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ISW: Russia conducts large missile strike to advance propaganda objectives
The Institute for the Study of War reported that Russia’s largest missile strike in recent weeks “likely only served Russian state propaganda objectives,” in its latest update on March 9.
Russian forces launched 81 missiles and eight Iranian-made Shahed drones in the early morning of March 9, targeting 11 oblasts.
“The Kremlin likely deliberately launched missiles that Ukrainian air defenses cannot intercept to achieve results within the Russian information space despite the dwindling supplies of such missiles,” the report said.
ISW characterized the attack as Kremlin's appeasement strategy for the Russian pro-war and ultranationalist communities who have criticized the ineffectiveness of previous missile campaigns on Ukrainian energy infrastructure and demanded retaliation for alleged incursion in Bryansk.
The Ukrainian government has dismissed Russian claims of clashes with Ukrainian 'saboteurs' in the Russian border town as a provocation.
According to the D.C.-based think tank's assessment, the missile attacks won’t improve Russia’s frontline positions.
However, the report said Russia likely increased its offensive tempo in the Bakhmut area, advancing northwest of the city. Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, commander of the Ground Forces of Ukraine, said Russia hasn’t encircled Bakmut but the situation remained very difficult earlier on March 9.