Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that the Crocus City Hall attackers originally fled toward Belarus not Ukraine, directly undermining the Kremlin narrative on Ukraine’s involvement, possibly to head off questions about why the attackers headed toward Belarus in the first place.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and other senior Kremlin officials appear to be struggling to maintain a consistent rhetorical line about the Crocus City Hall attack, indicating that the Kremlin has not fully figured out how to reconcile its information operations with the reality of its intelligence and law enforcement failure.
  • Russian officials are proposing actionable but likely impractical solutions to the emotional outcries for retribution in response to the Crocus City Hall attack.
  • The Moldovan Constitutional Court reversed a ruling banning the Kremlin-affiliated Shor Party on March 26, which will likely allow pro-Russian Moldovan actors to reconsolidate around the Shor Party and reverse the impacts of the previous Moldovan ban on the party.
  • Ukrainian officials stated on March 26 that Ukrainian forces successfully conducted a strike on the night of March 23 to 24 against a Ukrainian ship that Russian forces had captured in 2014.
  • Separate investigations conducted by Western media outlets have found that Russian forces may be using Starlink terminals in Ukraine.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Kreminna and Bakhmut on March 26.
  • The Russian military has reportedly started recruiting personnel for elements of the newly reformed Leningrad Military District (LMD).

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

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