Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin used his annual New Year's address on December 31 to concretize Russian ideological priorities for 2024, notably omitting any mentions of the war in Ukraine and instead focusing on setting ideological conditions for the upcoming year.
  • Russian forces conducted another series of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine on the night of December 29 to 30 and on December 31, underscoring a notable recent increase in the percentage of Russian Shahed-136/131 drones penetrating or avoiding Ukrainian air defenses.
  • Russian forces, particularly Russian airborne (VDV) Forces, are reportedly suffering heavy losses in simultaneous infantry-heavy Russian offensive operations on multiple fronts.
  • A prominent Kremlin-affiliated Russian milblogger argued that ethnic Russians do not have enough domestic power in Russia while reiterating a common Russian information operation aimed at erasing Ukrainian identity.
  • Russian and Ukrainian forces conducted positional engagements along the entire line of conduct, but there were no confirmed map changes on December 31.
  • Russian Presidential Administration First Deputy Head Sergei Kiriyenko is spearheading efforts to consolidate sociocultural control of occupied areas of Ukraine via the information space.
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