Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces began a renewed offensive effort towards Avdiivka on November 22, although likely with weaker mechanized capabilities than in the previous offensive waves that occurred in October.
  • High-ranking Russian officials may be engaged in a wider scheme of forcibly adopting deported Ukrainian children.
  • Ukraine’s Western allies declared their commitment to further develop Ukrainian air defense capabilities during the 17th Ramstein Group virtual meeting on November 22.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s (CSTO) Collective Security Council session in Minsk, Belarus on November 23 against the background of Armenia’s continued absence from recent CSTO events and exercises.
  • Chinese businesses, including a prominent state-owned Chinese construction firm, are reportedly working with Russian businessmen to plan the construction of an underwater tunnel that would connect Russia with occupied Crimea.
  • European states are responding to Russia's continued orchestration of an artificially created migrant crisis on its northwestern borders.
  • The Russian Strelkov (Igor Girkin) Movement (RDS) called prior Russian regional elections and the upcoming Russian presidential election illegitimate, likely in an effort to establish Girkin’s inevitable presidential election loss as a long-standing grievance.
  • Russian law enforcement reportedly detained about 700 migrants at a warehouse in Moscow Oblast and issued some military summonses, likely as part of an ongoing effort to coerce migrants into Russian military service.
  • The Kremlin is reportedly renewing attempts to control all video surveillance systems in Russia, likely as part of ongoing efforts to intensify its tools of digital authoritarianism to increase domestic repressions.
  • Russian forces conducted ground attacks along the Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and marginally advanced in some areas.
  • The Russian aviation industry is likely under significant constraints due to international sanctions and demands from the Russian defense industrial base (DIB).
  • The Russian occupation authorities continue efforts to indoctrinate Ukrainian children in occupied Ukraine into Russian national and cultural identities.


Authors: Christina Harward, Riley Bailey, Angelica Evans, Nicole Wolkov, Karolina Hird, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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