Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 15

April 15, 2022 - Press ISW

Russian forces continued small-scale, tactical attacks on the Izyum and Severodonetsk axes; additional reinforcements to date have not enabled any breakthroughs of Ukrainian defenses. Russian forces continue to deploy reinforcements to eastern Ukraine but show no indication of taking an operational pause. The Russian military appears to be carrying out an approach in eastern Ukrainian similar to its failed efforts north of Kyiv in early March—continuing to funnel small groups of forces into unsuccessful attacks against Ukrainian defensive positions without taking the operational pause that is likely necessary to prepare for a more successful offensive campaign. Russian forces continue to grind down Ukrainian defenders in Mariupol, though ISW cannot currently assess how long these forces will hold out and their current supply status.

Ukraine Invasion Update 23

April 15, 2022 - Press ISW

Ceasefire negotiations have effectively collapsed. Both Russian and Ukrainian officials are unprepared to engage in serious negotiations in the coming weeks in any format. Virtual negotiations are continuing without progress.[1] Kyiv and Moscow are both likely counting on the outcome of Russia’s offensive in eastern Ukraine to recalibrate their negotiating positions.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 14

April 14, 2022 - Press ISW

The Russian missile cruiser Moskva, flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, sunk on April 14 after a likely Ukrainian anti-ship missile strike on April 13. Ukrainian forces claimed to strike the Moskva with two Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles on April 13. The Kremlin denied this claim and stated the Moskva suffered damage from an accidental fire and ammunition explosion. Initial Ukrainian claims to have sunk the warship on April 13 were likely false, but the Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed the Moskva sank in a storm while being towed to Crimea after the crew evacuated. ISW cannot independently confirm that a Ukrainian strike sunk the Moskva, though Ukrainian forces likely have the capability to have done so.

The West Must Help Ukraine Free its People to Stop Russian Atrocities

April 14, 2022 - Press ISW

Helping Ukraine liberate its people and territories is the only way to stop Russian atrocities and prevent future ones. The West must rush the military support that Ukraine needs to do so.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 13

April 13, 2022 - Press ISW

Russian claims of a mass Ukrainian surrender in Mariupol are likely false, but Russian forces forced Ukrainian troops to abandon the Ilyich metal plant in northern Mariupol on April 13, further constricting the two remaining pockets of Ukrainian defenders. Russian forces will likely capture Mariupol in the coming week. Russian forces continued to conduct small-scale limited offensive operations on both the Izyum and Severodonetsk axes and has not yet begun a broader offensive campaign.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 12

April 12, 2022 - Press ISW

Russia continued offensive operations in eastern Ukraine on a limited basis as it worked to reconstitute forces withdrawn from the Battle of Kyiv and to establish necessary logistical bases for increased offensive operations in the Donbas area. Russian forces withdrawn from the Kyiv region have not yet been reintroduced into Ukraine to fight. The Russian military has continued to conduct small-scale limited offensive operations on the Izyum and Severodonetsk axes and has not yet gone over to a better-resourced or broader offensive campaign. The Battle of Mariupol continues even as Ukrainian officials accuse Russia of using chemical weapons on Mariupol’s defenders.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 11

April 11, 2022 - Press ISW

Special Edition: Army General Aleksandr Vladimirovich Dvornikov

US intelligence reported over the weekend of April 9-10 that Russian Army General Aleksandr Vladimirovich Dvornikov, commander of the Southern Military District, is now in overall command of Russian operations in Ukraine. This news is unsurprising; Dvornikov is the most senior of the three Russian military district commanders involved in the invasion, and the Russian military is concentrating its efforts almost exclusively in the area of Ukraine that Dvornikov had already been commanding. Had Putin selected another officer to command the entire war effort, he would likely have had to relieve Dvornikov for these reasons. There is no reason to suppose, therefore, that Dvornikov was specifically selected to take control of the war effort for any particular skills or experience he might have. Nor is there reason to think that the conduct of the Russian war effort will change materially more than it was already changing from the abandonment of the drive on Kyiv and the focus on the east. This update, which we are publishing in addition to our regular military operations assessments, explains Dvornikov’s career history and experience in Syria, the challenges he faces, and what his appointment means for the Russian campaign in Ukraine.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 10

April 10, 2022 - Press ISW

Russian forces made territorial gains in Mariupol in the past 24 hours and continued to reinforce operations along the Izyum-Slovyansk axis but did not make other territorial gains. Russian forces bisected Mariupol from the city center to the coast on April 10, isolating the remaining Ukrainian defenders in two main locations: the main port of Mariupol in the southwest and the Azovstal steel plant in the east. Russian forces, including a convoy of hundreds of vehicles captured in Maxar Technologies imagery on April 8, continue to reinforce Russia’s offensive in Izyum to link up with Russian positions in Luhansk Oblast.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 9

April 9, 2022 - Press ISW

Special Edition: Russian Military Capabilities Assessments

The Russian military is attempting to generate sufficient combat power to seize and hold the portions of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts that it does not currently control after it completes the seizure of Mariupol. There are good reasons to question the Russian armed forces’ ability to do so and their ability to use regenerated combat power effectively despite a reported simplification of the Russian command structure. This update, which we offer on a day without significant military operations on which to report, attempts to explain and unpack some of the complexities involved in making these assessments.

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 8

April 8, 2022 - Press ISW

Ukrainian forces retain control of defensive positions in eastern and southwestern Mariupol, despite Russian claims to have captured most of the city. ISW was able to confirm the specific locations of ongoing Russian assaults on April 8 for the first time in several days. Russian forces continue to attempt to regroup and redeploy units withdrawn from northeastern Ukraine to support an offensive in eastern Ukraine, but these units are unlikely to enable a Russian breakthrough and face poor morale. Russian forces along the Izyum-Slovyansk axis did not make any territorial gains in the last 24 hours. Ukrainian counterattacks toward Kherson continue to threaten Russian positions around the city.