Positional Warfare in Alexander Svechin’s Strategy

April 30, 2024 - ISW Press

Discussions of the character of the Russian war in Ukraine have increasingly adopted terms such as “stalemate” and “attritional” to describe the state of the conflict. Both terms draw parallels with the Western Front of the First World War that are not wholly inaccurate but that can be misleading if taken too far. The current Russian war in Ukraine is certainly not stalemated in the sense of having reached a point where neither side can make further progress. Nor is it, properly speaking, attritional. An attritional war is one in which attrition itself is the victory mechanism — that is, one side aims to win by wearing the other down through losses.

Iran Update, April 29, 2024

April 29, 2024 - ISW Press

Hamas is considering a new Egyptian ceasefire proposal that would require Hamas to release 20 to 33 living Israeli hostages. Egyptian officials reportedly sent Hamas the proposal on April 26 after Egyptian intelligence officials met with the IDF chief of staff and Shin Bet head in Egypt and Israel.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 29, 2024

April 29, 2024 - ISW Press

Russian forces secured additional marginal tactical gains northwest and southwest of Avdiivka as of April 29, but have not made significant advances in the Avdiivka direction over the last 24 hours. Geolocated footage published on April 28 and 29 indicates that Russian forces advanced in western and northeastern Ocheretyne (northwest of Avdiivka), along the rail line to the northwestern outskirts of Ocheretyne, and in Netaylove (southwest of Avdiivka).

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 28, 2024

April 28, 2024 - ISW Press

Recent Russian gains northwest of Avdiivka have prompted Ukrainian forces to withdraw from other limited tactical positions along the frontline west of Avdiivka, although these withdrawals have yet to facilitate rapid Russian tactical gains. Russian forces remain unlikely to achieve a deeper operationally significant penetration in the area in the near term. The continued Russian stabilization of their salient northwest of Avdiivka presents the Russian command with a choice of continuing to push west towards its reported operational objective in Pokrovsk or trying to drive northwards to conduct possible complementary offensive operations with the Russian effort around Chasiv Yar.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 27, 2024

April 27, 2024 - ISW Press

Russian forces will likely make significant tactical gains in the coming weeks as Ukraine waits for US security assistance to arrive at the front but remains unlikely to overwhelm Ukrainian defenses. Politico reported on April 26 that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told US Speaker of the House Mike Johnson in December 2023 that Ukrainian forces would be able to “hold out” until March or April 2024 without additional US security assistance, a period through which Ukrainian forces are now passing without the arrival of US military aid.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 26, 2024

April 26, 2024 - ISW Press

Western media continues to report that select US officials have resumed discussing the idea of “freezing the lines” where they are because the latest package of US military assistance to Ukraine may not be enough for Ukraine to regain all its territory.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 25, 2024

April 25, 2024 - ISW Press

Russian forces are stabilizing their small salient northwest of Avdiivka and may make further tactical gains that could cause Ukrainian forces to withdraw from other tactical positions along the frontline west of Avdiivka to a more defensible line. Geolocated footage published on April 25 indicates that Russian forces advanced into central Solovyove (northwest of Avdiivka) from Novobakhmutivka after likely seizing all of Novobakhmutivka on the night of April 24 to 25. Russian sources claimed that Russian forces seized all of Solovyove on April 25 and advanced up to two kilometers in depth in eastern Novokalynove (northwest of Avdiivka) on the night of April 24 to 25.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 24, 2024

April 24, 2024 - ISW Press

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

April 23, 2024 - ISW Press

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

April 22, 2024 - ISW Press

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.