the wave of Russian strikes and that wreckage fell onto Belarusian territory.

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Latest fromISW

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, December 29

Dec 29, 2022 – Press ISW

Russian forces conducted another massive series of missile strikes against Ukrainian critical infrastructure on December 29. Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces launched 69 cruise missiles and 23 drones at Ukraine and that Ukrainian air defenses shot down 54 of the missiles and at least 11 of the drones. Ukrainian sources reported that Russian forces struck targets, primarily infrastructure facilities, in Lviv, Kyiv, Odesa, Kharkiv, and Donetsk oblasts causing widespread disruptions to energy, heating, and water supplies. Russian sources claimed that Russian forces also struck targets in Sumy, Chernihiv, Zhytomyr, Vinnytsia, Khmelnytsky, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk, Poltava, Dnipropetrovsk, and Zaporizhia oblasts. The Belarusian Ministry of Defense claimed that Belarusian air defenses shot down a Ukrainian S-300 air defense missile during the wave of Russian strikes and that wreckage fell onto Belarusian territory. It is currently unclear whether Ukrainian air defenses may have been responding to Russian missile launches from Belarusian territory, which Russian forces have used repeatedly in support of their campaign against Ukrainian critical infrastructure.

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Iran Crisis Update, December 29

Dec 29, 2022 – Press ISW

Funerals and commemoration ceremonies for killed protesters are continuing to sustain anti-regime activity throughout Iran as demonstrations enter their fifteenth consecutive week. Protest organizations successfully coordinated anti-regime demonstrations across five Iranian provinces on December 28. Six of the seven anti-regime protests that CTP observed on December 28 corresponded with prior protest calls from anti-regime organizations, suggesting that these groups may have assisted in generating turnout. CTP additionally observed estimated crowds of over 100 protesters in three of the seven recorded protests on December 28. Previous anti-regime demonstrations commemorating killed protesters have historically generated higher attendance as well. CTP previously reported that protesters have found secular martyrs around whom to rally and who sustain the momentum of the Mahsa Amini movement.[3] The regime may struggle to preempt further commemoration ceremonies and funerals for such secular martyrs in the coming weeks.

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Iran Crisis Update, December 28

Dec 28, 2022 – Press ISW

Iranian security officials and entities attempted to declare an end to protest activity on December 28 despite ongoing acts of anti-regime defiance documented throughout the country. The Artesh praised Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Iranian security forces for quelling protests in a December 28 statement commemorating regime-organized counter-protests to the 2009 Green Movement. The Armed Forces General Staff—the most senior military body in Iran—also issued a statement commemorating the 2009 pro-regime counter-protests and claimed that the regime had neutralized the threat of recent anti-regime demonstrations. IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami similarly gave a speech claiming that the regime had decisively defeated unrest and accusing the US and Israel of fomenting dissent. Salami acknowledged that protest activity may resume at a later date.

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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, December 28

Dec 28, 2022 – Press ISW

The Russian offensive against Bakhmut is likely culminating as ISW forecasted on December 27. US military doctrine defines culmination as the “point at which a force no longer has the capability to continue its form of operations, offense or defense,” and “when a force cannot continue the attack and must assume a defensive posture or execute an operational pause.” If Russian forces in Bakhmut have indeed culminated, they may nevertheless continue to attack aggressively. Culminated Russian forces may continue to conduct ineffective squad-sized assaults against Bakhmut, though these assaults would be very unlikely to make operationally significant gains.

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Iran Crisis Update, December 27

Dec 27, 2022 – Press ISW

Some elements of the Iranian regime are increasingly framing the protest movement as an insurgency. Mohsen Heydari—a representative of Khuzestan Province in the Assembly of Experts—stated that the judiciary should convict protesters of baghi (armed insurrection) rather than moharebeh (waging war against God) on December 27. The Assembly of Experts is the regime body constitutionally responsible for selecting the supreme leader. Baghi is a relatively new legal concept that Parliament introduced to the Iranian penal code in 2013.

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Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, December 27

Dec 27, 2022 – Press ISW

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that the Kremlin will continue to pursue a military solution to the war until the Ukrainian government capitulates to Russia’s demands. Lavrov stated in a December 27 interview with Russian state news wire TASS that Ukraine and the West are “well aware of Russia’s proposals on the demilitarization and denazification” of Ukrainian-controlled territory and that the Russian military will settle these issues if Ukraine refuses to accept these proposals. Russian demands for “demilitarization” aim to eliminate Ukraine’s ability to resist further Russian attacks, while the demands for “denazification” are tantamount to calls for regime change in Ukraine. Lavrov added that Ukraine and the United States must recognize Russia’s seizure of occupied Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia, and Kherson oblasts. Lavrov stated that US-controlled Ukraine and the United States are responsible for prolonging the war as they could “put an end to [Ukraine’s] senseless resistance.” Lavrov’s invocation of a military settlement for the war in Ukraine that achieves Russia’s original war aims follows Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deliberately vague statements that Russia is open for negotiations on December 25. ISW assessed that Putin’s comments were not an offer to negotiate with Ukraine and indicated that he has not set serious conditions for negotiations.

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Ukraine Conflict Updates

Aug 15, 2022

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