April 23, 2024

Institute for the Study of War: Russian minister boasts about Russian offensive operations

Institute for the Study of War

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu highlighted ongoing Russian offensive operations near Chasiv Yar, Avdiivka, and Donetsk City and announced Russia’s intent to intensify its strike campaign to disrupt Ukrainian logistics. Shoigu addressed the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) collegium on April 23 and focused on the recently claimed Russian seizure of Bohdanivka (northeast of Chasiv Yar), Pervomaiske (southwest of Avdiivka), and Novomykhailivka (southwest of Donetsk City). ISW has not observed visual confirmation that Russian forces have seized all of these settlements yet, however. Shoigu also focused on claimed Russian gains northwest of Avdiivka near Berdychi and west of Donetsk City near Heorhiivka. Russian forces have yet to make significant tactical gains near Chasiv Yar after advancing up to the eastern outskirts of the settlement in early April 2024 but have recently made significant tactical gains northwest of Avdiivka and marginal advances southwest of Donetsk City. Shoigu is likely trying to broadly depict the various ongoing Russian offensive operations in eastern Ukraine as equally successful despite mixed and limited tactical Russian success in these directions. Russian forces will likely intensify ongoing offensive operations in the coming weeks to exploit Ukrainian materiel constraints ahead of the expected arrival of US security assistance. Shoigu’s focus on Russian offensive operations near Chasiv Yar, west of Avdiivka, and west and southwest of Donetsk City further indicates that Russian forces will likely intensify assaults in these areas, where Russian forces are currently prioritizing broader offensive operations, instead of elsewhere along the front.

Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Akbar Ahmadian traveled to St. Petersburg on April 23 to attend the 12th Russian International Security Summit. The Iranian Embassy in Moscow announced that Ahmadian will meet with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev while at the summit. Ahmadian met with Iraqi National Security Adviser, Qasem Araji, on the sidelines of the summit on April 23, where Araji emphasized the importance of expelling United States and international coalition forces from Iraq. The two also discussed the March 2023 security agreement between Iran and Iraq that requires Iraqi authorities to disarm and relocate members of Iranian Kurdish opposition groups away from Iran’s borders. Ahmadian will also meet with his Brazilian, Chinese, Indian, Russian, and South African counterparts at the summit. High-level meetings between Iranian and Russian defense officials such as Ahmadian and Patrushev help both sides align their national security and defense strategies and bolster Russia’s informational reputation as the leader of a coalition of like-minded states that counterbalance the West.

Key Takeaways:

  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu highlighted ongoing Russian offensive operations near Chasiv Yar, Avdiivka, and Donetsk City and announced Russia’s intent to intensify its strike campaign to disrupt Ukrainian logistics.
  • Shoigu also discussed ongoing Russian military reforms during his April 23 MoD collegium address, cloaking ongoing expansion efforts in an information operation meant to falsely frame all Russian military activity as inherently defensive and responsive to supposed NATO aggression.
  • Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Akbar Ahmadian traveled to St. Petersburg on April 23 to attend the 12th Russian International Security Summit.
  • The Chechen Republic appears to be trying to align itself more closely with Iran over the backdrop of intensifying bilateral security cooperation between Russia and Iran.
  • United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the UK’s largest ever package of military assistance to Ukraine valued at 500 million pounds (around $662 million) on April 23.
  • Moldovan authorities confiscated over one million dollars from Kremlin-linked Moldovan opposition politicians at the Chisinau airport on the night of April 22 to 23, and the opposition politicians likely intended to use to bribe protestors and voters.
  • Russian federal censor Roskomnadzor is blocking 150 virtual private network (VPN) services in Russia, another step in the Kremlin’s efforts to further censor and control the Russian information space.
  • Ukrainian drone strikes and recent flooding in Russia have reportedly brought weekly Russian oil refining to an 11-month low, although the decrease in refining output has so far been marginal.
  • Ukrainian forces recently advanced near Chasiv Yar (west of Bakhmut) and Russian forces recently advanced near Donetsk City.
  • Prominent Russian milbloggers continue to complain about the ineffectiveness of Russian drones on the battlefield.

For full report:  https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-april-23-2024 

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