·      Over the last 24 hours, Russian forces have likely continued to attempt to regain momentum on the Popasna axis, from which they seek to surround the Sieverodonetsk pocket from the south.

·      In Russia, the war has accelerated the state's long-term trajectory towards authoritarianism. In recent weeks, the Duma has started the process to introduce a 20-year sentence for Russians who fight against the Russian Federation. Speaking out against the invasion is also being criminalised.

·      Despite the majority of Russians telling pollsters they support the 'special military operation, elements of the population both actively and passively demonstrate their opposition. The "Freedom for Russia Legion", recruited from Russians, has almost certainly deployed in combat alongside the Ukrainian military. Some high profile Russian officials have highly likely been side-lined after criticising the war.

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·      Scepticism about the war is likely also particularly strong amongst Russia's business elite and oligarch community. Migration applications suggest that 15,000 Russian millionaires (in US dollars) are likely already attempting to leave the country. Motivations highly likely include both personal opposition to the invasion and an intent to escape the financial impact of the sanctions imposed on Russia. Should this exodus continue, it will likely exacerbate the war's long-term damage to Russia's economy.

Trump Pledges to 'End the War' After Zelensky Phone Call
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Trump Pledges to 'End the War' After Zelensky Phone Call

Trump's frequent praise for Putin and reluctance to outright criticize the Russian invasion have stirred concerns among Ukraine's allies that he would force the country into accepting partial defeat.
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