Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russia and Ukraine conducted a prisoner of war (POW) exchange on January 3 in what was the largest POW exchange of the war to date and the first official POW exchange since August 2023.
  • Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal stated on January 3 that Ukraine plans to increase its defense industrial base (DIB) output six-fold in 2024.
  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced on January 3 that the NATO-Ukraine Council (NUC) will hold an emergency meeting in response to Russia’s recent mass air strikes against Ukraine.
  • NATO member states continue initiatives to support Ukrainian operations in the air domain.
  • Kremlin-affiliated mouthpieces may be setting information conditions to blame the West for a potential future conflict in the Arctic.
  • Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev characterized Russia as Kazakhstan’s “main partner and ally” in an interview published on January 3 despite recent efforts to distance Kazakhstan from Russia.
  • Russian forces made confirmed advances near Avdiivka and Donetsk City as positional engagements continued along the entire line of contact.
  • The Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DNR) “Vostok” Battalion stated on January 3 that the unit will continue to operate subordinated to Rosgvardia and will not be impacted by the Russian military’s reported dissolution of the “Kaskad” operational combat tactical formation of the DNR’s Internal Affairs Ministry (MVD).
  • Russian authorities continue efforts to integrate occupied Ukraine into Russia using infrastructure projects and social outreach programs.
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