Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russian forces will likely continue ongoing offensive efforts to destabilize Ukrainian defensive lines in Spring 2024 while also preparing for a forecasted new offensive effort in Summer 2024. The provision of Western security assistance will likely play a critical role in Ukraine’s ability to hold territory now and to repel a new Russian offensive effort in the coming months.
  • Well-provisioned Ukrainian forces have shown that they can prevent Russian forces from making even marginal gains during large-scale Russian offensive efforts, and there is no reason to doubt that Ukraine could further stabilize the frontline and prepare for repelling the reported Russian offensive effort this summer if materiel shortages abated.
  • The threat of significant Russian gains in the coming months does not mean that there is no threat of Russian forces making such gains through offensive operations this spring.
  • Pressing shortages in air defense systems and missiles will likely dramatically reduce Ukraine’s ability to defend against Russian strikes both in rear and frontline areas in the coming weeks if not addressed rapidly.
  • Russian forces have shown the capacity to adapt to fighting in Ukraine and will likely aim to scale lessons learned from the war in Ukraine to ongoing efforts to prepare the Russian military for a potential long-term confrontation with NATO.
  • Senior European officials stressed that a Russian victory in Ukraine would result in Russia posing a strategic threat to NATO security.
  • Russian Security Council Deputy Chairperson Dmitry Medvedev questioned the sovereignty of Latvia, a NATO member state, and threatened Latvian President Edgars Rinkēvičs following Medvedev’s March 14 call for the total elimination of Ukraine and Ukraine's absorption into Russia under Medvedev's “peace formula.” 
  • French President Emmanuel Macron stated on March 15 that he is not ruling out sending Western troops to Ukraine but that the current situation does not require it.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed continued limited raids from Ukrainian territory into Russia’s border region on March 15.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted a drone strike against a Russian oil refinery in Kaluga Oblast, and recent Ukrainian strikes against oil refineries reportedly caused a spike in Russian domestic oil prices.
  • Several Russians made limited attempts to disrupt the first day of voting in the Russian presidential election on March 15.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Kupyansk and Avdiivka and in western Zaporizhia Oblast.
  • Ukrainian Treatment of Prisoners of War Coordinating Headquarters Representative Petro Yatsenko stated that Russia has intensified its efforts to recruit military personnel from abroad.
  • Ukrainian sources and Russian opposition media reported that occupation officials continue coercive efforts to artificially inflate voter turnout and perceptions of support for Russian President Vladimir Putin in occupied Ukraine.

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

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