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13 Nov, 2022 15:49

US expects Ukrainian conflict to stall during winter – NYT

The pause in the fighting could last for at least six months, senior Biden administration officials have told the paper
US expects Ukrainian conflict to stall during winter – NYT

The US believes Russia’s military operation in Ukraine is going to slow down significantly during the upcoming winter, senior Biden administration officials have told the New York Times.

Washington expects advances by each side to come to a halt, the paper reported on Saturday.

According to the unnamed officials, the “weather-enforced pause” in the conflict could continue for up to six months.

Lower temperatures and frozen ground would make it easier for tanks and trucks to move around, but, according to the NYT, heavy snows and cold weather would still complicate mounting an offensive for the Russian forces.

Instead, Moscow would likely focus on continued strikes on Kiev troops, Ukrainian military bases, infrastructure and the electrical grid, the sources claim.

The Biden administration officials also said that it was crucial for the US and its allies to use this purported winter pause to rebuild Ukraine’s stocks of defensive and offensive weapons.

“Ukrainians look like they’re going to continue to press forward with sabotage and subversion attacks on Russian lines. These are targeted assassinations and just general sabotage against Russian-controlled areas inside Ukraine,” Seth G. Jones, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told NYT.

Meanwhile, Kiev has ruled out any pause in its military operations.

“We can’t freeze anything - we are not a refrigerator,” Alexey Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, stated. “We can liberate our territories regardless of the weather, regardless of the season,” he said during a televised marathon on Saturday.

Russia hasn’t made any specific statement on what its troops are going to do during the winter period. However, Moscow officials have repeatedly stated that all the goals of the military operation in Ukraine will be achieved. On Friday, the Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that it could be done through peace negotiations, “but these are now impossible due to the position of the Ukrainian side.” 

In October, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree banning any talks with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Earlier this week, he claimed in an interview with CNN that he hasn’t “closed the door” on negotiations. Whereas Moscow maintains that it’s always open to talks, Kiev’s stance on the matter has shifted several times since the conflict began in late February.