According to multiple sources, including Western, Ukrainian, and Russian sources, Russia is believed to be preparing for an imminent offensive.
The assessment is supported by NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, who noted that all indicators point to the opposite of peace negotiations with Russia. Stoltenberg emphasized that President Putin has maximalist goals in Ukraine and that Russia may mobilize up to 200,000 personnel.
Russian forces are also said to be strengthening their presence in Donbas as part of the anticipated offensive. Head of the Council of Reservists of the Ukrainian Ground Forces, Ivan Tymochko, stated that Russian forces will need to launch an offensive due to increasing pressure for victory.
Meanwhile, Russia and Iran have continued efforts to deepen their economic ties by establishing direct financial communication channels between Iranian banks and over 800 Russian banks. The move is seen as a way to bypass Western sanctions on both countries.
On the ground, Russian forces continued ground attacks and made marginal territorial gains near Bakhmut. Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations and continued to strike Russian force concentrations in rear areas in Luhansk Oblast. The Russian Ministry of Defense continues measures to professionalize the military, facing backlash in the process. Russian forces and occupation authorities are also targeting Crimean Tatars to associate anti-Russia sentiment with extremism.
Article written based on information from ISW, understandingwar.org