Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • The New York Times (NYT) - citing former and current senior Russian, US, and international officials - reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin is using back channels and intermediaries to signal his interest in a ceasefire, despite Putin’s recent public statements to the contrary.
  • The timing of Putin’s reported interest in a ceasefire is more consistent with Russia’s ongoing efforts to delay and discourage further Western military assistance to Ukraine, than with a serious interest in ending the war other than with a full Russian victory.
  • Russian Airborne Forces (VDV) Commander Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky obliquely indicated that VDV forces are under significant pressure to conduct rapid offensive operations near Bakhmut and repel Ukrainian attacks on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast.
  • Teplinsky also implied that the Russian military command is deploying new VDV officers and troops promptly to the frontlines without having them complete pre-combat training.
  • Russia's Black Sea Fleet's 810th Naval Infantry Brigade confirmed that it is deliberately using chemical weapons against Ukrainian forces in an apparent violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, to which Russia is a party.
  • Recent analysis by OSINT analyst MT Anderson confirms that while Russian forces have moved the bulk of Black Sea Fleet (BSF) assets away from occupied Sevastopol, the BSF maintains a limited naval presence in Sevastopol.
  • The Russian information space exploited news of a Ukrainian journalist’s decision not to return to Ukraine after an assignment abroad to amplify ongoing Russian information operations about resistance to full mobilization efforts in Ukraine that purposefully ignore the much more substantial Russian resistance to Russia’s partial mobilization of reservists in September 2022.
  • Russian milbloggers used the granting of Russian citizenship to Palestinian refugees on December 23 to promote the idea of Russia’s “compatriots abroad” - an oft-used Kremlin justification for its war in Ukraine.
  • Russian forces made recent confirmed advances near Kupyansk and Kreminna, northeast of Bakhmut, southwest of Donetsk City, and in east (left) bank Kherson Oblast and continued positional engagements along the entire line of contact.
  • Russian state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec subsidiary United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) Head Yuri Slyusar stated during a television interview on December 19 that UAC will increase its production of combat aircraft in 2024 and 2025, including its production of new types of aircraft.
  • Russian occupation authorities are building out electoral infrastructure in occupied Ukraine to set conditions for the upcoming presidential election.

Authors: Angelica Evans, Kateryna Stepanenko, Karolina Hird, Christina Harward, and Frederick W. Kagan.

See the original here.

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter