"The real sign of the Ukrainian offensive is going to be the commitment of Western armor," Andrew Metrick, a fellow with the defense program at the Washington-based Center for a New American Security, told Insider.
Metrick said that when we see the huge amount of weaponry and heavy armor committed to Ukraine by Western partners, from infantry fighting vehicles and armored combat and reconnaissance vehicles to personnel carriers and tanks, "I think that would be probably the biggest harbinger of that the Ukrainians are serious about undertaking an offensive operation in whatever strategic direction those show up in."
"If the Ukrainian armed forces had their way, they would try to keep the wraps on this as long as possible," Metrick said. "That's just good operational practice — you want to maximize fog and friction. You want to keep the Russian armed forces guessing as to, is this actually the commitment of their main forces?"
It's unclear if Ukraine has the ability to execute this strategy, but from an official messaging perspective, Kyiv is unlikely to announce when the offensive is unfolding until it's "blatantly obvious" to everyone after a few days, Metrick said.
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