Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russian Security Council Deputy Chairperson Dmitry Medvedev promoted Russia’s extensive territorial objectives that expand deep into Ukraine’s territory.
  • The Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported that unknown actors detonated explosives and severely damaged a Russian railway bridge over the Chapaevka River near Chapaevsk, Samara Oblast on March 4.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly awarded a Russian Airborne Forces (VDV) and Spetsnaz-affiliated Russian milblogger, likely as part of the Kremlin’s longstanding efforts to co-opt milbloggers and make them loyal to the Kremlin.
  • The Russian government reportedly hid data on recipients of social support services in 2022, likely to obfuscate casualties suffered in the first year of the war in Ukraine or to cover up the government’s inability to pay promised social support to vulnerable populations.
  • The Kremlin is continuing efforts to ensure high voter turnout in the upcoming presidential election to present the guise of legitimacy and widespread popular support among Russian President Vladimir Putin’s domestic electorate.
  • Russian authorities continue to exploit the leaked recording of German military officers discussing the theoretical provision of Taurus missiles to Ukraine to deter Western military aid provisions to Ukraine.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Donetsk City amid continued positional engagements along the entire frontline.
  • A Russian news aggregator claimed on March 4 that Russian forces replaced Storm-Z convict units with Storm-V units, a mechanism for distributing convicts into the regular Russian military as opposed to keeping them siloed within convict-only units, as was the case with Storm-Z formations.

Authors: Nicole Wolkov, Angelica Evans, Christina Harward, Riley Bailey, and Kateryna Stepanenko.

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