Key Takeaways

·       The Kremlin will likely subsume elements of Belarus’ defense industrial base (DIB) as part of Moscow’s larger effort to reequip the Russian military to support a protracted war against Ukraine.

·       Lukashenko confirmed that Belarus has implemented more Union State integration programs - marking progress in the Kremlin’s decades-long pressure campaign to formalize the Russian-Belarusian Union State.

·       The Kremlin’s gains in Belarus underscore that Putin’s imperialistic ambitions transcend Ukraine and that containing the Russian threat requires the West’s sustained attention.

·       The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed the names of the four military district commanders, finalizing a complete turnover of the Russian military’s initial command since the start of the invasion of Ukraine.

·       Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin appears to be mounting an informational counteroffensive against the conventional Russian military establishment.

·       Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line.

·       Russian forces continued ground attacks around Bakhmut, in the Donetsk City-Avdiivka area, and in western Donetsk Oblast.

·       Russian and Ukrainian military activity near Nova Kakhovka, Kherson Oblast indicates that Russian forces are likely deployed to positions close bank of the Dnipro River.

·       The United Kingdom Ministry of Defense (UK MoD) reported that Russian forces have likely suffered up to 200,000 casualties since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

·       Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a variety of laws on February 17 to integrate occupied territories into Russian legal, economic, and administrative structures.


Writers: Riley Bailey, George Barros, Karolina Hird, Nicole Wolkov, Layne Philipson, and Frederick W. Kagan.

See the full report here.

ISW - map. 

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