Russian offensive operations aim to weaken Western support for Ukraine - ISW

Russian offensive operations aim to weaken Western support for Ukraine - ISW

U.S. intelligence reportedly assessed that Russian offensive operations in eastern Ukraine in fall 2023 and through the upcoming winter aim to weaken Western support for Ukraine instead of achieving any immediate operational objectives.

That's according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Ukrinform reports.

Russian forces have routinely conducted military operations in Ukraine aimed at shaping Western behavior instead of achieving operational battlefield objectives.

According to analysts, Russia appears to believe that a military "deadlock" through the winter will drain Western support for Ukraine and give Russian forces the advantage despite high Russian losses and persistent Russian shortages of trained personnel, munitions, and equipment.

According to ISW estimates, Russian forces have been trying to regain the theater-level initiative in Ukraine since at least mid-November 2023 and have now likely committed to offensive operations in multiple sectors of the front during a period of the most challenging weather of the fall-winter season in an effort to seize and retain the initiative.

The Russian military command's decision to launch offensive efforts in fall 2023 may have been an opportunistic reaction to a perceived wavering of Western support for Ukraine. The increased Western discussions about continuing military assistance to Ukraine following the relatively successful Russian defensive operations in the Zaporizhzhia region were predictable and may have factored into the Russian command's calculations. The Kremlin has been orchestrating long-running information operations aimed at deterring Western security assistance to Ukraine, and the Russian command may have determined that those information operations were yielding increasing returns and that Russian military efforts to seize the initiative could prompt further Western debates about aid to Ukraine.

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