Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • The interplay between ongoing Russian offensive operations in the Chasiv Yar, Toretsk, and Avdiivka directions indicates that the Russian military command may intend to leverage the ongoing Toretsk push to create operational opportunities for advances in either the Chasiv Yar or Avdiivka areas. Russian preparations that can support multiple future branch plans suggest a more developed level of operational planning and foresight than the Russian command has proven capable of executing thus far in the war since early 2022. The ability of this operational planning to come to fruition, however, will be bounded by the overall poor tactical-level capabilities of Russian forces currently fighting in these areas.
  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban likely used his unannounced visit to Kyiv on July 2 to posture himself as a peacemaker following Hungary's accession to the European Union (EU) Council presidency on July 1, but Orban’s efforts are very unlikely to bring about any robust peace in Ukraine.
  • The Kremlin is waging an intensified information campaign aimed at pushing Ukraine to negotiate with Russia on Russian terms, and any Russian, Western, or other efforts to cajole Ukraine to prematurely negotiate with Russia would only weaken Ukraine and embolden further Russian aggression inside and beyond Ukraine.
  • Several Russian State Duma deputies proposed a bill that would exclude a significant number of ethnicities from Russia's "compatriots" resettlement program, undermining the Kremlin's efforts to leverage its "compatriots abroad" to offset Russian labor shortages and set informational conditions to justify potential hybrid operations against other countries with Russian and Russian-speaking populations.
  • Ukrainian forces struck an ammunition depot at a Russian military base in occupied Crimea on July 1 that reportedly housed Shahed drones.
  • Russia may be intensifying its efforts to conduct reconnaissance and disrupt communications in the underwater and air space near NATO states.
  • Russian authorities appear to be publicly fixating on crackdowns against fight clubs and restricting the niqab to signal that Russian authorities are adequately combatting terrorist threats in the North Caucasus instead of addressing systemic issues of Islamist extremism in the region.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on July 2 assigning the Russian 999th Air Base in Kant, Kyrgyzstan the "guards" honorific for "mass heroism and bravery."
  • Russian forces recently advanced near Vovchansk, Chasiv Yar, Avdiivka, and the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area.
  • Russia is reportedly recruiting women from Russian penal colonies to fight in Ukraine, and some of these recruits are reportedly fighting on the frontline.

Authors: Angelica Evans, Riley Bailey, Christina Harward, Nicole Wolkov, and Frederick W. Kagan.

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