Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • The March 22 Islamic State Khorasan (IS-K) attack on Moscow’s Crocus City Hall is a notable Russian intelligence and law enforcement failure, and explaining currently available open-source evidence does not require any wider and more complicated conspiracy theory either within or against the Russian state.
  • Kremlin officials’ and Russian ultranationalists’ continued insistence on blaming Ukraine for an attack that IS-K very likely committed may come at the expense of Russian internal security and civilian lives.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) confirmed that Lieutenant General Esedulla Abachev became the Leningrad Military District (LMD) Deputy Commander as the Russian military continues the formal disbandment of the Western Military District (WMD) and recreation of the LMD and Moscow Military District (MMD).
  • Ukrainian officials stated that the Ukrainian strike on occupied Sevastopol, Crimea on the night of March 23 targeted more Black Sea Fleet (BSF) ships and caused more damage than initially reported.
  • The Kremlin continues to lean on long debunked narratives as part of its wider information operations aimed at discrediting and undermining Western support for Ukraine.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Avdiivka on March 25.

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

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