Ukraine ‘preparing’ for Russia to invade from north

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Ukraine is preparing for Russia to try again to invade from the north – maybe around the anniversary of its first, failed attempt to seize Kyiv last February, a top commander has said.

President Vladimir Putin could even ultimately order millions of soldiers into the war as Russia’s offensive falters in the face of fierce and enduring Ukrainian resistance, Major General Andrii Kovalchuk, one of Ukraine’s most senior military officers, said in an interview.

He said the Ukrainian armed forces would be ready, even to combat millions of Russians, but they would need ever more lethal support from Western allies, including potentially cluster munitions – a type of weapon that many countries, including the UK, have banned.

Commander of the Operational Command South, Major General Kovalchuk, 48, a key architect of a major counter-offensive in the south of the country, told Sky News that Ukraine would win the war – retaking all of its territory including the Crimean Peninsula.

But the decorated and highly-experienced officer warned that the fiercest fighting might yet be to come.

Asked whether Russian forces will again try to invade Ukraine from the north, the east and the south, maybe even on 24 February, the anniversary of the start of the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion last year, the commander said: “Yes, we foresee such options, such scenarios. We are preparing for it. We live with the thought that they will attack again. This is our task.”

He appeared particularly focused on the possibility of Russian troops again invading via Belarus on Ukraine’s northern border – the route to target the capital.

“We are considering a possible offensive from Belarus at the end of February, maybe later,” Major General Kovalchuk said, speaking at an undisclosed location in southern Ukraine.

“We are preparing for it. We are investigating. We look at where they accumulate strength and means. We are preparing.”

Russia’s first attempt to conquer Kyiv from the north ended in humiliating failure.

Photo: Ukraine MOD

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