Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Ukrainian drone footage published on December 27 showed another Russian execution of Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) near Robotyne in western Zaporizhia Oblast.
  • Russian forces recently advanced in western Zaporizhia Oblast and retook positions that Ukrainian forces had captured during the summer 2023 counteroffensive, likely after Ukrainian forces withdrew to more defensible positions near Robotyne for the winter.
  • The destruction of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (KHPP) dam on June 6, 2023, reportedly postponed a Ukrainian crossing of the Dnipro River that was likely intended to support Ukrainian counteroffensive operations.
  • Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces Commander Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi described continued Ukrainian battlefield challenges and requirements for future territorial advances during an interview with BBC published on December 27.
  • Ukrainian officials highlighted the Ukrainian defense industrial base’s (DIB) increased production in 2023 and offered projections of Ukraine’s domestic drone production capabilities on December 27.
  • Russian forces launched another series of Shahed-136/131 drone strikes against Ukraine overnight on December 27.
  • Satellite imagery from the successful December 26 Ukrainian strike on a Russian Black Sea Fleet (BSF) vessel in occupied Feodosia, Crimea indicates that the strike damaged the surrounding port infrastructure.
  • Russia maintains its maximalist objectives in Ukraine and is uninterested in good faith negotiations despite reports that Western officials are becoming more amenable to eventual Ukrainian negotiations with Russia to end the war.
  • The Russian state-owned Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) found that Russians are increasingly less trusting of Russian state TV and are turning to social media and the internet for news.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on December 27 in a likely effort to maintain Russia’s critical trade relationship with India.
  • Russian forces made confirmed advances near Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Donetsk City, and Verbove as positional engagements continued along the entire line of contact.
  • A Russian insider source claimed that Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has created his own private military company (PMC).
  • The Ukrainian “Cyber Resistance” movement obtained information about a Russian deputy commander of the 171st Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment (51st Air Defense Division) committing sexual crimes against minors in occupied Ukraine.
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