Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Ukrainian and Russian authorities opened criminal investigations into the January 24 Russian Il-76 military transport aircraft crash in Belgorod Oblast.
  • Russian forces conducted a series of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine on the night of January 24 to 25.
  • The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) reportedly conducted a successful drone strike on a Rosneft oil refinery in Tuapse, Krasnodar Krai on the night of January 24 to 25.
  • Russian forces are reportedly increasing their use of chemical weapons in Ukraine in continued apparent violations of the Chemical Weapons Convention, to which Russia is party.
  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated that Russia’s war in Ukraine is “directed against the very existence of Ukraine as a sovereign state.”
  • Russian authorities issued prison sentences in a number of high-profile cases on January 25, including that of imprisoned Russian ultranationalist and former officer Igor Girkin.
  • The Kremlin is reportedly no longer offering pardons to convict recruits and is significantly changing the terms of their service, likely in response to the reduction of the pool of convicts suitable for recruitment into Russian force generation efforts.
  • A Russian insider source claimed that the Russian military command recently replaced the Deputy Commander of the Southern Military District (SMD) and appointed a new SMD Chief of Staff, although ISW cannot confirm this claim.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Avdiivka amid continued positional engagements along the entire line of contact on January 25.
  • Bloomberg reported on January 24 that labor shortages in Russia have increased wages in civilian sectors enough to compete with relatively lucrative military salaries, likely making military service even less appealing to Russian citizens.
  • Crimean occupation head Sergei Aksyonov signed a decree on January 25 that introduces a “special regime” for entry and exit between occupied Crimea and occupied Kherson Oblast reportedly in an effort to “localize threats to the security of the population and military and other facilities” in occupied Crimea.

Authors: Angelica Evans, Nicole Wolkov, Riley Bailey, Karolina Hird, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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