vehicles into the southern region.
“Long convoys of Russian military trucks, tanks, towed artillery and other weapons continue to move away from Ukraine’s Donbas region and head towards the southwest. Equipment has also reportedly been moved from Melitopol, Berdyansk, Russian-occupied Mariupol and mainland Russia via the Kerch Bridge in Crimea,” the intelligence update said.
“Battalion Tactical Groups (BTGs), which include between 800 and 1,000 soldiers, have been deployed in Crimea and would almost certainly be used to support Russian troops in the Kherson region,” the report adds, noting that another BTG would likely join these forces. “in the coming days.”
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After more than 160 days of fighting in a war that many experts say lasted less than two weeks, Ukraine has successfully launched counterattacks and regained territory on its eastern front that was once occupied by Russia. .
The country also managed to target critical transportation infrastructure that Russia was using to aid forces on its front lines.
“Ukrainian forces are focusing their targeting on bridges, ammunition depots and rail links with increasing frequency in the southern regions of Ukraine, including the strategically important rail spur that connects Kherson to the Russian-occupied Crimea. Russia, almost certainly using a combination of blocking, damaging, degrading, denying, destroying and disrupting effects in an attempt to affect Russia’s ability to resupply logistically,” the report states.
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The report comes as Ukrainian authorities reacted and responded to a Russian offensive in Kherson last month.