· United States Vice President Kamala Harris announced on February 18 that the US had determined that Russia had committed crimes against humanity in Ukraine.
· Russian forces conducted another missile strike attack targeting Ukrainian infrastructure.
· Russian news aggregators are advocating for Russia to carry out “retaliatory strikes” that would systematically target electrical infrastructure supporting Ukrainian nuclear power plants (NPPs) to force Ukraine to conduct emergency shutdowns of its NPPs.
· The Russian Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) reported dismissal of Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) military spokesman Eduard Basurin as part of the formal reorganization of the DNR militia under the Russian MoD triggered another wave of Russian milblogger criticisms against the Russian defense establishment.
· The Kremlin continues to fail to honor its commitments to financially incentivized volunteer forces, which will likely have detrimental ramifications on Russia’s ability to generate volunteer forces in the long-term.
· The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) promoted the Western and Eastern Military District (WMD/EMD) commanders after confirming their appointments to the roles as part of an ongoing effort to present the Russian military as a well-organized fighting force.
· Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov appears to have rebuffed overtures from Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin to join a renewed informational campaign against the Russian MoD.
· Ukrainian officials continue to question the Russian military’s ability to conduct a large-scale offensive throughout Donetsk Oblast.
· Russian forces continued offensive operations northwest of Svatove and in the Kreminna area.
· Russian forces continued offensive operations around Bakhmut, along the western outskirts of Donetsk City, and in western Donetsk Oblast.
· Russian forces are continuing to reinforce defensive positions in occupied Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
· Russian authorities continue to exaggerate the extent of a Ukrainian threat to Russia’s border regions, attempting to convince the public of the “existential necessity” of the war in Ukraine.
Authors: Kateryna Stepanenko, Riley Bailey, George Barros, Angela Howard, Nicole Wolkov, and Frederick Kagan.
See the full report here.
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