On July 16, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu came to Ukraine to inspect the Russian military deployed in the neighboring country. The head of the Russian military department gave the necessary instructions to further increase the actions of the Russian military in all operational areas in order to exclude the possibility of the Kiev regime to inflict massive missile and artillery strikes on civilian infrastructure and residents of settlements in the Donbass and other regions.
At the command post, Army General Sergei Shoigu heard reports from Army General Sergei Surovikin, Commander of the South group, Colonel General Alexander Lapin, commander of the Center group, and other commanders on the current situation, the nature of enemy actions and the progress of the Russian Armed Forces’ combat missions.
The order of the Russian Defence Minister may mark the beginning of a major offensive of Russian-led forces in the area of the city of Donetsk. This is one of the most heavily fortified areas, where Russian advance was almost stopped. The Armed Forces of Ukraine deployed near the city of Donetsk are shelling civilians living in the region on a daily basis, increasing the number of casualties.
Moscow had previously warned that the Russian side was not yet “fighting in full force”, but was conducting a special operation with limited means and forces. At the same time the Kremlin has highlighted its readiness for negotiations since the very beginning of the Russian intervention.
“Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield. Well, what can I say here, let them try,” Russian President Putin claimed on July 7. The President added that “we haven’t really started anything yet.”
Putin said that Moscow is not abandoning peace talks. “But those who refuse should know that the further it goes, the more difficult it will be to negotiate with us,” the head of state said.
At the same time, Putin assured that the Russian military is not going to mobilize any additional forces. Russia has not declared war on Ukraine. If the Russian groups stationed in the Donbass and other regions of Ukraine are not reinforced with additional forces, it is unclear how the Russian military could fulfill Shoigu’s order.