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Delay in US aid could lead to operationally significant gains for Russian forces – ISW

Wednesday, 17 April 2024, 04:28
Delay in US aid could lead to operationally significant gains for Russian forces – ISW
Ukrainian soldier. Photo: General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces

The ISW notes that the constant delays in providing security assistance to Ukraine by the United States are limiting the ability of Ukrainian troops to conduct effective defensive operations while giving Russian forces the flexibility to conduct offensive operations.

Source: Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

Details: For the Russian military, this dynamic could lead to operationally significant gains in the future.


Military analysts have noted that Russia and Ukraine are engaged in a constant race of innovation and adaptation in air defence, in which Russia continues to adjust the timing, scale, composition and targets of its strikes in an effort to penetrate Ukraine's air defence system.

Significant delays in US military assistance have already resulted in a shortage of Ukrainian air defence stocks and hindered Ukraine's ability to adapt to the evolution of Russian strike systems.

The limited number of air defence systems and interceptors forces Ukraine to make difficult decisions about the allocation of air defence systems between the rear and contact line, leaving troops on the line of contact largely vulnerable to Russian air attacks.

ISW states that only the United States can quickly provide Ukraine with air defence systems in the amount needed to improve Ukraine's air defence capabilities significantly.

To quote the ISW's Key Takeaways on 16 April:

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasised that continued shortages in air defence systems and artillery are preventing Ukraine from effectively defending itself against Russian strikes and ground assaults.
  • Zelenskyy signed a new mobilisation law on 16 April, codifying a difficult but critical decision in Ukraine’s efforts to stabilise its force generation apparatus and adequately prepare the Ukrainian fighting force both defensively and offensively.
  • Russian forces in eastern Ukraine are using smaller groups to conduct assaults and are reportedly suffering from morale issues, but Russian attacks are unlikely to culminate in the near term despite these challenges because of Ukrainian materiel shortages.
  • A Russian Storm-Z instructor argued that Russian forces should capitalise on Ukrainian disadvantages brought on by materiel shortages to increase Russian guided glide bomb strikes to support Russian ground operations.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to show support for Iranian aggression against Israel during a 16 March call with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
  • People’s Republic of China (PRC) President and General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Xi Jinping met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on 16 April and proposed prerequisites for the end to the war in Ukraine in a manner that suggests that Xi is continuing to posture himself as a neutral mediator in the war despite increasing reports of China’s support for the Russian war effort.
  • Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) recently destroyed a Russian Nebo-U long-range radar station in Bryansk Oblast.
  • The Kremlin continues to centralise authority over Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov’s "Akhmat" Spetsnaz forces via the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD).
  • Russian federal censor Roskomnadzor is considering banning TikTok in Russia.
  • Russian forces made confirmed advances near Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Donetsk City and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast amid continued positional engagements along the entire line of contact on 16 April.
  • The Republic of Tatarstan is reportedly preparing a new youth employment program that would allow minors aged 14 and older to work at Russian defence industrial base (DIB) enterprises, likely as part of an ongoing effort to expand the Russian DIB.
  • Russian occupation officials are using the education system, particularly history courses, to Russify Ukrainian children living in occupied areas.

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