April 9, 2024

Institute for the Study of War:  U.S. sends captured Iranian small arms and ammunition to Ukraine

Institute for the Study of War

Russian state media highlighted Russia and China’s joint effort to combat perceived Western “dual containment” targeting Russia and China during Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on April 9. Kremlin newswire TASS reported that Wang suggested that China and Russia engage in “dual counteraction” in response to alleged Western attempts at “dual containment” targeting Russia and China.[1] Lavrov claimed that the Russian–Chinese “comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction” have reached an “unprecedented level,” and that Russia and China have mutual international interests and will coordinate to solve internal and external problems.[2] Lavrov claimed that Russian–Chinese relations extend beyond a “military-political alliance of the Cold War” and that both countries are working to create a “multipolar world order” through multilateral formats that include BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).[3] Russia has consistently pushed the idea of a Russian-led “multipolar world order” that imagines Russia as the leader of a coalition of non-Western states in opposition to the US and West.[4] Lavrov claimed that Russia and China will continue to cooperate on anti-terrorism measures and that Russia and China signed another plan for inter-Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) consultations in 2024.[5] The Russian MFA stated that China and Russia “exchanged views” on possible ways to resolve the war in Ukraine, that both sides called international meetings that discuss an end to the war without Russia “futile,” and that Russia “positively” assesses China’s suggestions for an end to the war, likely in reference to the 12-point peace plan that China released in February 2023.[6] The Russian MFA notably did not mention bilateral military or technological cooperation, possibly due to recent reports that China is increasingly helping Russia’s defense industrial base (DIB) and even providing Russia with geospatial intelligence that Russia likely uses to support military operations in Ukraine.[7] ISW continues to assess that the Kremlin continues to be concerned with China’s reticence to participate fully in the Kremlin’s desired no-limits partnership, and that China continues to hold the upper hand in the Russian–Chinese relationship despite recent reports suggesting that China is increasingly willing to assist Russia’s war efforts in Ukraine.[8]

US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced on April 9 that it transferred roughly a brigade’s worth of small arms and ammunition seized from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to Ukraine on April 4. CENTCOM reported that the US government transferred over 5,000 AK-47s, machine guns, sniper rifles, RPG-7s and over 500,000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition to the Ukrainian military.[9] CENTCOM stated that it obtained these munitions on December 1, 2023 through a Department of Justice (DoJ) civil forfeiture claim opened against the IRGC in July 2023.[10] CNN reported that CENTCOM had already transferred over one million rounds of seized IRGC ammunition to Ukraine as of October 2023.[11]

Key Takeaways:

  • Russian state media highlighted Russia and China’s joint effort to combat perceived Western “dual containment” targeting Russia and China during Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on April 9.
  • US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced on April 9 that it transferred roughly a brigade’s worth of small arms and ammunition seized from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to Ukraine on April 4.
  • The Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) is likely responsible for a drone strike against the Borisoglebsk Airbase in Voronezh Oblast overnight on April 8 to 9.
  • Russian ultranationalist milbloggers continue to employ virulently anti-migrant rhetoric and calls for xenophobic domestic policies, but in doing so are exposing the inherent hypocrisy in Russia’s treatment of its own indigenous ethnic minority communities.
  • The Kremlin will likely be able to leverage a new agreement signed by the Kremlin-affiliated governor of the pro-Russian Moldovan autonomous region of Gagauzia, Yevgenia Gutsul, and a state-owned Russian bank to further its efforts to destabilize Moldovan society, attack Moldova’s democratic government, and prevent Moldova’s accession to the European Union (EU).
  • Russia is reportedly considering creating a new ministry for youth policy and patriotic education, likely as part of an ongoing attempt to instill pro-Kremlin and Kremlin-approved ideology in Russia’s next generation.
  • Russian military authorities in Armenia detained another Russian citizen in Armenia, likely in an effort to assert military and political power over Armenia and to challenge Armenia’s sovereignty amid a continued deterioration of Armenian–Russian relations.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Kreminna, west of Avdiivka, and south and southwest of Donetsk City on April 9.
  • Kremlin officials continue efforts to ease public fears about another possible wave of partial mobilization.

  • The Russian occupation regime in Crimea is systematically persecuting clergy and parishes affiliated with the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) in occupied Crimea.

For full report:  https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-april-9-2024 

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