The intelligence service summarized its observations in three points:
- Similar to the 2014 Crimean referendum, Pro-Russian leaders in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia want to legitimize the regions’ accession to Russia through a referendum. On February 21, the Kremlin recognized the independence of the breakaway republics of Luhansk and Donetsk. The reason for the quick referendum is surely that Moscow fears the advance of Ukrainian forces.
- Russian troops continue to struggle with a serious shortage of personnel at almost every stage of the front. With a law passed by Russia’s State Duma on Tuesday toughening penalties for soldiers for desertion, disobeying orders and looting, Moscow wants to prevent further desertion attempts.
- It certainly plays a role in the decision-making The Kremlin recently received heavy criticism from the Russian media regarding the teams’ performance. President Putin appears prepared to take greater domestic political risks in order to replenish the forces fighting in Ukraine.
Interestingly, the intelligence did not respond to the partial mobilization of the Russian forces.
Cover photo: A Russian armored vehicle has broken down in Ukraine. Cover image is an illustration, Source: Getty Images
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