Why is Ukraine’s Armed Forces Commander in Chief Zaluzhnyi doing a media blitz? That is the fascinating question given what he told a reporter for The Economist (UK), which was picked up and republished by Turkey’s Anadolu Agency:

The commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said Thursday that there will be a new offensive against Ukraine’s capital by Russia.

“According to our estimates, they (Russia) have a reserve of 1.2-1.5 million people … the Russians are training about 200,000 new soldiers. I have no doubt that they will make another trip to Kyiv,” Valerii Zaluzhnyi told The Economist magazine.

Zaluzhnyi rejected claims that there are problems in Russia concerning a lack of will to fight. “Russian mobilization worked. It is not true that their problems are so serious that these people will not fight. They will,” said Zaluzhnyi. “I studied the history of the two Chechen wars — it was the same. They may not be as well equipped, but they are still a problem for us.””

Concerning the mobilization in Ukraine, Zaluzhnyi said that additional measures of this nature are not needed. The Ukrainian army has enough people, but not enough armored vehicles and ammunition.

Based on this, Zaluzhny actually made it clear about the next goal of the Ukrainian offensive – this is access to Melitopol to take control of the land corridor to the Crimea under fire control.

Count me surprised that Zaluzhnyi is not parroting the talking points commonly heard from President Zelennsky and much of the Western media. For instance, he acknowledges that Russia has a numerical advantage in the number of trained troops deployed to front-lines and rejects the repeated claims that Russians have no will to fight. Zaluzhnyi says NYET!

Zaluzhnyi also is paying attention to the build up of Russian forces in Belarus and was not shy in stating he fully expects the Russians to launch a new attack with ground forces on Kiev. Russia’s historical record of using deception to pin down enemy forces and attack the enemy where they least expect it faces new challenges in the modern era, which is define by extraordinary overhead imaging capability and electronic intelligence systems. It is nigh impossible to hide the movement of forces at the division level. If George S Patton were alive today, he would not be able to replicate the creation of a Ghost Army that was used to convince the German General Staff that the Allies were going to attack at Pas de Calais.

But Zaluzhnyi’s candor had its limits. He flat out lied about the number of Ukrainian reserves available to reinforce units in the field. But in doing so he accurately highlighted Ukraine’s desperate need for armor, artillery and ammunition. Ukraine cannot produce what it needs and the United States and NATO’s supplies are running low.

Then he insisted that Ukraine will attack Melitopol. That is delusional. With scant armor, limited fuel supplies, troubled lines of communication and no air power, Ukraine would enter a new slaughter house if it tried to launch such an operation because Russia has fortified its defenses around Melitopol.

A Ukrainian source published the the following account of the battles underway in the Donetsk:

I do not know if Zaluzhnyi’s remarks to The Economist represents a clear break with Zelensky and his Western advisors or if Zaluzhnyi was tasked with laying the foundation for a shift in the Ukrainian narrative. What do you think?

By Via