Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin announced his presidential bid for 2024 on December 8 in an obviously staged effort to seem that he was running at the request of Russian servicemen.
  • Putin’s announcement of his presidential bid in a military setting indicates that his campaign may focus on Russia’s war in Ukraine more than ISW previously assessed, although the extent of this focus is unclear at this time.
  • Russian forces conducted a series of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine on the night of December 7 to 8.
  • Imprisoned ardent nationalist and former Russian officer Igor Girkin forecasted on December 7 that there will be “no agreement” between Russia and Ukraine to end the war and ”no freeze” of the frontlines in Ukraine, marking a notable shift from Girkin’s prior claims that the Russian military intended to “freeze the frontline” until after the Russian presidential elections.
  • The Russian military has reportedly banned the use of civilian cars for military purposes likely as part of ongoing formalization efforts, sparking criticisms from Russian milbloggers.
  • The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) is expanding its ability to guard Russian officials and entities abroad likely to better surveil Russian and international actors outside of Russian territory.
  • Russian occupation officials continue efforts to artificially alter the demographic composition of occupied Ukraine.
  • Ukraine’s partners continued to announce military and financial aid packages to Ukraine recently.
  • Russian forces conducted 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 made confirmed advances near Avdiivka and in western Zaporizhia Oblast.
  • Udmurt Republic Head Alexander Brechalov announced on December 7 that the region formed and will soon deploy four new units to fight in Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated on December 8 that Russia is trying to destroy Ukrainian children’s connection to Ukraine and that swift intervention is necessary to maintain this connection during a speech at the first meeting of the International Coalition for the Return of Ukrainian Children.

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

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