What Stalemate Means in Ukraine and Why it Matters

March 22, 2022 - Press ISW

The initial Russian campaign to invade and conquer Ukraine is culminating without achieving its objectives—it is being defeated, in other words. The war is settling into a stalemate condition in much of the theater. But the war isn’t over and isn’t likely to end soon. Nor is the outcome of the war yet clear. The Russians might still win; the Ukrainians might win; the war might expand to involve other countries; or it might turn into a larger scale version of the stalemate in Ukraine’s east that had persisted from 2014 to the start of Russia’s invasion in February 2022. The failure of Russia’s initial military campaign nevertheless marks an important inflection that has implications for the development and execution of Western military, economic, and political strategies. The West must continue supplying Ukraine with the weapons it needs to fight, but it must now also expand its aid dramatically to help keep Ukraine alive as a country even in conditions of stalemate.

Warning: Putin Remains Dissatisfied with Lukashenko’s Concessions

September 23, 2020 - Press ISW

6:30 pm EDT - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has not fully capitulated to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s desired Union State integration demands in Belarus – yet.

Warning Update: Russia May Conduct a Chemical or Radiological False-Flag Attack as a Pretext for Greater Aggression against Ukraine

March 9, 2022 - Press ISW

Key takeaway: The Kremlin has set informational conditions to blame Ukraine for a Russian-conducted or Russian-fabricated chemical or radiological false-flag attack against civilians as a pretext for further Russian escalation. The Kremlin is likely still evaluating this course of action but is building out the necessary conditions to justify broader violence against civilians. That risk must be addressed. The United States and NATO must “pre-bunk” such Kremlin efforts, destroy in advance Moscow’s efforts to create informational cover for escalation, and deter Russia’s potential use of a chemical or radiological weapon.

Viral Disinformation: The Kremlin’s Coronavirus Information Operation in Ukraine

March 11, 2020 - George Barros

Likely Russian actors conducted a disinformation campaign against Ukraine exploiting COVID-19 fears related to the Ukrainian government’s evacuation of its citizens from Wuhan, China. The campaign’s tactics, timing, and nature all point toward Kremlin involvement.

Ukraine Situation Report: February 13, 2015

February 13, 2015 - Hugo Spaulding

Ukrainian and separatist forces launched surprise offensives to gain new terrain and optimize their negotiating positions ahead of peace talks in Minsk, Belarus on February 11.

Ukraine Invasion Update 25

May 5, 2022 - Press ISW

The Kremlin is establishing economic, governmental, and informational control over occupied Ukrainian territory, indicating that Russia may be preparing to create a series of Russian proxy “people’s republics” and/or to directly annex some occupied Ukrainian territory. Russian forces are transitioning occupied territories to use the Russian ruble. Occupying military forces do not typically replace local currencies, but Russia’s proxies in occupied Ukrainian territory, the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR), have used rubles in some capacity since 2015. Russian forces are also likely planning to falsify “independence referendums” to create new proxy republics or to annex occupied territories into the DNR, LNR, or Russia itself. To that end, Russian forces are supplanting local governance and beginning to establish greater control over Ukrainian communications and culture in occupied areas.

Ukraine Invasion Update 24

April 22, 2022 - Press ISW

Russia and Ukraine are unlikely to resume negotiations in the coming weeks. Both sides await the outcome of Russia’s ongoing offensive in eastern Ukraine as they attempt to build leverage for future negotiations. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that the second phase of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on April 19 and that its objective is the “complete liberation” of the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, which are claimed by Russia’s proxies in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on April 17 that he “[doesn’t] trust the Russian military and Russian leadership” to not attempt to take Kyiv again if they win the battle for eastern Ukraine and re-emphasized that Ukraine is unwilling to give up its territory to end the war.

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.

Ukraine Invasion Update 22

April 8, 2022 - Press ISW

Ukraine will not resume negotiations with Russia until Ukrainian and guarantor state negotiators finalize meaningful security guarantees for Ukraine. Russian atrocities in Ukraine and Kremlin efforts to falsely blame Ukraine for these atrocities have reduced the willingness of the Ukrainian government and society to reach a peace agreement less than total Russian defeat.

Ukraine Invasion Update 21

April 2, 2022 - Press ISW

Ongoing peace talks will likely protract, though Russia and Ukraine may have reached initial agreements on Ukrainian “neutrality.” However, the Kremlin is unlikely to drop its maximalist demands—which are inadmissible to Kyiv—in the near term. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated on March 30 that the March 29 negotiations in Istanbul on March 30 did not result in "anything too promising or any breakthroughs.” Lead Russian negotiator Vladimir Medinsky claimed on March 30 that Ukraine has stated its willingness to meet core Russian demands to end what the Kremlin claims is “the threat of creating a NATO bridgehead on Ukrainian territory” but clarified that only the “essence” of agreements was agreed on. Smaller Russian and Ukrainian delegations arrived in Jerusalem, Israel, on March 30 for further negotiations. Ukrainian and Russian negotiators resumed peace talks virtually on April 1 and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Russia has not yet provided responses to Ukraine’s March 30 proposals. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the Kremlin is preparing a response to Ukraine’s March 30 proposals but did not provide a timeline for delivery.