ISW: Putin wants to disperse Ukrainian troops before offensive
A second Russian invasion by Belarus is highly unlikely, but Putin is trying to draw back some Ukrainian army units to the northeastern border.
The ISW brushes off a meeting on 1 February at which it said it considered it a priority to stop Ukrainian shelling of the border regions.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) daily report said:
Putin's emphasis on the perceived danger of Ukrainian shelling of border regions is likely to have a dual purpose. It contributes to an information operation aimed at presenting the war in Ukraine as an existential threat to Russian citizens to provide domestic support for a protracted war. Putin may also create conditions for escalating cross-border raids to divert and disperse Ukrainian forces from critical axes of attack by pinning them to the north-east border regions.
Experts also note that the ongoing information operation to press Ukrainian troops to the Belarusian border appears to be failing, as Ukrainian officials increasingly view the threat of invasion as unlikely.