Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 22, 2024

May 22, 2024 - ISW Press

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) proposed on May 21 that the Russian government reassess Russia’s maritime borders in the Baltic Sea so that these borders “correspond to the modern geographical situation.” The Russian MoD produced a since-deleted document, which appeared on the Russian government’s legal portal on May 21, proposing that the Russian government should reassess the 1985 maritime borders in the Gulf of Finland because these borders were based on outdated “small-scale nautical navigation maps” developed in the mid-20th century.

Iran Update, May 22, 2024

May 22, 2024 - ISW Press

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei presided over the funeral for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, and others in Tehran on May 22.

How Delays in Western Aid Gave Russia the Initiative: From the Ukrainian Counteroffensive to Kharkiv

May 22, 2024 - ISW Press

Ukraine and the West have defeated a months-long Russian effort to persuade the West to abandon Ukraine and set conditions to collapse Ukrainian defenses. Russian forces have conducted offensive operations since Fall 2023 that aimed to convince the West to abandon its commitment to Ukraine, and prolonged US debates about security assistance likely convinced the Kremlin that its efforts had partially succeeded. The effects of continued delays in US and Western security assistance set conditions for Russian forces to make more significant gains on the battlefield than they had previously been able to make, and the Russian military command likely concluded that Russian forces would be able to collapse the Ukrainian frontline at some point in the near to medium term.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 21, 2024

May 21, 2024 - ISW Press

The Kremlin continues to time its nuclear saber-rattling to coincide with major policy discussions in the West as part of a Kremlin reflexive control campaign to influence Western decision-makers. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed on May 21 that missile elements of the Southern Military District (SMD) began the first stage of non-strategic (tactical) nuclear weapons exercises. The Russian MoD claimed that Russian Aerospace Forces will also exercise with Iskander ballistic missiles and Kinzhal aeroballistic missiles. The Russian MoD announced the preparations for these exercises on May 6.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 20, 2024

May 20, 2024 - ISW Press

Ukrainian sources indicated that Russian forces are concentrating limited, understaffed, and incohesive forces in the Sumy direction, but even such a Russian grouping of forces will be able to achieve the likely desired effect of drawing and fixing Ukrainian forces in the international border area. The deputy commander of a Ukrainian brigade operating in northern Kharkiv Oblast reported on May 20 that Russian forces, including Chechen forces, are accumulating in the Sumy direction but that the limited number of Russian personnel suggests that the Russian objective is to draw and fix Ukrainian forces to the international border area.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 18, 2024

May 18, 2024 - ISW Press

Russian forces have recently intensified their effort to seize the operationally significant town of Chasiv Yar, seeking to exploit how Russian offensive operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast and ongoing offensive operations throughout eastern Ukraine have generated greater theater-wide pressure on Ukrainian forces. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted an unsuccessful roughly reinforced company-sized mechanized assault with two tanks and 21 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) in the direction of the Novyi Microraion in eastern Chasiv Yar on May 17.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 17, 2024

May 17, 2024 - ISW Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin framed Russian offensive operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast as part of Russian efforts to create a "buffer zone" to protect Russian border areas from Ukrainian strikes, confirming ISW's previous assessments.

Closing the Skies, Liberating Ukraine, Helsinki Commission, May 16, 2024

May 17, 2024 - ISW Press

The following testimony was presented by ISW Non-Resident Russia Fellow Nataliya Bugayova before the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission) on May 16, 2024.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 16, 2024

May 16, 2024 - ISW Press

Ukrainian officials reported that Ukrainian forces are stabilizing the situation along the northern border in Kharkiv Oblast and that the tempo of Russian offensive operations in the area continues to decrease. Ukrainian Khortytsia Group of Forces Spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Nazar Voloshyn stated on May 16 that Ukrainian forces are partially stabilizing the situation in the Kharkiv direction, and the Ukrainian General Staff noted that Ukrainian forces have so far denied Russia’s tactical objectives to penetrate Ukrainian defenses within Vovchansk (northeast of Kharkiv City) and establish a foothold in the area.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 15, 2024

May 15, 2024 - ISW Press

The US Helsinki Commission stated that the US should allow Ukraine to conduct strikes against military targets in Russia's border areas amid an ongoing Russian offensive operation into Kharkiv Oblast from Russia, although US officials continue to express unwillingness to support such strikes.