MELITOPOL, March 27. /TASS/. Ukraine continues to regroup its forces in the Zaporozhye direction, deploying up to 75,000 servicemen, despite serious losses during last week's attempted offensive, Vladimir Rogov, chairman of the 'We Are Together with Russia’ movement, told TASS on Monday.
"Taking into account the military in the Ugledar direction, there is a total of at least 75,000 [Ukrainian] servicemen in the Zaporozhye direction. <...> The Ministry of Integration (the Ukrainian Ministry of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories - TASS) has changed the status of the city of Zaporozhye itself. The Zaporozhye district (with its capital in Zaporozhye - TASS) was moved to the list of areas of possible combat operations from the list of areas of active combat operations. <...> This shows that they do not expect us to come, and the conclusion is that they will go themselves, <...> that is they have hope that they can move the front line," Rogov said.
He specified that an attempted Ukrainian offensive on March 23 was thwarted by Russian forces. Up to 400 servicemen were destroyed. "The timing of this offensive was supposed to be for the March 23-24, that is the EU summit on Ukraine. Our artillery and multiple rocket launchers shelled their positions. More than two dozen targets were hit, these were large targets: heavy equipment, Ukrainian military locations. <...> Even after these losses Ukraine is regrouping forces in the Orekhovsky direction," Rogov pointed out.
The politician earlier told TASS that the Ukrainian armed forces were preparing an attack on Melitopol in order to reach the Sea of Azov and cut the land corridor to Crimea, which were supply routes for Russian forces and the population of the peninsula. According to his assessment, the Ukrainian military will be ready for active operations in Zaporozhye in late March or early April.