Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 2, 2024

March 2, 2024 - ISW Press

Russian forces appear to be willing to risk continued aviation losses in pursuit of tactical gains in eastern Ukraine, likely along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line. The Ukrainian Air Force reported on March 2 that Ukrainian forces destroyed one Su-34 aircraft that was conducting glide bomb strikes against Ukrainian positions in eastern Ukraine on the morning of March 1. Ukrainian Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk later stated that Ukrainian forces attempted to down two additional Russian Su-34 aircraft and one Su-35 and downed one of the Su-34 aircraft.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 1, 2024

March 1, 2024 - ISW Press

Reported details of Russian-Ukrainian peace negotiations that occurred in Istanbul in April 2022 indicate that Russia has consistently envisioned a settlement for its illegal invasion of Ukraine wherein Ukraine would be unable to defend itself from a future Russian attack – an objective Russia continues to pursue under calls for Ukraine’s “demilitarization.”

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024 - ISW Press

Ukrainian officials are reportedly concerned about the possibility of significant Russian territorial gains in summer 2024 in the event of continued delays in Western security assistance. Bloomberg reported that internal Ukrainian assessments state that Russian advances along the frontline could gain significant momentum by summer 2024 unless Ukraine’s partners increase provisions of artillery ammunition. Bloomberg reported that sources close to Ukrainian leadership stated that Ukraine expects Russian forces to decide between continuing their current focus on gradual tactical advances and preparing for a larger breakthrough attempt in summer 2024 depending on the results of current Russian offensive operations. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated on February 25 that Russian forces are preparing for a new offensive effort that will start in late May or summer 2024.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024 - ISW Press

Pro-Russian Moldovan breakaway region Transnistria held the Seventh Congress of Transnistrian Deputies on February 28 and adopted a series of decisions that likely aim to provide the Kremlin with justifications for a wide range of possible escalatory actions against Moldova — actions the Kremlin can pursue both immediately and over the long-term. The Congress of Transnistrian Deputies adopted seven decisions, including a request to the Russian State Duma and Federation Council for Russian “defense” of Transnistria in response to alleged increasing pressures from Moldova. Transnistrian officials specifically used “zashchita” (защита), a word that means both “defense” and “protection” in their request, likely to set conditions for the Kremlin to interpret “defense” in a military sense if it so chooses.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024 - ISW Press

Russian forces are attempting to exploit tactical opportunities offered by the Russian seizure of Avdiivka and appear to be maintaining a relatively high tempo of offensive operations aimed at pushing as far as possible in the Avdiivka area before Ukrainian forces establish more cohesive and harder-to-penetrate defensive lines in the area. Russian forces temporarily decreased their tempo of operations as they cleared Avdiivka following the Russian seizure of the settlement on February 17, but have since resumed a relatively high tempo of assaults further west and northwest of Avdiivka.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024 - ISW Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed two decrees on February 26 that officially re-establish the Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts, codifying major Russian military restructuring and reform efforts. Putin signed one decree that deprives Russia’s Northern Fleet (NF) of its status as an “interservice strategic territorial organization” (a joint headquarters in Western military parlance) and transfers the land of the Northwestern Federal Okrug previously under the NF’s command to the newly formed Leningrad Military District (LMD). Putin signed a second decree that formally re-establishes the LMD and the Moscow Military District (MMD). The second decree also incorporates occupied Ukraine into the Southern Military District (SMD), notably including all of Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts (as well as Crimea, which has been part of the SMD since 2014), not just the parts currently under Russian occupation.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, February 25, 2024

February 25, 2024 - ISW Press

Russian officials and state media largely refrained from publicly discussing the two-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, likely in an effort to avoid addressing Russia’s failure to achieve its stated war aims at significant human costs. Russian opposition outlet Agentstvo Novosti reported on February 25 that Russian state TV channels Rossiya 1 and Channel One (Perviy Kanal) and Gazprom Media-owned TV channel NTV did not mention the two-year anniversary of the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in broadcasts on February 24.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, February 24, 2024

February 24, 2024 - ISW Press

Ukraine continues to defend against Russian aggression and the Kremlin’s attempt to destroy Ukrainian statehood and identity despite growing difficulties two years after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion. Two years ago Russia launched a full-scale war of conquest to overthrow the Ukrainian government and forcibly install a pro-Russian regime firmly under Moscow’s control. Russian forces drove on Kyiv from several directions and struck at Kharkiv, Kherson, Mariupol, and other Ukrainian cities. Russian President Vladimir Putin expected Ukrainians to welcome his forces or flee. Instead, Ukrainians fought for their freedom. They stopped the Russian drives on Kyiv and Kharkiv cities, stopped the Russian advance on Mykolayiv and Odesa cities, and fought Putin’s troops to a standstill along the rest of the line. Then, armed with experience, courage, determination, and growing Western aid, Ukraine struck back. Ukrainian forces drove the Russians from Kyiv and away from Kharkiv and liberated large swathes of territory in northeastern Ukraine. They liberated Kherson City and forced Russian forces off the west (right) bank of the Dnipro River. They ended the threat to Ukraine’s existence for the time.

Iran Update, February 23, 2024

February 23, 2024 - ISW Press

The Houthis claimed that Saudi Arabia and the United States conducted combined airstrikes in Houthi-controlled territory on February 23, likely to pressure Saudi Arabia to exert its influence on the United States to decrease US strikes targeting Houthi military assets.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, February 23, 2024

February 23, 2024 - ISW Press

Ukrainian officials reported that Ukrainian forces shot down a Russian A-50 long-range radar detection aircraft on the night of February 23 – the second such aircraft shot down in 2024