Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • European Union (EU) Foreign Affairs High Representative Josep Borrell stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not interested in a limited territorial victory in Ukraine and will continue the war “until the final victory.”
  • Russian forces are reportedly decreasing aviation activity and their use of glide bombs in Ukraine after Ukrainian forces shot down three Russian Su-34s in southern Ukraine between December 21 and 22.
  • Russian forces conducted a series of drone and missile strikes against Ukraine on the night of December 23 to 24.
  • Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov further detailed Ukraine’s efforts to establish a sustainable wartime force-generation apparatus and an effective defense industrial base (DIB) during an interview published on December 24.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to portray himself as a gracious leader who cares about the well-being of Russian military personnel, while also presenting himself as an effective Commander-in-Chief of the Russian armed forces.
  • Russia appears to be continuing its efforts to build out a military occupation force in Ukraine separate from its frontline units through the use of its newly formed Rosgvardia units.
  • The Russian Black Sea Fleet’s 810th Naval Infantry Brigade edited its acknowledgement that its personnel are deliberately using chemical weapons in Ukraine in a likely effort to hide what could be evidence of an apparent violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, to which Russia is party.
  • Russia’s labor shortage, which is partially a result of the war in Ukraine, reportedly amounted to about 4.8 million people in 2023 and will likely continue to exacerbate struggling Kremlin efforts aimed at increasing Russian economic capacity.
  • Russian forces made confirmed advances near Kreminna and near Avdiivka as positional engagements continue along the entire line of contact.
  • The newly formed 337th Airborne (VDV) Regiment (104th VDV Division) operating in east (left) bank Kherson Oblast near Krynky is continuing to suffer losses.
  • Russian officials claimed that Russia’s handling of the situation at the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) is sufficient, despite recent unsafe incidents during Russian occupation of the plant.

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

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