Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, October 26

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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, October 26

Oct 26, 2022 – Press ISW

A Reuters investigation of a document trove found in an abandoned Russian command post in Balakliya, Kharkiv Oblast, supports ISW’s longstanding assessments about the poor condition of Russian forces. ISW has long assessed that the conventional Russian military in Ukraine is severely degraded and has largely lost offensive capabilities since the summer of 2022, that Russian strategic commanders have been micromanaging operational commanders’ decisions on tactical matters, and that Russian morale is very low. Reuters’ investigation found that Russian units near Balakliya were severely understrength, with a combat battalion at 19.6-percent strength and a reserve unit at 23-percent strength. The investigation found that poor morale, bad logistics, and overbearing commanders contributed to Russian forces’ poor performance. The report found that the Russian Western Military District explicitly forbade a subordinate from withdrawing from an untenable position in the small village of Hrakove (which has an area of less than three square kilometers). Ukrainian forces defeated Russian forces in Balakiya and routed Russian forces in eastern Kharkiv Oblast around September 8-10.

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Iran Crisis Update, October 26

Oct 26, 2022 – Press ISW

The ongoing, anti-regime protests in Iran expanded significantly on October 26, occurring in at least 33 cities in 23 provinces. These protests are the most reported in a single day since CTP began publishing daily protest updates on September 28. Thousands of Iranians took to the streets to commemorate the 40th day since the regime killed Mahsa Amini. Protesters shot and killed an IRGC intelligence officer in Maleyer, Hamedan Province, raising the death toll of security forces members to at least 33 since this protest wave began on September 16.

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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, October 25

Oct 25, 2022 – Press ISW

Members of the Russian siloviki faction continue to voice their dissatisfaction with Russian war efforts in Ukraine, indicating that Russian President Vladimir Putin will continue to struggle to appease the pro-war constituency in the long term. The Russian siloviki faction refers to people with meaningful power bases within Putin’s inner circle who are fielding combat forces in Ukraine. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov complained that the Russian response to claimed Ukrainian strikes on Russian territory have been “weak,” noting that Russia must “erase Ukrainian cities from the earth.” Kadyrov also claimed that Russia is now engaged in a war with Ukraine instead of a “special military operation,” given that Ukrainian forces are fighting on “Russian territory.” Kadyrov noted that he is unhappy with the lack of Russian retaliation despite the establishment of martial law. Kadyrov had remained relatively quiet throughout October.

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Iran Crisis Update, October 25

Oct 25, 2022 – Press ISW

Protest activity will likely increase—possibly significantly—on October 26 to commemorate the 40th day since the regime killed Mahsa Amini. Protest organizations such as the neighborhood youth groups have continued to call for countrywide demonstrations on October 26. Many protest organizations continue to use revolutionary rhetoric in describing the planned demonstrations. Iranians commonly hold a commemoration on the 40th day after a death. Anti-regime protests similarly erupted 40 days after security forces killed Neda Agha Soltan—a young Iranian protester—during the Green Movement in 2009. Security forces killed Agha Soltan on June 20, 2009, and the commemoration was on July 30, 2009.

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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, October 24

Oct 24, 2022 – Press ISW

The Kremlin intensified its information operation to accuse Ukraine of preparing to conduct a false-flag attack using a dirty bomb for a second day in a row on October 24. Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov separately called his counterparts from the United Kingdom and United States about the “situation connected with Ukraine’s possible use of a dirty bomb” (a conventional explosive laced with radioactive material that is not a nuclear weapon) on October 24. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made similar calls with his counterparts from the United Stated, United Kingdom, France, and Turkey on October 23. The Chief of Russia’s Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Protection Forces, Lt. Gen. Igor Kirillov, gave a lengthy briefing accusing Ukraine of planning a dirty bomb false-flag provocation to accuse Russia of detonating a low-yield nuclear weapon in Ukraine on October 24. Russian military bloggers are amplifying this information operation. ISW assesses the Kremlin is unlikely to be preparing an imminent false-flag dirty bomb attack.

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Iran Crisis Update, October 24

Oct 24, 2022 – Press ISW

Some Iranian social media users are invoking the November 2019 gasoline protests as the ongoing, anti-regime protests enter the Persian calendar month of Aban (October 23-November 21, 2022). Some Persian-language accounts have described the ongoing protests as the continuation of the gasoline protests, which are often referred to as the Aban protests since they occurred primarily from November 15-19, 2019. Estimates of civilians killed by the state security services in November 2019 range from 304 to 1,500.

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Ukraine Conflict Updates

Aug 15, 2022

This page collects ISW and CTP’s updates on the conflict in Ukraine. In late February 2022, ISW began publishing daily synthetic products covering key events related to renewed Russian aggression against Ukraine.

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