Russo Ukrainian War, Day 135: Putin says Russia “hasn’t even started anything yet” in Ukraine

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

Massive artillery attack on Donbas: Kramatorsk, Sloviansk, Avdeevka during the officially announced “pause” in the Russian Federation operation. Oil depot on fire in Russian-occupied Donetsk. Russian soldiers shoot civilians in the Luhansk Oblast. More than 200 Russians killed in the Ukrainian artillery strike. Ukraine Army eliminates three ammo depots in Ukraine’s south. Shelling of Kharkiv continues. Ukrainian forces continue to make gradual advances in the Kherson direction. World hunger rising as U.N. agencies warn of “looming catastrophe.” EU bureaucracy blocks 1.5 billion-euro loan to Ukraine. Putin says Russia “hasn’t even started anything yet” in Ukraine. State Duma of the Russian Federation hints to the USA about the return of Alaska.

Daily overview — Summary report, July 8

 

The situation on the ground in Ukraine. 8 July 2002. Source: Ukraine War Map.  ~

The situation on the ground in Ukraine. 8 July 2002. Source: Ukraine War Map. 

Key points of military expert Stanislav Haider’s assessment of the July 8 morning:

Donetsk Oblast. Ukrainian troops repulsed another Russian assault in the area of ​​Krasnopillia and Bohorodychne, and battles were fought in the area of ​​Dibrivne. In the direction of Novoluhanske, the situation is very difficult for Ukrainian forces: the fighting doesn’t subside there. The Russians suffer heavy losses with some units now having only 25-30% of their nominal personnel.

South of Donetsk Oblast. The Ukrainian Armed forces are entrenching in the newly captured positions in the direction of Volnovakha. Mariinka saw no changes, where the Russian troops “probably went on their 1000th assault” but failed again.

Kharkiv Oblast. There are no major changes in this area. Russian efforts to storm border settlements were unsuccessful. The Armed Forces of Ukraine carry out local counterattacks, conduct tactical actions at the Pechenihy reservoir and west of Izium. Near Russia’s Belgorod, the Russian military is preparing an operational reserve of up to 10 battalion tactical groups for the offensive on Sloviansk. This reserve is based on Russian conscripts drafted this spring. This reserve is likely to be dispersed in other directions, where the Russian troops are no longer able to counteract, for example, Volnovakha, Polohy, and Vasylivka directions.

Zaporizhzhia Oblast. In the area of ​​Polohy and Huliaypole, the artillery duels continue. The Russians transferred up to one battalion tactical group worth of troops in order to prevent the further Ukrainian advance. In the direction of Vasylivka, a Ukrainian counteroffensive resulted in the further entrenchment of the Ukrainian military on new frontiers.

Kherson Oblast. In the area of ​​Andriivka and Lozove (left bank of Inhulets), the Armed Forces of Ukraine repelled Russian counterattacks. On the Arkhanhelske-Vysokopillia line, the situation is quite sad for Russians as their troop reinforcements that arrived 2 days ago didn’t have a great effect on the situation. To the west and north of Kherson, “everything is quite good” for Ukraine.

Current situation in the Donbas. Source. ~

Current situation in the Donbas. Source.

Yesterday, Ukrainian artillery successfully worked out at ammunition warehouses in Shakhtarsk, Ilovaisk, Donetsk’s Petrovskyi district, an oil depot in Donetsk’s Kirovskyi district; Russian positions at Chornobaivk. Chistiakovo (formerly Torez), Snizhne, Debaltseve, and Khartsysk were also hit.

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, July 8, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below. 

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Russian attacks and troops locations. July 8 2002. Source: UK Defence Intelligence. ~

Russian attacks and troops locations. July 8 2002. Source: UK Defence Intelligence.

According to information from the General Staff as of 06.00 08.07.2022, supplemented by its [18:00 assessment].

Quote. “No significant changes in the composition and activity of units of the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus in the border areas of Brest and Gomel regions were noted in the Volyn and Polissya directions. [There is still a threat of missile and bomb attacks from the territory of this country.]

In the Siversky direction, Russian forces shelled the Myhalchyna Sloboda settlement of Chernihiv oblast with rocket artillery and mortars. [Yesterday, Russian forces, to demonstrate their presence, shelled the areas of Vovkivka, Kindrativka, and Myropillya of the Sumy region with artillery. In addition, it carried out airstrikes near Esmani and Myropillya.]

[In the Slobozhansky direction, Russian forces continue to concentrate efforts on holding positions and preventing the advancement of units of the Defense Forces of Ukraine deep into the temporarily occupied territory. During the day, tanks, artillery and MLRS  were used to shell settlements in the Kharkiv oblast along the contact line.]

Situation, Kharkiv. 8 July 2022. ~

Situation, Kharkiv. 8 July 2022.

  • In the Kharkiv direction, the occupiers continue to conduct defensive operations. Russian forces fired artillery, MLRS and tanks in the areas of Kharkiv, Mykilske, Lebyazhe, Udy, Dementiivka, Verkhniy and Stary Saltiv, Petrivka, Ruski Tyshki and Bayrak settlements. Made an airstrike near Petrivka.

  • Ukrainian soldiers resolutely suppressed an attempt of an enemy assault in the direction of Dementiivka.
  • [Yesterday, our soldiers nullified all Russian attempts to advance in the direction of Sosnivka. The assault was repulsed, and the occupiers retreated to their previously occupied positions.]
  • In the Sloviansk direction, Russian forces fired artillery of various calibres in the areas of Volobuyivka, Khrestyshche, Husarivka, Chepil, Mazanivka, Dolyna, Chervone, Dibrivne, Bohorodychne and Adamivka settlements. [The occupiers yesterday again unsuccessfully stormed Bohorodichne, trying to capture it completely. Our soldiers harshly suppressed this next attempt.] In the Bohorodichne district, our defenders today again inflicted losses on Russian forces during his next offensive attempt and pushed the invaders back.

[In the Donetsk region, Russian forces are still trying to establish complete control over the territory of the Luhansk oblast.]

  • [Russian forces carry out fire damage with artillery and MLRS in the areas of the settlements of Sulyhivka, Chervone, Nikopol, Novopavlivka, Karnaukhivka, Adamivka, Krasnopillya, Bogorodychne, Mazanivka, Dibrivne and Dolyna. Attack and army aircraft were used for strikes near Dolyna.]
  • In the Kramatorsk direction, the occupiers shelled the Siversk, Hryhorivka, Bilohorivka, Zolotarivka, Serebryanka, Verkhnokamyansky, Zvanivka, and Rozdolivka districts with barrel and jet artillery. Russian forces led an offensive in the direction of Verkhnokamyansky, with partial success. [Yesterday, Russian forces made unsuccessful attempts at assaults in the Hryhorivka and Verkhnokamyansk]
  • [The occupiers shelled the areas of Mayaki, Siversk, Serebryanka, Hryhorivka, Verkhnokamianske, Zolotarivka and Zvanivka settlements with artillery and MLRS. An enemy airstrike was recorded in the Serebryanka area.]
  • In the Bakhmut direction, Russian forces fired mortars, artillery and MLRS in the areas of Bakhmut, Spirne, Ivano-Daryivka, Berestove, Pokrovske, Vershyna, Volodymyrivka, Opytne, Toretsk, Zaytseve, Kodema, Klynove and New York settlements. Carried out airstrikes near Vershyna and Vuglehirska TPP. [Yesterday, Ukrainian soldiers inflicted losses on Russian forces when they tried to improve their tactical position near Vershyna and Berestove. Russian forces retreated in panic.]
  • The occupiers are advancing in the direction of Veselaya Dolyna and in the area of ​​the Spirne settlement, hostilities continue.
  • [The areas of the settlements of Vyimka, Ivanodar’ivka, Spirne, Berestove, Bilohorivka, Pokrovske, Yakovlivka, Soledar, Bakhmutske, Klynove, Vershina, Kodema, Mayorsk, and New York were shelled with artillery and MLRS. The enemy used army aviation near Shumy. It is fixed on the outskirts of the settlement of Spirne.]
  • In the Avdiyivka, Novopavlivka and Zaporizhzhia directions, firefights continue along the contact line with mortars, tanks, barrel and rocket artillery. Russian forces launched airstrikes near Vasylivka, Avdiivka, Novoselivka, Vesele, and Novomykhailivka.
  • [Russian forces attacked with attack aircraft near Kamianske.]
Situation, Kherson and Mykolaiv. 8 July 2022. ~

Situation, Kherson and Mykolaiv. 8 July 2022.

In the Pivdenny Buh directions, Russian forces are concentrating their efforts on preventing the offensive of the Defence Forces of Ukraine. Carries out a systematic fire effect from artillery and MLRS along the contact line to constrain the actions of our troops.

[In the waters of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, Russian forces keep up to six warships with high-precision weapons. The total number of sea-based cruise missiles of the “Kalibr” type can be up to 40 missiles.]

Ukrainian aviation and rocket artillery units continue to inflict fire damage on concentrations of manpower, military equipment and ammunition depots of Russian occupiers.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1545285113138774016

[The statements of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation about the alleged death of Ukrainian soldiers who were cleaning and installing Ukrainian flags on Zmiiny Island are not true.]

[Russian forces continue to suffer significant losses of personnel, weapons and military equipment on the territory of Ukraine. Thus, according to available information, the command of the Central Military District of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is forced to withdraw units from the 35th separate motorized rifle brigade. Instead, he is trying to attract unmotivated units of the 74th separate motorized rifle brigade.]

[Forced mobilization of personnel in the temporarily occupied territory of Luhansk region continues. The mobilized have little training and unsatisfactory equipment with means of protection. At present, the current shortage of units of the 2nd Army Corps of the 8th Combined Arms Army of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is about 8,000 people.]”

Military Updates

More than 200 invaders killed in Ukrainian artillery strike – media, Ukrinform reports. “As a result of a Ukrainian artillery strike on the Russian occupation forces’ base in the village of Horokhovatka, Kharkiv region, more than 200 invaders were killed. This was reported to Guildhall by a source in the Ukrainian intelligence community, according to Ukrinform.”

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1545165510890889222

Russian media and separatists say oil depot on fire in Russian-occupied Donetsk, Ukrayinska Pravda reports, citing TASS. “According to reports, an oil depot is on fire on Naftova Street in the Kirovskyi district of Donetsk. The separatists said that the fire was caused by a shelling conducted by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

On 5 July, Telegram channels controlled by the Russian-backed militants reported that in occupied Donetsk, an ammunition depot that the Russian invaders placed in the Kamaz Center in the Kyivskyi District of the city had exploded.”

Ukraine Army eliminates three ammo depots in Ukraine’s south, Ukrinform reports, citing Operational Command South. “On July 6, Russian forces lost 38 soldiers, a T-62 tank, two Sani 120 mm mortar systems, two armoured vehicles, four vehicles, as well as three ammunition depots in the Mykolaiv region and a fuel depot in Kherson.”

In Kherson, rioters burn bodies to hide their losses, the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU) claims. “In Kherson, rioters burn bodies to hide losses In order to hide the real number of losses, the occupiers regularly burn the bodies of killed soldiers. On the outskirts of the city, places with a large number of charred remains of people have been noticed more than once. Precise identification of their belonging is difficult due to significant fire damage.

To hide the fact that they are deliberate burning bodies, the occupying army try to pass it off as the consequences of artillery fire and subsequent fires. A powerful explosion was heard at the scene, and then a fire broke out. The access of employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations to eliminate the fire is prohibited.”

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

  • Russia is likely concentrating equipment on the front line in the direction of Siversk, approximately 8km west of the current Russian front line. Its forces are likely pausing to replenish before undertaking new offensive operations in Donetsk Oblast.
  • Ukrainian forces continue to make gradual advances in the southwestern Kherson sector.
  • There is a realistic possibility that Russia’s immediate tactical objective will be Siversk, as its forces attempt to advance towards its most likely operational goal of the Sloviansk-Kramatorsk urban area.
  • On 06 July 2022, heavy shelling continued along the Donetsk front line, but with few advances being made by Russia. Russian units involved in last week’s gains are now likely re-constituting.
  • On 05 July 2022, a law proposed by the Russian government on special economic measures passed its first reading in the Duma. The legislation is likely to be adopted and will give the authorities special powers over labour relations; the reactivation of mobilisation facilities; and to release assets from state reserves.
  • The legislation is likely an attempt by the Kremlin to put in place economic measures to support the ‘special military operation without a formal declaration of state mobilisation, which remains politically sensitive. It also allows Russia to avoid acknowledging it is engaged in a war or its failure to overcome Ukraine’s military that was outnumbered and outgunned.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of Monday 8 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 36900 (+250),
  • Tanks – 1637 (+35),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 3811 (+14),
  • Artillery systems – 828 (+13),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 247 (+0),
  • Air defence means – 107 (+0),
  • Aircraft – 217 (+0),
  • Helicopters – 187 (+0),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 2685 (+20),
  • Vessels/boats – 15 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 669 (+2),
  • Special equipment – 66 (+0),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – 155 (+0)

Russian enemy suffered the greatest losses (of the last day) in the Kramatorsk direction.

Humanitarian

Russians take medicine and equipment from hospitals in the occupied territories – Liashko, Ukrayinska Pravda reports. “In the occupied territories, the Russians are taking expensive equipment and medicines from hospitals. At the moment, it is not known where they are taking the looted goods, said Viktor Liashko, Minister of Healthcare of Ukraine, at a briefing on 6 July.

According to Liashko, the situation regarding the provision of medicines in the captured territories is critical. Russia has never opened a humanitarian corridor so that we could bring in certified medicines with proven effectiveness, which were purchased with budget funds and received from partners as humanitarian aid,” the Minister said. These are medicines for hospitals and pharmacies, which patients received under the “Affordable Medicines” programme. In particular, antihypertensive drugs and insulins. Unfortunately, it is impossible to buy them in pharmacies today. And the reserves we made before the war are at their limit. We receive constant notification that there are problems accessing medicines, Viktor Liashko notes.”

Ukrainian Governor Urges Evacuation of 350,000 Residents, Military.com reports. “The governor of the last remaining eastern province partly under Ukraine’s control urged his more than 350,000 residents to flee as Russia escalated its offensive and air alerts were issued across nearly the entire country.

Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said that getting people out of Donetsk province is necessary to save lives and enable the Ukrainian army better to defend towns from the Russian advance. The destiny of the whole country will be decided by the Donetsk region, Kyrylenko told reporters in Kramatorsk, the province’s administrative center and home to the Ukrainian military’s regional headquarters.”

Millions of refugees from Ukraine have crossed borders into neighboring 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 6 July:

Individual refugees from Ukraine recorded across Europe:                   5,650,272

  • Belarus, Hungary, Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia     3,010,057
  • Other European countries 2,640,215

Refugees from Ukraine registered for Temporary Protection or similar national protection schemes in Europe:     3,620,348

  • Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia 1,356,934
  • Other European countries 2,263,414

Border crossings from Ukraine (since 24 February 2022):                    8,792,763

Border crossings to Ukraine (since 28 February 2022):                       3,296,112

OHCHR recorded 11,152 civilian casualties in Ukraine as of July 3. 4,889 were killed (including 335 children) and 6,263 injured (including 521 children).

️️Environmental 

World hunger rising as U.N. agencies warn of “looming catastrophe”, Reuters reports. “World hunger levels rose again last year after soaring in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Ukraine war and climate change threatening starvation and mass migration on an “unprecedented scale” this year, according to U.N. agencies.

Up to 828 million people, or nearly 10% of the world’s population, were affected by hunger last year, 46 million more than in 2020 and 150 million more than in 2019, agencies including the Food and Agriculture Organization, World Food Programme and World Health Organisation said in the 2022 edition of the U.N. food security and nutrition report. World hunger levels remained relatively unchanged between 2015 and 2019.

“There is a real danger these numbers will climb even higher in the months ahead,” said WFP executive director David Beasley, adding price spikes in food, fuel and fertilisers stemming from the Russia-Ukraine war threaten to push countries into famine. The result will be global destabilisation, starvation, and mass migration on an unprecedented scale. We have to act today to avert this looming catastrophe, he added.”

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1545141325976276999

Ukrainian FM doubts grain exports will be unblocked soon, Ukrinform reports, citing Bloomberg. “Negotiations on the opening of grain corridors are ongoing, and there are several most important steps that are not easy to reach an agreement on, including those on security guarantees for Ukraine, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.

Kuleba said a number of logistical details need to be worked out in talks brokered by Turkey and United Nations between Ukraine and Russia, though breaking the deadlock will be difficult. Negotiations are ongoing and they are focused on discussing delivery routes and security mechanisms for cargo vessels. We are just about a few steps from the deal, but these steps are the most difficult. […] I don’t want to join the chorus of those who say the agreement will take place next week, Kuleba said.

He noted that negotiators haven’t yet reached an agreement on securing Odesa, Ukraine’s largest seaport, from Russian attack, as well as foreign patrols guarding non-military cargoes. We need firm guarantees. Those are the ones that are being worked out, the minister said.

Kuleba expressed scepticism that Moscow is willing to reach an agreement since its blockade provides leverage over Ukraine. They don’t want to take off this stranglehold from our economy, that’s why they are delaying this, Kuleba said.”

Europe, Facing Energy Shortages, Moves to Shore Up Providers, The New York Times reports. “Berlin and Paris are preparing bailouts as Europe braces for further cuts to gas supplies next week and economists warn of a recession. Leaders in Europe, facing their worst energy crisis in decades, are taking extraordinary steps to secure supplies for winter amid fears of fuel shortages and near-record electricity and natural gas prices.

In Berlin, lawmakers prepared to approve legislation that would pave the way for Germany to bail out the country’s largest importer of Russian gas. In Paris, the prime minister announced her government’s intention to take full control of France’s state-backed electric utility provider. There are mounting fears that skyrocketing energy costs, driven by steadily diminishing Russian gas shipments, will force energy companies into collapse — a spiral that Germany’s energy minister has likened to the way the fall of Lehman Brothers triggered the global financial crisis in 2008.

“The scale of the crisis and risk of disruption and further price spikes is now so big that there is a sense in the major E.U. governments that it requires national bailouts,” said Henning Gloystein, a director at Eurasia Group, a political risk firm. “Private companies won’t be able to shoulder these costs.”

The disruption is being felt across the continent as countries including Austria, France and the Czech Republic try to find enough gas to fill their storage tanks before the temperatures drop — and, many fear, before Russia stops shipping gas altogether, possibly as soon as late July.

But it is felt most acutely in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, which for years has relied on Russia for most of its gas. Looming is the threat that shortages next winter could lead to gas rationing and industry shutdowns — and, in turn, job losses and protests. Last month, Germany enacted the second stage of its three-step gas emergency plan; the third stage allows the government to introduce rationing.”

UN warns of difficulties that may await Ukrainians in winter, Ukrinform reports. “UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has warned that the winter months are very likely to be extremely harsh on millions of Ukrainian people affected by the war.”

Mariupol reconstruction will cost more than $14B, take up to 10 years – city council, Ukrinform reports. “The reconstruction of Mariupol will cost more than 14 billion dollars. The complete restoration of the city will take from seven to ten years,” the Mariupol City Council posted on Telegram with reference to city mayor Vadym Boychenko. The final figure will be named after the evaluation of the destroyed houses after the de-occupation. The European Investment Bank and large Ukrainian business have already declared their readiness to assist in reconstruction,” Boychenko noted. The cooperation with various experts from the cities that were destroyed during World War II – Gdańsk, Warsaw, Dresden, Rotterdam – is already ongoing, the official added.”

Legal 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1545245286485749762

Russian soldiers shooting people in Kreminna streets – Haidai, Ukrinform reports. “The information about the terror in Luhansk region, in particular in Kreminna city, is coming more and more often.

Everyone knows that the Russians persecute local residents with pro-Ukrainian views or those who simply refuse to cooperate with the occupiers. In Kreminna, terror has reached such a level that people are shot dead in the streets. Local collaborators help the occupiers as they hint at people with a pro-Ukrainian stance, and indicate their exact addresses, Head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration Serhiy Haidai posted on Facebook.”

Ukraine to summon Turkey envoy after Russian grain ship sailed, Reuters reports. “Ukraine will summon Turkey’s ambassador to seek clarification, its foreign ministry said on Thursday, a day after a Russian-flagged cargo ship suspected of carrying stolen Ukrainian grain left a Turkish port.

The dispute comes at a time of record food prices globally, as the conflict in Ukraine, the world’s largest grain supplier, has fuelled concerns about food security. It was “unacceptable” for the ship to have been allowed to leave, the Ukrainian ministry said after Refinitiv ship tracking data showed the vessel sailed from Turkey’s northwestern port of Karasu late on Wednesday.”

Russo-Ukrainian War, Day 135: Putin says Russia “hasn’t even started anything yet” in Ukraine ~~

347 children were killed, and 646 children injured, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of July 8. 2,116 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, and 216 of them are destroyed fully. 22,123 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 10,792 crimes against national security were registered.

Support 

Ukraine Cooperates Closer with NATO on Cyber Defense, European Pravda reports. “The Alliance pledged to strengthen Ukraine’s cyber defence against Russia’s relentless attacks at the NATO summit in Madrid.

Ukraine is already demonstrating considerable success with NATO’s support. Since the beginning of the war, none of the numerous hacker attacks have had a critical impact on the Ukrainian infrastructure.”

FM Kuleba calls on Germany to increase howitzers and MLRS supplies to Ukraine, Ukrinform reports. “I had a call with German Foreign Affairs Minister Annalena Baerbock ahead of the G20 ministerial meeting. We both agreed to put pressure on Russia. I emphasized the urgent need to increase supplies of German self-propelled howitzers and MLRS to Ukraine, Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.”

EU bureaucracy seen blocking 1.5 billion-euro loan to Ukraine, Ukrinform reports. “The executive arm of the European Union is blocking a 1.5 billion-euro loan for Ukraine as caution prevails over the country’s urgent needs. That’s according to Bloomberg referring to two European Commission officials. A commission official said the EU needs to make sure that it can absorb losses in the event of a Ukrainian default. The commission is seeking alternative solutions, which rely on EU member states or on the EIB to share part of the additional risks associated with these loans, the official added.

As Ukrinform reported earlier, the EU has approved a macro-financial assistance package for Ukraine worth EUR 9 billion, announced by the European Commission on May 18 and adopted by the European Council on June 24.”

New Developments 

  1. Putin says Russia just starting in Ukraine, peace talks will get harder, ReutersPresident Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia had barely got started in Ukraine and dared the West to try to defeat it on the battlefield while insisting that Moscow was still open to the idea of peace talks. Putin said the prospects for any negotiation would grow dimmer the longer the conflict dragged on. Russia accuses the West of waging a proxy war against it by hammering its economy with sanctions and stepping up the supply of advanced weapons to Ukraine.”
  2. China and Russia’s ties show ‘strong resilience’ and ‘strategic resolve’ – Wang Yi, ReutersChina and Russia have maintained normal exchanges and promoted cooperation in various fields and cast aside any “interference”, showing the “strong resilience” and, “strategic resolve” of their relations, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday. China will also support all efforts conducive to the peaceful resolution of the Ukraine crisis, Wang told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a meeting on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, according to a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry on Friday.”
  3. Russia’s Lavrov dismisses West’s ‘frenzied’ criticism at G20, ReutersAggressors’, ‘invaders’, ‘occupiers’ – we heard a lot of things today,” Lavrov told reporters. He said the West’s discussion “strayed almost immediately, as soon as they took the floor, to the frenzied criticism of the Russian Federation in connection with the situation in Ukraine. During the discussion, Western partners avoided following the mandate of the G20, from dealing with issues of the world economy, Lavrov said.”
  4. Russia says sanctions over Ukraine are a declaration of economic war by the West, ReutersRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday said attempts to isolate Moscow with sanctions was akin to a declaration of economic war by the West, dismissing what he said was “frenzied” criticism of the war in Ukraine. Speaking at a G20 gathering in Indonesia, Lavrov said Russia would now turn to China and India and other nations outside the West.”
  5. State Duma of the Russian Federation hints to the USA about the return of Alaska, Ukrayinska Pravda reports, citing RBC. “Vyacheslav Volodin, Head of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, has said that the USA should remember that Alaska was Russian and the Russian Federation can start “reclaiming” it.”
  6. EC preparing the legal framework for confiscation of Russian assets in favour of Ukraine – von der Leyen, UkrinformThe European Commission is considering the possibility of using frozen Russian assets to restore Ukraine and is preparing the appropriate legal framework. I think it is a matter of justice to consider this issue. We are working on the legal framework so that the assets of Russia and partly the assets of oligarchs can be used to restore Ukraine, von der Leyen said.”
  7. Russia warns humanity is at risk if the West seeks to punish it over Ukraine, the ReutersThe idea of punishing a country that has one of the largest nuclear potentials is absurd. And potentially poses a threat to the existence of humanity, Medvedev, now deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, said on Telegram on Wednesday.”
  8. Latvian Defense Ministry proposes the return of mandatory military service, The Washington PostLatvia’s Defense Ministry has proposed a return of mandatory military service for young men, citing the Russian threat as among the motivating factors. Such a plan would require a parliamentary vote

Assessment 

  1. On the war.

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Saturday 8 July, 2022:

Situation in Ukrine. July 8 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukrine. July 8 2022. Source: ISW.

Russian Defense Ministry Spokesperson Igor Konashenkov announced on July 7 that Russian forces in Ukraine are pausing to rest and regain their combat capabilities, confirming ISW’s assessment that Russian forces have initiated an operational pause. Konashenkov did not specify the intended length of Russian forces’ operational pause. As ISW previously assessed, Russian forces have not ceased active hostilities during this operational pause and are unlikely to do so. Russian forces still conducted limited ground offensives and air, artillery, and missile strikes across all axes on July 7. Russian forces will likely continue to confine themselves to small-scale offensive actions as they rebuild forces and set conditions for a more significant offensive in the coming weeks or months.

Key Takeaways

  • The Russian Ministry of Defense announced that Russian forces are conducting an operational pause to rest and reconstitute.
  • Russian forces continued efforts to advance toward Sloviansk from the southeast of Izium and may be setting conditions to advance from the southeast of Barvinkove—either toward Sloviansk or toward Kramatorsk.
  • Russian forces made marginal gains to the southeast of Siversk and continued offensive operations west of the Lysychansk area.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations to the south and east of Bakhmut.
  • Russian forces conducted a limited and unsuccessful attack north of Kharkiv City.
  • Ukrainian partisans are likely continuing to target Russian-controlled railways around Melitopol.

Russian oblasts are continuing to create their own ad hoc volunteer units to compensate for personnel losses in Ukraine.“ (unquote)

2. Consequences and what to do?

The US Is Expanding Its Goals in Ukraine, and That’s a Very Good Thing, Melinda Haring argues in The National Interest. If we want a lasting and durable peace in Europe, with Russia contained, the West should arm Ukraine to the teeth. Some are, however, arguing that “the Biden administration’s increasingly muscular actions in Ukraine may prompt Putin to go nuclear. The only sensible option, according to them, is to appease the bad guys.

If only. Backing down is dangerous. Confrontation is not. Now is the time for Washington to bring the hammer down on Russian president Vladimir Putin and his lackeys. Modern Russia has never been weaker, and Putin cannot afford to escalate. Washington needs to send planes, multiple launch rocket systems, and anti-aircraft systems so that Kyiv can win the war by Christmas. Retaking the Donbas is eminently doable. Crimea is another matter, and a much more difficult one. A long-term policy of refusing to recognize Crimea as part of Russia is probably the best we can do, as the United States did with the Baltic states in the Soviet period.

Here’s the deal: four months in, Putin has achieved none of his major goals and taken only two major cities while incurring enormous losses. [Nearly 2 months ago,] British intelligence estimated that Moscow has lost one-third of the armed forces it has committed. Yet he shows no sign of relenting, nor do the Ukrainians. […]

Moscow has pulled more troops away from Kharkiv in the north to focus on the Donbas and Ukraine’s coast. Russia’s strategy is failing. The Russian army isn’t ten feet tall, as most analysts and intelligence organizations believed at the outset, and the Ukrainian army is much taller than anyone thought. Andriy Zagorodnyuk, the former defense minister and chairman of the Center for Defense Strategies in Kyiv, repeatedly said that the Ukrainian forces underwent serious reform since 2014, and that their strength and motivation exceed anyone’s expectations. How right he was! […]

Realists, who began by predicting that Russia would overrun Ukraine in a matter of days, are now sounding the opposite alarm—that Ukraine may overrun Russia. Which is it? They’re now advising the United States to dial things down and push Kyiv and Moscow to the negotiating table as soon as possible. These counsels of despair ignore the fact that neither side is willing to negotiate in earnest at this point.

Another strange argument masquerading as fiscal prudence comes from the conservative Heritage Foundation, where oil paintings of Ronald Reagan are a common sight. The think tank pretended to support Ukraine while it urged Congress to sink Biden’s $40 billion supplemental Ukraine bill. One Heritage spokesperson claimed the bill is “short-sighted and puts America’s interests last.” Heritage is forgetting its heritage. In reality, as any good Reaganite knows, $40 billion is a trifling price to pay to defeat Putin and keep Europe free, safe, and whole, which, incidentally, happens to be in America’s national interest.

If we want a lasting and durable peace in Europe, with Russia contained, the West should arm Ukraine to the teeth. Kyiv will continue to fight. Putin cannot order a draft without enraging his countrymen. Nor does Russia command the resources to arm draftees properly, let alone possess the time and resources to train them, and the equipment ready to kit them out. The moment to strike is now. Putin’s madcap war will go on for months, if not years, and likely devolve into a frozen conflict if the West goes wobbly.

This is no time to flinch. Moscow has played the frozen conflict game to its advantage in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. No more. We can’t let Putin get away with it in Ukraine, where the stakes are vastly higher. In the real spirit of Reagan and the defense of free peoples against tyranny, the West must act now. As former General Phil Breedlove never tires of saying: “Right place, right time, right equipment.” This should be Washington’s mantra until Kyiv prevails.

Hans Petter Midttun: 

Needless to say, I strongly support Melinda Haring’s stand.

This is not a “war in Ukraine”, but a war between two fundamentally different world orders. An autocracy is trying to impose its will on liberal democracies. A dictator is trying to tear down the security architecture that has secured peace, stability and prosperity in Europe since 1945. President Putin is demanding that NATO step back from its commitment to defend Eastern and Central Europe. Freedom of Navigation – fundamental to global trade – is under assault. Russia has weaponized food, energy, and information with global consequences. The truth is being challenged. The world is facing famines, and a “terrorist state” is trying to blackmail us into submission to abandon our core values and principles.

The so-called “war in Ukraine” is only an object and a part of a wider strategy aiming at undermining European unity and breaking the transatlantic ties. The EU acknowledge that we have been exposed to a Russian hybrid war for years already.

If we fail to defend Ukraine, we fail to defend ourselves and everything that we hold precious. While Ukrainian independence and sovereignty are being challenged, democracy as a way of living is in peril. Giving up on Ukraine is, therefore, no alternative. Ramping up our efforts, however, are long overdue.

The threat of the use of nuclear arms is a part of Russia’s long-term strategy of intimidation and goes to the core of its hybrid war strategy. Russia has for years waged war in the cognitive space of populations, policy and decision-makers fueling both our fear of war and total annihilation. Lacking the will and/or ability to intervene directly in support of Ukraine, our political leaders have unfortunately themselves reinforced the message by actively fronting the idea that “a military intervention by NATO in the war in Ukraine might lead to a world war”. They have, however, at no point explained why and when a WW3 would be in the interest of the Russian Federation. That scenario does not exist. As Ukraine has argued for years, while Russia is both ruthless and immoral, it is not stupid. It is not seeking an open military confrontation with the West. Its strategy for more than 8 years has been designed to avoid an open military confrontation with NATO. It has succeeded due to our risk and casualty aversion.

When considering our options, we need to get some of our facts right.

Firstly, staying detached is not an option unless we are willing to give up our fundamental rights, stability and security. As stated above, this isn’t a “war in Ukraine” but a war between two fundamentally different world orders.

Secondly, negotiations are presently not on the table by either the aggressor or its victim. While that will change eventually, negotiating peace over the head of 42 million Ukrainians in conflict with their expectations and demands will not bring peace to Europe. The nation will continue to fight even if the state was defeated.

Thirdly, the longer the war lasts, the bigger the consequences. International media is increasingly highlighting the many challenges we are facing as a direct consequence of the Russian hostilities. Rising inflation, energy and food prices. Food and energy insecurity. Refugees and immigration. Disruption of trade. Anger, disappointment and demonstrations, and the consequential political fall-our. Nationalism and extremism are on the rise. The bottom line is that the longer we continue down the present lane, the tougher it will get. We run the risk of seeing unity turn into division.

Fourthly, time is critical. The moment Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblast are integrated into the Russian Federation our freedom of action will be greatly impaired. Russia is presently capable of retreating and making the case that it has achieved most of its strategic objectives of the so-called “special military operation”. This is presently only a question of revising its propaganda and disinformation to influence the Russian population. The moment Ukrainian territory becomes “Russian”, however, this becomes immensely more difficult.

Lastly, waging war against a much stronger military opponent has never been a sound strategy. Russia has for years been waging war against weaker countries only because NATO has repeatedly been reaffirming that it is not considering military intervention. A revision of this policy will have a huge and immediate impact on Russian strategic calculus.

Closing the sky over Ukraine, breaking the maritime blockade, and executing a humanitarian intervention is not only long overdue but is also getting increasingly urgent.

Backing down is dangerous. Confrontation is not.

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