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Military Intelligence General Suggests Chasiv Yar’s Fall Likely Inevitable

Major General Vadym Skibitsky (Credits: The Economist)

According to Major General Vadym Skibitsky, the fall of Chasiv Yar, a beleaguered town in Donetsk Oblast, akin to the situation in Avdiivka, seems inevitable in the foreseeable future. In an interview with The Economist published on May 2, Skibitsky, the deputy head of military intelligence, outlined the shifting dynamics of the conflict.

Russian forces have redirected their attention towards Chasiv Yar, an elevated town strategically positioned to facilitate further advances into the oblast, following the capture of Avdiivka in February.

Additionally, near the village of Ocheretyne, approximately 15 kilometers northwest of Avdiivka, Russian troops have reportedly established a salient, posing a serious challenge for Ukrainian forces.

Major General Vadym Skibitsky (Credits: Buffalo Brew Pub)

Skibitsky anticipates Russia’s immediate objective to be the capture of the remaining territories in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Looking ahead, he suggests that the Kremlin is likely preparing for an offensive in northeastern Sumy and Kharkiv oblasts, with the main thrust expected to commence by the end of May or early June.

The current Russian troop presence around the Kharkiv Oblast border stands at 35,000 but is projected to increase to 50,000-70,000 troops, according to Skibitsky.

May is poised to be a crucial month, as Russia pursues a three-step plan to destabilize Ukraine. The first phase involves military pressure, notwithstanding the recent approval of a $61 billion aid bill for Ukraine by the U.S., which may take weeks to impact the battlefield.

The second phase encompasses a disinformation campaign aimed at undermining Ukrainian leadership and mobilization efforts. Although Ukraine has made strides in addressing manpower shortages with an updated mobilization bill passed in April, Skibitsky stresses that challenges persist.

Vadym Skibitsky (Credits: Interfax-Ukraine)

In the third step, Russia aims to isolate Ukraine internationally. Skibitsky notes that the delayed passage of the aid bill has undermined faith in the U.S., while the potential victory of Donald Trump in the upcoming presidential election further clouds future prospects.

However, the officer highlights Europe’s role in potentially bolstering defense production to aid Ukraine and deter Russian aggression.

Regarding the conclusion of the conflict, Skibitsky emphasizes that battlefield victories alone will not suffice. While both sides vie for favorable positions, substantive negotiations may only commence in the latter half of 2025 at the earliest.

Skibitsky anticipates remarkable challenges for Russia by then, as arms production is expected to plateau due to material shortages and engineering constraints.

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