As Russia ramps up its attacks, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that Kyiv is focusing on improving its fortifications in a strategy shift from counteroffensive to defensive.

Kyiv is changing its approach to the protection of all areas of the front and the country’s border and is analyzing and taking stock of the war’s progress so far, a source from the President’s Office told Kyiv Post Friday.

The focus of many of the renewed Russian attacks over the past few weeks has been on the city of Avdiivka, in the Donetsk region.

Despite significant troop losses – approaching those experienced by the Russian Empire over the course of the First World War – the Kremlin has been throwing wave after wave of infantry in so-called “meat assaults.”

The war-torn city is not the only point of renewed Russian assaults in the Donetsk region. The destroyed city of Marinka, to the southwest of Donetsk city, is also seeing increased Russian attacks.

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In a video address, Zelensky announced Thursday night that he’d held a meeting with Ukrainian generals in Zaporizhzhia to discuss increased fortifications nationwide, with a particular focus on these Donetsk region areas, which “will receive maximum attention.”

With some exceptions – such as a small, newly established and fiercely contested bridgehead taken by Ukrainian Marines on the east side of the Dnipro River in the Kherson region – Kyiv is now digging into its positions more than it is going on the offensive as winter sets in and it waits for Western allies to supply weapons and ammunition.

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, February 27, 2024
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ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, February 27, 2024

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Along with the Donetsk region, other places are seeing renewed Russian attacks. The Kharkiv region, particularly along the Kupyansk-Lyman defensive line, and the Zaporizhzhia region in the western part and along the Donetsk border have also experienced increased attacks.

Zelensky said that Ukraine, along with increasing defenses in Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Kherson – will also have to increase its defenses in the eastern Sumy region, the western Rivne and Volyn regions, Chernihiv region in the north, and also the Kyiv region, which recently fended off a record 74 out of 75 drones targeted at the capital on Nov. 24.

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Despite the concern, the President’s Office is not anticipating a renewed large-scale ground assault in the capital region similar to that experienced in February 2022, when large numbers of Russian troops attempted to invade Kyiv from the north – only to be beaten back by the Ukrainians.

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