Russia starting to reinforce positions in the Donbas, Pentagon says
Russia has begun to reinforce and resupply its troops in the Donbas region of Ukraine ahead of an expected assault on the area, the Pentagon’s top spokesperson said on Monday.
U.S. intelligence has picked up on early indications that the Russians are “trying to resupply and reinforce their efforts in the Donbas,” press secretary John Kirby told reporters.
New images showing a convoy of vehicles heading south toward the town of Izyum are believed to be part of the reinforcement effort by the Kremlin, Kirby said, though it was not clear how many vehicles are in the convoy or what they were carrying.
“It does seem to be a mix of personnel carrying vehicles as well as armored vehicles and maybe some artillery, maybe some enabling capabilities,” he added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier on Monday warned that thousands of Russian troops were gearing up for a new military offensive in the eastern part of the country, where Ukrainian forces have been fighting with Russian-backed separatists since 2014.
The comments come after Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley on Thursday warned there is a “significant battle yet ahead” around the Donbas, where the Kremlin intends to “mass forces and continue their assault” on the country after failing to take the capital of Kyiv.
In preparation for the attack, Kremlin forces completely withdrew from positions in the north of Ukraine, around Kyiv and Chernihiv, moving into Belarus and western Russia to be refitted with weapons and supplies.
The U.S. sees early indications that those withdrawn battalions are now moving eastward, Kirby said.