Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Ukrainian military officials reported that Ukrainian forces struck at least one Russian military target in occupied Crimea, while Russian officials and milbloggers claimed that the Ukrainian strike was unsuccessful.
  • US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby stated on January 4 that Russia has already launched ballistic missiles acquired from North Korea at targets in Ukraine and continues efforts to acquire similar missiles from Iran.
  • Russia may be intensifying efforts to source ballistic missiles from abroad because these missiles appear to be more effective at striking targets in Ukraine in some circumstances.
  • US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby dismissed recent Western reporting of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s willingness to engage in peace negotiations with Ukraine as “ballyhoo” during a press conference on January 3.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree strengthening procedures for granting foreign citizens Russian citizenship in exchange for Russian military service in Ukraine, likely as part of ongoing efforts to coerce migrants into the Russian military.
  • Kyrgyzstan sentenced a Kyrgyz citizen to five years in prison for participating in the war in Ukraine as a member of the Wagner Group.
  • Russia has begun negotiations with Algeria, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Saudi Arabia to open Russian cultural centers (Russkii dom) abroad, likely aimed at increasing Russian influence in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Russian forces made confirmed advances near Kreminna and Avdiivka as positional engagement continued along the entire frontline.
  • Ukrainian sources reported that Russian authorities are planning to mobilize Ukrainian teenagers living in occupied Ukraine.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on January 4 streamlining the process for certain Ukrainians to receive Russian citizenship.
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