Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin used a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on July 5 to oppose a negotiated ceasefire altogether and expressed his commitment to pursuing a "final" end to the war that would achieve his goal of destroying Ukrainian statehood.
  • Putin is demanding both the surrender of a significant portion of Ukraine's territory and people to Russian occupation and Ukrainian military capitulation in advance of any negotiations on an end-state to the war.
  • Ukrainian counteroffensive operations that liberate operationally significant territory remain the soundest course of action for degrading Putin's confidence in and commitment to his desired end state for his war of aggression against Ukraine.
  • Putin's rejection of any ceasefire agreement contradicts the Kremlin's previous effort to place the onus for negotiations on the West and Ukraine.
  • Putin attempted to portray Orban as an EU representative who can speak on the EU's behalf – a claim that EU officials explicitly denied.
  • Recent Russian domestic polls suggest that Kremlin information operations are influencing domestic Russian support of the war in Ukraine.
  • These Russian polls indicate that Russians who criticize the conduct of the war in Ukraine still support the war due to patriotism and disenfranchisement.
  • Many of Russia's "non-opponents" to the war have criticisms that parallel those of Russian ultranationalist milbloggers, yet they lack the ultranationalists' close attention to the war and desire for political change in support of Russian war aims.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted successful drone and missile strikes against targets in Tambov and Rostov oblasts and Krasnodar Krai on July 4 and 5.
  • Russian forces recently advanced near Vovchansk, Toretsk, and Donetsk City.
  • Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) officials continue to portray themselves as providing adequate medical care and other support for Russian soldiers who fought in Ukraine amid ongoing criticisms that the Russian military command sends injured soldiers to fight on the frontline.

ISW - map.

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

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