Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Ukrainian and Russian sources stated that Ukrainian forces are increasingly contesting the tactical initiative in northern Kharkiv Oblast and characterized Russian operations in the area as defensive, although Russian forces are likely attempting to bring the Northern Grouping of Forces up closer to its reported planned end strength before possibly intensifying offensive operations in the area.
  • The likely premature start of Russian offensive operations appears to have undermined Russian success in northern Kharkiv Oblast.
  • Russian forces continue to leverage their sanctuary in Russian airspace to strike Kharkiv City to devastating effect, likely as part of efforts to depopulate the city and demoralize Ukrainians.
  • Russian electronic warfare (EW) capabilities reportedly impacted the effectiveness of select Western weapon systems in Ukraine in 2023 as Ukraine and Russia continue to compete in a technical offense-defense race.
  • Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov categorically rejected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's legitimacy and outlined Russia's maximalist conditions for peace negotiations during an interview with Newsweek on May 25.
  • Russia is likely helping North Korea develop its defense industrial base (DIB) in exchange for North Korean munitions supplies, and US officials reportedly assess that Russia may also be supplying North Korea with military equipment, weapons, or technology.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Donetsk City.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has cancelled its annual "Army Games" international competition for the second year in a row, prompting celebration among critical Russian ultranationalist milbloggers.

ISW - map.

Authors: Riley Bailey, Christina Harward, Angelica Evans, Grace Mappes, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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