Russo Ukrainian War, Day 137: 18 Russian ‘filtration camps’ for Ukrainians identified

 

Daily review, More

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

Ukraine targets Russia’s ammunition depots, undermining its artillery advantage. Russian army continues operations in Donbas and localized attacks northwest of Kharkiv City. The Russian Federation plans to annex Donbas, the Kharkiv Oblast, and southern Ukraine. Ukrainian troops mine areas on the border with Belarus. Russian fire six missiles at Mykolaiv. The US identified 18 Russian ‘filtration camps’ for Ukrainians. The US to send more HIMARS precision rockets to Ukraine and to provide nearly $368 million in additional humanitarian aid to support people inside Ukraine and refugees forced to flee their country. Russia continues the covert mobilization campaign.

Daily overview — Summary report, July 10

A map of the approximate situation on the ground in Ukraine as of 00:00 10/07/22. Source. ~

A map of the approximate situation on the ground in Ukraine as of 00:00 10/07/22. Source.

According to military expert Stanislav Haider, as of July 10,
Donetsk Oblast. Again, Russians tried to advance in the areas of Bohorodychne, Krasnopillia, Avdiivka, and Maryinka, and again predictably failed. There is a “gray zone” in the Verkhnokamyanske area where the fields and villages are changing hands. The situation is very difficult for the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Novoluhansky area, yet Ukrainians are holding on.

Kharkiv Oblast. After sending reinforcements, Russian forces resumed their offensive from the state border, without success. They have already started using the operational reserve stationed near Belgorod for “patching holes.”

Zaporizhzhia oblast and south of Donetsk Oblast. No major changes. The Armed Forces of Ukraine were mainly repelling Russian counterattacks on previously liberated settlements and frontiers. Artillery duels are ongoing in almost all directions.

Kherson Oblast. Mainly, the Ukrainian forces were repelling Russian counterattacks at the Inhulets river, northwest of Kherson, and in the Arkhanhelske-Vysokopillia area. The Russians had no success, yet their activities slow down the Ukrainian advancement.

The work of artillery. Last night saw almost the first time Ukrainian artillery units working at Russia’s Belgorod Oblast just as the Russians managed to gather an operational reserve there. There were also strikes on the Russian rear targets in Alchevsk (an ammunition depot), Torez, Khartsyzsk, Shakhtersk, Donetsk’s Kirovskyi and Kalininskyi districts, Illovaysk.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1546010360234344448?sfdsfs

Map of Ukraine’s HiMARS strikes on the Russian army’s supply facilities. “Over the past couple of weeks, about 30 hits have been recorded.” Source. ~

Map of Ukraine’s HiMARS strikes on the Russian army’s supply facilities. “Over the past couple of weeks, about 30 hits have been recorded.” Source.


The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, July 10, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below.

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“In the Volyn and Polissya directions, there are no changes in the activities of the units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus in the border areas of the Brest and Gomel regions. [To prevent reconnaissance of border areas with Ukraine by unmanned aerial vehicles, the use of electronic warfare systems has been activated. The threat of missiles and airstrikes from the territory and airspace of the Republic of Belarus remains.]

In the Siverskyi direction, Russian forces fired near Bachivsk, Myropillya, Volodymyrivka, Vovkivka, and Volfyne. Airstrikes were also carried out near the last two. Conducted aerial reconnaissance using UAVs. [Yesterday, Russian aircraft attacked near Volodymyrivka, Sumy oblast.]

[In the Slobozhansky direction:]

Situation in Kharkiv. 10 July 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Kharkiv. 10 July 2022. Source: ISW.

  • In the Kharkiv direction, Russian forces are concentrating their main efforts on preventing the advance of our troops. [Russian attempts to approach the city continue. Yesterday, Russian forces tried to advance in the direction of Kochubeivka – Dementiivka with offensive actions. Ukrainian soldiers pushed back the occupiers to their previously occupied positions.]
  • Fired artillery of various calibres in the areas of Kharkiv, Ruski Tyshky, Pytomnyk, Korobochkyne, Ivanivka, Dementiivka, Sosnivka, Rubizhne and Slatyne settlements. An airstrike was recorded near Verkhniy Saltiv. From the territory of the Belgorod region, the occupiers launched a rocket attack on the city of Kharkiv with an “Iskander” cruise missile.
  • [In the Male Vesele – Petrivka direction, the Defense Forces of Ukraine yesterday discovered and neutralized an enemy reconnaissance group.]

Russo-Ukrainian War, Day 137: 18 Russian ‘filtration camps’ for Ukrainians identified ~~

Situation in Donbas. 10 July 2022. Source: Ukraine War Map.

  • In the Slavyansk direction, Russian forces carried out fire damage to the positions of our troops, carried out combat reconnaissance with an assault group in the area of ​​the Dolyna settlement, had no success, and withdrew. [Yesterday, the occupiers, using artillery, were trying to create favourable conditions for further advancement in the direction of Izium – Sloviansk. Enemy army aircraft struck in the Chepil and Bohorodychne areas.]
  • [Our defenders successfully repelled all enemy assault attempts in the directions of Dovhenke – Krasnopilla, Pasika – Dolyna. Russian forces left. Carried out remote demining of a section of the highway near Velyka Komyshuvakha.]

[In the Donetsk direction, Russian forces continued to use the available means of fire to attack the positions of the Defense Forces and settlements close to the contact line. Delivered a missile-aircraft strike near Shumy.] Russian forces shelled the Dolyna, Dibrovne, Mazanivka, Bohorodychne, Adamivka, Andriivka, Virnopilla, Velyka Komyshuvakha, Krasnopilla, and Nova Dmytrivka districts with barrel and rocket artillery.

  • Russian forces did not conduct active operations in the Kramatorsk direction. The relocation of individual units to the Bilohorivka district was noted. It carried out shelling from mortars, artillery and tanks in the areas of settlements of Siversk, Pereyizne, Hryhorivka, Verkhnokamianske and Bilohorivka. Airstrikes near Sloviansk, Siversk and Serebryanka. [Yesterday, they conducted aerial reconnaissance with an unmanned aerial vehicle. The invaders also made an unsuccessful attempt to storm in the direction of Zolotarivka – Verkhnokamyanske. Our soldiers forced the occupiers to scatter through the bushes in the Zolotarivka area with effective fire.]
  • The occupiers did not take any active actions in the Bakhmut direction. Enemy shelling was recorded in the areas of Vershyna, Zaytseve, Pokrovske, Vesele, Ivano-Daryivka, and Vuhleghirska TPP settlements. Airstrikes were carried out near Berestove and Spirne
  • [With offensive actions, Russian forces tried to improve the tactical position in the direction of Yasinuvata – Avdiyivka. It has no success, he left with losses.]
  • [Russian attempt to advance in the Maryinka area was also unsuccessful.]
  • In the Avdiyivka, Kurakhivka, Novopavlivka, and Zaporizhzhia directions, Russian forces launched artillery fire in the areas of Opytne, Avdiivka, Maryinka, Pavlivka, Vugledar, Zolota Nyva, Komar, Hulyaipole, Orihiv, Mali Shcherbaki, and Poltavka settlements. It carried out airstrikes in the districts of Kamiyanka, Maly Shcherbaky and Novoandriivka. [Yesterday, Russian forces continued shelling the positions of our troops with mortars, barrel and rocket artillery along the contact line. Airstrikes were recorded in Avdiivka and Novoandriivka districts.]

In the Pivdenny Buh directions, Russian forces are concentrating their efforts on preventing the offensive of the Defense Forces of Ukraine. It shelled the Lozove, Posad Pokrovske, Ukrainka, Partyzanske, Lyubomyrivka, Kobzartsi, and Shyroke districts with artillery.

Russian forces keeps up to three carriers of high-precision weapons in the Black Sea in readiness for launching missile strikes on targets on the territory of Ukraine.

Ukrainian missile and artillery units struck two enemy command posts, accumulation of equipment and field ammunition depots in the Chornobayivka area. The losses of Russian occupiers are being specified.

[The occupiers are demoralized by the total resistance of the Ukrainian people. It is becoming more and more difficult for the Russian command to replenish the units that suffer losses in the senseless war it has unleashed.]”

Military Updates 

Residents of Kherson Oblast are urged to prepare shelters to “survive the counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine”, Ukrayinska Pravda reports. “Residents of occupied Kherson Oblast should leave the oblast, and those who cannot, should prepare for hostilities, look for shelter, water and food, said Yurii Sobolevskyi, First Deputy Chairman of the Kherson Oblast Council, said.

Ukrainian troops mine danger areas on the border with Belarus, Ukrayinska Pravda reports. “The commander of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Lieutenant General Serhii Naiev, visited the positions of Ukrainian soldiers on the border with Belarus and reported that the defenders were mining dangerous areas, [according to the press service of the command of the Joint Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine].”

Russian invaders fire six missiles from the S-300 system at Mykolaiv, Ukrinform reports, citing the Head of the Mykolaiv Regional Military Administration, Vitaliy Kim. “Six missiles [were launched] from S-300 at the city. Saint Mykola protects us. No victims have been reported. What can’t be said about the orcs after the work of our armed forces,” Kim wrote. Earlier Kim stated that the Russians are “remaking old S-300 missiles”, intended for air targets, for hitting ground targets. They are not accurate, so they hit various places.”

Reznikov has revealed how many soldiers defend Ukraine, Ukrayinska Pravda reports, citing Ukrinform. “At the moment due to mobilisation up to 700 thousand soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, 90 thousand servicemen of the National Guard of Ukraine, nearly 60 thousand border guards, and 100 thousand servicemen of the National Police are deployed. Oleksii Reznikov, the Minister of Defence of Ukraine, has reported that over a million people in uniform work for the sake of security and defence of Ukraine and called upon businesses to support this sector and invest into it more actively.”

Russia continues the covert mobilization campaign, according to Kyiv Independent, citing Ukraine’s Center for Countering Disinformation. “Over 22,000 vacancies have been advertised in Russia calling for military personnel, including snipers, gunners, drivers, medical instructors, and other experts. “These vacancies indicate the losses of the Russian army and the general problem with recruitment of military personnel, says the centre.”

In the Kherson region, invaders were unable to hire enough locals to form a “police” force, Ukrinform reports. “The Russian occupation forces in the Kherson region have not succeeded in setting up a police unit made up of local inhabitants. Therefore they were forced to bring in cadres from the so-called “LPR” and “DPR,” the internationally unrecognized Russian puppet entities in eastern Ukraine.”
According to British Defence Intelligence, (last 48 hours): 

  • Russian artillery continues to strike the Sloviansk area of the Donbas from around Izium to the north and near Lysychansk to the east. Russian forces have likely made some further small territorial advances around Popasna.
  • Fires from Izium continue to focus along the axis of the E40 main road. Control of the E40, which links Donetsk to Kharkiv, is likely to be an important objective for Russia as it attempts to advance through Donetsk Oblast.
  • Russia is moving reserve forces from across the country and assembling them near Ukraine for future offensive operations. A large proportion of the new infantry units are probably deploying with MT-LB armoured vehicles taken from long-term storage as their primary transport. While MT-LBs have previously been in service in support roles on both sides, Russia has long considered them unsuitable for most front-line infantry transport roles. It was originally designed in the 1950s as a tractor to pull artillery, has very limited armour, and only mounts a machine gun for protection.
  • In contrast, most of Russia’s first echelon assault units were equipped with BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles in February, featuring armour up to 33mm thick and mounting a powerful 30mm autocannon and an anti-tank missile launcher. Despite President Putin’s claim on 07 July 2022 that the Russian military has ‘not even started’ its efforts in Ukraine, many of its reinforcements are ad hoc groupings, deploying with obsolete or inappropriate equipment.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of Sunday 10 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 37300 (+100),
  • Tanks – 1641 (+3),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 3823 (+8),
  • Artillery systems – 834 (+2),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 247 (+0),
  • Air defence means – 108 (+1),
  • Aircraft – 217 (+0),
  • Helicopters – 188 (+1),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 2694 (+7),
  • Vessels/boats – 15 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 676 (+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 

The US identified 18 Russian ‘filtration camps’ for Ukrainians, a diplomat says, The New York Times reports. “Courtney Austrian, the deputy head of the US mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said that Russian officials — with the help of proxy groups — had set up “filtration camps” in schools, sports centers and cultural institutions in parts of Ukraine recently seized by their forces.

“At least 18 filtration locations along both sides of the Ukraine-Russia border have been identified thus far,” she said in a speech on Thursday to members of the organization, an international security monitoring group in Vienna.

Testimonies given to The New York Times and other news outlets by people who have escaped Russia after their “filtration” have included accounts of interrogations, of beatings and torture of people deemed to have ties to Ukraine’s armed forces, and of disappearances. After the filtration camps, Ukrainians have been sent on to cities across Russia — often to regions near China or Japan, according to the testimonies.

Ms. Austrian said US assessments indicated that Russian officials were preparing for filtration procedures even before starting their invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. “Russian officials likely created lists of Ukrainian civilians deemed threatening to Russia’s control of Ukraine, including anyone with pro-Ukraine views, such as political figures and activists, as well as security personnel, for detention and filtration,” she said.

She called the filtrations a “Stalinistic process,” adding that they were the latest in a long Russian history of using mass deportation and depopulation to try to subjugate and control people. Ukraine’s government has said that about 1.6 million people have been forcibly relocated to Russia — including about 250,000 children. Those numbers are impossible to independently verify.”

Ukraine’s foreign minister at G20 accuses Russia of playing “hunger games”, Reuters reports. “Ukraine’s Foreign Minister on Friday accused Russia of playing “hunger games” and said it has “no place at any international fora”, during a virtual address to a G20 meeting of his counterparts in Bali.

Dmytro Kuleba said the international community had no right to allow Russia to blackmail the world with high energy prices, hunger and security threats, according to a statement from his office.”

Environmental

Navigation via Danube-Black Sea Canal resumes following the liberation of Zmiinyi (Snake) Island, Ukrayinska Pravda reports, citing the Administration of Sea Ports of Ukraine. “Given the liberation of Zmiinyi Island from Russian troops and the build-up of a large number of ships waiting to proceed through the Sulina Canal [in Romania], it is possible to use the channel of the Bystre estuary of the Danube-Black Sea waterway for the entry/exit of ships transporting agricultural produce.”

A Global Crisis: Tackling the International Fallout of Russia’s War in Ukraine, a report from Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. “More than four months since the start of the war, it is not just the Ukrainian people who are paying the price for Putin’s invasion. Soaring food and energy prices worldwide are threatening to plunge hundreds of millions of people worldwide into poverty and a state of precariousness – and, in the worst case, ignite new conflicts elsewhere. The cost-of-living crisis on our own doorstep has made clear that even the developed world cannot afford to ignore the global fallout of the conflict. But for parts of the developing world, the situation isn’t just serious, it’s desperate. And it’s not a short-term situation either – the international community needs to act now to preempt a pricing crisis that threatens to play out or even escalate over years to come.

Russia and Ukraine – known collectively as “the world’s breadbasket” – normally account for almost a third of the world’s wheat exports and 80 per cent of sunflower-oil exports. Russia is one of the world’s top fertiliser exporters and is a crucial source of gas and energy for countries worldwide. But Putin’s invasion has thrown all of this into disarray.

Soaring food and energy prices are not solely the result of the Russia-Ukraine war, but the conflict is adding an unsustainable burden to an already precarious situation. The developing world is facing a perfect storm as the fallout of the conflict coincides with last year’s poor harvests, climate events and already high energy prices. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, in March the world food-price index reached its highest level since records began in 1990.

The world cannot afford to ignore Russia’s needless blockade of Ukraine’s food exports. Urgent efforts are needed – with the close involvement of multilateral organisations such as the African Union, which represents those most affected – to convince Russia to lift its blockade of Ukrainian ports, where a crucial 20 million tonnes of wheat are estimated to be held up.

But lifting the blockade alone won’t be enough to undo the damage that’s already been done to global food security. This is a crisis that will play out over years, not months, and so we identify three key areas that threaten to drag the world into a protracted period of disruption – without immediate action:

  • Disruption to Ukraine’s future planting seasons: Damage to equipment, soil and storage facilities will limit Ukrainian production capabilities for years to come, even after the conflict ends.
  • Disruption to global fertiliser supplies: Soaring prices are compromising countries’ abilities to provide for themselves in the coming year, at just the point they need self-sufficiency the most.
  • Disruption to political stability worldwide: Food shortages threaten to trigger new conflicts and civil unrest across the globe, subjecting millions more to political turmoil.

None of this means that Ukraine should be pressured into seeking an end to the war before the time is right: a negotiated end to the conflict must be completed on Ukraine’s terms and timeline. In the meantime, however, the international community needs to wake up to the scale of the fallout beyond Ukraine’s borders, not only by doing what it can to address the immediate crisis, but also by recognising that without clear-sighted action, hundreds of millions of people are facing years of insecurity.

This will mean coordinated international action to lift the Russian Navy’s Black Sea blockade and ensure food products currently sitting in Ukrainian ports can be exported to increasingly unstable markets. But it also calls for longer-term action that embraces new tech and regulatory structures to help countries diversify their import sources and boost yields of crops produced at home in the long term. This is the only way to ensure the world is put on the front foot for this crisis and the next.”

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1545751803450515456

Legal 

Russians and collaborators steal what cars are left in occupied Mariupol – Intelligence Directorate, Ukrayinska Pravda reports, citing the press service of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU). “Russian occupiers and those collaborating with their regime are stealing residents’ cars in Mariupol. In temporarily occupied Mariupol, the number of thefts of remaining private vehicles is rapidly increasing. Thefts occur both from open areas or parking lots, and closed garages.”

Russo-Ukrainian War, Day 137: 18 Russian ‘filtration camps’ for Ukrainians identified ~~

347 children were killed, and 648 children injured, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of July 10. 2,116 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, 216 of them are destroyed fully. 22,504 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 10,922 crimes against national security were registered.

Support


US to send more HIMARS precision rockets to Ukraine, Defense News reports. “The United States is sending to Ukraine up to $400 million in additional military equipment and supplies, including four more medium-range rocket systems and ammunition, as the embattled nation tries to repel Russia’s advances in the Donbas region.

The four additional M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, will bring the total number sent to Ukraine to a dozen, a senior defense official told reporters in a briefing Friday. The official said the first eight HIMARS were particularly useful for Ukraine, as the fight in the Donbas has largely evolved into an artillery duel. The official refuted Russian reports that two of the delivered HIMARS were destroyed, and said all eight are accounted for and still in use by Ukraine.

The military equipment being drawn down from US stockpiles and sent to Ukraine also includes three tactical vehicles, demolition munitions, counter-battery systems and spare parts, among other equipment, so Ukraine can repair and maintain other systems that allies have sent in recent months.

The shipment will also include 1,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition, which the defense official described as a precision-guided type that would allow the Ukrainian military to better hit specific targets, which would save ammunition. The official would not confirm whether these shells will be the guided Excalibur artillery rounds, but said they have not been part of previous security assistance packages to Ukraine.”

Ukraine pleads for more weapons, chief negotiator sees turning point in the war, Reuters reports. Ukraine urged its allies on Friday to send more weapons as its forces dug in to slow Russia’s military advance through the eastern Donbas region, while its chief negotiator said a turning part was approaching in the conflict.

Signalling that the Kremlin was in no mood for compromise, President Vladimir Putin said continued use of sanctions against Russia for the invasion it launched in February risked causing “catastrophic” energy price rises. […] Moscow’s envoy to London offered little prospect of a pull-back from parts of Ukraine under Russian control. Ambassador Andrei Kelin told Reuters that Russian troops would capture the rest of Donbas in eastern Ukraine and were unlikely to withdraw from land across the southern coast. Ukraine would eventually have to strike a peace deal or “continue slipping down this hill” to ruin, he said. […]

Mykhailo Podoliak, the Ukrainian chief negotiator in stalled talks with Russia, said a turning point was starting to take shape as Russian forces were forced to take an operational pause due to losses and to resupply.

“It is clear that they have to redeploy things, bring forward new troops and weaponry, and this is very good. A certain turning point is beginning to take shape because we are proving we are going to attack storage facilities and command centres,” Podoliak told Ukraine’s 24 Channel television. […]

Ukrainian officials, echoing comments by the deputy commander of the infantry unit outside Siversk, said they needed more high-grade Western weapons to shore up the their defences.

US President Joe Biden signed a new weapons package worth up to $400 million for Ukraine on Friday, including four additional high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) and more ammunition. […]

The United States started providing the key precision rocket weapon system to Ukraine last month after receiving assurances from Kyiv that it would not use them to hit targets inside Russian territory. Kyiv has attributed battlefield successes to the arrival of the HIMARS.”

UK training programme gets under way, BBC reports. “The first cohort of Ukrainian soldiers have started a new training programme in the UK to help in the fight against invading Russian troops. The programme will give volunteer recruits the necessary skills to fight on the front line, the MoD said. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said it was the “next phase” in the UK’s support for Ukrainian armed forces.

Around 1,050 UK service personnel are being deployed to run the programme at sites across the UK – more than 1,000 miles away from the battlefields of the Donbas in eastern Ukraine. The UK-led programme aims to train up to 10,000 Ukrainians in 120 days, but would be “open to more”, the defence secretary said.”

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1545744828679348224

New Developments

  1. Ukrainians collected UAH 400M for the Army of Drones project, Ukrinform reports, citing Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Digital Transformation. “During the first week since the Army of Drones project started, Ukrainians have donated a total of UAH 400 million. On July 1, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the Ministry of Digital Transformation and the UNITED24 platform announced the launch of the Army of Drones project. This is a comprehensive program that includes the systematic purchase of drones, their repair and quick replacement, as well as a pilot training course.
  2. Russia signals an end to U.N. aid into Syria from Turkey, ReutersRussia on Friday signaled an end to a long-running U.N. aid operation into northwest Syria from Turkey after vetoing a one-year extension and then failing in its own push for a six-month renewal and greater international reconstruction efforts. The current U.N. Security Council mandate for U.N. humanitarian aid – including food, medicine, and shelter – to some 4 million people in opposition-controlled northwest Syria from Turkey expires on Sunday.”
  3. President Zelensky dismisses ambassadors to Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic, Norway, and India, UkrinformUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed Ukraine’s ambassadors to Germany, Hungary, Norway, the Czech Republic, and India. The relevant presidential decrees, No. 479/2022-No. 483/2022, were published by the Office of the President of Ukraine. This rotation is a normal part of diplomatic practice. New representatives of Ukraine will be appointed. Candidates are being prepared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zelensky said.”

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Saturday 10 July, 2022:

Situation in Ukraine. 10 July 2022. Source: ISW ~

Situation in Ukraine. 10 July 2022. Source: ISW

Russian-backed occupation authorities in Kharkiv Oblast stated that Kharkiv Oblast is an “inalienable part of Russian land,” indicating that the Kremlin likely intends to annex part or all of Kharkiv Oblast.[1]The Russian occupation government in Kharkiv Oblast unveiled a new flag for the occupation regime in Kharkiv Oblast containing the Russian imperial double-headed eagle and symbols from the 18th century Kharkiv coat of arms.[2] The Russian occupation government stated that the imagery in the flag is a “symbol of the historical roots of Kharkiv Oblast as an inalienable part of Russian land,” indicating that the Kremlin seeks to annex portions of Kharkiv Oblast to Russia and likely seeks to capture all of Kharkiv Oblast if it can.[3] The Kharkiv Oblast occupation government’s speed in establishing a civilian administration on July 6 and introducing martial law in occupied Kharkiv Oblast on July 8 further indicates that the Kremlin is aggressively pursuing the legitimization and consolidation of the Kharkiv Oblast occupation administration’s power to support this broader territorial aim.[4] The Kharkiv Oblast occupation government’s explicit use of Imperial Russian imagery and rhetoric pointing clearly at annexation, rather than using imagery and rhetoric supporting the establishment of a “people’s republic,” reinforces ISW’s prior assessment that the Kremlin has broader territorial aims than capturing Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts or even holding southern Ukraine.[5]

The Kremlin has likely used a leaked letter from mothers demanding the ban of journalist activity on the frontlines to promote self-censorship among pro-Russian milbloggers and war correspondents. Russian opposition outlet Meduza released a letter from mothers of an Astrakhan-based platoon that blamed Kremlin-sponsored Izvestia war correspondent Valentin Trushnin for reporting the details of Russian positions in a way that led to the deaths of their sons.[6] Meduza removed the letter from its website on July 8. First Deputy of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) Information Minister and milblogger Daniil Bezsonov reported noticing suggestions from unspecified “faceless experts” to censor his posts regarding Russian war efforts.[7] Bezsonov noted that Russian war correspondents received necessary accreditations from the Kremlin and follow protocol when reporting from the frontline to refrain from exposing Russian positions. Bezsonov also argued that Russian war correspondents took the initiative to keep Russians updated on the situation on the front line from the first days of the war, while Russian “big bosses” failed to launch an information campaign to counter claimed Ukrainian information warfare. Several Russian milbloggers shared Bezsonov’s remarks, with proxy serviceman Maksim Fomin stating that Russian Defense Ministry briefings are not sufficient to replace combat footage.[8]

The Kremlin faces challenges directly censoring pro-Russian milbloggers and war correspondents but will likely continue to look for opportunities to promote self-censorship. Moscow has not demonstrated the ability to compel Telegram to delete or control the content of channels, and so would likely have to threaten individual milbloggers with legal or extra-legal action to stop them from publishing on that platform. Russia could prevent war correspondents publishing in regular media outlets from writing stories or deprive them of access to the front lines. But both the milbloggers and the war correspondents are explicitly pro-war and patriotic, often ultra-nationalist, with large followings likely concentrated among Russian President Vladimir Putin’s key supporters. Threatening or suppressing them directly could backfire if Putin’s motivation in doing so is to stop them from undermining support for the war or questioning authority. Actions such as the use of this leaked and possibly faked letter to stoke self-censorship or induce pressure from the readers of these blogs and articles toward self-censorship may be an effort to achieve the Kremlin’s desired effects without the risk of having them backfire.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces continued to launch unsuccessful assaults northwest of Sloviansk and conducted offensive operations east of Siversk from the Lysychansk area.
  • Russian forces continued localized attacks northwest of Kharkiv City, likely in an effort to defend Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) in the area.
  • Russian forces continue to face personnel and equipment shortages, relying on old armored personnel carriers and launching new recruitment campaigns.
  • Russian forces continued to set conditions for the annexation of Donbas, Kharkiv Oblast, and southern Ukraine.

Ukraine targets Russia’s ammunition depots, undermining its artillery advantage, The Kyiv Independent reports. “Now that Ukraine has acquired advanced Western artillery and rocket systems, it has gradually begun a campaign to take out Russia’s key military infrastructure. Over the last four weeks, nearly 20 Russian ammunition depots in Russian-occupied Donbas and Ukraine’s south, including some of the largest, have been hit or completely destroyed. 

As Russia continues with its slow but steady advance in Ukraine’s eastern region of Donbas, Ukraine’s military is working to undermine Russia’s overwhelming artillery power and disrupt its logistics deep in occupied territories.

Devastating strikes upon Russian command posts have become increasingly frequent since mid-June when Ukraine began using the first of four M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, provided by the US, nearly a week before their arrival in Ukraine was publicly announced. […]

Ukrainian campaign to target Russian munition depots. Source: The Kyiv Independent. ~

Ukrainian campaign to target Russian munition depots. Source: The Kyiv Independent.

The map locates the biggest Ukrainian strikes upon Russian logistics centers and ammunition depots in occupied territories (The Kyiv Independent)

[…] Ukrainian strikes upon Russian facilities continue on a daily basis. 

As a result, by July 7, Russia had lost most of its key ammunition depots, and many of its smaller depots in occupied Donbas. Notably, many key targets as much as 50-80 kilometers into Russian-controlled territory have been successfully destroyed. This suggests that, along with Western-made rocket systems, Ukraine has also managed to improve its reconnaissance, situational awareness, and target indication, to the point of being able to identify targets even of medium importance deep in Russian-occupied areas.

According to Russian military bloggers, such as the notorious Russian ultranationalist Igor Girkin, these “unpunished” Ukrainian strikes have already forced the Russian military to be more conservative with its artillery rounds, in preparation for a possible Ukrainian counter-strike in Donbas. In early July, another Russian military blogger Andrey Morozov (widely known as “Murz”) indicated growing “munitions hunger” due to Ukrainian attacks, not only in terms of 122-millimeter rounds but also 152-millimeter systems, which are also waning. Russia’s overwhelming artillery dominance, in terms of the number of pieces and its seemingly infinite supply of ammunition, is a key factor behind its painful advances in Donbas. 

According to Ukraine’s data, Russia’s supply of artillery outnumbers Ukraine’s by 10 to 1. Before Ukraine acquired Western-provided NATO-standard 105- and 155-millimeter artillery systems and munitions, the disparity between rounds fired daily by Ukraine’s and Russia’s units in some cases reached 50 to 1,500, respectively, according to sources in Ukraine’s military. The effect has been devastating. 

On June 28, Ukraine’s top general Valeriy Zaluzhniy reported that Russia, just at the front line between Kharkiv Oblast and Sievierodonetsk in Luhansk Oblast, delivered 270 artillery strikes, firing nearly 45,000 rounds in one single day. The ongoing campaign in Donbas showed that artillery dominance compensates for the weak performance of Russia’s infantry. […]

The arrival of HIMARS, even in such small quantities, has been much of a game-changer. […] On July 7, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council secretary Oleksiy Danilov said Ukraine currently already had a total of nine HIMARS and “similar systems,” but that Ukraine would need dozens more. 

The deployment of HIMARS has also let the Ukrainian military resume the wide use of Tochka-U ballistic missiles, which Ukraine had been reserving for the most critical operations. Many Russian ammunition depots have been destroyed with these missiles. The very presence of HIMARS, with their precise M30/M31 GMLRS rockets with an effective range of nearly 80 kilometers, is also having an indirect impact on Russian munitions logistics in the rear.

Due to the long effective range of HIMARS, Russia, severely dependent on railroad transportation, has to unload ammunition from trains much farther from the frontline, at a distance of nearly 100 kilometers in many cases. This stretches thin Russian ground lines of communications between front-line artillery units and munitions depots. […]

“One must clearly understand that the Soviet Union produced munitions enough to wage a thousand years of war,” says Igal Levin, a Ukraine-born Israeli defense expert. But — if all those forwarded bases, depots, repair facilities, all of the logistics chains are destroyed — they will have to deal with the need to bring supplies from beyond the Ural Mountains, then be thinking how to store and distribute them, how to bring munitions to artillery. So even if this does not shut up the Russian artillery completely, reducing its ability to deliver fire by 50%, to 3,000 rounds a day or even less, will be of a considerable effect on the battlefield.”

Reznikov names 3 scenarios for the end of the war, Ukrayinska Pravda reports, citing Interfax-Ukraine. Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov has named three possible scenarios for the end of the war with Russia.

“The first scenario would be approximately the same as the “good will” the Russians pronounced when they fled from Kyiv Oblast, Chernihiv Oblast, Sumy Oblast and Zmiinyi (Snake) Island. I therefore think that it would be broken into a chain of several events. Firstly, we would take up the position prior to 24 February of this year, then there will be some conversations about the status of the previously occupied Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea, but at the table with our powerful partners. According to Reznikov, there will definitely be no “Minsk III” and there will be no capitulation agreements: “No one will negotiate with a gun to their head.”

The second option is that we will gradually grind down the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, because this is actually a war of attrition. They have more people, territory, tanks, planes, etc., but not everything is modern, everything is ancient, and they are currently using the principle of a meat grinder. According to the minister, the second option for victory would not be so quick: By the end of this year, perhaps right at the beginning of the new year.

The third is more dramatic for the Russian Federation: it is the collapse of the Russian Federation, it is a march past of sovereignties into several different subjects: Tatarstan, Bashkirstan, in the East, etc. We will definitely see it in our lifetime, but this is a rather long story.”
2. Consequences and what to do? 
Ukraine war tactics reaffirm US Army’s modernization thrust, service chief says, Defense News reports. “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shown the US Army that its modernization priorities are properly focused, Gen. James McConville, the service’s chief of staff, told reporters […].

The US Army’s forces in Europe are busy supporting and training Ukrainian troops and are capturing lessons learned from the fight in the country, according to McConville. He said that Ukraine’s deputy land forces commander has provided war insights to the US military as well as to other NATO countries who are seeking to help the country defend itself against Russia’s invasion.

McConville stressed combat leadership skills as key for success in large-scale, combined-arms operations, in addition to logistics, training and the ability to disperse command-and-control across the battlefield and at every echelon. The fighting has also shown the importance of long-range precision fires, he added. […]

The Army set up a four-star command less than five years ago — Army Futures Command — that is focused on developing and fielding capabilities across six major modernization priorities: Long-Range Precision Fires, Next-Generation Combat Vehicles, Future Vertical Lift, the Network, Air-and-Missile Defense, and Soldier Lethality.

The Army is also focused on countering unmanned aircraft systems on the battlefield, a crucial capability as flying drones continue to show how vulnerable even heavily armored tanks can be to strikes from above. McConville noted how artillery that is being used in the fight in Ukraine has been targeted by Russian UAS, requiring counter-drone systems to protect the cannons.

The need for armored fighting vehicles is also on display in Ukraine, reaffirming the US Army’s plans to pursue next-generation combat vehicle efforts, according to McConville. […] The Ukrainian military and Eastern European allies also wants more helicopters, and the Army is seeing long-range capabilities as well as greater lethality and stand-off as particularly vital features in a future vertical lift aircraft, McConville said. […]

Having a robust information network is also proving important, McConville noted. The Army is pursuing a modern, resilient battlefield network as one of its top priorities. Ukraine has struggled with its communications systems.

Also vital to the fight are better air-and-missile defense capabilities, the chief stressed. The Ukrainians have been very effective with their Stinger [man-portable air defense systems] and their [other] air defense systems, McConville said.

Bringing all those capabilities together on the battlefield makes the difference, he added. The notion of speed, range and convergence, the ability to locate targets on the battlefield and quickly service them with lethal means is going to be very, very important now and even more important in the future.”

US-supplied artillery is helping Ukraine’s defense. Send more now, the Editorial Board of The Washington Post writes. “Fresh from completing the conquest of Luhansk province in eastern Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin of Russia ordered his troops to rest and issued a kind of challenge to Ukraine’s NATO backers. “Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield,” he said Thursday. “What can you say? Let them try.” President Biden responded to Mr. Putin a day later in exactly the right way: by announcing an additional military aid package for Kyiv worth $400 million, which included four new HIMARS long-range rocket launchers. This will bring the total number of US HIMARS transferred to Ukraine to 12; the German and British governments have pledged similar systems.

Mr. Biden’s announcement, which was not unexpected, makes sense both tactically and strategically. Tactically, the war in Ukraine has evolved into a bloody artillery duel, with Russia holding the advantage because of its superior quantities of weapons systems and ammunition. Pushed back from its failed attempts at swallowing up the whole country — including Kyiv, the capital — via a combined air, sea and land attack four months ago, Russia has met with greater success by shelling swathes of southeastern Ukraine into submission, albeit at great cost to its own men and materiel. The HIMARS system, capable of firing precisely targeted missiles at a range of more than 40 miles, can help Ukraine counter Moscow’s primitive attacks, primarily by blowing up the depots where it stores ammunition. To be sure, it takes a few weeks to train Ukrainian troops to operate the HIMARS, but they have reportedly used them to destroy numerous Russian weapons warehouses in recent days […].

Stepping up the HIMARS supply is right in a longer-term, strategic sense because the only hope for an eventual peace on terms favorable to Ukraine lies in making this war too costly for Mr. Putin to continue. On that point as well, Mr. Putin was full of bluster Thursday, claiming that he is “not rejecting peace talks but those who are should know that the further it goes, the harder it will be to reach agreement with us.” His belief that time is on Russia’s side is both apparently sincere and — unfortunately — not without rational basis. Economic sanctions are hurting Russia but also the Western countries that have imposed them; Ukraine is suffering enormous casualties. Mr. Putin has long believed that the Soviet Union’s fall was a failure not of the system but of its leadership’s will, which he will not repeat. There might be no way to cure him of these beliefs, but if there is, it lies in thoroughly punishing his aggression.

The other reason to bolster Ukraine’s capabilities, urgently and substantially, is that Kyiv’s forces must be given a fair shot at counterattacking after the Russian offensive punches itself out, which it might already be doing. Ukraine’s army is pushing toward Russian-held territory in the southwest, near the strategic city of Kherson, and there is hope that it may yet be recaptured. The decision to negotiate an end to the war is, as Mr. Biden has repeatedly acknowledged, Ukraine’s. Enabling Ukraine to do so from a position of strength, however, is up to Washington.”
Hans Petter Midttun:
The war has been ongoing for close to 8 years and 5 months and many – ironically –fear it is turning into a protracted war.  The attempted “Blitzkrieg” starting on 24 February has become the point of reference for many, while in reality, it was only a short-lived deviation of an already drawn-out war. While the low-intensity hybrid war has turned into a predominantly all-arms conventional war, its aim and objectives have remained the same. And it was always protracted.

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia had barely gotten started in Ukraine and dared the West to try to defeat it on the battlefield.

More than 37,0300 Russian soldiers have been killed in action, which means its total number of casualties might be around 100-120,000. In May already, British Intelligence assessed that Russia had probably lost around a third of the ground forces it deployed to Ukraine. According to Ukraine, the aggressor has lost a staggering 1,641 Main Battle Tanks, 3,823 Armoured combat vehicles, 834 artillery systems, 247 Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS), 217 aircraft and 188 helicopters.

Still, President Putin claims that Russia has not yet really started fighting. In the face of the fierce and courageous Ukrainian resistance, unprecedented international sanctions and Western support for Ukraine, it is worthwhile asking what fuels the war?

The Russian Great Power’s ambition is the primary driver of the war. Russia has for centuries promoted the myth that the Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians are one people, or nation, centred in Moscow. Or, as the Russian myth portrays it: “Great Russian, Little Russian and White Russian” people.

In this context, Moscow has long seen Ukrainian independence as an abnormality and “a threat to Russian standing as a global power.” In the article “The Premature Partnership” published in 1994, Zbigniew Brzezinski argued that “Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire.”

The thesis was more or less confirmed by President Putin in an interview with TASS in February 2020, when he first stressed that “we need to know history, we need to know who we are, where we came from, and what unites us” before concluding that “… any integration of Russia and Ukraine, along with their capacities and competitive advantages would spell the emergence of a rival, a global rival for both Europe and the world. No one wants this. That’s why they’ll do anything to tear us apart.”

It was the first time since Russia started the active phase of the Hybrid War on 20 February 2014 that President Putin used the term “integration”.

A Russian victory (and Ukrainian defeat) would secure Russia’s imperial ambitions and its return to the world stage as a great power. For Russia to succeed it needs human capital, economy, territory and ironically, war.

The unjust and unprovoked war has, however, turned into a “now-or-never” moment for the Russian Federation. Its true ambitions and its willingness to use brutal, military force are out in the open for everyone to see. Ukraine, supported by the West is actively opposing Russia’s attempt to increase its sphere of interest at the cost of smaller countries’ territorial integrity and sovereignty. If Russia decides to give up and withdraw from Ukraine its “imperial ambitions” are effectively dead. Its neighbouring countries will rearm and seek security guarantees to make sure that the nation that for centuries has grown through brutal force, conquest and occupation, is contained.

Demography is, therefore, also a crucially important factor, underlining the “now-or-never” moment“. Russia has a population of 145,9 million but has been facing an accelerating decline for the last three years. The UN predictions for Russia are not optimistic. The conservative estimate predicts a population of 135.8 million by 2050, while the pessimistic prediction forecasts 124.6 million. The decline will impact both the future Russian economy and its ability to project power abroad.

President Putin addressed the demographic challenges in his annual news conference in December 2019, pointing to immigration – while constantly hinting at “reintegration” – as one of the solutions. He pointed out that it is an advantage to select “people who know and respect Russian culture and who speak Russian to adapt to the situation in Russia. […] The Russian and Belarussian peoples are, in my opinion, the same as the Ukrainian and Russian peoples; it is almost the same thing in terms of ethnicity and our history and spirituality.” Two years later, he executed a full-scale invasion to “liberate” Ukraine and expecting to be welcomed by its population.

In 2019 the population of Ukraine and Belarus was 44 and 9,5 million respectively. A victory and a future reintegration of both Ukraine and Belarus into the Russian World would solve the demographic challenges Russia is facing.

Russian propaganda has also become its trap, forcing it to continue in the face of increasing challenges. Having succeeded in building a disinformation narrative based on “historical unity”, “Ukrainian atrocities” and “threats against ethnic Russians”, President Putin now finds it difficult to walk away from the stated purpose of the so-called “special military operation”.  Russia’s propagandists and nationalists are demanding nothing but victory and regard negotiations as potential concessions to Ukraine.

The war might, however, also be fueled by the conviction that a Russian victory – despite its many military setbacks – is still within its grasp. This is first of all a consequence of its perception of Western weakness. It knows that Europe will be facing increasing challenges as winter is approaching. The EU member states will inevitably face political discourse and public discontent as the forthcoming recession, increasingly higher costs of living and energy insecurity start affecting people across the continent.

It sees discord within both the USA, NATO and the EU. While the internal conflicts have been temporarily eased due to the war and the need for international unity, it hopes that the abovementioned challenges will eventually strengthen and reinforce the preexisting strife.

Russia knows that it can uphold its war efforts “indefinitely” as long as the USA and NATO are not willing to consider any military options to resolve the war on Ukrainian terms. Stepping away from its commitments defined in previous strategic concepts, declaring a No-Fly zone, humanitarian intervention and Freedom of Navigation Operation as not viable options demonstrates the success of the Russian “fait accompli strategy”.

Western unwillingness to give Ukraine what it needs to evict Russia – long-range weapons in numbers and combat planes is seen as further evidence of a former military alliance having turned predominantly political. Western leaders’ calls for Ukrainian concessions reinforce the impression.

Any negotiations with Russia over Ukraine will in essence be a negotiation over Russia’s “imperial ambitions” and great power status. Anyone who believes that a country willing to go to war to establish itself as a great power would be willing to forever give up its ambitions because of diplomatic and economical pressure is naïve.

Russia must be defeated in Ukraine. It needs to be made to understand that the West is willing to fight alongside Ukraine to stop it from tearing down all that we have built since WW2.

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