Publications

Ukraine Invasion Update 20

March 30, 2022 - Press ISW

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.

Ukraine Conflict Updates

August 15, 2022 - Press ISW

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.

Ukraine Conflict Update 9

February 26, 2022 - Press ISW

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.

Ukraine Conflict Update 8

February 25, 2022 - Press ISW

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.

Ukraine Conflict Update 6

February 23, 2022 - Press ISW

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.*

Ukraine Conflict Update 5

February 22, 2022 - Press ISW

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.

Ukraine Conflict Update 4

February 21, 2022 - Press ISW

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.

Ukraine Conflict Update 3

February 20, 2022 - Press ISW

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.

Ukraine Conflict Update 2

February 19, 2022 - Press ISW

Russia will likely attack Ukraine before 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. Russian and Belarusian forces carried out the final day of active tactical exercises as part of the Joint Russian-Belarusian “Union Resolve 2022” exercise. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko oversaw Russia’s “GROM” nuclear triad exercises, currently being held earlier in the year than previous annual iterations—likely to deter any significant NATO response to possible Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Ukraine Conflict Update 19

March 25, 2022 - Press ISW

Ukrainian officials remain firm that Russia must return Crimea and Donbas; the Kremlin increasingly claims Kyiv is stalling negotiations. Russia is unlikely to reduce its maximalist demands despite the failure of its initial military campaign. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmyto Kuleba stated on March 22 and 24 respectively that Ukraine must regain control of Crimea and Donbas, refuting Russian media claims that Zelensky would discuss recognizing Russia’s illegally occupied territories. Kuleba also said that Ukraine is negotiating security guarantees with the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Turkey. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on March 23 that Russia does not oppose Western mediation in Russia-Ukraine negotiations but repeated that Russia has “red lines” on Ukrainian integration into Western structures. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on March 22 that peace talks with Ukraine were moving slower than expected. Lavrov and Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova claimed that Ukraine is constantly changing its position under manipulation from the United States. The Kremlin likely incorrectly anticipated a quick Ukrainian capitulation, but is unlikely to reduce its maximalist demands in the near term and the war will likely protract.

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