Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • US intelligence reportedly assessed that Russian offensive operations in eastern Ukraine in fall 2023 and through the upcoming winter aim to weaken Western support for Ukraine instead of achieving any immediate operational objectives.
  • Russian forces may be conducting costly offensive operations at a time unfavorable for ground maneuver to time the potential shift in battlefield initiative with ongoing conversations in the West about continued support to Ukraine.
  • US intelligence also assessed that the war in Ukraine has devastated the pre-war Russian military, although Russia has partially offset these losses and continues to prepare for a long war in Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with various US officials, including President Joe Biden, and spoke to Congress about US military assistance to Ukraine in Washington, DC on December 12.
  • Russian forces conducted a series of drone and missile strikes targeting Ukraine on December 12.
  • Ukrainian officials stated that Russian special services may have conducted the major cyberattack on Ukrainian mobile operator Kyivstar on December 12.
  • The Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported that GUR cyber units recently conducted a successful cyber operation against the Russian Federal Tax Service (FNS).
  • Russian news outlet RBK reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin has designated prominent Russian milbloggers as “trusted persons” in his presidential election campaign for the first time.
  • A St. Petersburg court sentenced three underage Uzbek migrants and their parents to deportation for extinguishing the Eternal Flame in St. Petersburg amid ongoing tension between Central Asian communities in Russia and Russian authorities.
  • 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 on December 12 and advanced in some areas.
  • The Russian State Duma adopted a series of laws on December 12 to help further bolster Rosgvardia’s and the Federal Security Service’s (FSB) force generation capacity.
  • Russian occupation authorities continue to use the Kremlin-funded pseudo-volunteer “Dvizheniye Pervykh” (Movement of the First) youth organization to indoctrinate Ukrainian youth in occupied Ukraine with Russian and cultural national identities.
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