Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin articulated a theory of victory in Ukraine on June 7 that assumes that Russian forces will be able to continue gradual creeping advances indefinitely, prevent Ukraine from conducting successful operationally significant counteroffensive operations, and win a war of attrition against Ukrainian forces.
  • Putin's theory of victory rests on Russia's ability to outlast and overcome pledged Western security assistance to Ukraine and Ukrainian efforts to mobilize more of its economy and population for the war effort, indicating that Putin likely assesses that Russian forces will be able to leverage their advantages in manpower and materiel to overwhelm on Ukrainian forces.
  • Putin's theory of victory hinges on a critical assumption that the West will abandon Ukraine to Russian victory, either on its own accord or in response to Russian efforts to persuade the West to do so, and it is far from clear that the West will do so.
  • Putin indirectly indicated that Ukrainian strikes on Russian territory with Western-provided weapons do not cross a supposed Russian "red line" that would result in Russian nuclear escalation.
  • Putin heavily focused on proposals to solve Russia's labor shortage issues during his speech at SPIEF on June 7.
  • Putin attempted to frame Russia's economic issues in a positive light, likely to prepare Russian citizens to make more personal sacrifices as Russia sustains a protracted war in Ukraine at the expense of Russian citizens’ standards of living.
  • Putin continued efforts to portray Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as an illegitimate president and identified the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (parliament) as a legitimate actor with which the Kremlin can negotiate instead of Zelensky. Putin’s recent statements are the latest in a series designed to obfuscate the legality of Zelensky's extended term by misrepresenting the Ukrainian Constitution and Ukrainian laws.
  • Putin attempted to introduce his children and the children of other senior Russian officials to the public sphere at SPIEF, likely to set conditions for them to eventually assume high-profile and powerful roles in the Russian government.
  • US National Security Council Senior Director for Arms Control, Disarmament, and Nonproliferation Pranay Vaddi stated that the US has prepared a new nuclear weapons policy specifically to deter Russia, the People's Republic of China (PRC), North Korea, and Iran.
  • The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced a $225 million security assistance package for Ukraine on June 7.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron announced on June 6 that France will provide Ukraine with an unspecified number of Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets and equip and train a brigade of 4,500 Ukrainian soldiers.
  • The Russian Supreme Court declared an organization that does not exist as "extremist" on June 7, consistent with previous ISW assessments that Russia seeks to expand the legal definition of "extremism" to increasingly prosecute domestic anti-war sentiment.
  • The Kremlin continues efforts to destabilize the Balkans and dismantle the 1995 Dayton Accords that ended the 1992-1995 Bosnian War, likely as part of a larger strategic effort that seeks to divide and distract Europe.
  • Russian forces recently advanced near Svatove, near Chasiv Yar, and northwest of Avdiivka.

ISW - map.

Authors: Riley Bailey, Christina Harward, Nicole Wolkov, Grace Mappes, and George Barros.

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