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.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 9, 2024

April 9, 2024 - ISW Press

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

April 8, 2024 - ISW Press

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

April 7, 2024 - ISW Press

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

April 6, 2024 - ISW Press

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.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 5, 2024

April 5, 2024 - ISW Press

Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) and Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted one of the largest series of drone strikes against military facilities within Russia, targeting at least four Russian airbases, on the night of April 4 to 5.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 4, 2024

April 4, 2024 - ISW Press

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov claimed that NATO and Russia are in “direct confrontation,” likely as part of ongoing Kremlin efforts to intensify existing information operations meant to force the West into self-deterrence.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 3, 2024

April 3, 2024 - ISW Press

Russian forces appear to have increased the number and size of mechanized ground assaults on select sectors of the frontline within the past two weeks, marking a notable overall increase in Russian mechanized assaults across the theater. Ukrainian officials stated on March 20 that Ukrainian forces repelled a large Russian assault in the Lyman direction and published geolocated footage showing Ukrainian forces damaging or destroying several Russian armored vehicles east of Terny (west of Kreminna).

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 2, 2024

April 2, 2024 - ISW Press

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a law on April 2 that lowers the Ukrainian military’s mobilization age from 27 to 25 years of age. The Verkhovna Rada approved the law in May 2023, and the law will come into force on April 3, 2024. Lowering the mobilization age is one of many measures that Ukraine has been considering in an ongoing effort to create a sustainable wartime force-generation apparatus. Lowering the mobilization age from 27 to 25 years of age will support the Ukrainian military’s ability to restore and reconstitute existing units and to create new units. Ukraine will need to equip any newly mobilized military personnel with weapons, and prolonged US debates about military aid to Ukraine and delays in Western aid may impact the speed at which Ukraine can restore degraded and stand up new units. ISW continues to assess that Western-provided materiel continues to be the greatest deciding factor for the Ukrainian military’s ability to restore and augment its combat power.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 31, 2024

March 31, 2024 - ISW Press

The Kremlin-controlled Russian Orthodox Church Moscow Patriarchate (ROC MP) reportedly directed all its clergy to change their liturgy to include pro-war prayers in support of Russia’s war of conquest against Ukraine and is likely threatening to defrock ROC MP clergy who do not support the war. A Russian Telegram channel with insider sources within the ROC MP amplified on March 31 a document dated March 29, in which Head of the ROC MP Affairs, Metropolitan Gregoriy of Voskresensk, instructed clergy to read a prayer — the “Prayer for Holy Rus” — on a daily basis during Lent. Metropolitan Gregoriy of Voskresensk also called on the clergy to read the “Prayer for Holy Rus” at home and to offer to read this prayer to parishioners. The “Prayer for Holy Rus” is a new prayer that the ROC MP officially introduced in September 2022. This prayer is a highly politicized and pro-war and pro-Kremlin prayer filled with Kremlin talking points and other false Russian narratives. The prayer asks God to “to help [Russian] people and grant [Russia] victory” against “those who want to fight [and] have taken up arms against Holy Rus, eager to divide and destroy her one people.”