Russo Ukrainian War, Day 129: Russian missile strikes near Odesa kill 21, and injure close to 40.

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

Russian missile strikes near Odesa kill 21, and injure close to 40. The Armed Forces of Ukraine have already liberated 1027 municipalities, says the Office of the President of Ukraine. Russian troops continued the offensive to the north and west of Lysychansk. The Ukrainian army pushed the Russians from their position in the area of ​​the Kherson airport (located in Chornobayivka). Norway and the United Kingdom donate long-range rocket artillery to Ukraine. Medvedev says Western sanctions against Russia may be grounds for war.

Daily overview — Summary report, July 2

According to military expert Stanislav Haider, as of July 2,

Russo-Ukrainian War, Day 129: Russian missile strikes near Odesa kill 21, and injure close to 40. ~~

Russian troops continued the offensive to the north and west of Lysychansk, capturing the settlement of Shypylivka. The Armed Forces of Ukraine repel assaults on Bohorodychne. On the T1302 highway and in Verkhnokamyanka, the fighting continues. In the Maryinka direction, Russians started the defensive.

Lysychansk vicinity: no comments. Operation is ongoing.

The Ukrainian army is continuing to fight in the Izium direction and it stops the Russian offensive on Sloviansk.

South of Donetsk Oblast. The Russians are trying to recapture the lost positions by strengthening the direction by 1 battalion tactical group but without success. At the same time, the Ukrainian army is trying to expand the flanks; the fighting continues.

Zaporizhzhia Oblast. The Russians strengthened the direction of Polohy-Tokmak with 2 batallion tactical groups in order to prevent the further advance of the Ukrainian Army. They are late with this plan: in Polohy, the Ukrainian army is already in immediate danger. Tactical battles continue in the direction of Nesteryanka-Vasylivka.

Kherson Oblast. The Ukrainian army pushed the Russians from their position in the area of ​​the Kherson airport (located in Chornobayivka). They also pushed the Russians from the positions between Kyselivka and the village of Klapai in the north-western direction from Kherson. Intensive battles for control over important settlements continue.

Some successes in the Kryvyi Rih direction, details are forthcoming.

In the Snihurivka area and on Inhulets, artillery duels predominate.

Yesterday, the Ukrainian air force carried out up to 10 airstrikes in the Luhansk Oblast against the Russian positions, and destroyed warehouses with ammunition. And this is only in one direction. Note that the Russian Federation claimed that their military “destroyed Ukrainian aviation” back in February, March, April, etc.

Russo-Ukrainian War, Day 129: Russian missile strikes near Odesa kill 21, and injure close to 40. ~~

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, July 1, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below.

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According to information from the General Staff as of 06.00 02.07.2022, supplemented by its [18:00 assessment].

“[Russian occupiers continue to launch rocket attacks on civilian objects on the territory of Ukraine.]

In the Volyn and Polissya directions, according to available information, the terms of mobilization training in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus have been extended until July 9 of this year (the previous terms were June 22 – July 1, 2022). As part of the above-mentioned measures, summonses are being served through the military commissariats of the Gomel region. In addition, doctors have been notified of a ban on traveling outside the country.

In the Siversky direction, in order to cover the Russian-Ukrainian border in the Bryansk and Kursk regions, Russian forces continue to hold up to three battalion tactical groups from the 1st Tank Army, the 20th Combined Arms Army of the Western Military District and units of airborne troops. The aggressor carried out artillery fire damage to the positions of the Defense Forces in the border areas of Sumy and Chernihiv oblasts.

  • In order to disrupt the system of control and communication of units of the Defense Forces, Russian forces are using radio-electronic warfare complexes in the areas of settlements located near the state border in the territory of the Belgorod region.
  • [Yesterday. Russian forces shelled the areas of the settlements of Hremyach, Mykhalchyna Sloboda, Kolos in the Chernihiv oblast and Starykove and Atynske in the Sumy oblast with artillery.]

[In the Slobozhansky direction, Russian forces yesterday fired artillery in the areas of Chepil, Zolochiv, Ruska Lozova, Rubizhne, Khrestyshche, Pechenyhi, Kharkiv, Pytomnyk, Bazaliivka, Ruska Lozova and Prudyanka. Conducted an airstrike by a pair of Ka-52 helicopters near Mospanove. Continues to conduct aerial reconnaissance.]

  • In the Kharkiv direction, enemy units are concentrating their efforts on restraining the actions of our troops and preventing their further advance. In order to regain lost positions, Russian forces is conducting assaults in the direction of Kochubeyivka – Dementiyivka. It carried out artillery shelling in the areas of the settlements of Zolochiv, Ruska Lozova, Khrestyshche, Peremoha, Dementiivka, Verkhnii Saltiv, Molodova, Stariy Saltiv, Korobochkine, Zamulivka, Velyka Babka, Volobuyivka, and Malinivka. Carried out airstrikes near Verkhny Saltiv, Prudyanka, and Mospanove.
  • In the Sloviansk direction, Russian forces are fighting defensive battles. It also stormed Bohorodychne, without success. The areas of Dolyna, Dibrivne, Kurulka, Mazanivka, Bohorodychne, Krasnopillya, Adamivka, Sukha Kamianka, Husarivka and Krynychne settlements were shelled with artillery. [Yesterday, Russian forces conducted artillery fire near Dolyna, Mazanivka, Dibrivne, Hrushuvaha, Dovhenke, Krasnopilla, Asiivka, Sloviansk, Mykilske, and Bohorodychne.]
  • Russian forces are trying to improve the system of logistical support in the specified direction.

In the Donetsk direction:]

  • [In the Lysychansk and Bakhmut directions, the occupiers are shelling the areas of the settlements of Sydorove, Pereyizne, Kryva Luka, Mayaky, Siversk, Privillia, Lysychansk, Vovchoyarivka, Zolotarivka, Bakhmut, Klynove, Kodema, New York, Novoluhanske, Berestove, Loskutivka, Pokrovske, Zaitseve, Travneve and Vershyna. Enemy airstrikes were recorded near Klynove and Pokrovske.]
  • [Ukrainian soldiers successfully and competently repulsed Russian forces’ attempt at reconnaissance by fighting in the direction of the Lysychansk gelatin plant. The occupiers left.]
  • In the Bakhmut direction, shelling from mortars, barrel and rocket artillery was recorded near Vershyna, Bakhmut and Spirne. Russian forces also carried out airstrikes in the area of ​​Vershyna settlement.
  • In the Kramatorsk direction, the areas of Bilohorivka, Mayaky, and Donetsk were shelled with barrel and rocket artillery, and in the Lysychansk region, Zolotarivka and Verkhnyokamyansk were fired. It led an offensive in the direction of the latter, had no success, and withdrew.
  • In the Avdiiv, Kurakhiv, Novopavliv, and Zaporizhzhia directions, the occupiers fired artillery of various calibers into the areas of Shumy, New York, Zalizne, Avdiivka, Krasnohorivka, Novomykhailivka, Maryinka, Pavlivka, Vuhledar, Zolota Nyva, Shevchenko, Novodanylivka, Orihiv, and Zaliznychne settlements. Enemy airstrikes were recorded near Novobakhmutivka and Avdiivka. [Yesterday Russian forces fired artillery of various calibers and tanks at the areas of the settlements of Avdiivka, Novoselivka Druha, Vodyane, Tonenke, Krasnohorivka, Pisky, Orihove, Shevchenko, Novomykhailivka, Hirske, Hulyaipole, Vremivka, Vuhledar, Novoandriivka, Chervone , Staroukrainka, Zaliznychne and Maryinka.]

In the Pivdenny Buh direction, Russian forces are concentrating their efforts on holding the occupied borders and preventing the advancement of units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine. Conducted shelling in the vicinity of Partyzanske, Kobzartsi, Prybuzke, Tavriyske, Stepova Dolyna, Posad-Pokrovske, Trudolyubivka, Mykolaivka, Potemkyn, and Lupareve. [Yesterday, Russian forces shelled in the areas of Posad-Pokrovske, Stepova Dolyna, Tavriyske, Prybuzke, Oleksandrivka, Myrne, Shevchenkove, Novohryhorivka, Shyroke, Partyzanske, Blahodatne, Pervomaiske, Kobzartsi, Chervony Yar, Kavkaz, Stepove, Kalynivka, Velyke Artakove, Dobryanka, Potomkine and Mykolaivka. Conducted an airstrike in the area of ​​the settlement of Dyvizia.]

In the north-western part of the Black Sea, a maritime task group of the Black Sea Fleet continues to perform the task of blocking Ukraine’s maritime communications and conducting reconnaissance. In readiness for missile strikes on objects on the territory of Ukraine, Russian forces keep two carriers of high-precision weapons.

The fighter aircraft of the Air Force continues to patrol the airspace of Ukraine, and the strike aircraft provides fire support to our units in designated operational areas without fail.

[Ukrainian aviation and missile and artillery units continue their activities to destroy Russian forces’ logistics centres, fuel supply points, accumulations of combat armoured vehicles and manpower.]

[The anti-aircraft missile unit of the Air Force of the Ukrainian Armed Forces destroyed the Russian “Forpost” UAV system in Mykolayiv oblast, with an estimated cost of 7 million US dollars.]

Russian occupiers and their henchmen are afraid of the resistance of the local population, which is growing in particular in the Kherson region. The leadership of the invaders moves around with a lot of security, in armoured cars and body armour. Local residents continue to put up total resistance.

[In connection with significant losses of personnel of military units from the Eastern Military District of the Russian Federation, an active draft campaign is held on its territory. In particular, the recruitment point of the mobilization reserve was deployed in the city of Vladivostok and in Sergeevka, the point of permanent deployment of the 127th Motorized Rifle Division of the 5th Combined Arms Army.]”

Military Updates 

The Armed Forces of Ukraine have already liberated 1027 municipalities – the Office of the President of Ukraine, Ukrayinska Pravda reports, citing the President’s website. As of today, 1,027 Ukrainian settlements have been reclaimed from the occupiers, and humanitarian headquarters have begun operations on 95% of the liberated territory. On 10 May, Tymoshenko reported on 1003 liberated localities.

According to British Defence Intelligence, (last 48 hours):

  • Russian forces continue to achieve minor advances around Lysychansk, with air and artillery strikes continuing in the district. Ukrainian forces probably continue to block Russian forces in the south-eastern outskirts of Lysychansk.
  • Russia continues to employ air-launched anti-ship missiles in a secondary land attack role, likely because of dwindling stockpiles of more accurate modern weapons. Analysis of CCTV footage shows the missile that impacted the Kremenchuk shopping centre on 27 June 2022 was highly likely a Kh-32. This is an upgraded version of the Soviet era Kh-22 KITCHEN.
  • Although the Kh-32 has several performance improvements over the Kh-22, it is still not optimised to accurately strike ground targets, especially in an urban environment. This greatly increases the likelihood of collateral damage when targeting built up areas.
  • Further strikes on 30 June 2022 in Odesa Oblast likely involved Kh-22 KITCHEN missiles. These weapons are even less accurate and unsuitable for precision strikes and have almost certainly repeatedly caused civilian casualties in recent weeks.

  • On 30 June 2022, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced that its forces had withdrawn from Zmiinyi (Snake) Island in the north-west Black Sea. The island was seized by Russia on the first day of the invasion and sits along the main shipping lanes to Odesa and its adjacent ports.
  • The Ukrainian Armed Forces conducted attacks against the Russian garrison in the past few weeks using missile and drone strikes. In addition, it used anti-ship missiles to interdict Russian naval vessels attempting re-supply the island.
  • Russia has highly likely withdrawn from Zmiinyi (Snake) Island owing to the isolation of the garrison and its increasing vulnerability to Ukrainian strikes, rather than as a ‘gesture of good will’, as it has claimed.

Separately, Russian ground forces claim to have captured the village of Pryvilla, north-west of the contested Donbas town of Lyschansk. Intense fighting probably continues for the commanding high ground around Lyschansk Oil Refinery.

·

Losses of the Russian army 

As of Monday 2 July, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

  • Personnel – more than 35870 (+120),
  • Tanks – 1582 (+5),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 3737 (+1),
  • Artillery systems – 800 (+4),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 246 (+0),
  • Air defence means – 105 (+0),
  • Aircraft – 217 (+0),
  • Helicopters – 186 (+0),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 2614 (+4),
  • Vessels/boats – 15 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 653 (+8),
  • Special equipment – 61 (+0),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – 144 (+1)

Russian enemy suffered the greatest losses (of the past day) at the Bahmut direction.

Humanitarian

Ukrainian paramedic Taira described Russian captivity and where she was kept, Ukrayinska Pravda reports, citing Deutsche Welle. “Ukrainian paramedic Yulia Paievska (Taira) said that the Russian occupiers kept her in a small cell in the Donetsk Pre-Trial Detention Centre along with 21 other women.

“Recently I was kept in the Donetsk Pre-Trial Detention Centre. A lot of our prisoners remain there. They treat us terribly. They feed more or less, it will not be possible to die of hunger. But during the last week, they didn’t even give us soap.

There are 22 women in the cell; the cell is three by six metres, with ten beds. Other [prisoners] also did not have any information about [their] families and children. Their psychological state was simply terrible, but most of them hold up very well.

They were Ukrainian women from the ranks of the Armed Forces and the National Guard, there were girls from Azov, and there were also civilians. There is a ‘filtering’ system, that is, they take civil servants and check them for cooperation with the occupation forces. […] The invaders also used physical and psychological violence. In addition, according to Taira, a medic in the 7th month of pregnancy is being held captive by the occupiers. The paramedic believes that, first of all, it is necessary to free the wounded and women from captivity.”

Millions of refugees from Ukraine have crossed borders into neighbouring countries, and many more have been forced to move inside the country. The escalation of conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, forcing people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance the UNHCR reports. As of 29 June:

Individual refugees from Ukraine recorded across Europe:                   5,493,437

  • Belarus, Hungary, Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia     2,887,942
  • Other European countries 2,605,495

Refugees from Ukraine registered for Temporary Protection or similar national protection schemes in Europe:     3,537,148

  • Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia 1,340,229
  • Other European countries 2,234,256

Border crossings from Ukraine (since 24 February 2022):                    8,402,336

Border crossings to Ukraine (since 28 February 2022):                       3,097,412

OHCHR recorded 10,631 civilian casualties in Ukraine as of June 26 (no update). 4,731 were killed (including 330 children) and 5,900 injured (including 489 children).

Environmental 

The volume of gas transit via Ukraine is at a 30-year low – GTS operator, Ukrinform reports, citing Gas TSO of Ukraine. “In June, the volume of gas transit through the Ukrainian gas transmission system reached a historical minimum since 1991, amounting to a mere 1.25 billion cubic meters. Against May 2022, the volume of transit through Ukraine dropped by 37%, and in June of the previous year, gas transit volumes were higher by almost three times. Gazprom used only 38% of the reserved capacities (3.29 billion cubic meters) under the long-term contract, the report says.

Gazprom continues to refrain from using the reserved and paid capacity at the Sudzha entry point, which is 77.2 million cubic meters per day.[…] It is indicated that, together with the restriction of transit through the Nord Stream pipeline, this leads to the “draining” of the EU gas market and price hikes. In particular, since early June, gas prices in Europe have increased by almost 42%.

Earlier, Minister of Economy and Vice-Chancellor of Germany, Robert Habeck called the significant reduction of Russian gas supplies to Europe an “economic attack” by Putin. Russia, according to Habeck, has weaponized energy, limiting supplies through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline, which is the main transit route into Germany. He emphasized that such a strategy must not see success.”

Legal 

Russian missile strikes near Ukraine’s Odesa kill 21, Reuters reports. “Russia flattened part of an apartment building while residents slept on Friday in missile attacks near Ukraine’s port of Odesa that authorities said killed at least 21 people, hours after Russian troops abandoned the Black Sea outpost of Zmiinyi (Snake) Island.

Earlier this week, Russia struck a crowded shopping mall in central Ukraine, killing at least 19 people. Kyiv says Moscow has intensified its long-range missile attacks, hitting civilian targets far from the frontline. Russia says it has been aiming at military sites. Thousands of civilians have been killed since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Ukraine requests Turkey detain Russian-flagged ship it says carrying Ukrainian grain, Reuters reports. “Ukraine has requested that Turkey detain and arrest the Russian-flagged cargo ship Zhibek Zholy carrying a cargo of Ukrainian grain taken from the Russian-occupied port of Berdyansk, according to a Ukrainian official and a document seen by Reuters.

The Ukrainian foreign ministry official, citing information received from the country’s maritime administration, said the 7,146 dwt Zhibek Zholy had loaded the first cargo of some 4,500 tonnes of grain from Berdyansk, which the official said belonged to Ukraine. In a letter dated June 30 to Turkey’s justice ministry, Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office separately that the Zhibek Zholy was involved in the “illegal export of Ukrainian grain” from Berdyansk and headed to Karasu, Turkey, with 7,000 tonnes of cargo, which is a larger cargo than cited by the official.

The Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office asked Turkey to “conduct an inspection of this sea vessel, seize samples of grain for forensic examination, demand information on the location of such grain”, the letter said, adding that Ukraine was ready to conduct a joint investigation with Turkish authorities.”

Russo-Ukrainian War, Day 129: Russian missile strikes near Odesa kill 21, and injure close to 40. ~~

344 children were killed, and 640 children injured, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of July 1. 2,102 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, and 215 of them are destroyed fully. 20,940 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 10,381 crimes against national security were registered.

Support 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1542968787976208385

$820 Million in Additional Security Assistance for Ukraine, a press release by the US Department of Defense says. On 1 July, the Department announced $820 million in additional security assistance for Ukraine. This includes an authorization of a Presidential Drawdown of security assistance valued at up to $50 million, as well as $770 million in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds. Capabilities in this package include additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS); 2 National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS); up to 150,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition; and 4 additional counter-artillery radars.

Unlike Presidential Drawdown, USAI is an authority under which the United States procures capabilities from industry rather than delivering equipment that is drawn down from DoD stocks. This announcement represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide additional capabilities to Ukraine’s Armed Forces.”

Norway and the United Kingdom donate long-range rocket artillery to Ukraine, according to a statement from the Norwegian government. “Norway and the United Kingdom will cooperate on the donation of long-range rocket artillery (MLRS) to Ukraine. The Norwegian MLRS are phased out and the donation will not affect our national preparedness. Initially, three units will be donated.

The UK will upgrade our pieces, to backfill upgraded British pieces sent to Ukraine. This is a great example of good co-operation between close allies, says the Norwegian Defence Minister Bjørn Arild Gram. The Norwegian government has also decided to donate 5000 rounds of 155mm artillery shells to Ukraine, in addition to the 5000 already donated. It is essential to ensure that Ukraine has ammunition for the M109 self-propelled howitzers that Norway already has donated to Ukraine, says Gram.

Danilov: Aid is still not sufficient to have parity with aggressors, Ukrayinska Pravda reports. “Unfortunately, the aid is still not sufficient for us to have parity with Russian forces in terms of heavy weapons. We are grateful to all our partners and we hope that parity will be achieved, [Oleksii Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, wrote on Twitter. A very difficult war awaits us, and no one will defend our country but us.”

MEP says Ukraine needs F-15s, F-16s to protect the Ukrainian sky, Ukrinform reports, citing Guildhall. “A Member of the European Parliament from Lithuania Petras Auštrevičius, answering a question of whether Ukraine needs F-15s and F-16s interceptor aircraft, said that American fighters would help protect the sky and save lives in Ukraine, while missile defence systems are inevitably required to effectively protect Ukraine.”

Turkey readying combat drones for delivery to Ukraine, Ukrayinska Pravda reports. “Vasyl Bodnar, Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey, has reported that the preparation of three free Bayraktar Tb2, which will be sent to Ukraine as part of the “People’s Bayraktar” initiative, is being completed.”

Norway to provide EUR 1B in aid to Ukraine, Ukrinform reports. “Norway will provide a EUR 1 billion aid package to Ukraine by the end of this year and throughout the next year. Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said this at a joint briefing with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Friday, July 1.”

European Commission President in Verkhovna Rada: Investments for Recovery Must Be Combined with a New Wave of Reforms, European Pravda reports. “The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stated that to maximize the impact of investments in the recovery of Ukraine, it is necessary to combine them with a new wave of reforms. Your European path and the reconstruction of Ukraine will go hand in hand. Huge investments will come to your country, and in order to increase this impact, investments must be combined with a new wave of reforms, the President of the European Commission emphasized.”

New Developments

  1. Zaluzhnyi talks to Milley about the liberation of Ukrainian lands from the occupiers, Ukrayinska PravdaIn a telephone conversation with General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States Army, we touched upon the implementation of strategic objectives of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the main one being the liberation of Ukrainian lands within internationally recognised borders, Zaluzhnyi wrote on Facebook. According to Zaluzhnyi, an important condition for the success of Ukrainian defence and counter-offensive actions is the provision of appropriate material and technical resources.”
  2. Medvedev says Western sanctions against Russia may be grounds for war, Ukrayinska Pravda reports, citing RIA Novosti. “I would like to point out once again that under certain circumstances such enemy actions could be perceived as an act of international aggression. And even as a casus belli, [Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, said]. In response, the state has a right to individual and collective self-defence. Medvedev claimed that “the boorish and cynical practice of unilateral restrictive measures against Russia, whose illegality has been time and again stressed on all levels, is akin, as our opponents themselves put it, to a declaration of economic war.”
  3. Ukraine’s Minister of Defence: It’s too late for Putin to “save face”, Ukrayinska Pravda reports, citing the press serviceof the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine. “Referring to a suggestion made by some of Ukraine’s partner countries, Ukraine’s Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov said he believes that it is too late for Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, to “save face”. After the atrocities in Bucha, Borodianka, Irpin, and Mariupol…We are defending our land, fighting for our freedom, defending the entire European continent. Let’s just fight Russian forces together, and win.”
  4. New ‘Iron Curtain’ Descending Between Moscow and the West – Russian Minister, The Moscow TimesRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday that a new “Iron Curtain” was descending between Moscow and the West amid the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. As far as an Iron Curtain is concerned … essentially it is already descending, Lavrov told journalists during a press conference in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. “The process has already begun,” he said. Lavrov also claimed that relations between Russia and the European Union no longer existed.”
  5. Putin mobilizing the Russian economy to sustain the war in Ukraine, Ukrinform reports, citing the Institute for the Study of War. “Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely mobilizing the Russian economy and industry to sustain the ongoing war effort. At the same time, he has not yet taken parallel measures to mobilize Russian manpower on a large scale.”
  6. Group convened by President’s Office and ex-Secretary General of NATO begins work on Ukraine’s security guarantees, Ukrayinska Pravda reports, citing Ukrinform. “We are planning to complete the first draft of the first set of recommendations this month, Andrii Yermak, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said during a joint press briefing with Anders Fogh Rasmussen, ex-Secretary General of NATO. Yermak said that the first meeting of a group convened to make recommendations [concerning an international agreement on security guarantees for Ukraine] took place on Friday and was attended by around 10 experts from several countries – the US, Poland, and Sweden, among others. Yermak also said that the number of experts will grow over time. He added that a multilateral agreement is being prepared, which any country that wants to act as Urkaine’s security guarantors will be able to join.”
  7. Russian envoy to Bulgaria to ask Moscow to shut embassy after mass expulsions, ReutersRussia’s ambassador to Bulgaria said on Friday she would ask Moscow to close its embassy in the Balkan country after her appeal for Sofia to reverse what she called an unprecedented hostile step to expel 70 Russian diplomatic staff was ignored. […] The ambassador, Eleonora Mitrofanova, said the closure of the Russian embassy would inevitably lead to the closure of Bulgaria’s embassy in Moscow too.”
  8. 90% of Ukrainians back accession to the EU, and 73% want Ukraine to join NATO, Ukrinform reports, citing Kyiv International Institute of Sociology. “Some 90% of Ukrainians support Ukraine’s accession to the European Union, whereas 73% are in favour of their country joining NATO, according to a survey conducted by the National Democratic Institute in Ukraine on May 2-11.”
  9. Russia seizes control of the Sakhalin gas project, and raises stakes with the West, ReutersPresident Vladimir Putin has raised the stakes in an economic war with the West and its allies with a decree that seizes full control of the Sakhalin-2 gas and oil project in Russia’s far east, a move that could force out Shell and Japanese investors.”

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Saturday 2 July, 2022:

Russo-Ukrainian War, Day 129: Russian missile strikes near Odesa kill 21, and injure close to 40. ~~

The Kremlin is likely setting conditions for crypto-mobilization of the Russian economy in preparation for a protracted war in Ukraine. The Kremlin proposed an amendment to federal laws on Russian Armed Forces supply matters to the Russian State Duma on June 30, that would introduce “special measures in the economic sphere” obliging Russian businesses (regardless of ownership) to supply Russian special military and counterterrorist operations. The amendment would prohibit Russian businesses from refusing to accept state orders for special military operations and allow the Kremlin to change employee contracts and work conditions, such as forcing workers to work during the night or federal holidays. The Kremlin noted in the amendment’s description that the ongoing special military operation in Ukraine exposed supply shortages, specifically materials needed to repair military equipment, and stated that Russian officials need to “concentrate their efforts in certain sectors of the economy.” Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely mobilizing the Russian economy and industry to sustain the ongoing war effort but has not yet taken parallel measures to mobilize Russian manpower on a large scale.

Russian authorities are likely taking measures to integrate the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) directly into the Russian energy system, contradicting previous Russian statements that the Zaporizhzhia NPP would sell electricity to Ukraine. Olga Kosharna, an independent expert on nuclear energy, stated on June 30 that Russia’s Rosatom (Russian state-owned nuclear energy corporation) employees have been taking measures at the Zaporizhzhia NPP to potentially divert its energy to the Russian energy grid. Kosharna added that Russian forces have been working in Chonhard (southern Kherson Oblast) to repair the main energy transmission line that runs into Crimea, which Ukrainian forces had destroyed in 2015 following Russia’s seizure of the transmission line after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Representatives of Ukraine’s Ukrenergo electricity transmission operator had stated as recently as late May that it would be physically impossible for Russia to divert Ukrainian electricity to Russia following the destruction of those transmission lines. Russian forces are likely seeking to ensure physical access to transmission lines in order to support the direct flow of Ukrainian energy into Russia, which may explain some of the military activities observed in recent weeks in the Russian-occupied portions of Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

Russian authorities had indicated on May 18 that while the Zaporizhzhia NPP would work for Russia, it would continue to sell energy to Ukraine, as ISW reported. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that Russian authorities are taking measures to integrate Ukrainian economic assets directly into the Russian economy. Reports that Russian forces may be preparing a false flag provocation at the Zaporizhzhia NPP could be part of this Russian effort–Moscow might use such a false flag attack to accuse Ukrainian authorities of mismanaging nuclear assets and justify taking full control of them and their output.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces continued efforts to encircle Lysychansk and conducted offensive operations to the south and southwest of the city.
  • Russian forces have likely not yet reached the T1302 Bakhmut-Lysychansk highway on the ground but are denying Ukrainian forces use of it by continuing artillery and airstrikes against remaining Ukrainian positions along the road.
  • Russian forces focused on regrouping and improving their tactical positions north of Sloviansk.
  • Russian forces did not conduct any confirmed ground assaults in northern Kharkiv Oblast and continued shelling Ukrainian positions north of Kharkiv City.
  • Russian forces conducted artillery and missile strikes along the Southern Axis.

Russian authorities continue efforts to expand the pool of recruits available to fight in Ukraine.

Resistance movement growing in captured areas in southern Ukraine, Ukrinform reports, citing CNN. “A trio of assassination attempts targeting pro-Russian officials over the past two weeks suggests a burgeoning resistance movement against pro-Russian authorities occupying parts of southern Ukraine, according to US officials. The resistance could grow into a wider counterinsurgency that would pose a significant challenge to Russia’s ability to control newly captured territory across Ukraine. The Kremlin “faces rising partisan activity in southern Ukraine,” Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, said during a conference in Washington, DC, on Wednesday.

The US believes that Russia does not have enough forces in Kherson to effectively occupy and control the region, one US official said, especially after pulling forces from the area for the fight to the east in Donbas. In addition, Ukraine has also conducted limited counterattacks near Kherson, further straining Russian forces.

The first attack in Kherson occurred on June 16, when an explosion shattered the windows of a white Audi Q7 SUV. The vehicle was left seriously damaged, but the target of the attack survived. Less than a week later, a second pro-Russian official in Kherson was targeted. This time, the attack succeeded. On June 24, Dmitry Savluchenko, the pro-Russian official in charge of the Department of Youth and Sports for the Kherson region, was killed. On Tuesday, the car of a third pro-Russian official was set on fire in Kherson, though the official was not injured.

In the long term, the US assesses that Russia will eventually face a counterinsurgency from the local Ukrainian population. “I think Russia is going to have significant challenges in trying to establish any sort of stable administration for these regions because likely collaborators — more prominent ones — are going to be assassinated and others will be living in fear,” said Michael Kofman, director for Russia studies at the Center for Naval Analyses, a Washington-based think tank.”

Russian propagandists are preparing the population for war failures – General Staff, Ukrayinska Pravda reports, citing Oleksiy Hromov, deputy head of the main operative directorate of the General Staff of Ukraine. “He pointed out the change in rhetoric among Russian propagandists. “Since the beginning of Russia’s large-scale military aggression against our country, propagandists have changed their rhetoric concerning the war in Ukraine multiple times. The transformation of their narrative shows that not one of the Kremlin’s plans concerning the invasion of Ukraine has been completed to date.

It’s June. The failure of the so-called lightning-fast liberation of Donbas has once again pushed propagandists to change their arguments. A third phase of the “special operation” has been announced with the goal of displacing Ukrainian troops from the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.

Meanwhile, propagandists have started to prepare the Russian population for military failures. Of course, the defeat hasn’t been publicly announced, but reports about the complicated situation on the fronts and even mistakes made by the military command have begun to appear.”

2. Consequences and what to do?

Hans Petter Midttun:

Ukrainians are not ready to cede territories for peace – poll, Ukrinform reports, citing the National Democratic Institute and the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology. “According to the poll results, 89% of Ukrainians believe the only acceptable scenario for ending the war is to bring back the territories controlled by Ukraine before 2014, including the entire Donbas and Crimea. The poll also shows that, despite the full-scale war, 87% of respondents are extremely optimistic about Ukraine’s future. Most Ukrainians trust the Armed Forces of Ukraine (97%) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (85%). Government and the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine also have high credibility among Ukrainians, 56% and 40% respectively.”

Russo-Ukrainian War, Day 129: Russian missile strikes near Odesa kill 21, and injure close to 40. ~~

The Ukrainian trust in both its President and the political institutions is at a historical high. It is a testimony to how President Putin’s aggressions have galvanized Ukraine to unite to fight for its right to exist.

But the poll also brings out some of the stark contrasts between Eastern and Western Europe.

The fact that 87% are optimistic about Ukraine’s future in the middle of a full-scale war is, however, even more amazing. In contrast – last year and before the full-scale invasion and the consequential “tsunami of ripple effects” – only an average of 66% of Europeans were optimistic about the future of the EU. The highest level since 2009.

More importantly, Ukrainians are not seeking “peace at any costs”. Despite the military threat, sacrifices in lives, human suffering, destruction of infrastructure and economic consequences of the war, Ukrainians do not accept siding territory for peace. Having only experienced the economic fallout of the war in Ukraine, but feeling anxiety because of the deteriorating international security situation, 35% of EU citizens (the majority being from Western Europe) are willing to “give up Ukrainian territory” to achieve peace according to recent research. The numbers are most probably much higher as 43% either are in doubt if they belong to the so-called “peace” or “justice” party or simply refused to answer the question.

This will have an impact on what follows.

Having waged battle in the cognitive space of western populations, and key policy and decision-makers for more than 15 years already, Russia has adapted its military strategy accordingly. It knows that it does not need to occupy all of Ukraine to be victorious. And – based on experience – it knows that the West will eagerly grab any hope for a peaceful resolution of the war. We have lost the defence culture predominant during the Cold War and with it the understanding of the meaning of “containment”, “mutually assured destruction”, “deterrence”, “readiness”, “resilience” and “total defence”. Until recently, we have not been mentally prepared for the idea of a war in Europe.

Russia also knows that angry voters – a population feeling the full impact of increasing costs of living and lack of energy security – will ultimately punish their political leaders in the next election, adding further pressure on the West to accept peace on Russian terms.

The War will grind on for an extended period and Russia’s attitude toward the West is hardening, Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines, says. Haines believes that Putin remains intent on overruning most of Ukraine. President Putin confirmed her assessment recently, stating that “Russia’s goals against Ukraine have not changed, but the tactics may be different.”

This means that we should probably prepare for the following developments in the months to come:

  • The maritime blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports will continue to both destroy the Ukrainian economy as a crucial part of its strategy of destroying the foundation for its independence and sovereignty, as well as a part of its political warfare against the West.
  • Russia will uphold its efforts to occupy all of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. The oblasts will be quickly integrated into Russia to ensure that any attempts to recapture the territories (in its perception) are defined as an attack on the Russian Federation, triggering the justification for the hypothetical use of nuclear arms according to its doctrine. Recognizing that it lacks the conventional military power to ensure its security and hold the illegally occupied territories, its belligerent nuclear rhetoric will increase to both deter and convince NATO to accept the “fait accompli”.
  • The slow, grinding land war in the east and south will continue to bit-by-bit annihilation of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, trying to weaken its will and ability to fight. It is trying to create the conditions for an operational pause. Its efforts to limit the Western supply of weapons through its continuous and long-lasting influence operations are a crucial element of the strategy.
  • As winter is slowly approaching, Russia will intensify its energy war against Europe to further destabilise the EU from within. It is a continuation of the Hybrid War which has been ongoing for years already.

Russia – with the potential support of some European countries – will probably start actively promoting the idea of a ceasefire and a “peace agreement” by September. Being in the position to threaten political stability in Europe, global food security and the economic viability of Ukraine, as well as occupying around one-third of Ukraine’s territory and maritime exclusive zones under its jurisdiction, it might – depending on Western resilience – find itself in a favourable negotiation position.

Russia will demand the lifting of sanctions, while reiterating its ultimatum as of 15 December last year, telling the West to withdraw NATO infrastructure and military forces from central and eastern Europe, stop operating in areas or airspace within striking distance of targets in Russia, and stop further eastward expansion. While it might accept the admission of Sweden and Finland, it will seek guarantees that neither Ukraine nor Georgia is ever accepted as members of the Alliance. It will also demand that the EU and NATO stop their support of Ukraine and accept it as a part of the Russian sphere of interest.

Irrespectively of what the West decides – and recognizing that this is the big “unknown” – Ukraine will never stop fighting. Accepting a peace agreement that does not meet the expectations of the Ukrainian population will not bring peace to Europe. A collapse in US and European resilience will not lead to a similar disintegration in Ukraine. The resistance movement seen in the occupied territories is an indication of what will follow.

As previously stressed, Russia does not have sufficient forces to occupy and control Ukraine. An occupation will require around 4-500,000 soldiers. To control the country over time, this number must be multiplied by three. An occupation requires a cycle in which the forces (1) operate in Ukraine, (2) rest, before (3) starting training for the next operational deployment.

Even a peaceful resolution on Russian terms involves extreme risks for Russia. Before the full-scale invasion, 33.3% of the Ukrainians stated that they would offer armed resistance. Both history and the last four months have proven that the will to resist is very real. Russia will become clogged down by the more than 500,000 Ukrainian partisans fighting in their rear, and its Armed Forces will become committed to the occupation of Ukraine. This will bind large parts of the Russian Armed Forces to Ukraine at the expense of security in other regions. The “peaceful resolution of the war” will eventually turn into a strategic defeat that will not only shatter any hope of great power status but could also undermine Russia itself.

A peaceful resolution on Russian terms involves, however, also extreme risks for the rest of Europe. This will only create an operational pause before Russia launches yet another phase in its efforts to subjugate all of Ukraine. Either way, since Ukraine will never stop resisting, Europe will have a war on its borders for years to come, with all the ripple effects that it entails.

If it gives in to Russia, it will have demonstrated a lack of resolve and resilience, helping convince Russia to uphold its hybrid war against the West. More crucially, having successfully resisted NATO it has demonstrated what to do for all other autocracies with regional or global ambitions.

While Ukraine is fighting for both its own as well as Europan security, its ability to uphold its state-controlled Armed resistance depends on how the West responds to any Russian attempts to dictate peace in the months to come.

Continued halfhearted support of Ukraine or an agreement to peace on Russian terms will undermine European security.

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