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Institute for the Study of War; Ukraine Crisis

ISW have identified a new course of action since our previous examination of Russian options that Putin is preparing and may pursue in conjunction with an overt move into occupied Donbas: an air and missile campaign, possibly extensive, throughout unoccupied Ukraine. We have observed indicators that he is preparing this option. We assess that such an air campaign in unoccupied Ukraine is significantly more likely than an invasion intended to seize large areas of unoccupied Ukraine, including Kyiv and other major cities. Putin could initiate the air and missile campaign and/or limited ground incursions in southeastern and southern Ukraine before Russian forces have completed deployments to and preparations along the northern Ukrainian frontier and in Belarus.