Ukrainian intelligence officials reported that Russia plans to increase its military to 2 million troops, up from about 1.35 million, and that the "Russian military command is in 'serious preparations' for a potential second wave of mobilization," the Institute for the Study of War wrote in a Jan. 15 assessment. Putin signed orders in November allowing the conscription of convicts.
"There's widespread anticipation among intelligence analysts that a new Russian offensive is being planned for later this winter or in the early spring," said Nicholas Lokker, a research assistant for the Transatlantic Security Program at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington, D.C., think tank.
Lokker said the signs include a change in military leadership at the top. Last week, Gen. Sergei Surovikin, reportedly nicknamed "General Armageddon," was replaced as theater commander by Gen. Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of the Russian Armed Forces and the country's highest-ranking military leader.
"I think it's clear that Western countries who have been providing support to Ukraine throughMout the conflict are aware of this increasing urgency, and they need to make sure that they're taking action now so that Ukraine is prepared," Lokker said.
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