Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov signaled Russia’s intent to seize Kharkiv City in a future significant Russian offensive operation, the first senior Kremlin official to outright identify the city as a possible Russian operational objective following recent Ukrainian warnings that Russian forces may attempt to seize the city starting in Summer 2024.
  • Ukrainian officials announced that Ukrainian forces downed a Russian aircraft as it conducted missile strikes against Ukraine for the first time overnight on April 18 to 19, demonstrating a capability that may constrain how Russia conducts its strike campaign against Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian air defense capabilities remain limited and degraded, however, allowing Russian aircraft to operate freely without threat on certain critical areas of the front.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stressed that Ukraine requires Western provisions of artillery ammunition, air defense materiel, long-range artillery and missile systems, and fighter aircraft as Ukrainian constraints continue due to delays in US military assistance.
  • Pro-Russian Moldovan actors continue to set conditions to justify possible future Russian aggression in Moldova as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov compared Moldova to Ukraine and Armenia.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Donetsk City.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) continues to expand the newly reformed Leningrad Military District (LMD) in preparation for an anticipated future large-scale conventional conflict with NATO.
  • Russian officials continue to forcibly deport and Russify Ukrainian children as Ukrainian authorities work to return deported children to Ukrainian-controlled territory.

ISW - map.

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

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