Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to demonstrate that Russia is not interested in negotiating with Ukraine in good faith and that Russia’s maximalist objectives in Ukraine – which are tantamount to full Ukrainian and Western surrender – remain unchanged.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin notably amplified a longstanding Kremlin effort to set information conditions for future escalations against Baltic countries, likely as part of his wider effort to weaken NATO.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated the importance of defeating Russia in Ukraine at the Davos World Economic Forum on January 16.
  • Russian tactical aviation operations are reportedly decreasing near the Sea of Azov, and Russian aviation capabilities may be degraded after Ukrainian forces destroyed a Russian A-50 long-range radar detection aircraft and caused severe damage to a Russian Il-22 airborne command post aircraft on the night of January 14.
  • At least two state-owned Chinese banks reportedly ordered reviews of their business with Russian clients and will sever ties with sanctioned Russian entities and entities with ties to the Russian defense industry.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov thanked North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui for North Korea’s support for Russia in the war during Choe’s official state visit to Moscow on January 16.
  • The Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada adopted a law on its second reading to digitalize Ukrainian military records on January 16.
  • Russian forces made confirmed advances near Kreminna and Bakhmut as positional engagements continued along the entire frontline.
  • Russian State Duma deputies from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) proposed a bill on January 16 that would create a legal status for volunteers of the Russian war in Ukraine that would grant them compensation in case of injury or death.
  • Russian occupation officials from occupied Kherson, Zaporizhia, and Donetsk oblasts attended a meeting of Russian municipal representatives in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin on January 16.

Authors: Kateryna Stepanenko, Karolina Hird, Riley Bailey, Angelica Evans, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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