Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 13, 2024

April 13, 2024 - ISW Press

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.

Iran Update, April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024 - ISW Press

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq—an umbrella organization of Iranian-backed Iraqi militias—threatened on April 12 to renew its attack campaign targeting US forces in Iraq.

Africa File Special Edition: Russia’s Africa Corps Arrives in Niger. What’s Next?

April 12, 2024 - ISW Press

Russian Africa Corps soldiers deployed to Niger on April 12, which will challenge US efforts to remain in Niger in the immediate term—undermining the West’s counterterrorism posture in West and North Africa—and create long-term opportunities for the Kremlin to create conventional and irregular threats that strategically pressure Europe. The Africa Corps contingent in Niger will likely remain small in the coming months because it lacks the capacity for a bigger deployment due to recruitment issues. This small footprint will enable Russia to strengthen its influence in Niger and consolidate its logistical network in Africa without significantly affecting the rapidly escalating al Qaeda and Islamic State insurgencies in Niger. Greater Russian influence and military presence in Niger in the coming years will create several future opportunities for the Kremlin to strategically threaten Europe with energy blackmail, migration influxes, and conventional military threats.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024 - ISW Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that Russia’s ongoing strike campaign against Ukrainian energy facilities aims in part to devastate the Ukrainian defense industry, confirming ISW’s ongoing assessment that Russian strikes against Ukrainian energy facilities aim to degrade Ukrainian defense industrial capacity.

Special Report: Russian Strikes More Effective as Ukraine Exhausts Defenses

April 12, 2024 - ISW Press

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.

China-Taiwan Weekly Update, April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024 - ISW Press

CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping met with former ROC President Ma Ying-jeou on April 10 for the first time since 2015. The Xi-Ma meeting is consistent with a CCP effort to legitimize the KMT as its negotiating partner in Taiwan and to promote the Ma administration’s cross-strait policies as its preferred vision of cross-strait relations.

Iran Update, April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024 - ISW Press

Iran appears to be exploiting the uncertainty surrounding its reported “imminent” attack against Israel to stoke psychological terror in Israel. The present nature of the information space makes it difficult to forecast when precisely Iran might launch a retaliatory strike into Israel if at all. Western estimations of when Iran will conduct an attack have varied and could be subject to change. The likelihood that Iran is spreading disinformation surrounding its strike exacerbates the issue further.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024 - ISW Press

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.

Iran Update, April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024 - ISW Press

Bloomberg reported on April 10 that Iran or its proxies may conduct missile or drone strikes targeting military and government facilities in Israel in the coming days in response to the April 1 Israeli airstrike that killed seven IRGC officials in Damascus. Sources familiar with US and Israeli intelligence told Bloomberg that Iran or its proxies might use high-precision missiles in the strikes. One of the sources said that it is “a matter of when, not if” Iran will respond to the April 1 airstrike. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz warned on April 10 that Israel would attack Iran if “Iran attacks [Israel] from its own territory.” IRGC-affiliated media dismissed Katz’s warning, claiming that Israel seeks to deter Iran from responding to the April 1 airstrike and warning that Iran must respond.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024 - ISW Press

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.