Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • The Kremlin continues to time its nuclear saber-rattling to coincide with major policy discussions in the West as part of a Kremlin reflexive control campaign to influence Western decision-makers.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky indicated that the limited Russian offensive in northern Ukraine is achieving its goal of drawing attention away from intense Russian offensive operations in eastern Ukraine.
  • The Russian military command reportedly initially planned that Russian forces would quickly make significant advances in northern Kharkiv Oblast, but the limited force grouping deployed to the area suggests that the Russian military command likely changed these plans in the lead up to offensive operations in Kharkiv Oblast.
  • Russian authorities recently arrested the former commander of the 58th Combined Arms Army (CAA), Major General Ivan Popov, on fraud charges.
  • The Kremlin is likely using the pattern of recent arrests of high-ranking officials on corruption charges in the Russian MoD to conceal the real reasons for Popov's punishment almost 10 months after his conflict with the Russian military command and subsequent dismissal from his command position.
  • Satellite imagery indicates that Ukrainian forces likely damaged the Russian Black Sea Fleet's (BSF) Tsyklon small missile ship in occupied Sevastopol, Crimea on May 19.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Vovchansk, Kreminna, Chasiv Yar, and Donetsk City.
  • A Russian milblogger claimed that frequent Ukrainian drone strikes against Russian vehicles that lack electronic warfare (EW) systems along the frontline have created an "urgent" shortage of off-road vehicles.
  • Russian authorities continue to illegally and forcibly deport Ukrainian citizens, including children, to Russia and to forcibly remove Ukrainian citizens deeper into occupied Ukraine.

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

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