Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Ukrainian forces made tactically significant gains in and east of Robotyne in western Zaporizhia Oblast on August 20-21 while continuing counteroffensive operations on the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast administrative border and in eastern Ukraine.

  • Russian milbloggers continue to indicate that Russian forces lack equipment and suffer from low morale along the entire frontline.

  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) is creating new military formations possibly to allow more combat effective units currently defending in Kherson Oblast to redeploy to more critical sectors of the front.

  • Russian insider sources indicated that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov may have decisively won Russian President Vladimir’s Putin favor following the June 24 Wagner Group rebellion.

  • Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin may be attempting to re-establish Wagner in Africa, and some Russian sources are portraying this reported effort as necessary for Wagner’s survival.

  • Some Russian sources are likely running an information operation to exaggerate the degree to which Wagner is struggling to survive, possibly in support of the Russian MoD effort to destroy Prigozhin’s reputation and the whole Wagner Group.

  • Russian sources made and walked back claims about significant Russian advances in the Kupyansk direction amid continued offensive actions on August 21.

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  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations near Kreminna, Bakhmut, and along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line and advanced near Bakhmut.

  • The Russian government continues to introduce mandatory nationalistic and militaristic courses into high school curriculum to promote military service among Russian youth.

  • Belarusian authorities reportedly exposed forcibly deported Ukrainian children to pro-Kremlin propaganda in Belarus.


Authors: Nicole Wolkov, Angelica Evans, Christina Harward, Kateryna Stepanenko, and Frederick W. Kagan.


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