Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Ukrainian forces struck Russian targets in the vicinity of Belbek airfield in occupied Sevastopol, Crimea on January 31.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin doubled down on his maximalist and purposefully vague territorial objectives in Ukraine on January 31.
  • Ukrainian and Russian forces conducted a prisoner-of-war (POW) exchange on January 31, exchanging 195 Russian POWs for 207 Ukrainian POWs.
  • The European Union (EU) will reportedly fall short of its promise to provide Ukraine with one million artillery shells by March 1, 2024, as European leaders call on EU member states to intensify deliveries of ammunition to Ukraine.
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed that Russian-Chinese relations are at their “best period in their history” in a January 31 call with Chinese Defense Minister Admiral Dong Jun.
  • Kremlin officials and mouthpieces continued rhetorical efforts to prevent Moldova’s integration into the EU and to set information conditions to justify future Russian aggression against Moldova.
  • The Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported that it recently conducted a cyberattack on a Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) communications server.
  • Estonian Defense Forces Commander General Martin Herem stated that Russia may be behind recent GPS jamming in the Baltic region.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, and southwest of Donetsk City amid positional engagements along the entire line of contact on January 31.
  • Russian forces reportedly formed a “secret” battalion of penal recruits to conduct offensive operations in western Zaporizhia Oblast but are reportedly disbanding the battalion.
  • Russian and occupation officials continue efforts to erase Ukrainian cultural and ethnic identity in occupied territories.

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

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