Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin reframed the Kremlin’s stance on the Israeli-Hamas war to a much more anti-Israel position in an attempt to demonstrate the supposed hypocrisy of Western condemnations of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • Putin also reiterated boilerplate rhetoric falsely portraying Russia as willing to engage in meaningful negotiations, likely to pressure the West into prematurely pushing Ukraine to negotiate with Russia.
  • US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby reported on November 21 that Iran is supplying Russia with glide bombs and that Iran may be preparing to transfer short-range ballistic missiles to Russia.
  • The Kremlin appears to be inexplicably concerned about the outcome of the upcoming March 2024 Russian presidential elections, despite apparent widespread Russian approval of Putin.
  • Russian Investigative Committee Head Alexander Bastrykin called for Russia to codify an unspecified state ideology in the Russian constitution, suggesting that some Russian officials may want to explicitly end nominal constitutional protections for civil rights, democratic pluralism, and ethnic equality.
  • Bastrykin has yet to detail what a potential Russian state ideology should be, although the Kremlin’s support for Russian ultranationalism would likely heavily influence any potential Russian state ideology.
  • Bloomberg reported on November 21 that the European Union (EU) proposed a plan to strengthen security commitments from EU member states to Ukraine.
  • Russian forces conducted a series of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine on the night of November 21 to 22.
  • Russian milbloggers appear to be focusing renewed complaints against the Russian military command for what milbloggers perceive as poor choices that contribute to Russian casualties.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, northwest of Horlivka, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, in western Zaporizhia Oblast, and in east (left) bank Kherson Oblast and advanced east of Synkivka.
  • The Russian Federation Council approved the Russian 2024-2026 federal budget on November 22, and Russian officials continue to emphasize social spending over defense expenditures.
  • The Russian government and occupation authorities continue to forcibly deport children in occupied Ukraine to Russia under medical treatment schemes.

Authors: Riley Bailey, Christina Harward, Angelica Evans, Kateryna Stepanenko, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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