Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted successful drone strikes against Russian military targets in occupied Crimea on the night of December 4 to 5.
  • Russian forces conducted a series of missile and drone strikes on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine on the night of December 4 and 5.
  • The Russian State Duma will reportedly consider a proposed bill that would recognize the Sea of Azov as an internal Russian body of water, likely setting conditions to coerce recognition of Russia’s illegal annexation of occupied Crimea and Kherson, Zaporizhia, and Donetsk oblasts.
  • Russian opposition party Yabloko founder Grigory Yavlinsky advocated for a ceasefire in Ukraine as part of his presidential bid likely in an attempt to distinguish himself from Russian President Vladimir Putin and give voice to Russians who support a ceasefire.
  • The Kremlin may be strategically allowing Yavlinsky to criticize the Russian government in order to preserve its veneer of electoral legitimacy and to delegitimize possible support for a ceasefire among factions in the Kremlin.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized the benefits that migrants provide to the Russian economy, while promoting ongoing efforts to Russify migrants in Russia and citizens of post-Soviet countries.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia on December 6 and will host Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi in Russia on December 7— a bout of diplomatic outreach likely focused on strengthening Russia’s position with Gulf States while continuing to solidify the deepening Russian-Iranian security partnership.
  • Armenia appears to be effectively abstaining from participation in the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).
  • The Kremlin continues to intensify censorship efforts, targeting prominent Russian messaging and social media app Telegram.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Kupyansk-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 advanced near Avdiivka.
  • Russian forces are reportedly quickly sending poorly trained convict recruits to reinforce assaults elements in Ukraine.
  • Russian occupation authorities are reportedly intensifying their seizure of Ukrainian property in occupied Berdyansk, Donetsk Oblast.

Authors: Kateryna Stepanenko, Riley Bailey, Grace Mappes, Angelica Evans, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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