March 12, 2024

Institute for the Study of War: White House announces $300 million emergency aid package for Ukraine 

Institute for the Study of War

The All-Russian pro-Ukrainian Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), Freedom of Russia Legion (LSR), and Siberian Battalion conducted a limited cross-border incursion into Belgorod and Kursk oblasts on the morning of March 12. Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Spokesperson Andriy Yusov stated on March 12 that elements of the RDK, LRS, and the Siberian Battalion were involved in clashes in Belgorod and Kursk oblasts. Russian sources initially denied reports of the incursion but later claimed that Russian forces repelled Russian pro-Ukrainian forces with tank, armored vehicle, and drone support attacking near Odnorobivka, Kharkiv Oblast and Nekhoteevka and Spodaryushino, Belgorod Oblast. Footage published on March 12 shows Russian pro-Ukrainian forces operating near Nekhoteevka and Spodaryushino in Belgorod Oblast and in Tetkino, Kursk Oblast. LSR forces reportedly seized Tetkino, although Russian sources claimed that Russian airborne conscripts repelled all the assaults in Tetkino. ISW has previously observed reports that Russia uses conscripts to defend its border with Ukraine against limited incursions and assessed that this is likely due to Russia’s unwillingness to transfer forces away from the frontline elsewhere in Ukraine. Russian milbloggers noted that the incursion came days before the Russian presidential election on March 17, and several Russian milbloggers warned that there might be additional incursions in the coming days.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan announced an emergency military aid package valued at $300 million for Ukraine on March 12. Sullivan stated that the aid package is comprised of new funding made available by cost saving measures in unspecified Pentagon weapons contracts. Unnamed US officials told CNN that the new funding is a result of “good negotiations” and “bundling funding across different things” but noted that this is not a sustainable long-term solution to aiding Ukraine, calling the package a “one time shot.” This funding does not appear to be part of the reported $4 billion in presidential drawdown authority fund still available for Ukraine. Sullivan stated that the aid package would provide Ukrainian forces with enough ammunition to last “a couple of weeks” and noted that this package “does not displace and should not delay the critical need” to pass a supplemental aid package for Ukraine.

Lithuanian and French authorities are expected to meet in Paris in the coming days to discuss accelerating support for Ukraine. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda stated on March 12 that he will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris to discuss ways to accelerate support for Ukraine, to strengthen the security of NATO’s eastern flank, and to increase European defense production. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis stated on March 11 that “now is the time to debate” sending Western military personnel to Ukraine and the “red lines that [the West] has imposed on [itself]” in response to recent French discussions about sending Western military personnel to Ukraine. French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné stated on March 9 during a meeting with Baltic and Ukrainian officials that Ukraine could use foreign troops for operations such as demining and that Russia should not be able to tell the West how to aid Ukraine by setting arbitrary “red lines.”

Key Takeaways:

  • The All-Russian pro-Ukrainian Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK), Freedom of Russia Legion (LSR), and Siberian Battalion conducted a limited cross-border incursion into Belgorod and Kursk oblasts on the morning of March 12.
  • The New York Times (NYT) reported that Russian and Ukrainian forces have differential advantages and disadvantages in their electronic warfare (EW) capabilities.
  • US Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (ODNI) 2024 Annual Threat Assessment reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin “probably believes” that Russian forces have blunted Ukrainian efforts to retake significant territory and that US and Western support to Ukraine is “finite.”
  • US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan announced an emergency military aid package valued at $300 million for Ukraine on March 12.
  • Lithuanian and French authorities are expected to meet in Paris in the coming days to discuss accelerating support for Ukraine.
  • The Kremlin continues to assert its right, contrary to international law, to enforce Russian federal law on officials of NATO members and former Soviet states for actions taken within the territory of their own countries where Russian courts have no jurisdiction, effectively denying the sovereignty of those states.
  • The Kremlin recently implemented a series of personnel changes in the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD), Rosgvardia, and the Russian military command.
  • Armenian President Nikol Pashinyan stated that Armenia would leave the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) if the CSTO fails to meet certain Armenian expectations, as Armenia continues to distance itself from Russian security relations.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Donetsk City amid continued positional engagements along the entire line of contact on March 12.
  • The Kremlin is reportedly considering raising taxes, likely as part of efforts to increase federal budget revenues to fund its war in Ukraine.
  • Russian Presidential Administration Deputy Head Sergei Kiriyenko continues to pursue industrial projects in occupied Ukraine.


For full report:  https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-march-12-2024 

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