August 6, 2015 | In The News | Ukraine Today

Large Russian Military Offensive in Ukraine Possible within Weeks

Russian troops in east Ukraine are preparing to fight – and could launch a major offensive within weeks. That’s the view of American military analyst Phillip Karber, who recently spent time embedded with government troops in the combat zone.

He argued that Russia’s military leadership were restructuring their forces, in a formation not usually made if they expect the Minsk ceasefire agreement to last.

Phillip Karber, US military analyst: “These are core structures. They have intelligence, they are run by Russian officers, there is Russian electronic warfare and they have heavy artillery brigades so they can orchestrate and coordinate….this is not the infrastructure you put in if you’re expecting a ceasefire to last, this is the infrastructure you want to put in if you want to launch a major offensive, and not just one that goes a little way, but one that goes very deep”.

Journalist: “How was it on the war, Phil?” 

Phillip Karber, US military analyst: “I am so impressed with these ‘kids’ at the front, they are living in unbelievably difficult conditions. They eat the same roll three times a day, under fire; intermittent fire, but when it comes in, it is incredibly intense. Not knowing whether they are going to survive until tomorrow. It’s one of the great honours of my life”

Karber went onto discuss the US Army’s recent training program for Ukrainian servicemen. He described how Washington was benefiting from such exercises.

Phillip Karber, US military analyst: “My friends are doing the training. They come back to me and go. We went there and we were going to show them how to do it. We are learning more from them than they are learning from us. They taking mass fire artillery strikes that we’ve never experienced, they are under UAV’s constantly, we’ve never experienced that, they’re taking on the latest Russian equipment, its electronic warfare, so Ukraine has as much to teach as it has to learn.”

Karber also argued Ukraine was in desperate need of anti-tank weapons to penetrate the armour on Russian military equipment and that militant forces were arming prisoners with some basic training to fight in the warzone.

Washington has already provided non-lethal military equipment to Ukraine – such as body armour, medical supplies and surveillance gear. But the Obama administration has stopped short of sending weapons, proclaiming that a diplomatic solution is instead, the way forward.