Ukraine Project

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 13, 2024

Russian forces are pursuing at least three operational-level efforts that are not mutually reinforcing but let Russian forces prioritize grinding, tactical gains on a single sector of their choice at a time. Ukrainian forces will increasingly struggle to defend against these Russian efforts the longer Ukraine lacks further US military assistance. Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi stated on April 13 that the situation in eastern Ukraine has significantly worsened in recent days and that Russian forces are conducting mechanized attacks in the Lyman, Bakhmut, and Pokrovsk (west of Avdiivka) directions.

Special Report: Russian Strikes More Effective as Ukraine Exhausts Defenses

The exhaustion of US-provided air defenses resulting from delays in the resumption of US military aid to Ukraine combined with improvements in Russian strike tactics have led to the increasing effectiveness of Russian missile and drone strike strikes against Ukraine without a dramatic increase in the size or frequency of such strikes.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 11, 2024

Russian forces conducted another large-scale series of missile and drones strikes against Ukraine on the night of April 10 to 11 that caused notable and likely long-term damage to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. The Ukrainian Air Force reported that Russian forces launched 82 air targets at Ukraine on the night of April 10 to 11, including 20 Kh-101/555 cruise missiles from Saratov Oblast; six Kinzhal aeroballistic missiles from Tambov Oblast; 12 S-300 anti-aircraft missiles from Belgorod Oblast; four Kh-59 cruise missiles from occupied Zaporizhia Oblast; and 40 Shahed-136/131 drones from Primorsko-Akhtarsk, Krasnodar Krai and occupied Cape Chauda, Crimea. Ukrainian forces reportedly shot down 57 air targets, including 16 Kh-101/555 missiles, two Kh-59 missiles, and 39 Shahed drones.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 10, 2024

The Ukrainian military’s effective use of drones on the battlefield cannot fully mitigate Ukraine’s theater-wide shortage of critical munitions. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated in an interview with German outlet BILD published on April 10 that Ukraine is successfully domestically producing drones, but that drones cannot replace air defense systems, long-range missile systems, or artillery. Ukrainian forces have partially mitigated ongoing artillery ammunition shortages by using first-person view (FPV) drones to blunt Russian infantry and armored vehicle assaults, although artillery systems can deliver much more powerful strikes than loitering munitions and drone-dropped munitions.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 9, 2024

Russian state media highlighted Russia and China’s joint effort to combat perceived Western “dual containment” targeting Russia and China during Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on April 9. Kremlin newswire TASS reported that Wang suggested that China and Russia engage in “dual counteraction” in response to alleged Western attempts at “dual containment” targeting Russia and China.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 8, 2024

Ukrainian drone strikes against Russian oil refineries are reportedly forcing Russia to seek gasoline imports from Kazakhstan. Three unnamed industry sources told Reuters in an article published on April 8 that Russia asked Kazakhstan to establish an “emergency reserve” of 100,000 metric tons of gasoline that Kazakhstan could supply to Russia in case of shortages exacerbated by Ukrainian drone strikes and resulting refinery outages.... Reuters reported on April 2, citing its own data, that constant Ukrainian drone strikes have shut down about 14 percent of Russia’s overall oil refining capacity. Reuters also previously reported on March 27 that Russia has significantly increased its gasoline imports from Belarus following Ukrainian drone strikes on Russian oil refineries and that Russia has imported 3,000 metric tons of gasoline from Belarus in the first half of March as compared to 590 metric tons in February and no gasoline imports in January.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 7, 2024

Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate Head Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov reported that Ukraine anticipates Russian offensive operations to intensify in late spring and early summer. Budanov stated in an interview with German broadcaster ARD published on April 7 that Ukraine expects that Russian offensive operations will especially intensify in the Donbas. Budanov also reported that Russian forces will likely attempt to advance to Chasiv Yar (west of Bakhmut) and in the direction of Pokrovsk (about 43km northwest of Avdiivka). Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky previously stated in a CBS News interview published on March 28 that the major Russian offensive effort may start in late May or June.

Iran Update, April 6, 2024

Palestinian fighters have claimed several attacks targeting Israeli forces near Deir al Balah in the central Gaza Strip in recent days. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) claimed on April 6 that its forces returned from the front lines east of Deir al Balah and reported attacking an Israeli tank with an explosively formed penetrator. The al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, which is the self-proclaimed militant wing of Fatah, separately mortared Israeli forces near Deir al Balah. Commercially available satellite imagery captured on April 5 shows flattened terrain southeast of Deir al Balah, indicating that Israeli bulldozers and/or bulldozers are operating in the area.

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