Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment
Angelica Evans, Grace Mappes, Nicole Wolkov, Christina Harward, Riley Bailey, and Frederick
January 21, 2024, 3:55pm ET
see ISW's interactive map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This map is updated daily alongside the static maps present in this report.
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see ISW’s 3D control-of-terrain topographic map of Ukraine. The use of a computer (not a mobile device) is strongly recommended for accessing this data-heavy
to access ISW’s archive of interactive time-lapse maps of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
These maps complement the static control-of-terrain maps that ISW produces daily by showing a dynamic frontline.
Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted successful drone strikes against targets in Leningrad
and Tula oblasts, where repeated Ukrainian drone strikes may fix Russian short-range air defense systems defending potentially significant targets along expected flight routes. Ukrainian
media, citing unnamed sources within Ukrainian special services, reported that Ukrainian forces conducted drone strikes against the Shcheglovsky Val Plant in Tula City, Tula Oblast and the “Novateka” plant and gas terminal near the port of Ust-Luga, Leningrad
Oblast on the night of January 20 to 21. The Shcheglovsky Val Plant reportedly manufactures Pantsir-S and Pantsir-S1 air defense systems, and the Ust-Luga complex reportedly processes stable gas condensate into light and heavy naphtha, diesel, kerosene, and
naval fuel. Russian sources amplified footage claiming to show explosions in Tula City and Ust-Luga, presumably the results of successful Ukrainian strikes. Geolocated footage published on January 20 shows additional explosions over Smolensk City, indicating
possible Ukrainian strikes in the area. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Russian air defenses destroyed five drones over Tula, Oryol, and Smolensk oblasts. Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted a successful drone strike on Russian military
facilities in Leningrad Oblast on January 18.
A Russian insider source claimed on January 21 that Russian air defense coverage over Leningrad Oblast
is poor and indicated that Russian air defenses in Leningrad Oblast are likely not arrayed to defend against strikes from the south. Russian air defense systems in Leningrad Oblast are most likely positioned to defend against strikes from the northwest and
west, as Russia has historically arrayed its air defense in the area to defend against hypothetical NATO attacks. The Russian military is currently reforming the Leningrad Military District (LMD) with the expressed intent to prepare for a potential future
conventional war against NATO and may be arranging military assets in a way to posture along the border with NATO members. Ukrainian strikes in Leningrad Oblast may prompt Russian forces to reposition short-range air defense systems along expected flight routes
of Ukrainian drones to defend potential targets of strategic value. Russian forces using short-range systems such as the Pantsir may not be able to cover all important potential targets in Leningrad Oblast without bringing additional systems into the area,
and continued Ukrainian strikes in deep rear areas in Russia may thus increase pressure on Russia’s air defenses overall.
- Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted successful drone strikes against targets in Leningrad and Tula oblasts, where
repeated Ukrainian drone strikes may fix Russian short-range air defense systems defending potentially significant targets along expected flight routes.
- Moldovan authorities accused Russian peacekeepers in Transnistria of numerous violations, including the improper use
of drones, while conducting exercises in late December 2023, prompting an information attack by a pro-Kremlin mouthpiece.
- Russia is likely intensifying relations with North Korea as part of an effort to procure more artillery ammunition
from abroad amid Russian munition shortages.
- Russian forces advanced near Avdiivka amid continued positional engagements along the front.
- Russian opposition outlet Mobilization News reported on January 21 that likely Russian military commanders are mistreating
troops at a training ground in Volgograd Oblast.
- Russian federal subjects continue to foster patronage networks in occupied Ukraine.
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