December 6, 2023

Institue for Study of War: Putin travels to UAE and Saudi Arabia for talks with leaders

Institute for the Study of War

Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov credited Western security assistance for empowering Ukrainian forces to liberate half of the territory that Russia occupied since February 24, 2022. Umerov credited Western security assistance for previous Ukrainian counteroffensive success during an interview with Fox News on December 5 and stated that the Ukrainian forces have a plan for 2024. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated on November 8 that the Ukrainian forces have planned for several paths of future advance in 2024 to liberate more of the occupied territories. ISW continues to assess that Ukraine must liberate strategically vital areas still under Russian occupation to ensure Ukraine’s long-term security and economic viability. Umerov also stated that Ukraine plans to conduct all calculations for procurement, acquisition, planning, and operations according to NATO standards and that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) first priority is Ukraine’s accession to NATO. The adoption of NATO standards throughout the Ukrainian military and defense establishment will facilitate NATO oversight of current and future Western security assistance to Ukraine.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov credited Western security assistance for empowering Ukrainian forces to liberate half of the territory that Russia occupied since February 24, 2022.
  • Russian forces conducted a notably large series of drone strikes against Ukraine on the night of December 5 to 6.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin traveled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia to meet with UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman in a series of bilateral meetings on December 6.
  • Russian oil revenues continue to increase due to a concerted Russian effort to skirt the G7 price cap on Russian crude oil and petroleum products.
  • Russian society appears interested in discussing the outcome of the war in Ukraine despite the Kremlin’s increasing aversion to more in-depth public discussions of the war.
  • Unspecified actors killed former pro-Russian Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada deputy Ilya Kiva in Moscow Oblast on December 6.
  • Moscow’s 2nd Western Military District Court convicted two Russian air defense officers for negligence for failing to prevent a Ukrainian strike on Russian territory in April 2022, likely to set an example to improve discipline across the Russian military.
  • Russian officials are reportedly attempting to funnel migrants who have ended up in Russia due to Russia’s failed hybrid war tactics on the Russian-Finnish border into ongoing force generation efforts.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, near Avdiivka, west and southwest of Donetsk City, in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and western Zaporizhia Oblast and advanced near Avdiivka.
  • The Russian State Duma will reportedly consider a bill allowing Russian conscripts to serve in the Federal Security Service’s (FSB) Border Service.



  • Ukrainian partisans may have conducted an attack in occupied Luhansk City on December 6 that killed Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) People’s Council Deputy Oleg Popov.
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