Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • The Russian military command appears to be forming reserves capable of sustaining ongoing offensive operations in Ukraine, but these reserves are unlikely to be able to function as cohesive large-scale penetration or exploitation formations this year.
  • Russian offensive tactics will likely increasingly pressure Ukrainian defenses as long as delays in Western security assistance persist.
  • Russian forces conducted a larger series of missile strikes targeting Kyiv City on the night of March 20 to 21.
  • NATO Military Committee Chairperson Admiral Rob Bauer stated that neither Ukraine nor NATO prompted Russia to invade Ukraine and that Ukrainian forces’ adaptations and innovations have in part changed modern warfare.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on March 21 that Vice Admiral Konstantin Kabantsov became acting Commander of the Russian Northern Fleet.
  • Bloomberg reported on March 20 that an unspecified source close to the Kremlin stated that the all-Russian pro-Ukrainian incursions into Belgorod Oblast are forcing the Russian military to divert forces from the frontline to Belgorod Oblast, although ISW has not observed such claims.
  • US sanctions continue to influence the financial sector in post-Soviet countries, as two banks in Kazakhstan recently banned the use of Russia’s “Mir” national payment system to prevent secondary sanctions.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Bakhmut and in east (left) bank Kherson Oblast amid continued positional engagements along the entire line of contact on March 21.
  • Russian officials continue to highlight the work of Russia’s defense industrial base (DIB) in supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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

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