Russia Prepares to Launch New Air Offensive in Ukraine War

As the Russo-Ukrainian War enters its second year, intelligence reports indicate that Russia is preparing to launch a new offensive against Ukraine with a significant air power component.[0] This has led to speculation that Russia's air force will play a greater role in the conflict.[1]

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has emphasized the need for Ukraine to receive as much air defense capability as possible to protect itself from Russia introducing its air force into the fight.[2] He noted that Ukraine's air defenses have been effective so far, but that Russia has substantial aircraft and capability left in its inventory.[3]

The U.S. and its partners have already crossed Putin's red lines in the Ukraine war and are now delivering air defenses to the country.[4] But, the war has developed into a largely defensive one, very akin to the trench warfare of the First World War, which means decisive victories are almost always denied.[5]

The Washington Post reported that targeting of the game-changing HIMARS system depends on information provided by U.S. intelligence, reporting “Ukrainian forces almost never launch the advanced weapons without specific coordinates provided by U.S. military personnel.”[4]

NATO defense ministers are meeting in Brussels to discuss plans for military support for Ukraine, and Western officials are warning of an accumulation of Russian aircraft on Ukraine's borders, potentially signaling a major air offensive as the invasion approaches its one-year anniversary.

Western analysts have said a build-up of aircraft on the Ukrainian border could see Vladimir Putin’s forces attempt to push the offensive in the Donbas region. Ukrainian forces are closely monitoring movements around the border city of Sumy, as well as any attempts to drive back into the Kharkiv region.[6]

Russia has three dozen fighter squadrons, two dozen attack squadrons, and eight bomber squadrons in its inventory, and is likely to make greater use of them in the conflict.[7] It is a certainty that Russia will persist in waging war and Vladimir Putin will gamble on a lengthy, long-term war to drain Ukraine.[8] We must be prepared for this war to continue even into the 2030's.[2]

0. “Western Nations Accelerate Air Defense to Ukraine As Russia Launches New Offensive” Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, 15 Feb. 2023,

1. “U.S. Wants More Ukrainian Air Defenses To Counter Russian Fleet” Aviation Week, 15 Feb. 2023,

2. “Russia's second big offensive: What Putin is betting on – a simple explanation” Yahoo! Voices, 9 Feb. 2023,

3. “Russian Aircraft Massing on Ukraine Border, Allied Intel Says: Reports” Business Insider, 15 Feb. 2023,

4. “Red Lines ‘Have Already Been Crossed' by U.S., Russia Warns” Newsweek, 15 Feb. 2023,

5. “How the US and NATO Plans to Put the Nail in the Coffin for Putin's War in Ukraine” Miami's Community Newspapers, 15 Feb. 2023,

6. “Mapping What Ukraine and Russia Want in the War’s Next Stage” The New York Times, 10 Feb. 2023,

7. “Washington Is Escalating Its Military Role In Ukraine. What Happens When Russia Reacts?” Forbes, 13 Feb. 2023,

8. “Norway And Estonia Agree: Russia Isn't Going To End Its War On Ukraine” Forbes, 13 Feb. 2023,