Russia “will try to continue offensive actions” in 2023, Ukrainian Ministry of Defence spokesman Andriy Chernyak has said, including a second attempt at capturing the capital of Kyiv in the north.
Ukrainian forces successfully repelled Russian forces from Kyiv during the first stage of the invasion in March last year, surprising Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who had believed his soldiers would storm the capital and beyond within a matter of days.
But Mr Chernyak suggested Russia will attack Kyiv again, echoing comments by the Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, who said Russia could launch a major offensive from the north as early as this month.
The frontline currently stretches 931 miles, according to Mr Zaluzhnyi, from the northeast below the city of Kharkiv down to the southwest, near the liberated port city of Kherson.
Mr Chernyak claimed in the next few months, the areas where Russia are expected to prioritise fighting is the land corridor to Crimea in the south, though they are not expected to try to cross the Dnipro river and retake Kherson, and the entire Donetsk region.
He said: “The Russians will try to continue offensive actions next year and in the future. In none of the directions did they succeed in achieving their goal.
“They understand that they will lose, but they do not plan to end the war. We are considering the possibility that they may leave at the same time from the north or the east. Such actions of the enemy are expected and our troops are ready for it.”
He added: “According to the estimates of military intelligence of Ukraine, in the next 4-5 months, the Russian army may lose up to 70 thousand people. And the leadership of the occupying country is ready for such losses.”