Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • A dispute among prominent voices in the Russian information space highlights the Kremlin’s sensitivity to Russian reporting about setbacks in Crimea in particular and possibly in Ukraine in general and has further exposed fault lines within the milblogger community. This dispute, alongside the accompanying allegations, suggests that the issue of strikes against Crimea is a distinctly neuralgic point in the pro-war Russian information space.

  • The highest echelons of the Russian military command may have directed milbloggers to stay silent about problems that can be directly blamed on the Russian military command.

  • Russian forces conducted a drone strike on the night of August 1-2 that destroyed port infrastructure in Odesa Oblast including 40,000 tons of grain.

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  • Russian Airborne Forces (VDV) Commander Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky announced the formation of up two new VDV regiments and the reestablishment of the 104th VDV Division by the end of 2023. Teplinsky’s announcement indicates that he maintains his position and the public support of the Russian MoD following rumors of his arrest, possibly as a result of his affiliations with the Wagner Group, in mid-July.

  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) officially provided weapons and vehicles to the Belgorod and Kursk Oblast Territorial Defense forces on August 2, reallocating conventional military assets as a part of the Kremlin’s efforts to steadily expand Russia’s internal security capabilities following the Wagner Group’s armed rebellion on June 24.

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  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front and reportedly advanced near Bakhmut on August 2.

  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove line, near Kreminna, around Bakhmut, and along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line and advanced in some areas.

  • Russian civilians are increasingly targeting military registration and enlistment centers across Russia as a result of what Russian sources claim are targeted scam calls.

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  • Russian President Vladimir Putin pushed the Kremlin narrative of “Novorossiya” and announced Russian government initiatives to provide books to occupied territories of Ukraine on August 2.

Authors:Karolina Hird, George Barros, Grace Mappes, Nicole Wolkov, Christina Harward, Annika Ganzeveld, and Mason Clark

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