Ukraine Project

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 18, 2024

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 16, 2024

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 14, 2024

The pace of Russian offensive operations in northern Kharkiv Oblast appears to have slowed over the past 24 hours, and the pattern of Russian offensive activity in this area is consistent with ISW's assessment that Russian forces are prioritizing the creation of a "buffer zone" in the international border area over a deeper penetration of Kharkiv Oblast. Several Ukrainian military officials reported on May 14 that they believe the situation in Kharkiv Oblast is slowly stabilizing — Ukraine's Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Head Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov stated on May 14 that the situation in Kharkiv Oblast began stabilizing on the night of May 13 into May 14 as additional Ukrainian units deployed to the area and began defending against Russian advances.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 13, 2024

Russian forces continued to make tactically significant advances north and northeast of Kharkiv City on May 13 and currently appear to be prioritizing the rapid establishment of a "buffer zone" along the international border over setting conditions for deeper penetrations into northern Kharkiv Oblast. Russian forces' relatively rapid rate of advances in Vovchansk and their reported destruction of several bridges across key waterways within the settlement suggest that Russian forces are prioritizing the creation of a "buffer zone" over a deeper penetration, as ISW previously assessed they would.

Putin's Safe Space: Defeating Russia's Kharkiv Operation Requires Eliminating Russia's Sanctuary

Current US policy prohibiting Ukraine from using US-provided weapons in the territory of the Russian Federation is severely compromising Ukraine's ability to defend itself against the renewed cross-border invasion Russia has recently launched in Kharkiv Oblast. US policy has effectively created a vast sanctuary in which Russia has been able to amass its ground invasion force and from which it is launching glide bombs and other long-range strike systems in support of its renewed invasion. Whatever the merits of this US policy before the Russian assault on Kharkiv Oblast began, it should be modified immediately to reflect the urgent realities of the current situation.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 12, 2024

Russian President Vladimir Putin replaced Sergei Shoigu with Andrei Belousov as Russian Minister of Defense on May 12, moving Shoigu to the position of Security Council Secretary in place of Nikolai Patrushev. These high-level reshuffles following the Russian presidential election strongly suggest that Putin is taking significant steps towards mobilizing the Russian economy and defense industrial base (DIB) to support a protracted war in Ukraine and possibly prepare for a future confrontation with NATO.

Iran Update, May 12, 2024

Israeli forces continued a "precise operation" targeting Hamas in eastern Rafah on May 12. The IDF Givati Brigade located and destroyed several tunnel shafts and rockets that Palestinian fighters had prepared to fire into Israel. The IDF 401st Brigade identified ten armed Hamas fighters and directed an airstrike targeting them. Israeli soldiers posted photos of the IDF inside the Rafah crossing.