Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin is increasingly invoking the Kremlin's pre-invasion pseudo-historical rhetoric to cast himself as a modern Russian tsar and framing the invasion of Ukraine as a historically justified imperial reconquest.
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated during the Russian MoD Collegium on December 19 that the Russian MoD will prioritize continuing the war in Ukraine and training newly formed units and formations in 2024, while also reiterating threats against Finland and the wider NATO alliance.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave an end-of-the-year press conference on December 19 during which he commented on Russia’s continued unwillingness to negotiate, his confidence in future Western aid provisions, Ukrainian domestic weapons production, and possible future mobilization in Ukraine.
  • Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin discussed Russian and Chinese economic cooperation and bilateral relations with Chinese Premier Li Quang in Beijing on December 19.
  • Russian forces made confirmed advances northeast of Kupyansk, north of Bakhmut, and southwest of Avdiivka, and continued positional meeting engagements along the entire line of contact.
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated that the Russian military intends to recruit up to 745,000 contract personnel by the end of 2024 at the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) Collegium on December 19.
  • Russian authorities continued attempts to use military conscription in occupied Ukraine to augment force generation efforts and legitimize Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.

Authors: Riley Bailey, Kateryna Stepanenko, Christina Harward, Angelica Evans, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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