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War In Ukraine Risk and Advisory 03/24



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Here is a brief review of developments in the Ukraine War with outline trajectory, risks and impact ahead.

 

Diplomacy

               

The U.S. government announced new sanctions against Russia's military and industrial base, chemical and biological weapons programs, as well as companies and individuals in third countries that help Russia produce weapons. Meanwhile United Arab Emirates is facing fresh pressure from the U.S., U.K. and European Union to demonstrate implementation of sanctions on Russia as per Reuters. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe instructed the Secretary General to draft documents that will lead to the conclusion of an agreement with Ukraine on the establishment of a Special Tribunal for the Russian crime of aggression.

 

Conventional

 

Russians build up on the front line is expected to increase as Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu indicated on May 01 that to maintain the pace of current offensive operations and ahead of “further actions,” more weapons and military equipment needed to be sent to the front lines as per the CNN. Russia is presently concentrating forces for operations in Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Novopavlivka sectors to achieve a breakthrough. In the Kupiansk operational area, the Russian invasion forces resumed the attacks having replenished their units over the past two months. Missile attacks by Russia continued with focus on Kharkiv assessed as Kremlin’s number one target in 2024, Ukrainian government claims that the aim is to make Kharkiv “unlivable” and force a large percentage of its approximately 1.3 million residents to flee leading to the launch of an offensive to capture Ukraine’s second largest city by end of the year.

 

Economy

 

 As per Russian government's figures, diesel prices for Russian consumers have risen almost 10 percent in the past week claim Ukrainian sources. Petrol costs have also hit a six-month high, up more than 20 percent from the start of the year as supply tightens and more and more facilities are forced to suspend production with the volumes remaining unconfirmed.

 

Gray Zone

 

Ukraine has continued a deep strike offensive targeting Ryazan Oil Refinery in Russia causing extensive damage. The resistance movement, in Mariupol is said to have  targeted a number of Russian assets which remain unconfirmed. Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine destroyed two Russian Buk anti-aircraft missile systems in the Sumy sector. Meanwhile Ukraine has claimed mass desertion of mercenaries from Nepal from the Russian army units fighting in Ukraine.

 

Risks and Impact

 

As Russian offensive is making slow but steady progress on multiple fronts there is a concern in Ukraine of a tactical breakthrough which would weaken Ukrainian resistance including national and armed forces morale. Mustering of missiles and munitions would imply that the Russians are expecting the offensive to be fire power heavy. However a general breakout by Russian forces is not anticipated.


Russia could well be facing manpower issues as reports of tens of foreigners from developing countries who had been induced in joining the War are reported to have deserted.


Ukraine’s deep strategic strikes are making an impact on Moscow’s oil reserves, however in retaliation Russia is targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure as well as civilian establishments. At the same time Ukrainian resistance within Russian annexed territories is making a marginal impact.

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