Briefing paper

Russia’s ill-fated invasion of Ukraine: lessons in modern warfare

Cyber weapons Military operations War Russia (Federation) Ukraine

This analysis examines lessons from Russian air, ground, cyber and other domains following Moscow’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. It asks: What are some of the most important military lessons from the first three months of the war? What do these lessons suggest about the future of the war? The assessment focuses predominantly on the operational level of warfare, especially the planning and conduct of the military campaign. The operational level links the tactical utilisation of forces to strategic objectives and includes such aspects as fire and manoeuvre, logistics, intelligence, command and control, and planning.

To answer the main questions, this analysis relied on several types of information. One included collecting and analysing primary and secondary sources on the war, including military and intelligence assessments from Western countries. Another was a force disposition map of the battlefield, in which CSIS analysts compiled and assessed Russian and Ukrainian tactical and operational activity. The final involved background interviews with Western government officials and other subject matter experts. While the war in Ukraine is likely far from over, this analysis comes to several initial conclusions.

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