Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • The Russian military reportedly redeployed a battalion of the 76th Airborne (VDV) Division to Kursk Oblast as part of a larger ongoing Russian effort to gather an operationally significant force for a possible future Russian offensive operation against northeastern Ukraine and Kharkiv City.
  • The Russian military is reportedly preparing and forming the Northern Grouping of Forces from elements of the Leningrad Military District (LMD) to primarily operate in the Belgorod-Kharkiv operational direction.
  • US officials continue to signal their support for new Ukrainian counteroffensive operations in 2025, although ISW continues to assess that Ukraine should contest the theater-wide initiative as soon as possible because ceding the theater-wide initiative to Russia for the entirety of 2024 will present Russia with several benefits.
  • European intelligence agencies reportedly warned their governments that Russia is planning to conduct “violent acts of sabotage” across Europe as part of a “more aggressive and concerted effort” against the West.
  • The Kremlin-controlled Russian Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchate (ROC MP) seized on the Orthodox Easter holiday on May 5 to further its efforts to garner domestic support for the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.
  • Russian forces recently advanced near Kupyansk and Robotyne.
  • Bureaucratic issues continue to constrain frontline Russian units’ ability to conduct strikes on Ukrainian targets.

Authors: Christina Harward, Angelica Evans, Kateryna Stepanenko, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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