March 25, 2022

Peace Talks slow as Ukraine demands Russia return Donbass and Crimea

Institute for the Study of War

The ISW Russia team’s Ukraine Conflict Update is a semi-weekly synthetic product covering key political and rhetorical events related to renewed Russian aggression against Ukraine. This update covers events from March 22-24. All of Russia’s team’s coverage of the war in Ukraine—including daily military assessments and maps, past Conflict Updates, and several supplemental assessments—are available on our Ukraine Crisis Coverage landing page.

Key Takeaways March 22-24

  • Kyiv remains firm that Russia must return Crimea and Donbas to Ukraine, despite Kremlin claims that Zelensky is willing to discuss recognizing Russian control over these temporarily occupied territories.
  • The Kremlin increased its rhetoric accusing the West of posing an existential threat to Russia and refusing to rule out the use of nuclear weapons in the event of threats to Russia to deter the West from further supporting Ukraine.
  • Western leaders continued to sound alarms about potential Russian chemical or biological attacks in Ukraine.
  • The Kremlin continues to undercount Russian deaths in Ukraine, which have likely passed 10,000 dead since February 24.
  • Western sanctions are successfully disrupting Russia’s military industry and energy exports.
  • Russian forces are likely forcibly relocating Ukrainian citizens to Russia to establish control over occupied areas and gain political leverage.
  • The EU and NATO announced both short- and long-term plans to increase military defense spending, troop deployments to Eastern Europe, and military assistance for Ukraine.   
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