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The Kremlin has been rhetorically narrowing the definitions of its initial war objectives without formally changing them, the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest update. When asked about the Russian invasion’s progress, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russian forces achieved “significant progress” in its war objective of “demilitarization” of Ukraine on Dec. 23.
Russian warlord Igor Girkin, who was a key figure in the start of Russia's war against Ukraine, lambasted Peskov’s response, sarcastically noting that Ukraine’s Armed Forces increased from about 250,000 personnel before the war to 700,000 personnel today and that Ukrainian forces are now equipped with advanced Western anti-tank ground missiles, precision artillery, and other systems that Ukraine did not have before Russia’s invasion.
ISW continues to assess that Russia’s maximalist war objectives have not changed despite Peskov’s floundering to save face with the Kremlin’s Russian domestic audience.