February 3, 2023

U.S. announces $2.2 billion military aid package

Institute for the Study of War

The Biden administration announced a new $2.2 billion military aid package to Ukraine on February 3, including precision long-range missiles for HIMARS. The package includes Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDM) that will increase the range of HIMARS to 151km from roughly 80km. The package also includes Javelin anti-armor systems, two HAWK air defense firing units, regular HIMARS ammunition, and 120mm mortar and 155mm artillery rounds.

Russian President Vladimir Putin continued his campaign against certain opposition voices in the domestic information space while continuing to platform critical nationalist milbloggers. Moscow authorities announced the arrest of Alexander Gusov, the alleged administrator of the Novyi Vek and VChK-OGPU Telegram channels, on charges of extortion on February 3. Independent Russian outlet OVD Info claimed that Russian authorities also arrested Oleg Seliverov for charges relating to terrorism after Moscow authorities recently investigated Seliverov for ties to the Nexta Live opposition outlet. Seliverov is an anti-war activist, and VChK-OGPU characterizes itself as exposing the “secrets of officials, oligarchs, gangsters, security officials.” Gusov denied his affiliations with Novyi Vek and VChK-OGPU on January 26, and Seliverov denied associations with Nexta Live on January 28. VChK-OGPU condemned the arrests and claimed that Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov and Chemezov’s associates influenced the crackdowns. Putin censored several large opposition outlets in late January 2023, as ISW has previously reported. Putin likely aims to crack down against opposition outlets that directly oppose Putin’s regime or goals, including anti-war voices, while upholding voices such as nationalist milbloggers who support Putin’s regime and war even as the milbloggers criticize the regime for its poor execution of war aims they regard as insufficient.

Russian officials continue to perpetuate the information operation that the war in Ukraine is a direct threat to Russian security through legislative manipulations. Bryansk and Kursk oblasts announced on February 3 that they are extending the “yellow” level of terrorist threat indefinitely due to a need for enhanced measures to protect and defend Russian territory. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on January 31 that simplifies the process of implementing terror threat alerts in Russia and allows Russian regions classed as ”yellow level” of terrorist threat per Putin’s October 19 martial law decree to indefinitely introduce an elevated ”terrorist level.” Bryansk and Kursk oblast officials will likely use this new ”terror level” regime to escalate law enforcement measures in order to crack down on domestic dissent, partially to present the war in Ukraine as directly threatening Russian domestic security in order to generate continued support for Russian operations.

Key Takeaways

  • The Biden administration announced a new $2.2 billion military aid package to Ukraine on February 3, including precision long-range missiles for HIMARS.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin continued his campaign against certain opposition voices in the domestic information space while continuing to platform critical nationalist milbloggers.
  • Russian officials continue to perpetuate the information operation that the war in Ukraine is a direct threat to Russian security through legislative manipulations.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line with an intensified pace of operations near Kreminna.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations around Bakhmut.
  • Russian forces did not make any confirmed territorial gains in southern Ukraine.
  • Western officials reportedly estimate that Russian forces have sustained almost 200,000 casualties in the war in Ukraine.
  • Russian officials continue to rely on government-organized non-governmental organizations operating in occupied territories to create the veneer of grass roots support for Russian occupation.
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