Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin evoked a wide Russian social and economic mobilization reminiscent of the Soviet Union’s total mobilization during the Second World War during a February 2 speech despite the fact that Russia is undertaking a far more gradual but nonetheless effective mobilization of its defense industrial base (DIB).
  •  Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated on February 2 that Russian forces retain the “strategic initiative” along the entire frontline in Ukraine, a notable departure from Shoigu’s previous characterization of Russian operations as “active defense.”
  • Open-source investigations indicate that Russian forces are benefitting from Ukraine’s ammunition shortage and inability to conduct sufficient counterbattery warfare.
  • US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller reiterated on February 1 that Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly indicated that he has not changed his aims to capture and subjugate Ukraine.
  • Russian milbloggers and ultranationalist figures continue to present themselves as impartial and constructive critics of the Russian military in juxtaposition to official Kremlin sources in the Russian information space.
  • Kremlin affiliates reportedly launched an information campaign wherein prominent social media influencers promote the Russian Orthodox Church.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Avdiivka and in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area amid continued positional engagements along the entire line of contact on February 2.
  • Russian outlet Izvestiya stated on February 2, citing sources within the Russian military, that the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) is forming air defense units as part of assault units to defend Russian infantry against Ukrainian drones, frontline air strikes, and shelling.
  • Ukrainian and Canadian officials announced a new coalition to return Ukrainian children from Russia to Ukraine.

Authors: Riley Bailey, Angelica Evans, Christina Harward, Grace Mappes, George Barros, and Fredrick W. Kagan.

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