April 7, 2024

Institute for the Study of War: Ukraine anticipates Russian offensive beginning in May or June

Institute for the Study of War

Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate Head Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov reported that Ukraine anticipates Russian offensive operations to intensify in late spring and early summer. Budanov stated in an interview with German broadcaster ARD published on April 7 that Ukraine expects that Russian offensive operations will especially intensify in the Donbas. Budanov also reported that Russian forces will likely attempt to advance to Chasiv Yar (west of Bakhmut) and in the direction of Pokrovsk (about 43km northwest of Avdiivka). Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky previously stated in a CBS News interview published on March 28 that the major Russian offensive effort may start in late May or June. ISW has recently observed that Russian forces intensified the tempo of their offensive operations across the theater, including by conducting a roughly reinforced company-sized mechanized assault toward Chasiv Yar on April 4, and continues to assess that the Russian military appears to be successfully mitigating likely increased manpower and materiel losses. Zelensky and senior Ukrainian military officials have recently warned that delays in security assistance have forced Ukraine to cede the battlefield initiative to Russia and that the Ukrainian military cannot plan a successful counteroffensive nor defensive effort without knowing when and what kind of aid Ukraine will receive. ISW continues to assess that delays in Western military assistance have forced the Ukrainian military to husband materiel and that Ukrainian forces likely must make difficult decisions prioritizing certain aspects of its defense at the expense of contesting the initiative to constrain Russian military capabilities or plan for a future counteroffensive operations as prolonged US debates about military aid continue.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with Chinese officials in China on April 8 and 9 amid Western warnings that China is increasingly helping Russia’s defense industrial base (DIB) and even providing Russia with geospatial intelligence. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) stated that Lavrov will meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss bilateral cooperation and “hot topics,” including the war in Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the BBC on April 6 that China is “propping up the Russian war economy” and supporting the Russian DIB. Bloomberg reported on April 6 that unspecified sources stated that China’s support for Russia has “deepened” recently. Bloomberg reported that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken briefed unspecified European allies on China’s support and asked them to directly speak to China about the issue. Bloomberg’s sources reportedly stated that China and Russia have increased space cooperation and that China has given Russia microelectronics, optics, machine tools for tanks, and propellants for missiles. Bloomberg reported that White House National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson said that China has also provided Russia with nitrocellulose — an intermediary good used in producing gunpower and explosives — and turbojet engines. Bloomberg reported that China is also providing Russia with geospatial intelligence, including satellite imagery which the Russian military likely uses to support military operations in Ukraine. The Atlantic reported on March 18 that Ukrainian military sources believe that Russia may be using unspecified third parties to buy satellite imagery from US companies for targeting data to conduct long-range strikes.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate Head Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov reported that Ukraine anticipates Russian offensive operations to intensify in late spring and early summer.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with Chinese officials in China on April 8 and 9 amid Western warnings that China is increasingly helping Russia’s defense industrial base (DIB) and even providing China with geospatial intelligence.
  • Russian forces reportedly continue to systematically use prohibited chemical weapons in Ukraine and are attacking Ukrainian positions with chemical substances almost daily throughout the frontline.
  • Russian officials accused Ukraine of launching a series of drone strikes against the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) on April 7, but the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) did not attribute responsibility for the strikes.
  • Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi openly condemned and is taking action following reports that members of Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) may have purposefully intimidated a Ukrainian journalist investigating corruption within the SBU by issuing the journalist a draft summons.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Avdiivka amid continued positional fighting along the entire line of contact on April 7.
  • Chieftan of the All-Russian Cossack Society and Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Nationalities Nikolai Doluda claimed on April 7 that more than 30,000 Cossack personnel have fought in Ukraine.

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

Share the Post: