Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, February 7, 2024

February 7, 2024 - ISW Press

Russian forces conducted the second largest combined drone and missile strike of 2024 on the morning of February 7. Ukrainian military sources stated that Russian forces launched 64 drones and missiles at Ukraine: 20 Shahed 136/131 drones; 29 Kh-101/555/55 cruise missiles; four Kh-22 cruise missiles; three Kalibr cruise missiles; three Iskander-M ballistic missiles; and five S-300 surface-to-air missiles. Ukrainian air defenses destroyed 44 of 64 targets: 26 Kh-101/555/55 cruise missiles; three Kalibr cruise missiles; and 15 Shahed-131/131 drones. The Kyiv City Administration reported that Russian forces launched at least two dozen of the Kh-101/555/55 cruise missiles at Kyiv City and damaged residential infrastructure in several neighborhoods. Ukrainian sources additionally stated that Russian forces hit Kharkiv City with S-300 surface-to-air missiles and Kh-22 cruise missiles and confirmed that two missiles that struck Kharkiv City were North Korean-provided Kn-23 (Hwasong-11 Ga) missiles. Ukrainian outlet Suspilne reported that its sources in Ukrainian law enforcement suggested that Russian forces may have additionally launched 3M22 Zircon ship-launched hypersonic cruise missiles at Kyiv City but that they are still working to confirm this information.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, February 6, 2024

February 6, 2024 - ISW Press

America’s European and Asian allies have significantly ramped up their efforts to support Ukraine. European Council President Charles Michel stated on February 6 that the European Council and Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the creation of a new single dedicated instrument – the Ukraine Facility – to pool the EU’s recently announced support package of 50 billion euros (about $54 billion) for Ukraine for 2024-2027. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated that the EU aims to start payments to the Ukraine Facility in March 2024.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, February 5, 2024

February 5, 2024 - ISW Press

US Senate negotiators unveiled their proposed supplemental appropriations bill on February 4 that — if passed — would provide roughly $60 billion of security assistance for Ukraine, the overwhelming majority of which would go to American companies and US and allied militaries. The bill provides three main packages of assistance to Ukraine totaling $48.83 billion: $19.85 billion for replenishing weapons and equipment from the US Department of Defense (DoD) inventory; $13.8 billion for the purchase of weapons and munitions for Ukraine from US manufacturers; and $14.8 billion for continued US support to Ukraine through military training, intelligence sharing, and other support activities. The appropriations bill provides that funds can go to foreign countries that have provided support to Ukraine at the request of the US, but the vast majority of the aid — if approved — would go to US companies and US or allied government entities supporting Ukraine. Roughly 16 percent of the Ukraine-related appropriations in the bill would go directly to Ukraine, including $7.85 billion of direct budget support for the Ukrainian government and $1.58 billion for efforts to build a self-reliant Ukrainian economy amid the ongoing Russian invasion. The appropriations bill also provides $1.6 billion in foreign military financing, which must be used to purchase goods and services from the US, to address Ukraine’s and other US partners’ air defense, artillery, maritime security, and maintenance requirements.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, February 3, 2024

February 3, 2024 - ISW Press

The Kremlin is doubling down on its support for Iran as the US conducts strikes to preempt attacks by Iranian-back proxies in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen against American and other targets. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) condemned the US retaliatory strikes against Iranian-backed militia positions in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen on February 3. The US launched a series of retaliatory airstrikes against targets in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen on February 2 and 3 following a January 28 drone strike by an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia that killed three US servicemembers in northeastern Jordan.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, February 2, 2024

February 2, 2024 - ISW Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin evoked a wide Russian social and economic mobilization reminiscent of the Soviet Union’s total mobilization during the Second World War during a February 2 speech despite the fact that Russia is undertaking a far more gradual but nonetheless effective mobilization of its defense industrial base.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, February 1, 2024

February 1, 2024 - ISW Press

Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi presented an overarching strategy to seize the theater-wide initiative in Ukraine and retain it to facilitate Ukrainian battlefield victories despite Russia’s numerical advantages in manpower and materiel. Zaluzhnyi’s strategy aims to offset Ukraine’s existing challenges and pursue advantages over the Russian military through widespread technological innovation and adaptation. The Ukrainian Armed Forces published an essay on February 1 by Zaluzhnyi titled “On the Modern Design of Military Operations in the Russo-Ukrainian War: In the Fight for the Initiative,” wherein Zaluzhnyi argued that the requirements for any given war are unique and that these requirements dictate a unique strategy for victory. Zaluzhnyi identified “decisive conditions” for Ukraine to conduct successful operations, which include achieving absolute air superiority to enable effective Ukrainian fires, logistics, and reconnaissance; seizing the initiative by denying Russian forces the ability to conduct offensive or defensive operations; increasing Ukrainian mobility while limiting Russian mobility; securing safe access to unspecified key lines and important terrain; and denying Russian forces any opportunities to recapture lost positions and increase Russian operational efforts. The decisive conditions that Zaluzhnyi highlighted would effectively give Ukrainian forces the theater-wide initiative and set conditions for Ukraine to conduct operationally significant defensive and offensive operations. Zaluzhnyi argued that the rapid development of new technology changes the means by which Ukraine can achieve these “decisive conditions” and that Ukrainian forces cannot use conventional methods to achieve these conditions given Russia’s superior ability to mobilize men. Zaluzhnyi argued that new technological means, such as drones, unmanned systems, systems integration, and other advanced technological systems can allow Ukrainian forces to maximize their combat potential using fewer resources and inflict maximum damage on Russian forces.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, January 31, 2024

January 31, 2024 - ISW Press

Ukrainian forces struck Russian targets in the vicinity of Belbek airfield in occupied Sevastopol, Crimea on January 31. Ukrainian Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk amplified geolocated footage on January 31 showing a Ukrainian strike near the Belbek airfield and thanked Ukrainian forces for striking targets in occupied Crimea. Additional geolocated footage published on January 31 shows large smoke plumes rising from the airfield.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, January 30, 2024

January 30, 2024 - ISW Press

The anticipated Russian 2024 winter-spring offensive effort is underway in the Kharkiv-Luhansk Oblast border area. Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Head Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov stated on January 30 that the Russian offensive in Ukraine is currently ongoing and that Russian forces aim to reach the Zherebets River (in the Kharkiv-Luhansk Oblast border area) and the administrative borders of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Budanov forecasted that Russian forces would fail to achieve these objectives, however, and would likely be “completely exhausted” by the beginning of the spring.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, January 29, 2024

January 29, 2024 - ISW Press

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense (MoD) denied rumors about the purported resignation or dismissal of Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief General Valerii Zaluzhnyi on January 29. Ukrainian People’s Deputy Oleksii Honcharenko claimed on January 29 that “Zaluzhnyi announced his resignation, but there is no decree yet.” Former Ukrainian People’s Deputy Boryslav Bereza claimed that the Ukrainian Presidential Office “dismissed” Zaluzhnyi. Western media amplified Honcharenko’s and Bereza’s posts, and Russian sources and state media outlets also picked up claims of Zaluzhnyi’s dismissal or resignation. The Ukrainian MoD apparently responded to the rumors by saying “no, this is not true,” but has not yet offered additional information on the situation as of the time of this writing. ISW cannot independently confirm rumors about Zaluzhnyi‘s dismissal or resignation at this time.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, January 28, 2024

January 28, 2024 - ISW Press

Kremlin officials and mouthpieces continue to set information conditions to destabilize Moldova, likely as part of efforts to prevent Moldova’s integration into the EU and the West among other objectives. Alexei Polishchuk, the director of the Second Department of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Countries at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), claimed in an interview with Kremlin newswire TASS published on January 28 that Moldova has begun to “destroy its ties” with CIS member states and the Russia-led CIS organization as a whole and that there are rumors that Moldova plans to leave the CIS by the end of 2024. Polishchuk claimed that this decision would not benefit Moldovan interests or citizens and would be unprofitable for the Moldovan economy. Polishchuk also claimed that the settlement of the Transnistria issue in Moldova is in a “deep crisis” and that Moldova’s economic pressure on Transnistria since the beginning of 2024 has “further delayed” any solution. Polishchuk claimed that Russia is ready to fix deteriorating relations between Moldova and Transnistria “as a mediator and guarantor” to the settlement. Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Serebrian stated on January 28 that Moldova would not return to the 5+2 Transnistria negotiating process that included Russia as long as Russian-Ukrainian relations do not improve and Russia’s war in Ukraine continues.