Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • The Russian military command will likely struggle to redeploy combat-effective reinforcements to respond to ongoing Ukrainian operations in eastern Kherson Oblast while conducting defensive operations in western Zaporizhia Oblast and sustaining other offensive efforts in eastern Ukraine.
  • Russian forces have likely launched opportunistic localized offensive operations in the Bakhmut direction and intensified ground attacks near Bakhmut in recent days.
  • Russian forces struck a civilian ship near Odesa City on November 8.
  • Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual live "Direct Line" forum and annual press conference will occur in tandem on an unspecified date by the end of the year, potentially to set conditions to cancel the events as the Kremlin sees fit.
  • Russia may seek to provide gas to Iran through Kazakhstan.
  • Unspecified actors appear to be targeting Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov as he continues to heap honors on his children.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, in the Avdiivka direction, west and southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and advanced near Kupyansk.
  • Russian authorities appear to be increasingly reliant on private security companies to protect domestic energy infrastructure from Ukrainian drone strikes on Russian far rear areas.
  • Occupation authorities reportedly continued efforts to militarize Ukrainian youth.

Authors: Kateryna Stepanenko, Grace Mappes, Angelica Evans, Christina Harward, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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