Lessons from Russia’s Operations in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine

Russian Military Analysis

RAND Corporation has published a report for which I was the lead author and principal investigator back in the summer of 2015. This work has spent a long time in the making, or more honestly, in the waiting. I hope it will expand existing knowledge on what happened in early months of the conflict in Ukraine, both Crimea and the Donbas. You can find the text here.

Abstract and Key Findings Below

This report assesses the annexation of Crimea by Russia (February–March 2014) and the early phases of political mobilization and combat operations in Eastern Ukraine (late February–late May 2014). It examines Russia’s approach, draws inferences from Moscow’s intentions, and evaluates the likelihood of such methods being used again elsewhere.

These two distinct campaigns overlap somewhat but offer different lessons for participants and observers. The report finds that Russia’s operation to annex Crimea represented a decisive and competent use…

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