Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov claimed that NATO and Russia are in “direct confrontation,” likely as part of ongoing Kremlin efforts to intensify existing information operations meant to force the West into self-deterrence.
  • Russian Chief of the General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov appealed to Commonwealth of Independent State (CIS) members to increase cooperation against perceived Western threats as part of the effort to posture against the West.
  • The Kremlin leveraged this overall information operation about escalation with NATO to target France specifically, following French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent calls for the West to expand the level and types of security assistance it sends to Ukraine.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also promoted information operations feigning interest in negotiations, and Lavrov’s and Shoigu’s likely coordinated informational efforts may signal a new round of intensified Russian rhetoric about negotiations.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin continues attempts to balance the Kremlin’s opposing efforts to set social expectations for a protracted Russian war effort and to assuage Russian society’s concerns about the economic consequences of the war and labor migration.
  • Russian forces conducted a roughly reinforced company-sized mechanized assault towards Chasiv Yar (west of Bakhmut) on April 4 and advanced up to the eastern outskirts of the settlement.
  • Russian forces also recently made confirmed advances near Bakhmut and Donetsk City.
  • An unspecified senior NATO official reportedly told Russian opposition news outlet Vazhnye Istorii that NATO intelligence agencies have not observed indications that Russia is preparing for a large-scale partial mobilization wave.

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

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