Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, and Kremlin officials claimed that Russia is in an existential geopolitical conflict with an alleged modern Nazi movement that extends beyond Ukraine while marking the 80th anniversary of the breaking of the siege of Leningrad.
  • Putin has long tried to construct an ideology for Russia that he can use to support a geopolitical confrontation with the West reminiscent of the Cold War, and the Kremlin may increasingly use existing rhetoric about fighting Nazism to support this effort.
  • Putin specifically accused the Baltic states of adopting “Nazism,” likely as part of continued Kremlin efforts to set information conditions for future Russian aggression against NATO members.
  • Myanmar banks reportedly connected to the Russian System for the Transfer of Financial Messages (SPFS) banking system, a Russian analogue for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) banking system.
  • Russian forces conducted a limited series of drone and missile strikes against Ukraine on January 26 and 27.
  • Russian authorities are likely blocking communications in the Sakha Republic for the fourth consecutive day following January 24 protests in support of a Russian citizen allegedly murdered by a naturalized Russian citizen from Tajikistan.
  • Russian forces made recent confirmed advances near Kupyansk, Kreminna, and Avdiivka amid continued positional engagements along the entire line of contact on January 27.
  • UK outlet the Telegraph reported on January 26, citing an unnamed Western official, that Russia is spending roughly 40 percent of its GDP on the war in Ukraine, more than Russian national spending on health and education.
  • Russian federal subjects continue to establish patronage networks with occupied areas of Ukraine.

Authors: Riley Bailey, Christina Harward, Nicole Wolkov, Angelica Evans, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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