A friend of the murdered Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko has voiced his fears that Putin’s ongoing war will not come to an end until Russia is removed from Ukraine. Historian Yuri Felshtinsky has warned that despite the increasing number of casualties and losses suffered by the Russian troops, it seems that the conflict will continue as the Kremlin prepares for further advances from the east and south.
As the one-year anniversary of the ongoing war in Ukraine approaches, it is believed that Russia will make another attempt to advance in the region.
Dr Felshtinsky, author of Blowing up Ukraine told Express.co.uk: “[The Kremlin] have now approximately 320,000 Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. This includes approximately 50-70 thousand convicts which is a very unprecedented phenomenon. They probably lost between 80,000 and 100,000 troops.
“This does not include wounded personnel who will not return to fight. But Russia has the ability to mobilize additional 180-250 thousand troops, probably.
“This will take some time, but they may increase the total amount of troops to half a million. They will go on and on.”
Rumors suggest that Putin has given the order to take control of the Donbas region in February, with the 24th of February marking the one-year anniversary of the conflict. However, Dr Felshtinsky does not expect this military operation to be a quick and easy feat.
He told Express.co.uk: “February 24, 2023, is the anniversary of this war, and everybody is expecting that Russia will start the advances on the 24th of February.
“But, remember, the fight to capture Donbas in the East actually started in April of 2014, soon after Russia invaded and conquered Crimea in March of 2014. So, I would not expect quick results in that particular region.
“To retake Kherson might be an easier task, but even there Russians will have a lot of resistance and probably will not succeed. This war, unfortunately, will never stop unless Russia is removed from Ukraine.”
Ukrainian units have been monitoring the 1,000-kilometer border with Belarus for a possible surprise offensive from the north, a repeat of the unsuccessful Russian thrust toward Kyiv at the start of the war nearly a year ago.
Since the summer they have been reinforcing defenses, building and expanding trenches, and laying mines in the forest ahead of the springtime offensive military officials expect.
Concerns of a renewed military push were stirred in January after Russia and Belarus held joint air force drills, one month after a rare visit by Putin to Minsk.
Military experts and Western intelligence have played down the possibility of a renewed northern offensive. The British Defense Ministry tweeted on January 11 that Russian aircraft and existing Russian troops in Belarus, though numerous, are “unlikely to constitute a credible offensive force.”
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Dr Felshtinsky met Litvinenko in the late 1990s in Moscow, the author and the then-FSB officer collaborated on a book called “Blowing Up Russia,” which detailed the FSB’s increasing control over the country.
Up until 2006, the pair worked closely together to gather further evidence of the FSB’s role in numerous terror attacks including the infamous apartment bombings of September 1999, which the authors believe were committed by the FSB as a false flag operation to start the Second Chechen War. . Unfortunately, Litvinenko died in London in November 2006 from acute radiation syndrome, three weeks after being poisoned with polonium-210.
In 2007, the dissident ex-FSB lawyer Mikhail Trepashkin stated, based on information from his sources within the Russian intelligence services, that all individuals involved in the publishing of the book “Blowing Up Russia” would be murdered.
Dr Felshtinsky’s digging into the Kremlin’s dirty secrets appears to have earned him a spot on Putin’s hit list, with Trepashkin reporting that three FSB agents had traveled to Boston with a plan to assassinate him.