“ISW published its most recent Russian campaign assessment at 5:30 pm ET on March 21.
The ISW Russia team has relaunched its Ukraine Conflict Updates as a semi-weekly synthetic product covering key political and rhetorical events related to renewed Russian aggression against Ukraine. This update covers events from March 18—21.
Key Takeaways March 18-21
- The Kremlin is unlikely to withdraw its maximalist political demands of Ukraine in ongoing negotiations, despite the Russian military failing to achieve its objectives.
- The Kremlin staged a 195,000-person rally in Moscow attended by President Putin on March 18 to falsely portray high levels of public support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- Kremlin bans of Facebook, Instagram, and other major western platforms in Russia are likely intended to coerce these companies to meet Russian censorship standards to retain their market share in Russia.
- Russian officials continue to downplay the impact of new sanctions and proposed retaliatory measures against international companies that have left Russia.
- The Kremlin continued to set conditions for a possible false flag chemical or radiological attack in Ukraine by promoting false claims of threats from United States-funded biolaboratories in Ukraine.
- Eastern European NATO heads of state called for a more proactive NATO military posture and response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the leadup to an emergency NATO summit on March 24.
- China publicly stated it will not provide financial or military assistance to Russia and pledged further humanitarian assistance to Ukraine but blamed the United States for the war in Ukraine.“