Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi signaled intent to increase Ukrainian defenses and fortifications around the Ukrainian theater, but notably did not include Zaporizhia Oblast in discussions of ongoing and future defensive measures.
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu continues to falsely characterize Russian offensive efforts in Ukraine as part of an “active defense” in an effort to temper expectations about the Russian military’s ability to achieve operationally significant objectives.
  • Ukrainian intelligence reportedly damaged another train along a section of the Baikal-Amur Railway on December 1 in an apparent effort to degrade Russian logistics in the Russian Far East.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin officially changed the composition of the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights (HRC) on December 1, removing several members and appointing a prominent anti-opposition media figure.
  • Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov claimed that a second group of Palestinian refugees from the Gaza Strip arrived in Chechnya on December 1, possibly partially funded by his daughter’s ”Children of Chechnya - Children of Palestine” organization.
  • Russian milbloggers claimed that the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD)’s disproportionate allocation of drones among frontline units and poorly-executed grassroots drone production campaigns are impacting frontline unit effectiveness.
  • Russian sources complained that Russian soldiers' continued use of personal electronics and messaging apps in frontline areas is jeopardizing Russian operational security (OPSEC).
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast and advanced in some areas.
  • Russian Security Council Deputy Chairperson Dmitry Medvedev claimed on December 1 that the Russian military has recruited over 452,000 personnel between January 1 and December 1, 2023.
  • Russian occupation officials continue to set conditions for the deportation of Ukrainians to Russia under various vacation schemes.

Authors: Karolina Hird, Angelica Evans, Riley Bailey, Grace Mappes, George Barros, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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