Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Ukrainian forces have begun to withdraw from Avdiivka, and Russian forces appear to be focused on complicating or preventing a complete Ukrainian withdrawal.
  • Ukrainian forces may have to conduct counterattacks to conduct an orderly withdrawal from Avdivika, and Russian efforts to complicate or prevent a Ukrainian withdrawal may become increasingly attritional.
  • Germany and France both signed bilateral security agreements with Ukraine on February 16.
  • NATO officials are increasingly warning that Russia poses a significant threat to NATO’s security.
  • Independent Russian survey data suggests that most Russians are largely apathetic towards Russia’s war in Ukraine, particularly Russians who have not personally lost family members in Ukraine and are thus able to avoid thinking about the war entirely.
  • The Russian reaction to the reported death of imprisoned opposition politician Alexei Navalny on February 16 was relatively muted.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, northwest of Bakhmut, and near Avdiivka.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to posture himself as an involved and effective wartime leader.
  • Russian-controlled courts in occupied Ukraine continue to pass harsh sentences on Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs).

Authors: Riley Bailey, Karolina Hird, Angelica Evans, Grace Mappes, Christina Harward, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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