US and Western officials have urged Ukraine to shift its focus from months of intense fighting in the eastern city of Bakhmut and instead prioritize a possible offensive in the south.
The officials demanded that Kyiv use a different method of fighting, taking advantage of billions of dollars and military equipment pledged by the West, according to CNN.
The officials also said that the hundreds of armored vehicles that the United States and European countries have provided to Ukraine in recent weeks, including 14 British tanks, are intended to help Ukraine make this transition.
In parallel, officials familiar with the intelligence revealed to CNN that the push for Ukraine to change its tactics on the battlefield comes amid signs that Russian President Vladimir Putin is considering making a major move in the next few weeks to regain the initiative in the war.
US and Western officials familiar with the information told CNN that there are also indications that Putin is considering another mobilization of up to 200,000 troops.
Two officials explained that the Kremlin has begun to conduct a local poll to measure the popularity of another mobilization. Some believe that the next mobilization will be quieter compared to the first, when Putin himself made a televised announcement, calling it “partial mobilization”.--
The officials said Putin is aware of the unpopularity of the first mobilization late last year, when protests erupted and hundreds of thousands of Russian men of fighting age fled the country to escape conscription, and has yet to decide on further mobilization efforts.-
In parallel, officials reported that Putin’s intentions for a new offensive became clearer to Western officials earlier this month when he elevated General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the Russian General Staff, to commander-in-chief of the war.
And Gerasimov, who symbolizes Russia’s early failures in the war, is eager to prove his ability to turn the conflict around, pushing for a new offensive to retake territory in the east and south.
A component of the Russian army in Ukraine
“I have no doubt that Gerasimov feels very much he’d better launch an offensive in the spring — so he’ll come,” the Western intelligence official said.