Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Sweden will join NATO following Hungary’s formal approval of Sweden’s accession bid on February 26.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin signed two decrees on February 26 that officially re-establish the Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts, codifying major Russian military restructuring and reform efforts.
  • The formal transfer of regions previously under the responsibility of the Northern Fleet is likely part of a wider Russian effort to re-establish military district commands as the primary headquarters for the Russian ground forces while reassigning naval assets to the Russian Navy, as ISW previously reported.
  • The re-creation of the MMD and LMD supports the parallel objectives of consolidating control over Russian operations in Ukraine in the short-to-medium term and preparing for a potential future large-scale conventional war against NATO in the long term.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated on February 25 that Russia is preparing a new offensive that will start in late May or summer 2024, consistent with ISW’s assessment that Russian forces have regained the theater-wide initiative and will be able to pursue offensive operations when and where they choose as long as they hold the initiative.
  • Chief of the Russian General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov is continuing a recent campaign to engage with Russian military personnel following the Russian capture of Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast and reportedly visited a command post of the 58th Combined Arms Army (CAA) in Ukraine.
  • Over 20 heads of state, including 15 European Union (EU) leaders met in Paris on February 26 to discuss ramping up ammunition supplies to Ukraine.
  • Germany announced a new military aid package to Ukraine on February 26.
  • Transnistrian sources reportedly told Russian independent outlet Verstka that Transnistria, a pro-Russian breakaway region of Moldova, is not planning to ask to join Russia during the Congress of Deputies in Tiraspol on February 28.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed gains near Kreminna, Bakhmut, and Avdiivka amid continued positional engagements along the entire frontline.
  • Russia reportedly imported almost 450 million euros (about $488 million) worth of sanctioned “sensitive” European goods, including weapons technology, between January and September 2023.

Authors: Riley Bailey, Nicole Wolkov, Christina Harward, Grace Mappes, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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