The governor of the Belgorod region announced on December 6 the creation of local “self-defense units”, noted the department.
Trenching has been reported in the region since at least April 2022, but the new structures are likely to be more sophisticated systems designed to repel a mechanized attack.
“There is a realistic possibility that the Russian authorities are promoting defense preparations inside internationally recognized Russian territory to polish patriotic sentiment,” the report says.
However, it probably illustrates a sincere (but false) belief by some decision makers in Russia that there is a credible threat of an invasion by Ukrainian forces, the agency added.
“The dearth of strategic assessment is one of the critical weaknesses in Russia’s central government architecture: as highlighted by Russia’s original decision to invade Ukraine.”
It is almost certain that impartial official analysis is often undermined by a tendency towards groupthink and politically expedient conclusions, the summary concludes.
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