Russia in Review, April 5-12, 2024

7 Things to Know

  1. Within the past week, two high-ranking U.S. officials have acknowledged that Russia has rebuilt its conventional forces conducting operations in Ukraine sooner than America expected. First, Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said on April 3 that “over the course of the last couple of months … Russia has almost completely reconstituted militarily,” with its newfound capabilities used to not only attack in Ukraine, but also to pose “a longer-term challenge” to stability in Europe and a threat to NATO. Then EUCOM chief Christopher Cavoli told the Senate Armed Services Committee on April 11 that “Russia is reconstituting that force far faster than our initial estimates suggested.” “The army is actually now larger—by 15%—than it was when it invaded Ukraine,” he said. The Russian military may be, indeed, larger than it was during the launch of the invasion in February 2022, but it will still take time to ensure the newly recruited soldiers’ skills are comparable to the original invading force, the bulk of which was contract soldiers, some of whom had been serving for years.*
  2. Ukraine anticipates Russian offensive operations to intensify in late spring and early summer, with these operations becoming especially active in Donbas, according to chief of the Ukrainian MoD’s intelligence branch Kyrylo Budanov. In the meantime, a particularly difficult situation has emerged east of Chasiv Yar and west of Avdiivka in Donbas, according to ISW. Ukrainian forces remained in control of Chasiv Yar as of April 12. As of that day, Russian forces were conducting attacks in the town’s surroundings, according to pro-war Russian Telegram channel “Rybar.
  3. On April 11, Ukraine's parliament approved legislation that officials say will simplify conscription, aiding an expected mobilization that could press hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian men into the fight, WP reported. The unpopular measure, which has not been published in full and which Zelenskyy is yet to sign into law,expands the powers of Ukrainian authorities to issue draft notices, among other things, according to RFE/RL. Within 60 days of the law taking effect, all individuals eligible for conscription would have to visit their Territorial Recruitment Centers, according to The bill also includes better pay and longer leaves, according to FT. However, the bill does not address two of the most contentious issues: how many soldiers ultimately will be drafted and whether those who have served since the start of Russia's invasion should be discharged, according to WP. Gen. Yuriy Sodol, who commands the troops in the Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk regions, stressed the need for more troops, telling lawmakers that Russian forces outnumber Kyiv's troops up to 10 times on the battlefield in the east. "We are maintaining our defenses with our last strength," he said, according to RFE/RL. The bill is to come into force one month after Volodymyr Zelenskyy signs it, according to Given the law’s provisions and the fact that Zelenskyy is yet to sign it, it would take weeks to call up those eligible for mobilization. It would then take 10 weeks or more to have these new recruits undergo basic training. That means the bulk of the newly recruited may be not fit for fighting if Russia launches the new massive offensive, which the Ukrainian military intelligence expects in late May-early June.
  4. Embattled House Speaker Mike Johnson (R., La.) has pledged to bring up Ukraine aid for a vote in the House soon after Congress returns from Easter recess, but what the bill will look like—and who will support it—remains unsettled due to fractures among Republicans and Democrats, according to WSJ. With that bill’s future uncertain and no plan B availableUkrainian troops have been rationing ammunition as Russian forces outfire them at a rate of about 5-to-1, but that “will immediately go to 10-to-1 in a matter of weeks,” according to EUCOM’s Christopher Cavoli. Without further U.S. assistance, Kyiv “could lose,” Politico quoted NATO’s supreme commander in Europe as warning.
  5. Even before Russia’s strike on the night of April 10-11 destroyed the Trypilska Thermal Power Plant, which provided electricity to millions of people in Kyiv, Cherkasy and Zhytomyr regions, up to 80% of Ukraine's conventional power plants and half its hydroelectric plants had been hit. That was the estimate of damage done by Russian attacks in recent weeks, according to Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko on April 8. These attacks, which now include strikes on underground gas storage facilitiessignal a change in Russia’s targeting priorities, with power stations hit in areas less protected than Kyiv, some of which cannot be fully restored in time for next winter, according to FT. In an interview with Bild, Zelenskyy acknowledged that Russia's attacks on energy infrastructure are successful, while Putin said these attacks are retaliation for Ukraine’s  assaults against his own country’s energy sector.
  6. Alternative Ukraine peace plans continued to circulate in the past several days. First WP reported that Donald Trump has privately said he could end Russia’s war in Ukraine by pressuring Ukraine to give up Crimea and Donbas. Then Switzerland announced it would host a high level conference on June 15-16 to consolidate global support for Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s peace formula, with Joe Biden expected to attend, and Vladimir Putin not invited. Putin and his diplomats took turns dismissing the Swiss-hosted event. If that was not enough, Alexander Lukashenko, during a meeting with whom Putin vented about the Swiss-hosted peace conference, recalled the Russian-Ukrainian peace talks Recep Erdoğan hosted in Istanbul in spring 2022, proposing to return to the accord on resolution of the conflict. Putin supposedly agreed with his Belarussian counterpart’s proposal, according to Kommersant. His spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the 2022 discussions could serve as the basis for resuming negotiations, for which Putin is ready, according to Xinhua. In addition to dismissing the pending Swiss event, Sergei Lavrov also praised China’s 12-point peace plan during his visit to Beijing this week. In response, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Lavrov that China "hopes to see a cease-fire and an end to the war as soon as possible." Finally, Novaya Gazeta Europe has learned of a proposed peace deal aimed at ending the war in Ukraine that has the backing of Erdogan, and whose main points are supposedly an agreement to freeze the conflict and to refrain from using nuclear weapons. 
  7. While hosting Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi proposed that the two countries pursue “dual counteraction to double containment" of Russia and China by the U.S. and its allies, Kommersant reported. Lavrov welcomed the new formula, relaying it to the press that accompanied him during the April 8-9 visit. The two diplomats have also declared that their two countries will maintain “industrial supply chain stability,” according to FT. In addition to meeting Wang, Lavrov was also received by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who told his guest that China and Russia have embarked on a new path of harmonious coexistence and win-win cooperation, according to Xinhua.


I. U.S. and Russian priorities for the bilateral agenda

Nuclear security and safety:

  • On April 7, drone strikes hit Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), significantly increasing the risk of a major nuclear accident, said Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of IAEA. This was the first time drones attacked the plant since November 2022, with one exploding near a reactor building, the United Nation’s atomic agency said. Russia immediately blamed Ukraine for the strikes and announced a criminal investigation but Ukraine denied responsibility. Grossi, in a statement on X, said that the three containment structures at the plant, for the first time, had sustained three direct hits. The watchdog agency did not attribute blame. (WP, 04.08.24, NYT, 04.09.24, WNN, 04.08.24, Bloomberg, 04.08.24, MT/AFP, 04.08.24)
  • IAEA staff at ZNPP report that they have been told unit 4 is being transferred to cold shutdown - which would make it the sixth and last unit to do so. (WNN, 04.12.24)

North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs:

  • Russia’s use of North Korean missiles in its assault in Ukraine is giving Pyongyang a rare chance to test its weapons in combat and perhaps take away lessons that could improve their performance, said Gen. Charles Flynn, the U.S. Army Pacific’s commanding general. (Bloomberg, 04.07.24)

Iran and its nuclear program:

  • No significant developments.

Humanitarian impact of the Ukraine conflict:

  • Ukraine and Russia have exchanged the bodies of more than 120 fallen troops in the latest exchange. (RFE/RL, 04.12.24)
  • The Russian defense ministry has not put out a number on its missing in action (MIA), but some experts say it could be as high as 25,000. (The Economist, 04.11.24)
  • Ukrainian Head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Defense Ministry Kyrylo Budanov supports Pope Francis' Easter initiative to exchange all Russian prisoners for all Ukrainian ones. (Bloomberg, 04.06.24)
  • Russia has hit up to 80% of Ukraine's conventional power plants and half its hydroelectric plants in recent weeks in the heaviest attacks since the war began, Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko said April 8. Moscow has launched almost daily strikes on Ukraine's power grid since late March, causing major blackouts in the northeastern city of Kharkiv. "Up to 80% of thermal generation was attacked. More than half of hydro generation and a large number of substations," Galushchenko told journalists in Kyiv. (MT/AFP, 04.08.24) Also see the military aspects of the conflict section below.
  • Galushchenko also held a meeting with a visiting U.S. Congressional delegation, during which he informed congressmen about the current state of Ukraine's energy system and the consequences of the latest Russian attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure. The delegation included Republican Sen. Johnny Ernst, Democratic Reps. Wiley Nickel, Tom Swozzi, Michael Quigley and Republican Reps. Ashley Ginson and Chuck Edwards.  (, 04.09.24)
  • The European Union is moving toward approval of Ukraine’s reform plan in May, which would unlock an additional €1.9 billion ($2 billion) as part of a total €15.9 billion that the bloc has planned in financial aid for Kyiv for this year. (Bloomberg, 04.11.24)
  • On April 10, Switzerland decided to allocate 5 billion Swiss francs (about 5 billion euros) for the restoration of Ukraine. (, 04.10.24)
  • For military strikes on civilian targets see the next section.

Military and security aspects of the Ukraine conflict and their impacts:

  • In the past month, Russian forces have gained 29 square miles of Ukrainian territory, while Ukrainian forces have re-gained 0 square miles, according to the April 9, 2024, issue of the Russia-Ukraine War Report Card. (Belfer Russia-Ukraine War Task Force, 04.09.24)
    • Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Col. Gen. Oleksandr Syrskyi warned late last week that a particularly difficult situation has emerged east of Chasiv Yar and west of Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast, both areas where ISW has observed a recent intensification of Russian mechanized assaults ranging from platoon-sized to battalion-sized attack. Ukrainian forces remained in control of Chasiv Yar as of April 12. As of that day Russian forces were conducting attacks in the town’s surroundings, according to pro-war Russian Telegram channel “Rybar.” (RM, 04.12.24, ISW, 04.06.24)
    • A dire shortage of ammunition and manpower along the 1,200-kilometer (930 mile) front and gaps in air defense show that Ukraine is at its most fragile moment in over two years of war, according to Western officials with knowledge of the situation. The risk is a collapse of Ukrainian defenses, an event that would give the Kremlin an opening to make a major advance for the first time since the initial stages of the conflict, at least one official said. (Bloomberg, 04.11.24)
    • Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate Head Lt. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov reported that Ukraine anticipates Russian offensive operations to intensify in late spring and early summer. Budanov stated Ukraine expects that Russian offensive operations will especially intensify in the Donbas. (ISW, 04.08.24)
    • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated during an interview aired on April 6 that Ukrainian forces currently do not have enough ammunition to initiate and sustain future counteroffensive operations and reiterated that Ukrainian forces are currently using drones to partially compensate for artillery ammunition shortages across the theater. (ISW, 04.06.24, ISW, 04.06.24)
    • The threat of a Russian offensive operation targeting Kharkiv or Sumy city appears to be forcing the Ukrainian military to redistribute its limited manpower and materiel to the construction of defensive fortifications in those areas and an active Russian operation to seize these cities would only further exacerbate this dynamic. (ISW, 04.10.24)
    • The next few months will amount to Ukraine’s toughest test, with a public growing exhausted of war, especially in the city of Kharkiv in the country’s east, which has been particularly targeted. (Bloomberg, 04.11.24)
    • U.S. Army Gen. Christopher G. Cavoli, commander of U.S. European Command and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said:
      • The overall message I would give you is [Russia’s military has] grown back to what they were before,” Cavoli told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Russia is reconstituting that force far faster than our initial estimates suggested,” according to Cavoli. “The army is actually now larger—by 15%—than it was when it invaded Ukraine.” He told senators that Kyiv “could lose” without further U.S. assistance. (U.S. Defense Department, 04.10.24)
      • Cavoli warned that Ukrainian troops have been rationing ammunition as Russian forces outfire them at a rate of about 5-to-1, he told the committee. “That will immediately go to 10-to-1 in a matter of weeks. We are not talking about months. We are not talking hypothetically. … We are talking about weeks,” Cavoli said. (RFE/RL, 04.10.24, ISW, 04.10.24, Politico, 04.11.24)
  • U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said at CNAS: “I think we have assessed over the course of the last couple of months that Russia has almost completely reconstituted militarily. After the initial setbacks on the battlefield delivered to them by a brave and hardy group in Ukraine, with the support of China in particular, dual use capabilities of variety of other efforts, industrial and commercial, Russia has retooled and now poses a threat to Ukraine as we are struggling to get the supplemental, but not just to Ukraine. Its newfound capabilities pose a longer-term challenge to stability in Europe and threatens NATO allies.” (CNAS, 04.03.24)
  • Overnight on April 5-6, a barrage of Russian attacks with S-300 missiles and Iranian-made Shahed drones killed at least seven people in Kharkiv. (RFE/RL, 04.06.24)
  • On April 6, Zelenskyy said Ukraine should prepare "significant personnel," including reserves, to disrupt Russia's latest offensive operations in the war. (RFE/RL, 04.06.24)
  • On April 7, Russian strikes on Ukraine's southern Zaporizhzhia region killed three people, its governor said. (MT/AFP, 04.08.24)
  • Ukraine’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) indirectly suggested that it may have been responsible for an explosion that disabled a Russian Baltic Fleet small missile carrier at the naval base in Baltiysk, Kaliningrad Oblast on April 7. (ISW, 04.08.24)
  • GUR is likely responsible for a drone strike against the Borisoglebsk Airbase in Voronezh Oblast overnight on April 8 to 9. (ISW, 04.09.24) 
  • On April 8, at least one woman was killed and three others wounded in the Ukrainian town of Bilopillya, in the Sumy region, after the Russian military dropped four guided bombs in the center of the town. (RFE/RL, 04.09.24)
  • On April 8, Russian strikes on Ukraine's southern region of Zaporizhzhia killed at least three people and wounded three others, a regional official said  (RFE/RL, 04.08.24)
  • On April 8, the Russian military used a submarine to launch missiles into Ukraine for the second time in six months. (, 04.10.24)
  • On April 9, two people were killed in a Ukrainian artillery strike on a Russian village in the Bryansk border region. (MT/AFP, 04.09.24)
  • On April 9, Ukrainian OSINT team DeepStateUA acknowledged the loss of Pervomaiske in the Donetsk region to Russian forces. This project on April 11 reported that the Russian forces advanced in Novomykhailivka and on April 12 it reported that these forces advanced north of Berdychi, also in the Donetsk region. (RM, 04.12.24)
  • On April 10, a Ukrainian Navy spokesman wrote on Facebook that a Russian Ka-27 helicopter was destroyed in Crimea. (RFE/RL, 04.10.24)
  • Around 2 p.m. on April 10, Russian troops resumed shelling Kharkiv, killing a teenager and wounding two others, regional officials said, a day after Zelenskyy visited the area. (RFE/RL, 04.10.24)
  • On April 10, a Ukrainian drone attack inside Russia killed three people, including two children, said the governor of the Kursk border region. (MT/AFP, 04.10.24)
  • On the night of April 10 to 11, Russian forces conducted another large-scale series of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine that caused notable and likely long-term damage to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. The Ukrainian Air Force reported that Russian forces launched 82 air targets at Ukraine on the night of April 10 to 11, including 20 Kh-101/555 cruise missiles from Saratov Oblast; six Kinzhal aeroballistic missiles from Tambov Oblast; 12 S-300 anti-aircraft missiles from Belgorod Oblast; four Kh-59 cruise missiles from occupied Zaporizhzhia Oblast; and 40 Shahed-136/131 drones from Primorsko-Akhtarsk, Krasnodar Krai and Crimea. Ukrainian forces reportedly shot down 57 air targets, including 16 Kh-101/555 missiles, two Kh-59 missiles and 39 Shahed drones. Ukrainian state electricity transmission operator Ukrenergo stated that this strike series was the third large-scale Russian strike on Ukrainian electricity generation in 2024. In the April 10-11 attacks, Russian forces completely destroyed the Trypilska Thermal Power Plant near Kyiv with the latest X-69 cruise missile. These missiles have a range of about 400 km. The plant provided electricity to millions of people in Kyiv, Cherkasy and Zhytomyr regions. (ISW, 04.11.24,, 04.11.24, Istories, 04.11.24, FT, 04.11.24)
    • Russia has changed tactics in targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, using precision missiles to destroy power stations in areas less protected than Kyiv, some of which cannot be fully restored in time for next winter. (FT, 04.08.24.)
    • Zelenskyy admits that Russia's attacks on energy infrastructure are successful. “This has a big impact on the war,” the president said frankly. “The attacks on the energy supply are causing great pain to the population and cities.” Zelenskyy said bitterly: “The air defense systems we have are not enough.” And that only irritates the Russian dictator even more: “Putin only understands power. He feels like an animal: If you can't defend yourself, he will destroy even more." Because: "His wish is to take over the entire Ukraine." (Bild, 04.10.24)
    • The exhaustion of U.S.-provided air defenses resulting from delays in the resumption of U.S. military aid to Ukraine combined with improvements in Russian strike tactics have led to the increasing effectiveness of Russian missile and drone strike strikes against Ukraine without a dramatic increase in the size or frequency of such strikes. (ISW, 04.12.24)
    • Vladimir Putin said his forces launched an attack that destroyed the largest power generating plant in the Kyiv region in retaliation for assaults against his own country’s energy sector.(Bloomberg, 04.11.24)
  • On April 11, Ukraine's parliament approved legislation that officials say will simplify conscription, aiding an expected mobilization that could press hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian men into the fight, WP reported. The unpopular measure, which has not been published in full, expands the powers of Ukrainian authorities to issue draft notices, among other things, according to RFE/RL. Within 60 days of the law taking effect, all individuals who are eligible for conscription would have to visit their Territorial Recruitment Centers, according to The bill also includes better pay and longer leaves, according to FT. However, the bill does not address two of the most contentious issues: how many soldiers ultimately will be drafted, and whether those who have served since the start of Russia's invasion should be discharged, according to WP. Gen. Yuriy Sodol, who commands the troops in the Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk regions, stressed the need for more troops, telling lawmakers that Russian forces outnumber Kyiv's troops up to 10 times on the battlefield in the east. "We are maintaining our defenses with our last strength," he said, according to RFE/RL. The bill is to come into force one month after Zelenskyy signs it, according to (RM, 04.12.24)
    • Seemingly frustrated with the slow pace of the parliamentary proceedings, Zelenskyy last week signed three separate laws on measures that were set to be included in the bill, including lowering the eligibility age from 27 to 25 in order to widen the pool of recruits. (FT, 04.11.24)
    • Zelenskyy’s earlier decision to draft men starting at age 25 risks further diminishing this small generation of Ukrainians. And many of the limited pool of 25- and 26-year-old men — about 467,000, according to a 2022 government estimate — are already serving in the military, living in occupied areas or outside Ukraine. Others have jobs or disabilities that exempt them from conscription. Healthy men under age 30, the backbone of most militaries, are part of the smallest generation in Ukraine’s modern history. There are more than twice as many men in their 40s as in their 20s in Ukraine. (NYT, 04.11.24)
    • In the Odesa region, people in military uniform “packed” a teenager into a bus. An investigation is being conducted into charges against employees of the local military recruitment office for detaining a minor in the Izmail district. (, 04.07.24)
  • On April 11, Russia attacked two Ukrainian underground gas storage facilities. Ukraine’s storage facilities are located in the western part of the country bordering the European Union, with sites as deep as two kilometers (1.24 miles) below ground. (Bloomberg, 04.11.24)
  • On April 12, Russia kept up the pressure on Ukraine's energy infrastructure with a fresh series of drone and missile strikes. The new strikes targeted an energy facility in the southern region of Dnipropetrovsk, which sustained serious damage after catching fire following a Russian drone attack early on April 12. (RFE/RL, 04.12.24)
  • On April 12, a Toyota Land Cruiser exploded in northern Moscow. The blast was reportedly caused by an unidentified device under the vehicle. According to multiple Russian Telegram channels, the vehicle belongs to Vasily Prozorov, a former Ukrainian National Security Service (SBU) official who has been living in Moscow for several years. (Meduza, 04.12.24)
  • The commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s operational command "South" Andrei Kovalchuk and the commander of the operational command "West" Sergei Litvinov were dismissed from their positions. (, 04.09.24)
  • More than two-thirds of the Russian tanks that Ukraine’s military has destroyed in recent months have been taken out using first-person-view (FPV) drones, a NATO official told Foreign Policy, an increasing sign of Kyiv’s reliance on the unpiloted aircraft as it awaits more artillery ammunition from the United States and other Western countries. (FP, 04.09.24)
  • Intensifying Ukrainian drone attacks are forcing Russian companies to find ways to protect their own plants and factories instead of relying on the military, providing an unexpected boost to radar and warfare-equipment producers. Tender data show that demand for private systems to repel unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, has quadrupled over the past year. (Bloomberg, 04.10.24)
  • The Russian air force is stepping up its use of Soviet-era bombs. By adding cheap pop-out wings and a satellite navigation system, these former “dumb bombs” can now be launched by Russian bombers deep behind the front line and out of reach of Ukraine’s air-defense systems. The bombs are carried by SU-34 and SU-35 fighter jets, which lob them when flying at high speed (1,500kph) and high altitude (10km) to give them a range of up to 65km. So, the only way of stopping them is to destroy the aircraft carrying them before they are dropped, either with long-range ground-based air-defense missiles or by fighter jets armed with long-range air-to-air missiles. (FT, 04.07.24, The Economist, 04.11.24)
  • Over 3,000 former Wagner Group mercenaries are expected to join the Akhmat battalion, a unit of Russia’s National Guard under the control of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. (Novaya Gazeta, 04.06.24)
  • Several Indians were duped by agents into fighting for Russian forces in the country's war with Ukraine over the past few months. A few have managed to make their way back home but others are still stuck in Russia. Most of them are from poor families and were lured with the promise of jobs, sometimes as "helpers" in the Russian army. At least two Indians have died so far in the war. (BBC, 04.12.24)

Military aid to Ukraine: 

  • Embattled House Speaker Mike Johnson (R., La.) has pledged to bring up Ukraine aid for a vote in the House soon after Congress returns from Easter recess in coming days. But what the bill will look like -- and who will support it -- remains unsettled due to fractures among Republicans and Democrats over both aid for Kyiv and related assistance for Israel. (WSJ, 04.08.24)
    • In a tacit acknowledgment of the tricky political terrain, Johnson has said he was weighing splitting up Ukraine aid and Israel aid so that lawmakers can vote on each element separately. Doing so could maximize Democratic votes for Ukraine, which accounts for about $60 billion of the package, while allowing some Republicans to vote for Israel aid, even if they don't support more money for Ukraine. (WSJ, 04.07.24.)
    • Johnson is making a campaign pilgrimage to visit Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago, a rite of passage as the embattled Republican leader positions himself, and his GOP majority, side-by-side with the indicted ex-president. Johnson of Louisiana understands he needs Trump’s backing to conduct almost any business in the House — including his next big priority, providing U.S. aid to Ukraine to fight Russia’s invasion. (AP, 04.12.24)
    • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R., Ga.) ramped up her criticism of Johnson, defending her decision to file a motion to oust him before the Easter recess and excoriating his leadership ahead of contentious votes on extending the life of a controversial surveillance power and sending more U.S. aid to Ukraine. The next two weeks are the most critical of Johnson's nearly six-month tenure atop a very wobbly House with a majority that continues to narrow. (WSJ, 04.09.24, WSJ, 04.08.24)
  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron urged Congress on April 9 to approve new military aid for Ukraine, saying the stalled funding was critical for U.S., European and world security. Speaking after a meeting at the State Department, Blinken repeated long-standing appeals for lawmakers to unblock the assistance that President Joe Biden has sought for months, while Cameron said he would make the same case in meetings on Capitol Hill. Cameron is the latest foreign government official to urge U.S. lawmakers to act swiftly to approve the assistance amid increasing concern over the Washington's role. (AP, 04.10.24)
    • Cameron has held talks in Florida with Trump, as London pushes to win support from the former president’s Republican allies in Congress for more Ukraine aid. He said before the trip that he would urge Johnson to pass Ukraine funding, although there were no plans for the two to meet, according to people familiar with the matter. (FT, 04.08.24)
    • Cameron warned of the “costs of failing to support Ukraine” ahead of his visit to Washington. (Bloomberg, 04.07.24)
    • Cameron has warned U.S. politicians against the “appeasement” of Russia as he increased efforts to secure aid to Ukraine, but was left struggling to make inroads having been snubbed by Johnson. (FT, 04.11.24)
  • There is no “Plan B” for the U.S. to help Ukraine aside from the $60 billion in military aid that remains tied up in Congress, according to U.S. officials who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations. And European leaders need to get over delays and use profits from blocked sovereign Russian assets to help Zelenskyy’s government, one of the people said. (Bloomberg, 04.11.24)
  • The State Department approved the emergency sale of $138 million in air-defense equipment for Ukraine, part of a U.S. push to keep up support for the country while a far larger assistance package remains stuck in Congress. (Bloomberg, 04.10.24)
  • The United States has transferred 5,000 rifles and over 500,000 rounds of ammunition to Ukraine, which were seized during transportation to Yemen, according to CENTCOM. (, 04.09.24)
  • The Pentagon revealed that its contract to deploy Elon Musk’s Starlink terminals in Ukraine is worth $23 million. (Bloomberg, 04.09.24)
  • On April 6, Kyiv’s top military officials spoke with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to once again urge military support and amid reports Kremlin ground troops are making critical advances in Ukraine’s east. (Bloomberg, 04.06.24)
  • On April 7, Zelenskyy called on Western allies to supply his country with air-defense systems "Ukraine clearly lacks sufficient air-defense systems and this is evident to all of our partners," Zelenskyy said. "There are air-defense systems around the world that can help. Only political will is required to transfer them to Ukraine." (RFE/RL, 04.07.24)
  • The Silicon Valley company Skydio sent hundreds of its best drones to Ukraine to help fight the Russians. Things didn't go well. Skydio's drones flew off course and were lost, victims of Russia's electronic warfare. The company has since gone back to the drawing board to build a new fleet. Absent solutions from the West, Ukraine has turned to cheaper Chinese products to fill its drone arsenal. “The general reputation for every class of U.S. drone in Ukraine is that they don’t work as well as other systems,” Skydio Chief Executive Adam Bry said, calling his own drone “not a very successful platform on the front lines.” Ukraine has found ways to get tens of thousands of drones as well as drone parts from China. The military is using off-the-shelf Chinese drones, primarily from SZ DJI Technology. China’s DJI has proven to be the go-to drone brand for Ukraine’s military. DJI said in a statement that it tries to restrict the use of its drones in the war but can’t control how the drones are used after they are purchased. (WSJ, 04.10.24)
  • The Netherlands has committed an additional €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion) in support for Ukraine this year as the war-ravaged country pleads for more aid to beat back Russia’s invasion. (Bloomberg, 04.12.24)
  • Ukraine and the United Kingdom signed a framework agreement on cooperation in the field of defense materials. Defense Minister Rustem Umerov announced this on Facebook on April 10. (, 04.10.24)

Punitive measures related to Russia’s war against Ukraine and their impact globally:

  • The United States has proposed raising tens of billions of euros in debt for Ukraine secured against the future profits generated by Russian state assets that have been frozen by western countries. “We’re at a point in which we should explore every possible avenue to maximize the value of the immobilized reserves for Ukraine,” Daleep Singh, U.S. deputy national security adviser for international economics, said in Kyiv on April 10. “We can’t wait forever, we know that.” (FT, 04.12.24)
    • The European Union should tap Russia’s frozen assets to help Ukraine as using just the windfall profits is not enough, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on April 11. (Bloomberg, 04.11.24) 
  • Senior officials from the Treasury, Commerce and State Departments have been reaching out to U.S.-headquartered microelectronics manufacturers to crack down on the flow of chips to Russia, the U.S. official said. The U.S. Treasury declined to comment. The U.S. and European Union are increasingly focused on Russia’s use of foreign components to produce weapons for its war machine, against a backdrop of deepening concerns over the possible collapse of Ukrainian defenses. (Bloomberg, 04.12.24)
  • “Recognizing the important role of nuclear energy to both accelerate the energy transition and enhance energy security, the United States and Japan  resolve to promote public-private investment in enriched uranium production capacity free from Russian material,” according to a White House statement by Biden welcoming Japanese Prime Minister Kishida. (White House, 04.10.24)
  • A salesman at Moscow-based online retailer has supplemented his usual business of peddling vacuum cleaners and dashboard phone mounts by selling dozens of Starlink internet terminals that wound up with Russians on the front lines in Ukraine. Although Russia has banned the use of Starlink, the satellite-internet service developed by Elon Musk's SpaceX, middlemen have proliferated in recent months to buy the user terminals and ship them to Russian forces. That has eroded a battlefield advantage once enjoyed by Ukrainian forces, which also rely on the cutting-edge devices. (WSJ, 04.09.24)
  • Nearly one month after Putin was re-elected to a fifth term, the European Parliament remains unable to agree on a resolution to reject the election’s legitimacy. Putin, who has led Russia with an increasingly tight grip for over two decades and is at war with Ukraine, claimed 87% of the vote in a tightly controlled election that saw widespread reports of voter fraud and falsification. European MPs are now divided over whether to recognize the presidential election as illegitimate — or to deem Putin’s new term illegitimate altogether. (MT/AFP, 04.09.24)
  • Activists in Switzerland have triggered a referendum on proposals that would end the country’s harsh economic sanctions on Russia and rule out any punitive restrictions on trade with China. A delegation for the “Neutrality Initiative” handed in a petition of 130,000 signatures to government officials in Bern on April 11, making a national vote on a constitutional amendment proposed by the campaign group almost certain to go ahead in the next few months. (FT, 04.11.24)
  • A top EU court has annulled the inclusion of billionaires Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven on the bloc’s sanctions list, finding there was insufficient evidence the two oligarchs backed the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine. The ruling is a big blow to the EU’s sanctions regime against Moscow, which has targeted more than 1,700 people and more than 400 entities, accusing them of supporting or enabling the invasion of Ukraine. (FT, 04.10.24)
  • The mayor of Murmansk Igor Morar, the daughter of one of the richest deputies in the region, Viktor Saigin, and the head of the exhibition center “Nuclear Icebreaker Lenin” Alexander Timofeev own three cottages in the Norwegian Arctic near NATO facilities, journalists from the Norwegian TV channel TV2 and the Russian publication Dossier found out. (Istories, 04.07.24)

For sanctions on the energy sector, please see section “Energy exports from CIS” below.

Ukraine-related negotiations: 

  • Former U.S. President Donald Trump has privately said he could end Russia’s war in Ukraine by pressuring Ukraine to give up some territory, according to people familiar with the plan. Some foreign policy experts said Trump’s idea would reward Putin and condone the violation of internationally recognized borders by force. Trump’s proposal consists of pushing Ukraine to cede Crimea and the Donbas border region to Russia, according to people who discussed it with Trump or his advisers and spoke on the condition of anonymity. (WP, 04.05.24)
  • Switzerland will host a high-level conference on June 15-16 to consolidate global support for a peace formula advocated by Ukraine that would end the war with Russia. The aim of the gathering is to “create a common understanding” on how to achieve “a comprehensive, just and lasting peace for Ukraine in accordance with international law and the United Nations charter,” the Swiss government said in a statement on April 10. “Switzerland held talks with G7 member states, the European Union and representatives of the Global South such as China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia,” the government said. “There is currently sufficient international support for a high-level conference to launch the peace process.” (Bloomberg, 04.10.24)
    • Biden is scheduled to take part in the conference. (NZZ, 04.09.24)
    • A key point of contention is whether China will participate, they added, which would be crucial for Switzerland to make the initiative credible. Ukraine’s allies see China’s presence as important for the success of the meeting given the influence they say Beijing has on Moscow more than two years into the war. (Bloomberg, 04.08.24)
    • Putin said during his meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on April 11: “We have never rejected a peaceful settlement of disputes..... Now, as you know, the idea of holding some kind of conference in Switzerland is being promoted. We are not invited there. Moreover, they think that we have nothing to do there, and at the same time they say that nothing can be solved without us. Since we are not going there (it has now turned into a kind of nonsense), they say that we refuse to negotiate.  ... Once again, I would like to emphasize that we are in favor of talks. But not in the format of being imposed any schemes that have nothing to do with reality. Why do I say that? Because if the need arises, I will allow myself to turn to you, and maybe we will continue consultations with you in this area.” (, 04.11.24)
      • Lukashenko, at a meeting with Putin in Moscow on April 11, said that at the Russian-Ukrainian negotiations in Istanbul, the parties came to “serious progress.” He proposed returning to the agreement to resolve the conflict, and Putin agreed with him. (Kommersant, 04.11.24)
      • Putin’s spokesman said the 2022 discussions could serve as the basis for resuming the negotiation, for which Putin is ready, according to Kommersant and Xinhua. (RM, 04.11.24)
    • Russia's Foreign Ministry criticized plans to hold a Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland, calling it a futile initiative of the U.S. Democratic Party ahead of this year's presidential election in the United States. (MT/AFP, 04.10.24)
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said April 9 at a press conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing that Russia and China confirmed there is no prospect of holding meetings to settle the conflict with Ukraine when Russia’s positions are ignored, a reference to a planned June peace conference in Switzerland backed by Kyiv. At a regular press conference in Beijing on April 9, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning sidestepped a question on Lavrov’s comments about a potential meeting. Wang said China "hopes to see a cease-fire and an end to the war as soon as possible," while Lavrov said Moscow was "grateful to our Chinese friends for their objective, balanced position, and for their willingness to play a positive role in the matter of a political and diplomatic settlement." (Bloomberg, 04.09.24, WSJ, 04.09.24)
  • In his address to media during his trip to China this week, Lavrov said: “We are grateful to our Chinese friends for their unbiased, balanced position and their readiness to play a positive role in the political and diplomatic settlement. The well-known "12 points" that China put forward in 2023 clearly articulate the need, first, to take into account the root causes of this conflict, and second, in efforts to resolve it, to seek to eliminate these causes, first and foremost, in the context of ensuring equal and indivisible security, including in Europe and in the entire world.” (BBC Monitoring, 04.10.24)
  • Novaya Gazeta Europe has learned of a proposed peace deal aimed at ending the war in Ukraine that has the backing of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and whose main points are an agreement to freeze the conflict and to refrain from using nuclear weapons. According to a source familiar with the proposal, Russia and Ukraine are both currently considering the draft text, which is based on initial negotiations carried out shortly after the war began in 2022. The peace plan would likely gain the support of a number of European politicians and will also be proposed to countries in the Global South, the source said. (Novaya Gazeta Europe, 04.11.24)

Great Power rivalry/new Cold War/NATO-Russia relations:

  • Western officials focused on security say that military budgets may need to emulate Cold War spending of as high as 4% in order to deliver on the alliance’s plans. If the U.S. and its Group of Seven allies were to reach such levels, that would equate to more than $10 trillion of additional commitments over the next decade, according to calculations by Bloomberg Economics. (Bloomberg, 04.09.24)
  • Europe must prepare for potential war, as a full-scale conflict on the continent beyond Ukraine is “no longer a fantasy”, the EU’s chief diplomat has warned. “Russia threatens Europe,” both through its ongoing war in Ukraine and hybrid attacks on EU member states, Josep Borrell said on April 9 in a speech in Brussels. “War is certainly looming around us,” said Borrell. “A high-intensity, conventional war in Europe is no longer a fantasy.” “The U.S. umbrella, which we have relied on since the cold war, may not be open all the time,” Borrell said. “Maybe, depending on who is ruling Washington, we cannot rely on America to protect us.” (FT, 04.09.24)
  • The alliance plans to train NATO’s new 300,000-troop Allied Response Force this summer, but to keep pace with Russia’s buildup of people, the alliance is going to need reserves—a lot of them. (FP, 04.11.24)
  • German defense minister Boris Pistorius hailed a “historic moment” as a vanguard of German troops boarded a military plane for deployment to Lithuania. “This is an important day for the Bundeswehr,” Pistorius said in Berlin, noting that the planned base will be a first in modern German history. Panzerbrigade 45, as it will be known, will eventually consist of one Leopard 2 tank battalion, one Puma motorized infantry battalion, one multinational combat battalion and supporting troops. (FT, 04.09.24)
    • Pistorius wants to buy 35 additional Leopard 2 A8 battle tanks to bolster a planned brigade in Lithuania under NATO’s joint efforts to secure Europe’s eastern flank against Russia, two people familiar with the matter said. (Bloomberg, 04.09.24)
    • Pistorius compared Putin’s war on Ukraine to Adolf Hitler’s annexation of Czechoslovak territory in 1938 and said Europe should prepare for a large-scale Russian attack. (Bloomberg, 04.11.24)
  • Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida told U.S. lawmakers that Ukraine risks collapsing under Russia's onslaught without U.S. support, a disaster that could embolden China and spark a new crisis in East Asia. In the first speech to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress by a Japanese leader in nine years, Kishida urged Americans on April 11 not to doubt their country's "indispensable" role in world affairs, and said Tokyo was undertaking historic military upgrades to support its ally. On support for Ukraine, he asked, “Without U.S. support, how long before the hopes of Ukraine would collapse under the onslaught from Moscow?” In an address to Congress on April 11, the Japanese leader said he sensed “self-doubt” in the U.S. over its involvement abroad. He pledged that his country will take a more proactive role as a U.S. ally to counter growing threats posed by the likes of China, Russia and North Korea. (Bloomberg, 04.11.24, RFE/RL, 04.12.24)

China-Russia: Allied or aligned?

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited China on April 8-9 to meet Chinese president Xi Jinping and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
    • In his address to media during his trip to China this week, Lavrov said: “I won't give away a secret if I say that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi came up with the formula of "dual counteraction to double containment" [of Russia and China by the U.S. and its allies]. Our respective leaders, President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping, have repeatedly underscored Russia and China's resolve to counter the attempts to slow down the formation of a multipolar world and the long overdue processes of democratization and justice that are knocking at the door of the modern world order. The United States and its allies are trying to stop them in an effort to perpetuate their unjust position within the international system.” “We have a common goal of increasing security in Eurasia,” Lavrov said April 9 at a press conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing. (BBC Monitoring, 04.10.24, Kommersant, 04.09.24, Bloomberg, 04.09.24)
    • In his address to media during his trip to China this week, Lavrov said he and PRC Foreign Minister Wang Yi discussed the upcoming meetings between our leaders on the sidelines of various international events, including the BRICS Summit in Kazan in October, and the SCO Summit in Astana in June. In June, the People's Republic of China will replace Kazakhstan as the SCO chair, he said. (BBC Monitoring, 04.10.24)
    • Russia and China agreed to start a dialogue on Eurasian security with the aim of “double counteracting” of the “double containment.” Lavrov said April 9 at a press conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing. “We agreed with our Chinese friends to start a dialogue and get other like-minded countries to join us.” (Bloomberg, Kommersant, 04.09.24)
    • China and Russia have pledged to maintain “industrial supply chain stability” during the Lavrov-Wang meeting. (FT, 04.09.24)
    • Lavrov met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing April 9. Noting that this year marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, Xi said China and Russia have embarked on a new path of harmonious coexistence and win-win cooperation. (Xinhua, 04.09.24)
  • U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wrapped up four days of talks in China with a warning to the country’s banks and exporters: “If you help bolster Russia’s military capacity, Washington will come after you.” (Bloomberg, 04.08.24)
  • The U.S. is warning allies that China has stepped up its support for Russia, including by providing geospatial intelligence, to help Moscow in its war against. China has provided Russia with satellite imagery for military purposes, as well as microelectronics and machine tools for tanks, according to people familiar with the matter. China’s support also includes optics, propellants to be used in missiles and increased space cooperation, one of the people said. (Bloomberg, 04.06.24)
  • U.S. Presidential Adviser Jake Sullivan said the White House had not seen evidence of direct military assistance to Russia from China, but agreed that China contributes to the functioning of the Russian military-industrial complex. (, 04.10.24)
  • China said it hasn’t sought to benefit from the fighting in Ukraine, comments that came as Russia’s top diplomat arrived in Beijing to discuss issues including the war, Mao said. “We have never and will never seek gains from the crisis,” Mao said at a regular press briefing in Beijing on April 8. “China regulates the export of dual-use articles in accordance with laws and regulations.” She added that countries “should not smear or attack the normal relations between China and Russia” or hurt the interests of Chinese firms. (Bloomberg, 04.08.24)
  • The ruble has overtaken the yuan to become the main currency used for settling international trade deals, the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) reported on April 8. The share of the ruble used to settle international trade deals has risen to over 40%, up from a third last year, while the share of the yuan has slipped slightly to around 30%. (BNE, 04.09.24)
  • The leader of the People's Republic of China is expected to arrive in France on May 5 for two days. After France, Xi Jinping will visit Belgrade. (, 04.10.24)

Missile defense:

  • No significant developments.

Nuclear arms

  • No significant developments.


  • The four suspected gunmen in last month’s deadly Moscow concert hall attack said they were promised safe passage to and a financial award in Ukraine in new interrogation clips aired on state television. Russian officials have pointed the blame at Ukraine and its Western partners for the March 22 attack on Crocus City Hall, which left at least 145 people dead and hundreds more injured, despite the Islamic State claiming responsibility for the massacre. Kyiv and the West deny any involvement and accuse Moscow of exploiting the tragedy for propaganda reasons. “Toward Kyiv,” the four main suspects said in separate videos in response to the question. “What did your group plan to do after the terrorist attack?” (MT/AFP, 04.08.24)
    • A Moscow court ordered the arrest of a Tajik man in connection with last month's terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall, bringing the total number of people detained in the investigation to 11. The Basmanny district court ordered Sharifzoda Zoir to remain in pretrial detention until May 22, accusing him of an unspecified terrorist act. The court released no further information in its April 5 press statement. Photographs and video released by the court showed Zoir seated in a courtroom glass cage as the detention ordered was issued. (RFE/RL, 04.06.24)
    • Foreign Minister of Tajikistan Sirojiddin Mukhriddin said that Russian law enforcement agencies, when investigating the terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall, must comply with the norms and principles of international law, especially regarding the presumption of innocence and the prohibition of torture. (Meduza, 04.12.24)
  • Russian law enforcement agents in the North Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria killed two armed militants during a counterterrorism operation, the National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAC) said April 11. (MT/AFP, 04.12.24)
  • The FBI is concerned about the possibility of an organized attack in the United States similar to the one that killed scores of people at a Russian concert hall last month, the bureau's director told a House of Representatives panel on April 11. (Reuters, 04.11.24)
  • Italian police said on April 8 that a Tajik man was arrested in Rome as he arrived from the Netherlands on suspicion of being a member of the Islamic State extremist group. Italian media identified the man as 32-year-old Ilhom Sairahmonzoda, adding that he was arrested at Tajikistan's request. (RFE/RL, 04.09.24)

Conflict in Syria:

  • No significant developments.

Cyber security/AI: 

  • French officials are visiting Washington for cybersecurity consultations as President Emmanuel Macron predicts Moscow will try to target the Games. The Summer Olympics and tensions over the war in Ukraine are likely to make Paris a tempting target for a variety of hacking attempts, including from adversarial countries, France's top cybersecurity official said on April 8. Vincent Strubel, the head of France's cybersecurity agency, known as ANSSI, said in an interview that the Olympics faced threats from adversarial countries, criminals wielding ransomware and Russian-aligned ''hacktivists'' who use their computer skills to further their political messages. (NYT, 04.09.24)
  • The Biden administration is preparing to take the unusual step of issuing an order that would prevent U.S. companies and citizens from using software made by a major Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab because of national security concerns, five U.S. officials familiar with the matter told CNN. (, 04.10.24)
  • Russia, Ukraine, and China have been named as the world’s cybercrime hotspots in a new study ranking the most significant sources of cybercrime threats. The World Cybercrime Index, published in the journal PLOS One, said Russia housed the greatest cybercrime threat, followed by Ukraine, China, the United States, and Nigeria. The ranking -- compiled by academics with the University of Oxford and the University of New South Wales Canberra -- was based on surveys of almost 100 cybercrime experts who were asked to identify the most significant sources of five major types of cybercrime. (DPA, 04.12.24)

Energy exports from CIS:

  • The U.S. is “very focused on ensuring” Russia is not able to develop new liquefied natural gas projects, one of the country’s senior diplomats said. The remarks by Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for energy resources, to the FT’s Commodities Summit related to Russia’s Arctic LNG 2 project, which is led by private company Novatek. (FT, 04.09.24)
  • Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned that Ukraine’s recent attacks on Russian oil refineries risk impacting global energy markets and urged the country to focus on military targets instead. (Bloomberg, 04.09.24)
  • Russia has asked Kazakhstan to stand ready to supply it with 100,000 tons of gasoline in case of shortages exacerbated by Ukrainian drone attacks and outages, three industry sources told Reuters. (Reuters, 04.08.24)
  • Russian oil is trading far in excess of a Group of Seven price cap that’s supposed to deprive Moscow of revenue for its war in Ukraine, suggesting significant non-compliance with the measure. The country’s flagship Urals grade is fetching about $75 a barrel at the point it leaves ports in the Baltic Sea and Black Sea, according to data from Argus Media, whose price assessments are followed by some G-7 nations involved in the cap. (Bloomberg, 04.10.24)
  • Russian budget revenues in the first quarter of 2024 reached 8.7 trillion rubles ($94 billion) thanks to elevated oil prices, marking year-on-year growth of more than half, finance ministry data showed on April 8.  Energy revenues, which make up a third of Russia’s total budget earnings, surged almost 80% to 2.9 trillion rubles, fueled by high oil prices and one-off payments from energy exporters due to taxation changes.  (FT, 04.09.24)
  • Oil and gas revenues of the Russian budget in the 1st quarter of 2024 amounted to 2.93 trillion rubles and returned to the level of the beginning of 2022. This follows from the budget execution data published by the Ministry of Finance. (Istories, 04.08.24)
  • German state-owned natural gas trader SEFE is considering storing gas in Ukraine again as the former unit of Russia’s Gazprom PJSC seeks to bolster Europe’s energy security. (Bloomberg, 04.10.24)
  • European Union ministers will discuss next week what role the North Atlantic Treaty Organization can play in protecting the continent’s energy infrastructure from possible attack following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (Bloomberg, 04.10.24)
  • The International Energy Agency cut its forecast for oil-demand growth this year and said the pace of expansion is set to further decelerate in 2025 as the post-pandemic rebound runs its course and the electric-vehicle rollout weighs on consumption. Oil-demand growth is now seen at 1.2 million barrels a day from previously 1.3 million barrels a day, the Paris-based organization said in its latest monthly report. Total demand is still expected to average 103.2 million barrels a day. (WSJ, 04.12.24)

Climate change:

  • Record sea temperatures over an unprecedented stretch and on land for the 10th month in a row have unnerved climate scientists, driving the global average temperature rise beyond 1.5C since pre-industrial times. Sea surface temperatures in March at 21.07C were the warmest on record for the 12th month in a row. Temperatures in March were above average over eastern North America, Greenland, eastern Russia, southern Australia and parts of Africa and South America. (FT, 04.09.24)
  • The Kremlin has warned that water levels have yet to peak in several regions of the country as tens of thousands in southern Russia -- and in neighboring Kazakhstan -- scrambled to avoid some of the worst flooding in decades as unseasonably warm temperatures melt snow faster than usual. More than 10,000 homes have already been flooded by water cascading from the Ural Mountains and Siberia, with thousands more at risk, according to local officials. In northern Kazakhstan, the situation is said to be worse, with more than 86,000 people evacuated. (RFE/RL, 04.09.24)

U.S.-Russian economic ties:

  • No significant developments.

U.S.-Russian relations in general:

  • Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio), who chairs the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said Sunday that it was "absolutely true" that some Republican members of Congress were repeating Russian propaganda about the invasion of Ukraine instigated by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Turner did not specify which members he was referring to, but he said he agreed with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), who said in an interview with Puck News last week that Russian propaganda had "infected a good chunk of my party's base" and suggested that conservative media was to blame. (WP, 04.08.24)
  • Russia's top investigative body said it had opened a probe into a Ukrainian company that formerly had ties to the son of U.S. President Joe Biden, in what likely is an effort to spread disinformation in the midst of the heated U.S. presidential election campaign. The Investigative Committee said on April 9 that it was launching its investigation into Burisma Holdings and its alleged involvement in the financing of terrorist activities in Russia by "senior officials of the United States and NATO countries." The committee said several Russian lawmakers had requested the probe. Burisma Holdings is a Ukrainian oil and gas company whose board of directors included Hunter Biden between 2014 and 2019. (RFE/RL, 04.10.24)
  • A Russian Soyuz capsule touched down on Kazakhstan's steppes, returning an American, a Russian, and a Belarusian from the International Space Station to Earth. The Soyuz MS-25 hit ground late morning on April 6, carrying Russian Oleg Novitsky and Belarusian Marina Vasilevskaya. Also on board was U.S. astronaut Loral O'Hara, who had been aboard the orbital station since September. The space station is now one of the last remaining areas of collaboration between Russia and the United States amid tensions over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. NASA and its partners hope to continue operating the orbiting outpost until 2030. (RFE/RL, 04.06.24)


II. Russia’s domestic policies 

Domestic politics, economy and energy:

  • Russia’s budget deficit has almost reached its planned annual limit (1.6 trillion rubles) in the first two months of this year, according to Finance Ministry figures. At the end of February, the deficit stood at 1.5 trillion rubles. At the same time, spending in January and February hit 6.5 trillion rubles – up 17.2% on the same period a year ago. Last year’s deficit came to 3 trillion rubles ($32 billion), and economists expect Russia to surpass that this year. However, Russia’s budget deficit isn’t big by global standards. In 2023, the deficit amounted to 1.9% of GDP; in 2022, it was 2.1%. That’s lower than the European maximum, established in 1992 with the creation of the European Union. Russia also has low levels of debt. (The Bell, 04.05.24)
  • Russia reported a sharp increase in revenue in the first quarter due in part to one-time tax payments and rising oil prices as the country continues to weather sanctions over its war in Ukraine. Revenues for the three months through March amounted to 8.7 trillion rubles ($94 billion), an increase of 53.5% compared with the same period last year, data from the ministry showed. “The economy continues to grow at an impressive rate,” Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina told lawmakers on April 8 in a speech to the country’s lower chamber of parliament. (Bloomberg, 04.08.24) Also, see the energy section above.
  • After Vladimir Putin is inaugurated for his fifth term as president, Russian law dictates that he disband the current government and establish a new one. However, the extent of this reshuffle remains uncertain, and it’s still unclear whether Putin will choose to leave things largely as they are or use the opportunity to reorganize the government and his administration completely. Two sources close to the president’s administration didn’t rule out that First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov, who is responsible for economics and finances, might be replaced. Maxim Oreshkin is currently considered the “frontrunner” to succeed Belousov. Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, who heads the administration’s social bloc, is reportedly also at risk. (Meduza, 04.12.24)
    • Russia is reportedly considering creating a new ministry for youth policy and patriotic education, likely as part of an ongoing attempt to instill pro-Kremlin and Kremlin-approved ideology in Russia’s next generation. (ISW, 04.09)The revival of Russia’s IPO market is set to accelerate as authorities plan to give pension funds the green light to invest in smaller deals. Initial public offerings may double this year to over 80 billion rubles ($862 million), according to estimates from Russian investment firm Aigenis, and could further increase if the pension rules are loosened. (Bloomberg, 04.11.24)
  • The Kremlin’s wartime campaign of forced nationalization has hit the Ural Mountains region of Chelyabinsk, a major industrial center, harder than most.  In recent weeks, metals plants, agribusinesses and food firms owned by Chelyabinsk’s top businessmen and politicians have been subject to nationalization suits brought in hasty proceedings in Russian courts. (MT/AFP, 04.12.24)
  • During the reign of Vladimir Putin, the share of single-parent families in Russia has almost doubled - from 21% in 2002 to 38.5% in 2021, RBC writes, citing data from the Russian Ministry of Labor. (Istories, 04.11.24)
  • Alexander Demidenko, a Russian man who reportedly helped hundreds of Ukrainians return from Russia back to Ukraine as a volunteer after the start of the full-scale war until his arrest in October 2023, has died in pre-trial detention, the Telegram channel Vot Tak reported on April 8. (Meduza, 04.08.24)
  • The late Russian dissident Alexei Navalny and his wife will receive the Freedom Prize of the Media from a leading German forum this year, with Yulia Navalnaya set to accept the award in person. The prize is presented each year at the Ludwig Erhard Summit, named after the conservative former chancellor who came to power in the 1960s. It's awarded to public figures who have made a special commitment to freedom of expression, dialogue, and democracy. Russian politician Garry Kasparov received the award in 2023, with other past recipients including Zelenskyy and former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. (dpa, 04.07.24)
  • A court in Russia’s republic of Bashkortostan on April 9 sentenced a former regional coordinator of the late opposition activist Alexei Navalny to nine-and-a-half years in prison on “extremism” charges following a retrial. Lilia Chanysheva, 42, was the first of Navalny’s associates to be arrested on “extremism” charges in November 2021. (MT/AFP, 04.09.24)
  • The wife of Russian opposition politician Vladimir Kara-Murza said her husband has not received any medical assistance for at least six months. Her husband has a condition called polyneuropathy, which developed after he fell deathly ill on two separate occasions in Moscow -- in 2015 and 2017-- with symptoms consistent with poisoning. (RFE/RL, 04.12.24)
  • The Russian government-linked Baza Telegram channel said on April 10 that the Investigative Committee had launched a probe against Zalina Marshenkulova, a self-exiled activist journalist, on a charge of justifying terrorism. (RFE/RL, 04.10.24)
  • Miroslava Reginskaya, the wife of internationally convicted war criminal Igor Strelkov (legal surname — Girkin), who was recently sentenced by a Russian court to four years in prison on extremism charges for criticizing the Kremlin in his pro-war Telegram posts, said April 10 that Strelkov has been approved by a Russian military unit to serve as a platoon commander in Ukraine’s occupied Donetsk region. (Meduza, 04.10.24)
  • The share of Russians who would like to leave Russia for permanent residence in another country has reached a record low. This follows from the results of a national poll conducted by Russia’s Levada Center on March 21-27, 2024. This center has been measuring Russians’ attitudes toward emigration since 1990, registering peaks in the share of Russians who would like to leave for greener pastures in May 2011, May 2013, and May 2021. In all these three instances, the share of Russians who answered “definitely, yes” or “rather, yes” when asked, “Would you like to move abroad for permanent residence?” totaled 22% (see Figure 1). In comparison, Levada’s more recent measurements show that his share was 10% after Vladimir Putin sent troops to re-invade Ukraine in February 2022, then increased to 11% in February 2023, before declining again in March 2024 to an all-time record low of 9%. At the same time, that same period since Russia’s re-invasion saw the share of those who would not like to relocate abroad increase from 79% to a record high of 90%. (RM, 04.11.24)
  • More than half of those surveyed by Levada Center in March (54%) consider rising prices to be the most pressing problem; in the previous measurement in August 2023, this problem was also in first place. Every third (32%) noted the conflict with the West and sanctions among the most pressing problems of the Northern Military District. In third place among the problems that worry Russians the most, this time was the threat of explosions and terrorist attacks (29%). (Levada, 04.09.24)

Defense and aerospace:

  • Russia is aiming to sign up 400,000 contract soldiers this year to beef up its forces that have suffered huge losses in the Ukraine war, Britain's Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update on April 10. (RFE/RL, 04.10.24)
  • Russia canceled the launch of its newest rocket about one minute before liftoff due to equipment failure in a setback for its space program. The Angara-A5 was set to launch at noon Moscow time from the Vostochny Cosmodrome near the border with northeastern China in Russia’s Far East. (Bloomberg, 04.09.24)
  •  See section Military aspects of the Ukraine conflict and their impacts above.

Security, law enforcement, justice and emergencies:

  • Police in St. Petersburg are investigating the disappearance of a Chechen woman who was forcibly sent back to Chechnya last year as a possible murder, the SK SOS human rights group said on April 8. The human rights group said earlier that police in Russia's second-largest city started an investigation into Seda Suleimanova's disappearance in late March. (RFE/RL, 04.09.24)
  • The Kommersant newspaper quoted sources on April 10 as saying that Magomed Gadzhiyev, a self-exiled former member of Russia's State Duma, is wanted on a charge of ordering the assassination of Maksud Sadikov, the rector of the Institute of Theology and International Relations, and his driver in Dagestan in 2011. (RFE/RL, 04.10.24)


III. Russia’s relations with other countries

Russia’s external policy and relations with “far abroad” countries:

  • Russian military instructors arrived in Niger in a plane loaded with military equipment, Niger state television RTN said on April 11, citing an agreement between the junta and Russian President Vladimir Putin to boost cooperation. (Reuters, 04.12.24)
  • Peter Pellegrini has been elected president of Slovakia, consolidating the grip of the ruling coalition led by Robert Fico and tilting the country further towards Russia. Pellegrini, a partner in Fico’s coalition, defeated former foreign minister Ivan Korčok by winning 53 % of the votes in Saturday’s run-off election, according to official results published on Sunday. (FT, 04.07.24)
  • Belgian prosecutors have opened an investigation into Russian "interference" in the European Parliament following allegations that lawmakers were paid to spread Kremlin propaganda, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said April 12. (MT/AFP, 04.12.24)
  • The arrest of a senior counter-intelligence official, alleged to have traded secrets for Kremlin cash, is upending Austrian politics ahead of national elections and cementing the nation’s reputation as a haven for spies. Austria’s government will convene an extraordinary session of its national security council late April 9 in Vienna. The meeting follows the arrest at the end of March of Egisto Ott, 61, an Austrian spy who allegedly also worked for Russia. Ott has consistently denied working for Russia, suggesting in a 2021 interview that he witnessed other Austrian officials abusing surveillance powers. (Bloomberg, 04.09.24)
  • German far-right leaders have rejected calls for one of their top European candidates to stand down amid a Russian influence-peddling scandal, deepening a row over their party’s connections to Moscow. Petr Bystron, a leading Alternative for Germany (AfD) candidate for European parliament elections in June, was accused in Czech media last week of secretly taking money from a pro-Kremlin oligarch as part of a covert campaign to spread Russian disinformation. (FT, 04.09.24)
  • Russia has ordered a Slovenian diplomat to leave the country in a retaliatory move after Ljubljana expelled a Russian diplomat, Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on April 12. (RFE/RL, 04.12.24)
  • Russia granted asylum to German conspiracy theorist Dagmar Henn. (Istories, 04.09.24)
  • Corruption in Bulgaria remains a main avenue for Russian meddling and has contributed to the ruling coalition falling apart, the outgoing Bulgarian premier said as his nation prepared for its sixth election in three years. Nikolai Denkov, who steps down on April 9, told the Financial Times that the cabinet he headed for less than a year struggled to root out graft and deeply entrenched connections to Moscow in the EU and NATO members bordering the Black Sea. (FT, 04.09.24)


  • The High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine chose a preventive measure in the form of detention with an alternative to bail for Alexander Provorotov, former head of the Economic Support Department of the Security Service of Ukraine. He is suspected of possibly organizing the purchase of fuel and lubricants for service vehicles and armored vehicles of the SBU at artificially inflated prices, causing UAH 26 million ($660,000) in damages. (Ukrainska Pravda, 04.12.24)
  • In the Chernihiv region, the Security Service of Ukraine exposed the chairman of the military medical commission and an official from the medical commission who, in exchange for $5,000 bribes, issued false medical reports to men of military age, which allowed them to evade military service and cross the border illegally. (Ukrainska Pravda, 04.09.24)
  • Law enforcement officers exposed the head of the territorial service center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in the Chernihiv region, who established a scheme to extract bribes in exchange for issuing driver’s licenses. (Ukrainska Pravda, 04.09.24)
  • Three people, including a department director in the Kherson regional administration, were accused of embezzling UAH 7.7 million in funds during a technical inspection of facilities damaged as a result of Russian aggression in the Kherson region. (, 04.09.24)
  • The commander in chief of Ukraine's armed forces, Oleksandr Syrskiy, said he ordered an internal audit following a report that a journalist was summoned to a military recruitment office after he published an article critical of a Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) officer. (RFE/RL, 04.07.24)
  • Chinese importers won’t take delivery of four or five cargoes of Ukrainian corn previously booked for delivery between April and June, according to people familiar with the matter. (Bloomberg, 04.11.24)
  • The European Union moved closer to extending its tariff-free trade with Ukraine while tightening rules on food imports to placate protesting farmers’ concerns about oversupply. (Bloomberg, 04.09.24)
  • Ukraine's inflation rate dropped to its lowest level in more than three years in March 2024. In March, the annual inflation rate in Ukraine stood at 3.2%, the lowest since October 2020, when it was recorded at 2.6%. The monthly increase in prices was modest at 0.5%, contributing to a year-to-date inflation rate of 1.2%. (BNE, 04.10.24)

Russia's other post-Soviet neighbors:

  • Unidentified people threw bottles containing a flammable liquid at the Russian Embassy building in Lithuania's capital, Vilnius, for two nights in a row, Lithuanian police said on April 8. (RFE/RL, 04.08.24)
  • Armenia and Azerbaijan fired at one another's positions along their shared border, with both sides accusing the other of violating a cease-fire. Armenia's Defense Ministry said Azerbaijani forces opened fire at its positions overnight on April 6 and reported "active movement" of Azerbaijani military vehicles. The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, meanwhile, said that its border troops came under cross-border fire late on April 5, though it did not specify the locations. Armenia’s prime minister, Nikol Pashinian, met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels on April 5, a meeting criticized by Baku, which accused the Western powers of siding with Armenia. (RFE/RL, 04.06.24)
  • Armenia and Azerbaijan have reached several agreements as part of their continuous peace treaty negotiations, but they remain divided on two main issues, according to Armenia’s top diplomat. Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan told Armenian Public Television late on April 6 that the two nations had "a historic opportunity to establish lasting peace in the South Caucasus" if they can resolve the remaining roadblocks. Yerevan and Baku do not yet see eye-to-eye on mutual recognition of territorial integrity and the subsequent border delimitation process. The two sides are also divided on reopening transport links in the region. (RFE/RL, 04.07.24)
  • Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan will not attend an upcoming meeting of his counterparts from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a Foreign Ministry spokesperson has announced. The session of the CIS Council is scheduled to be held in Minsk on April 12. (RFE/RL, 04.10.24)
  • Thousands of Georgians took to the streets of the capital, Tbilisi, on April 9, to protest against a controversial "foreign agents" bill that Georgia's ruling party, Georgian Dream, said it will reintroduce. The bill was pulled last year amid massive protests over fears the legislation, which mirrored a similar law in Russia, would severely restrict dissent and the activity of civil society groups in the country and push it toward authoritarianism. (RFE/RL, 04.09.24)
  • Pawel Herczynski, European Union's ambassador to Georgia, has criticized the reintroduction of a "foreign agents" bill in parliament -- legislation compared with a similar law in Russia that the Kremlin has used to stifle dissent -- saying it's "incompatible" with the values of the bloc Tbilisi is looking to join. (RFE/RL, 04.12.24)
  • The Tajik Foreign Ministry on April 6 rejected a statement by the director of Russia’s Security Council that Ukraine has recruited mercenaries in Tajikistan. Nikolai Patrushev earlier this week accused officials of the Ukrainian Embassy in Dushanbe of recruiting mercenaries to participate in military operations, including against Russia. He made the statement in Kazakhstan at a meeting of secretaries of security councils in the countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Shahin Samadi, a representative of the Tajik Foreign Ministry, said on April 6 that Patrushev’s statement "has no basis." (RFE/RL, 04.06.24)
  • Turkey has canceled visa-free travel for Tajik nationals, the office of the Turkish president said on April 6, without giving any reason behind the decision. Tajikistan's Foreign Ministry later said that Ankara had not officially notified Dushanbe about its plan to scrap the visa-exemption rule, which had been in place since 2018 and allowed Tajik citizens to stay in Turkey for up to 90 days without a visa. (RFE/RL, 04.07.24)
  • Moldovan President Maia Sandu is facing rising domestic tensions ahead of key elections this year as protests in another Russia-friendly region — besides the breakaway Transnistria enclave — fuel concerns that Moscow is intensifying pressure to derail the nation’s pro-European path. (Bloomberg, 04.11.24)
  • Sandu, who’s seeking another term later this year, was met with several hundred demonstrators backed by a pro-Russia party during a visit to the small autonomous region of Gagauzia on April 10. (Bloomberg, 04.11.24)
  • Democratic governance in Central Europe and Central Asia declined for a 20th consecutive year, according to rights watchdog Freedom House, driven by Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine and Azerbaijan's "military conquest" of Nagorno-Karabakh. In a report released on April 11, the Washington-based group said that of 29 "nations in transit" -- a grouping comprised of former Soviet and Warsaw Pact nations -- 10 saw a decline in their democracy scores in 2023, while only five improved over the previous year. (RFE/RL, 04.12.24)


IV. Quotable and notable

  • Finnish president. Alexander Stubb said Europe had “a window of opportunity for a few years” to change its thinking from the “la-la land” of the post-Cold War era when too many countries considered war unlikely. “What I call on all European states to do is to become more Finnish. In other words, more prepared. You have to prepare for the worst in order to avoid it,” he said. (FT, 04.10.24)


The cutoff for reports summarized in this product was 11:00 am East Coast time on the day it was distributed.

*Here and elsewhere, the italicized text indicates comments by RM staff and associates. These comments do not constitute an RM editorial policy.

Slider photo by Markus Rauchenberger shared in the public domain as a U.S. government work.