Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • The Kremlin-controlled Russian Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchate (ROC MP) reportedly directed all its clergy to change their liturgy to include pro-war prayers in support of Russia’s war of conquest against Ukraine and is likely threatening to defrock ROC MP clergy who do not support the war.
  • The ROC MP leadership has intensified internal scrutiny against ROC MP clergy and has reportedly defrocked several clergy members who refused to promote Kremlin-introduced prayers supporting Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
  • Russia conducted another series of missile and drone strikes largely targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure on the night of March 30 to 31 as delays in US security assistance continue to degrade Ukraine’s air defense umbrella and enable Russia to significantly damage Ukraine’s energy grid.
  • Ukrainian forces appear to have repelled a Russian battalion-sized mechanized assault near Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast, on March 30 — the first battalion-sized mechanized assault since Russian forces began the campaign to seize Avdiivka in late October 2023.
  • French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu announced on March 31 that France will provide an unspecified number of Aster 30 surface-to-air missiles and “hundreds” of armored vehicles and other equipment to Ukraine.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin signed on March 31 the scheduled decree authorizing Russia’s semi-annual spring military conscription, which will conscript 150,000 Russians between April 1 and July 15.
  • The Russian military command reportedly appointed Chief of Staff of the Russian Ground Forces Colonel General Alexander Lapin as commander of the newly formed Leningrad Military District (LMD).
  • The Kremlin continues efforts to enforce Russian federal laws in post-Soviet countries where Russia has no legal jurisdiction.
  • Russian authorities conducted a counterterrorism operation and detained suspected terrorists in the Republic of Dagestan on March 31.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Avdiivka and southwest of Donetsk City on March 31.
  • The Russian government continues to fail to properly compensate volunteer and irregular forces fighting in Ukraine, despite recently passing new legislation that simplifies the access to veteran statuses for these servicemen and their families.

Authors: Riley Bailey, Grace Mappes, Angelica Evans, Kateryna Stepanenko, and George Barros.

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