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  • Ryan Wittler

An Assessment of Russia’s Offensive Military Campaign in the War in Ukraine


A new report from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) assessing the offensive side of Russia’s war in Ukraine shows the initial campaign has created the conditions of a “violent and bloody” stalemate.

Some highlights:

The assessment found Ukraine has defeated Russia’s initial offensive campaign attacking Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and other major cities that was intended to force a change of government in Ukraine.

  • The ISW found Russia is continuing to send reinforcements to keep the campaign alive, but assesses it will fail regardless.

The drawn-out fighting in Mariupol is also “seriously weakening Russian forces,” according to the assessment.

  • The ISW believes Mariupol will ultimately fall to Russia, but that the forces attacking the city will be too weak to continue fighting and moving west.

  • Russia’s struggle to take Mariupol also undermines its chances of taking larger cities like Kryvyi Rih.

Stalemate, but not like you think:

According to the ISW, “[s]talemate is not armistice or ceasefire,” rather, it’s a condition of war where each side conducts offensive campaigns that do not fundamentally alter the situation.

  • If the war settles into a stalemate, which the ISW views as “likely,” it could ultimately last for weeks or months, devastating Ukrainian cities and killing civilians.

About the Institute:

The ISW is a non-partisan, non-profit public policy organization dedicated to understanding military affairs through research and analysis.

  • According to the Library of Congress, the institute “seeks to strengthen civilian leadership and the electorate by making the important study of military operations available to the public.”

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