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.
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.
Russian and Ukrainian negotiators met in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 29 as part of ongoing peace talks. The Kremlin is falsely framing the withdrawal of its forces that failed to capture Kyiv as a Russian concession. Kremlin rhetoric following the meeting was more open to further discussion and Ukrainian demands than throughout the first month of the invasion, but the Kremlin likely retains its maximalist objectives in Ukraine, and peace talks are unlikely to progress in the near future.
This page collects ISW and CTP's updates on the conflict in Ukraine. In late February 2022, ISW began publishing daily synthetic products covering key events related to renewed Russian aggression against Ukraine.
Russian forces’ main axes of advance in the last 24 hours focused on Kyiv, northeastern Ukraine, and southern Ukraine. Russian airborne and special forces troops are engaged in urban warfare in northwestern Kyiv, but Russian mechanized forces are not yet in the capital. Russian advances from Crimea risk cutting off the large concentrations of Ukrainian forces still defending the former line of contact between unoccupied Ukraine and occupied Donbas. Ukrainian leaders may soon face the painful decision of ordering the withdrawal of those forces and the ceding of more of eastern Ukraine or allowing much of Ukraine’s uncommitted conventional combat power to be encircled and destroyed. There are no indications as yet of whether the Ukrainian government is considering this decision point.
Russian forces entered major Ukrainian cities—including Kyiv and Kherson – for the first time on February 25. Russian forces’ main axes of advance focused on Kyiv, successfully isolating the city on both banks of the Dnipro River. Poorly planned and organized Russian military operations along Ukraine’s northern border have been less successful than those emanating from Crimea so far. Determined and well-organized Ukrainian resistance around Kyiv and Kharkiv has also played an important role in preventing the Russian military from advancing with the speed and success for which it had reportedly planned. The Russian military has deployed forces beyond those it likely planned to use against Ukraine to offset these challenges. However, Russian forces remain much larger and more capable than Ukraine’s conventional military. Russia will likely defeat Ukrainian regular military forces and secure their territorial objectives at some point in the coming days or weeks if Putin is determined to do so and willing to pay the cost in blood and treasure.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will likely order Russian forces to deploy overtly into Russian proxy-controlled Ukrainian territory and to the line of contact with Ukrainian forces on February 24. Russia will likely invade unoccupied Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts shortly after that deployment. A Russian invasion of most of the rest of Ukraine could occur at the same time or shortly thereafter. The proxy leaders of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR) formally asked Putin to deploy Russian forces into DNR and LNR territory on February 23. The DNR and LNR leadership also requested Russian assistance to gain control over the rest of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, which they illegally claim as rightfully theirs. Putin secured unlimited parliamentary approval to deploy Russian forces abroad for any purpose he chooses on February 22. A Russian deployment to the DNR and LNR would set conditions for successive or simultaneous Russian military operations to conquer the entire Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and large areas of Ukrainian territory. *This report was produced before Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the “special military operation” against Ukraine. ISW will resume coverage of this conflict the morning of February 24, 2022.*
Russian President Vladimir Putin set information conditions for a military operation against Ukraine at a moment of his choosing on February 22. Russia will likely commence military operations to seize additional territory in eastern Ukraine within the coming days. ISW published its assessment of Russia’s likely immediate course of action at 1:00 pm ET on February 22.
Russia recognized the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR) and is deploying troops to Donetsk and Luhansk the night of February 21, 2022. Russian armed forces will likely attack Ukrainian forces at the line of contact to secure the portions of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts not currently under DNR/LNR control, likely accompanied by an air/missile campaign against unoccupied Ukraine in the coming days. We assess that Russia will likely take a phased approach rather than immediately beginning with the full-scale invasion.
Russia will likely attack Ukraine the week of February 21, 2022. The Kremlin has deployed sufficient military forces and set informational conditions to conduct offensive operations including limited incursions into unoccupied Ukraine, a comprehensive air and missile campaign, and large-scale mechanized drives on Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities.