LAccording to the annual security report “Focus” from the Norwegian intelligence services, Russia is in the process of taking the initiative and gaining the upper hand in the fighting in Ukraine. Western arms deliveries ensured that Russia did not make any substantial military progress in Ukraine last year, but a large part of the supplied material was lost or used up on the battlefield, the report says.
The Ukrainian offensive in 2023 exerted strong pressure on the Russian troops, but they have strengthened their defensive lines again. “Heading into 2024, Ukraine has failed to retain the initiative in the war.”
Russia, on the other hand, has taken some successful steps and mobilized a large number of new troops – it can provide three times more recruits for the war than Ukraine. The Western sanctions would also affect Moscow less severely than expected; The production rates of ammunition, combat vehicles, drones and missiles are higher than a year ago. Russia is receiving increasing military support from China, North Korea, Iran and Belarus, the report said. According to this, China does not supply weapons, but it does supply military equipment and components that are crucial for Russia’s warfare.
Russia ready for “protracted war”
The Russian regime sees time on its side and is ready for a “protracted war,” the report continues. Kiev will need “substantial” Western military assistance to have any hope of reversing the situation, military intelligence chief Nils Andreas Stensönes said on Monday when presenting the report. This is written annually by the Norwegian foreign intelligence service NIS, the domestic intelligence service PST and the national security authority NSM.
As a result of NATO expansion, one of Russia’s most important goals in the Baltic Sea region has been lost, namely to preserve it as a geographical and political “buffer” against the Western military alliance, the secret services continue. Due to significantly fewer bilateral contacts between Russia and Norway, Moscow’s actions have become less predictable.
Russia has been mapping Norway’s critical oil and gas infrastructure “for years,” the report said. This collected knowledge could become important in a conflict situation. Russia uses a large number of civilian ships for intelligence activities and collects information about, among other things, Norway’s energy and defense infrastructure. With these ships it is possible for Russia to approach the targets legally.
As a result of Russia’s war of aggression, Norway has become the main supplier of energy to Europe. The gas infrastructure in particular could be the target of accidents, physical sabotage and destruction through cyber attacks, the report says. Last year, Norwegian secret services warned that their country would be one of the first targets if the conflict between Russia and Western states escalated.
This news article has been translated from the original language to English by WorldsNewsNow.com.
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