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Iran Crisis Update, December 4

Dec 4, 2022 – Press ISW

Western media inaccurately reported that the Iranian regime abolished its morality patrol on December 4. The regime has not made such a concession. Western outlets misinterpreted remarks from Prosecutor General Mohammad Javad Montazeri on December 3. Montazeri noted in response to a journalist’s question that security forces have reduced morality patrols in recent months—a statement that some Western media has mistakenly framed as confirmation that the regime abolished the patrols. Iranian state media later clarified that Montazeri was only acknowledging the reduced morality patrols rather than announcing an end to the program. No other Iranian official has indicated that the regime has ended the patrol.

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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, December 4

Dec 4, 2022 – Press ISW

Ukrainian officials have indicated that Ukrainian forces plan to continue offensive operations over the coming winter to capitalize on recent battlefield successes and prevent Russian forces from regaining the battlefield initiative. Spokesperson of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Eastern Group Serhii Cherevatyi stated on December 4 that frozen ground enables heavy wheeled and tracked vehicles to advance and that Ukrainian forces are preparing such vehicles for winter operations. Cherevatyi also stated that low-quality mobilized recruits and Wagner Group personnel recruited from Russian prisoners are unprepared for combat in the winter. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense (MoD) stated on November 20 that those who suggest the winter will pause hostilities “likely never sunbathed in January on the southern coast of Crimea,” suggesting that Ukrainian forces intend to continue counteroffensive operations over the coming winter that contribute toward the goal of retaking Crimea. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Volodymyr Havrylov stated on November 18 that Ukrainian forces will continue to fight in the winter because any type of pause will allow Russian forces to reinforce their units and positions. Ukrainian officials’ prior statements on ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive actions in Kherson Oblast are further evidence that these official statements on winter counteroffensive actions are indicators of continuing counteroffensive operations.

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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, December 3

Dec 3, 2022 – Press ISW

Ukrainian forces reportedly reached the east (left) bank of the Dnipro River across from Kherson City. The Ukrainian “Carlson” volunteer special air intelligence unit posted footage on December 3 of Ukrainian servicemen traversing the Dnipro River in boats, reaching a wooden marina-like structure on the east bank, and raising a Ukrainian flag on a tower toward near the shore. Special Unit “Carlson” reported that this is the first instance of a Ukrainian flag flying over the east bank of the Dnipro River and emphasized this operation will provide a springboard for subsequent Ukrainian operations on the east bank. If confirmed, this limited Ukrainian incursion onto the east bank could open avenues for Ukrainian forces to begin to operate on the east bank. As ISW has previously reported, observed Russian fortifications on the left bank indicate Russian forces are anticipating Ukrainian offensive actions on the east bank and have been constructing defensive lines south of the Dnipro River. The establishment of positions along the eastern riverbank will likely set conditions for future Ukrainian offensive operations into occupied Kherson Oblast, if Ukrainian troops choose to pursue this line of advance in the south.

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Iran Crisis Update, December 3

Dec 3, 2022 – Press ISW

Protest coordinators and organizations continued issuing guidance on December 3 in preparation for the planned countrywide protests and strikes on December 5-7. The Hamedan Neighborhood Youth posted instructions on how to make hand-thrown explosives, Molotov cocktails, and pepper spray. The Karaj Neighborhood Youth and others published maps of planned protest locations. The Shiraz Neighborhood Youth advised citizens to prepare basic necessities and cash for themselves given the planned strikes.

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Iran Crisis Update, December 2

Dec 2, 2022 – Press ISW

The Mashhad Neighborhood Youth issued further instructions for the planned protests on December 5-7. The Mashhad group called for street protests on December 5, protests moving toward and occupying government buildings on December 6, and countrywide protests and marches in solidarity with university students on December 7. These instructions partially mirror those distributed by the Tehran Neighborhood Youth, which similarly differentiated planned protest activities by day, as CTP previously reported.

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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, December 2

Dec 2, 2022 – Press ISW

Russia is attempting to capitalize on the Western desire for negotiations to create a dynamic in which Western officials feel pressed to make preemptive concessions to lure Russia to the negotiating table. Russian President Vladimir Putin held an hour-long telephone conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on December 2 in which Putin falsely stated that Western financial and military aid to Ukraine creates a situation in which the Ukrainian government outright rejects talks between Moscow and Kyiv and called upon Scholz to reconsider Germany’s approach regarding developments in Ukraine. Scholz stated that any diplomatic solution to the conflict in Ukraine must include the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory. The Putin-Scholz call corresponded with a diplomatic overture from US President Joe Biden on December 1 in which Biden stated that he is prepared to speak with Putin if the Russian president is looking for a way to end the war, although Biden acknowledged that he has no immediate plans to do so.

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Ukraine Conflict Updates

Aug 15, 2022

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