ISW: A delay in US aid could lead to operationally significant gains for Russian forces

ISW: A delay in US aid could lead to operationally significant gains for Russian forces


Ukrainian soldier, photo: General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

According to ISW, persistent US delays in providing security assistance to Ukraine limit the ability of Ukrainian forces to conduct effective defensive operations while giving Russian forces the flexibility to conduct offensive operations.

Source: Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

Details: This dynamic can lead to operationally significant successes for Russian forces in the future.


Military analysts have noted that Russia and Ukraine are engaged in an ongoing air defense innovation and adaptation race, in which Russia continues to adjust the timing, scale, composition and targets of its strikes in an effort to penetrate Ukraine’s air defenses.

Significant delays in US military aid have already led to a shortage of Ukraine’s anti-aircraft missile systems and hinder Ukraine’s ability to adapt to the evolution of Russian strike systems.

The limited number of air defense systems and interceptors forces Ukraine to make difficult decisions about the distribution of air defense systems between rear and frontline areas, leaving frontline forces largely vulnerable to Russian air attacks.

ISW states that only the United States can quickly provide Ukraine with air defense systems in the volume necessary to significantly improve Ukraine’s air defense capabilities.

ISW Key Findings for April 16:

  • The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, emphasized that the constant shortage of air defense systems and artillery prevents Ukraine from effectively defending itself against Russian strikes and ground attacks.
  • Zelensky signed the new mobilization law on April 16, codifying a difficult but critical decision in Ukraine’s efforts to stabilize its force generation apparatus and properly prepare the Ukrainian armed forces for both defense and offense.
  • Russian forces in eastern Ukraine use small groups to launch attacks and reportedly suffer from morale problems, but despite these problems, Russian attacks are unlikely to culminate in the near future due to the lack of Ukrainian material bases.
  • A Russian Sturm-Z instructor argued that Russian forces should take advantage of Ukraine’s lack of weapons to increase the number of Russian guided missile strikes to support Russian ground operations.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to show support for Iranian aggression against Israel during a phone call with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on March 16.
  • President of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xi Jinping met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on April 16 and offered preconditions for ending the war in Ukraine, a sign that Xi continues to position himself as a neutral mediator in the war , despite growing reports of Chinese support for Russia’s military efforts.
  • The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) recently destroyed the Russian Nebo-U long-range radar station in the Bryansk region.
  • The Kremlin continues to centralize power over the forces of the Akhmat special forces of the head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, through the Ministry of Defense (MoD) of Russia.
  • Russian federal censor Roskomnadzor is considering banning TikTok in Russia.
  • Russian forces have made confirmed advances near Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Donetsk, as well as in western Zaporizhia Oblast, amid ongoing positional fighting along the entire April 16 contact line.
  • The Republic of Tatarstan is reportedly preparing a new youth employment program that will allow minors aged 14 and over to work at Russian Defense Industrial Base (SDF) enterprises, likely part of an ongoing effort to expand Russia’s Defense Industrial Base (SDF).
  • Russian occupation officials use the education system, particularly history courses, to Russify Ukrainian children living in the occupied territories.


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