Ukraine Project

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 24, 2024

US President Joe Biden announced on April 24 that the US will begin sending military equipment to Ukraine “a few hours” after signing a bill that will provide roughly $60 billion of assistance to Ukraine. The United States reportedly provided an unspecified number of long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine in March 2024, some of which Ukraine has already used to strike Russian targets in deep rear areas. The arrival of long-range ATACMS missiles in sufficient quantities will allow Ukrainian forces to degrade Russian logistics and threaten Russian airfields in deep rear areas, although months of delay may have provided the Russian military time to offset the potential operational impacts that ATACMS will afford Ukraine. Ukrainian strikes against Russian logistics or Russian aviation assets in deep rear areas will likely be operationally significant, however, only if Ukrainian forces successfully coordinate them with ground operations to exploit the degraded Russian capabilities resulting from the strikes.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 23, 2024

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu highlighted ongoing Russian offensive operations near Chasiv Yar, Avdiivka, and Donetsk City and announced Russia’s intent to intensify its strike campaign to disrupt Ukrainian logistics. Shoigu addressed the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) collegium on April 23 and focused on the recently claimed Russian seizure of Bohdanivka (northeast of Chasiv Yar), Pervomaiske (southwest of Avdiivka), and Novomykhailivka (southwest of Donetsk City).

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 22, 2024

The Kremlin is conducting a concerted air and information operation to destroy Kharkiv City, convince Ukrainians to flee, and internally displace millions of Ukrainians ahead of a possible future Russian offensive operation against the city or elsewhere in Ukraine. Kharkiv Oblast Head Oleh Synehubov and the Kharkiv Oblast Prosecutor’s Office reported that Russian forces struck a TV tower in Kharkiv City possibly with a Kh-59 cruise missile on the afternoon of April 22 and that the strike disrupted TV signals in the area. Ukrainian and Russian media and Russian milbloggers widely amplified footage and images of the damaged TV tower, which broke in half and partially collapsed as a result of the strike. Russian state media and milbloggers attempted to justify the strike by claiming that Ukrainian forces installed unspecified air defense communication and coordination equipment on the tower.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 21, 2024

US Senate Intelligence Committee Chairperson Senator Mark Warner reported on April 21 that US provisions of military aid to Ukraine, including long-range ATACMS missiles, will be in transit to Ukraine “by the end of the week” if the Senate passes the supplemental appropriations bill on April 23 and US President Joe Biden signs it by April 24. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated on April 21 that the swift delivery of US military aid to Ukraine could allow Ukrainian forces to stabilize the frontline and seize the initiative.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 20, 2024

The US House of Representatives passed a supplemental appropriations bill on April 20 providing for roughly $60 billion of assistance to Ukraine. The bill must now be passed by the Senate and signed by the president before aid can begin to flow. These requirements and the logistics of transporting US materiel to the frontline in Ukraine will likely mean that new US assistance will not begin to affect the situation on the front line for several weeks. The frontline situation will therefore likely continue to deteriorate in that time, particularly if Russian forces increase their attacks to take advantage of the limited window before the arrival of new US aid.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 19, 2024

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov signaled Russia’s intent to seize Kharkiv City in a future significant Russian offensive operation, the first senior Kremlin official to outright identify the city as a possible Russian operational objective following recent Ukrainian warnings that Russian forces may attempt to seize the city starting in Summer 2024.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 18, 2024

Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Head Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov specified that the Russian offensive effort that Ukrainian officials have been forecasting will likely begin in June 2024. Budanov stated in an April 17 article in the Washington Post that Russia will launch a “big” offensive in June 2024 with the aim of seizing all of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. Budanov also stated that Russian forces will try to make battlefield gains throughout 2024 as part of efforts to influence Western decision-making. Budanov had previously forecasted that a future major Russian offensive would begin in late May or early June 2024, and it is notable that Budanov has now narrowed his forecast to June and identified the likely aim of the Russian offensive. Previous major Russian offensive efforts have similarly aimed to seize the remainder of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 17, 2024

Ukrainian forces struck a Russian military airfield in occupied Dzhankoi, Crimea, overnight on April 16 to 17. Geolocated footage posted on April 16 shows explosions at the airfield in Dzhankoi, where the Russian 39th Separate Helicopter Regiment (27th Composite Aviation Division, 4th Air Force and Air Defense Army, Southern Military District) is based.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 16, 2024

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky emphasized that continued shortages in air defense systems and artillery are preventing Ukraine from effectively defending itself against Russian strikes and ground assaults. Zelensky stated in an interview with PBS News Hour, which aired on April 15, that Ukrainian forces continue to lack enough air defense systems to protect Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. Zelensky noted that Ukrainian forces were only able to destroy the first seven of the 11 Russian missiles launched against the Trypilska Thermal Power Plant (TPP) on April 11 before running out of air defense missiles, allowing the remaining four missiles to destroy the plant.

America’s Stark Choice in Ukraine and the Cost of Letting Russia Win

The current US debate about providing additional military assistance to Ukraine is based in part on the assumption that the war will remain stalemated regardless of US actions. That assumption is false. The Russians are breaking out of positional warfare and beginning to restore maneuver to the battlefield because of the delays in the provision of US military assistance to Ukraine. Ukraine cannot hold the present lines now without the rapid resumption of US assistance, particularly air defense and artillery that only the US can provide rapidly and at scale.