January 7, 2024

Institute for the Study of War: Russian forces make confirmed advances south of Donetsk City

Institute for the Study of War

Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to court Russian servicemen and their families ahead of the March 2024 presidential election during a meeting with family members of deceased Russian servicemen on January 6. Putin met with family members of Russian servicemen who died in Ukraine at his residence in Novo-Ogaryovo to celebrate Orthodox Christmas.[1] Putin highlighted the heroism of the deceased Russian servicemen who “defend[ed] the interests of [Russia].” Putin repeatedly reiterated the Russian government’s support for the families of Russian servicemen and delegated responsibility for the continuous support of these families to Russian officials at all levels throughout Russia. Putin has recently attended similar events during which he presented himself as a gracious leader who cares about the well-being of Russian military personnel and paraded his power to fulfill servicemen’s requests and deal with issues.[2] Putin is likely using these recurring, publicized meetings as part of his election campaign, as Russian servicemen and their family members comprise a sizable constituency, and their public support for Putin is vital for the Kremlin’s ability to present the Russian population as largely in support of the war in Ukraine.

Key Takeaways:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to court Russian servicemen and their families ahead of the March 2024 presidential election during a meeting with family members of deceased Russian servicemen on January 6.
  • Head of the Kremlin-controlled Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill of Moscow stated that Russia cannot reject Russian citizens who “understand they made a mistake” by fleeing Russia after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine and now want to return home.
  • Two Russian government officials defended migrants’ continued presence in Russia amid ongoing migrant crackdowns, generating heavy milblogger criticism and indicating that the Russian government likely still lacks a unified policy toward migrants in Russia.
  • Russian forces conducted a series of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine on the night of January 6 to 7.
  • Ukrainian Air Force Spokesperson Colonel Yuriy Ihnat refuted media reports that the Danish Ministry of Defense (MoD) is delaying its first delivery of six F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine for up to six months.
  • Russian forces made confirmed advances west and southwest of Donetsk City amid continued positional engagements along the front.
  • Ukrainian military observer Kostyantyn Mashovets stated on January 7 that Russia has pushed back the deadline for the establishment of the new Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts (MMD and LMD) for at least the second time due to weapons and personnel shortages and bureaucratic issues.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on January 4 that will allow Russia to forcibly grant citizenship to deported Ukrainian children.

 For full report:  https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-january-7-2024 

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