Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin used his May 9 Victory Day speech to relitigate his belief that the West is attempting to erase the Soviet Union's contributions to defeating Nazi Germany during the Great Patriotic War (Second World War), a grievance that is at the core of Russia's adversarial perceptions of the West.
  • Putin seized on a recent meeting with the commanders of several frontline Russian formations to portray himself as an informed and effective Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces, aware of the intricacies of the frontline situation and involved in finding solutions to issues that plague Russian forces.
  • Putin surrounded himself with a number of foreign officials at the Victory Day parade, likely in order to posture himself as an effective statesman capable of galvanizing an alternative coalition to the power structures of the collective West.
  • Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Spokesperson Maria Zakharova claimed that the Moldovan government is engaged in a Nazi-like "genocide" in Moldova — a notable inflection in Kremlin officials' rhetoric about Moldova that is likely meant set conditions for a Russian effort to secure control over Moldova and not just some of its regions.
  • The leaders of the pro-Kremlin Moldovan Victory opposition electoral bloc attended the Victory Day parade in Moscow, further indicating that the Kremlin intends to use these actors to destabilize all of Moldova and attack Moldova's democracy and EU accession process.
  • Russian forces have markedly increased the rate of ground attacks in eastern Ukraine over the past month, likely reflecting current battlefield conditions and the intent of the Russian military command to secure gains before the arrival of Western military aid to the frontlines.
  • Russian border guards are withdrawing from much of Armenia as Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan continues to face domestic backlash for decisions regarding Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • The Kremlin may seek to capitalize on opposition outrage in Armenia to punish Pashinyan for increasingly pulling away from Russia.
  • Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) conducted long-range drone strikes against Russian oil depots and refinery infrastructure in Krasnodar Krai and the Republic of Bashkortostan on May 9.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Avdiivka and Donetsk City.
  • Russian forces continue to struggle with discipline in their ranks, with some Russian soldiers reportedly killing other members of their units.

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

See the original here.

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter