Just days away from the deadline for Vladimir Putin’s order to capture the entirety of the Donbas by March, there’s little evidence that Russian forces are going to have any good news for their president.

Nowhere is this more evident than among the Ukrainian troops on the frontlines in Donetsk.

“We haven’t heard about Putin’s order to capture Donbas here on the frontline,” soldier Serhiy Volkov told Kyiv Post.

“By the end of March, really? In which year?”

Fears of a massive Russian offensive to mark the one-year anniversary of the full-scale invasion have fizzled as it has become clear that right now Russia’s army doesn’t appear to have the resources to conduct one.

“It is unrealistic,” Volkov said. “They would need hundreds of thousands of servicemen to sacrifice in the Donetsk region alone.

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The AFU soldier says the Russians are suffering massive losses where he is fighting, claiming that Russia’s military authorities aren’t even counting the dead and keeping the Russian public in the dark.

“Dead Russians are already lying in overcrowded morgues and right here on the streets now. There are some positions where they even do not take their dead.

“Another 200-300 thousand dead don’t matter to them because this information will be hidden from Russian citizens,” he noted.

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 20, 2024
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ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 20, 2024

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Volkov said the ongoing Russian offensive in the East is largely ineffective.

“The Russians can take a village of five houses at the cost of a vast number of killed and wounded. Sometimes they fight for months to capture two houses in this village,” he said.

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