ISW invites you to join us on June 8th at 7 pm ET for a unique virtual briefing and Q&A session about this critical next phase of the war, hosted by ISW's Director of Strategic Initiatives Jennifer Cafarella and Russia Team Lead Mason Clark.

This page collects links to products and other resources related to the Coalition Defense of Taiwan, a new collaboration between the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

See ISW’s archive of interactive time-lapse maps of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These maps complement the static control-of-terrain maps that ISW produces daily by showing a dynamic frontline. ISW will add new time-lapses to our on a monthly basis.

Click here to see ISW's Interactive Map. This map complements the static control-of-terrain maps that ISW daily produces with high-fidelity and, where possible, street-level assessments of the war in Ukraine.

The West should pay close attention to the Chinese military's preparations for urban combat, as these efforts will have profound effects on China's policy toward Taiwan and elsewhere. 

Latest from ISW

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, June 4, 2023

Elements of the all-Russian pro-Ukrainian Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) and Freedom of Russia Legion (LSR) conducted another limited raid into Belgorod Oblast on June 4 and are reportedly continuing to operate in a Russian border settlement. Geolocated footage published on June 4 shows LSR and RDK personnel advancing towards Novaya Tavolzhanka (3.5km from the Ukrainian border). Belgorod Oblast Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov confirmed that there was fighting within Novaya Tavolzhanka, although the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that units of the Western Military District and the Russian Border Guard Service struck a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group near the settlement, forcing them to withdraw. Russian milbloggers claimed that a sabotage and reconnaissance group of 20 personnel entered Novaya Tavolzhanka without armored vehicles. Wall Street Journal Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Yarsoslav Trofimov reported that the pro-Ukrainian Russian fighters remain in Novaya Tavolzhanka as of 1700 (Moscow Standard Time).

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, June 3, 2023

Ukrainian officials continue to signal that Ukrainian forces are prepared to start counteroffensive operations. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated in a June 3 interview with the Wall Street Journal that Ukraine is ready to launch a counteroffensive. Zelensky stated that Ukraine “would like to have certain things, but … can’t wait for months” to start counteroffensive operations. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar stated on June 3 that “military plans love silence” and that she will “discuss something else” in the meantime, likely acknowledging that Ukrainian officials have started to more strictly enforce a regime of informational silence about operations in preparation for upcoming counteroffensives. Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko stated on June 3 that Ukraine has formed all nine brigades of the “Offensive Guard” and that these formations are ready to take part in hostilities at Zelensky’s and Ukrainian Commander in Chief General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi’s orders.

China-Taiwan Weekly Update, June 2, 2023

2024 Taiwanese presidential candidates are basing their cross-strait policy positions within the “peace vs war” framework, which may provide China greater influence over their election narratives through the PRC-supported framework.

Xi Jinping stressed the need to establish China’s national security risk monitoring and early warning system, which could serve as a tool to implement the CCP’s holistic security concept.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, June 2, 2023

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) continues to respond disproportionately to limited raids into Russian territory, likely to project confidence and competence in the MoD’s ability to respond to perceived threats. The Russian MoD issued a second update about the June 1 Shebekino, Belgorod Oblast border raid, largely fixating on the timeliness and scope of the Russian response to the raid. The MoD claimed that additional Russian Western Military District (WMD) elements reinforced the border area within an hour of the start of the raid and conducted heavy air, artillery, and flamethrower strikes against the raiding units and their reserves. The MoD claimed that over 135 people and 35 vehicles in total conducted the raids and that various Russian defensive efforts - including small arms fire and mines - repelled the raids. The MoD later celebrated the commander of an unspecified motorized rifle battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Nikitin, for leading the defensive effort, likely to preempt attempts to attribute the “victory” achieved by Belgorod border defense on Russian Colonel General Alexander Lapin as the information space did during the May 23 raid. The Russian MoD’s fixation on portraying Russian forces and the Russian military command as capable defenders of Russia likely reflects internal and broader information space anxiety over the coming Ukrainian counteroffensive as well as any reverberating informational impacts from any failures to defend against Ukrainian counterattacks.

Iran Update, June 2, 2023

1). Iran is training its militias in Syria to use a range of improvised and advanced weapons to attack US personnel in Syria. Iranian-backed militias in Iraq may conduct attacks against US forces in Syria.

2). Iran likely calculates that it has achieved strategic depth and using militias in Iraq and Syria to attack US forces will keep conflict confined to Syria.

3). Iranian media circulated reports of an IRGC-conducted a drone strike targeting Kurdish Iranian separatist groups in the Iraqi Kurdistan region on June 2.

4). The Iranian regime is pursuing increased gas swaps with Turkmenistan, likely to preempt electricity shortages in the summer that could fuel internal unrest.

Salafi-Jihadi Movement Weekly Update, May 31, 2023

Key Takeaways:
Iraq and Syria. ISIS likely is increasing large-scale operations, setting conditions to challenge regime control in some population centers. ISIS deployed more than 100 fighters in two separate operations in spring 2023, which indicates the group’s ability to coordinate between disparate elements to conduct sophisticated tactical efforts. ISIS is using its operations in the central Syrian desert to neutralize anti-ISIS forces in key areas. The group will gradually expand its attack zones into urban areas to coerce the population into supporting ISIS.

Burkina Faso. Al Qaeda–linked militants increased the rate and lethality of their attacks in northwestern Burkina Faso in May 2023 to strengthen and expand their support zone along the border of central Mali and northwestern Burkina Faso. The al Qaeda–linked group is using these support zones in northwestern Burkina Faso to expand toward the Burkinabe capital. The group will also use these zones to expand south along the Burkina Faso–Mali border to threaten southern Mali and Burkina Faso’s second largest city and economic capital in southwestern Burkina Faso.

Somalia. Self-admitted poor troop performance likely enabled al Qaeda’s Somali affiliate al Shabaab to overrun a Ugandan African Union base in southern Somalia in late May. The Ugandan contingent’s intelligence gaps and lack of close air support likely also contributed to al Shabaab’s success. Al Shabaab also overran a Somali National Army (SNA) base in central Somalia in late May, underscoring the continued vulnerability of holding forces in recently liberated areas of Somalia.

Pakistan. Pakistan may have postponed an anti-Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) operation to focus on suppressing protests in early May. The removal of counterterrorism pressure on the TTP may permit the group to conduct attacks against sensitive targets in Islamabad, where the government is holding meetings to discuss the protest crisis. Local sources claimed the TTP is planning attacks on high-level political leaders in Islamabad.

Afghanistan. Iran and the Taliban rhetorically deescalated following border clashes amid an ongoing water dispute. Both sides took measures to reinforce the border and are likely prepared for future clashes but will seek to avoid instigating another round of skirmishes. The Taliban will likely seek to preserve its economic relationship with Iran by deescalating tensions along the border.