Russian President Vladimir Putin falsely claimed that Russia supports the “unconditional
equality” and “sovereignty” of all states in a January 20 letter to the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, contradicting Russia’s official position on its war in Ukraine and its wider imperial ambitions. Putin
claimed that Russia rejects “neocolonialist ambitions, double standards, as well as forceful pressure, dictatorship, and blackmail as a means of achieving foreign policy and foreign economic goals.” Russian officials have routinely denied Ukraine’s sovereignty
and refused to treat it as an equal. The Kremlin rejects Ukrainian statehood and nationhood by incorporating Ukraine into the ideological and geographic conception of the Russian World (Russkiy Mir), which includes any Russian speakers and ”carriers of Russian
history and culture“ as “compatriots“ and includes all of the former territories of Kyivan Rus, the Kingdom of Muscovy, the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and the contemporary Russian Federation.” Russia uses the framework of “Russkiy Mir” to justify Russian
imperialist expansion and the subjugation of independent, sovereign states and their peoples within a pseudo-cultural and historical context. Russian officials have routinely justified the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by claiming that Russia aims to protect
its “compatriots” abroad, again rejecting Ukraine‘s sovereignty. Russia also continues to trivialize the sovereignty of other post-Soviet countries and has been setting information conditions to escalate tensions in the Baltics and Moldova under the guise
of protecting its “compatriots” abroad. Russia has been in violation of its own commitments to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and “inviolability of borders” and its agreement to center relations with Ukraine on ”non-use of force or threat of force”
and “non-interference in internal affairs” undertaken in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum since its initial invasion in 2014. Putin's false claims that Russia respects “equality” and “sovereignty” are likely intended to cater to states that the Kremlin desires
to pull into its wider sphere of influence, much as it initially intended to do with Ukraine before the initial 2014 invasion.
Russian Ambassador to Denmark Vladimir Barbin threatened Denmark, a founding member
of NATO, on January 20 in response to a recent US-Danish agreement allowing US forces access to military bases in Denmark. Barbin claimed during an
interview with Russian news outlet RIA Novosti that the December 2023 US-Danish agreement “creates new challenges” for Russia’s security in the Baltic Sea region and stated that Russia will determine the "necessary responses" to such actions. The US and Denmark
signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement on December 21, 2023, allowing the US to permanently station forces and equipment at military bases in Denmark. Barbin called the agreement a “deliberate course towards further degradation of the military-political situation
in the region under the slogans of containing and intimidating Russia.“ A prominent Kremlin-affiliated Russian milblogger previously claimed that Finland is becoming a ”second Ukraine” in response to a similar US-Finnish agreement. Russian officials, including
Russian President Vladimir Putin, have recently threatened Finland, and the Kremlin’s threats against a founding member of NATO that shares no borders with Russia is a notable challenge to the wider alliance. Russian threats made towards a founding member
of NATO also undermine Russia’s longstanding information operation that its aggressive actions are in response to NATO expansion.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin falsely claimed that Russia supports the “unconditional equality” and “sovereignty”
of all states in a January 20 letter to the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, contradicting Russia’s official position on its war in Ukraine and its wider imperial ambitions.
- Russian Ambassador to Denmark Vladimir Barbin threatened Denmark, a founding member of NATO, on January 20 in
response to a recent US-Danish agreement allowing US forces access to military bases in Denmark.
- Russian energy exports to China significantly increased in 2023 amid increasing Russian reliance on oil revenues
to manage the fiscal burdens of the war in Ukraine.
- European Union (EU) Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton stated on January 20 that the EU will have the
capacity to produce 1.3 to 1.4 million artillery shells by the end of 2024 and will ensure that it delivers the “majority” of the shells to Ukraine.
- Russian forces made confirmed advances along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, and in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia
Oblast border area amid continued positional engagements along the front.
- A Russian Storm-Z instructor claimed on January 16 that Rosgvardia personnel operating in occupied Ukraine have
systematic issues with equipment and weapons storage.
- Occupation authorities continue preparations for the March 2024 Russian presidential election.