Russo Ukrainian War, Day 144: Russia to “build up military operations in Ukraine in all directions.”

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Russian Ministry of Defense instructs on “building up military operations in Ukraine in all directions.” The Ukrainian army repulsed the attack on the Vuhlehirska thermal power plant. Russian forces make limited to incremental, if any, gains around the northern Donbas, held off by Ukrainian defenses. Russian forces continue to deploy indiscriminate artillery bombardment, along with air missile strikes. The Netherlands will help Britain train Ukrainian soldiers. The EU is preparing a “golden package” of sanctions against Russia. The US and Saudi Arabia agreed to help Ukraine with grain exports. The special services of the Russian Federation have stepped up their activities in the countries of Eastern Europe.

Daily overview — Summary report, July 17

 

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, July 15, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below.

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The one-hundred-forty-fourth (144) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military invasion continues.
In the Volyn and Polissya directions, units of the Armed Forces of the republic of belarus continue to perform the specified tasks. According to available information, there is a restriction on visiting the forest by the local population in the border areas of the Brest region.
There are no significant changes in the Siversky direction. The enemy carried out an airstrike near Esmani, Sumy oblast. In addition, it periodically carries out aerial reconnaissance and artillery shelling of the positions of our troops in the border areas of Chernihiv and Sumy oblast.
In the Kharkiv direction, the enemy is trying to hold the occupied lines. He shelled the areas of the settlements of Petrivka, Rydne, Sosnivka, Slatine, Pryshyb, Ruski Tyshki, Pytomnyk, Verkhniy Saltiv and others. Conducted aerial reconnaissance of the “Orlan-10” UAV.
In the Sloviansk direction, the enemy shelled civil and military infrastructure near Zakitny, Hryhorivka, Tetyanivka, Zvanivka, Minkivka, Raigorodka and others with barrel and jet artillery. He led assaults in the area of ​​Ivano-Daryivka, but was unsuccessful. Tried to advance in the direction of Verkhnokamyanka. He was decisively repulsed, suffered losses and withdrew. Conducted aerial reconnaissance of operational-tactical level UAVs near Zvanivka, Fedorivka, and Serebryanka.
In the direction of Bakhmut, the enemy fired at our positions in the areas of the settlements of Novoluhanske, Berestove, Bilorohovka, Vershyna, Vyimka, Sukha Balka, Oleksandropil and the territory of the Vuhlehirska TPP. Ukrainian soldiers competently repelled another reconnaissance attempt with a battle near Berestove and Bilohorivka. The occupiers also launched missile and air strikes near Soledar, Pokrovske and Svitlodarsk.
In the Avdiyiv, Kurakhiv, Novopavliv and Zaporizhzhia directions, systematic shelling of the positions of our troops along the contact line continues. The occupiers launched airstrikes near Kamianka, Shcherbaki and Mali Shcherbaki.
Shelling was recorded in the areas of Novovorontsovka, Kobzartsi, Blahodatne, Bila Krynytsia, Trudolyubivka, Novohryhorivka, Olenivka, Prybuzke, Oleksandrivka, Lupareve and others in the South Buh direction. The enemy launched rocket attacks on the city of Mykolaiv. The threat of repetition of such actions by the enemy in the region remains.
In order to identify changes in the position of our troops and adjust fire, the occupiers conducted aerial reconnaissance by UAVs of operational-tactical and tactical levels. The enemy continues the engineering equipment of the positions.
Due to significant losses, the personnel of most units of the occupying forces have a very low level of morale and psychological state and are looking for an opportunity to avoid further participation in hostilities. This is especially common among the occupiers who had direct fire contact with Ukrainian soldiers.

Military Updates

The Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Shoigu gave instructions on “building up military operations in Ukraine in all directions.” He gave “the necessary instructions regarding the further escalation of the groups’ actions in all operational areas in order to exclude the possibility of the Kyiv regime to launch a massive missile and artillery strikes on civilian infrastructure and residents of the settlements of Donbas and other regions,” according to the official statement.

A senior Pentagon official said during a briefing, “We assess that Russian forces are limited to incremental, if any, gains around the northern Donbas, held off by Ukrainian defenses. Russian forces continue to deploy indiscriminate artillery bombardment, along with air missile strikes.

Near Kharkiv, we assess that the Ukrainians are continuing to defeat Russian attempts to gain ground.  In the vicinity of Izium, and Sloviansk, it’s generally the same. So you know, pretty strong defenses from the Ukrainians and the Russians have stated publicly that they want to move on Sloviansk, but still have not been able to do so.  And then we certainly assess that they continue to employ artillery attacks around Seversk.  […]

In the south in Mykolaiv and Kherson, nothing really to update you with on the ground, as both sides are continuing to defend or really, no real progress there.

On the maritime domain, I think a number of you have reported that we did see the Vinnytsia missile attack yesterday came from what we believe or has been reported and we believe there’s no reason to suggest otherwise– was submarine-launched missiles from the Russians.  What we know for a fact is that they hit and killed a number of civilians.  And I think all told over the week, again, through your reporting, I think we’re looking at between 100, 150, somewhere in there, civilian casualties, civilian deaths, this week in Ukraine as a result of Russian strikes.

In terms of HIMARS, I know there’s continuing to be a lot of interest about how the HIMARS are performing.  […] I’ll let the battlefield videos and the Ukrainian reports speak for themselves. They are having an effect, […]

We continue to train Ukrainians.  We continue to provide aid, as you know, with our continued flow.”

Regional Updates 

In the Donetsk Oblast, the Russian military attempted to establish control over the territory of the Vyhlehirska thermal power station but the Ukrainian soldiers forced the enemy to retreat. Russians also launched a missile attack on Pokrovsk, hitting civilians twice with an Iskander-M ballistic missile. At least 27 houses were damaged. There are dead and wounded, and the numbers of casualties are being specified.

In the Luhansk Oblast, the Ukrainian military stopped the Russian army’s attempt to seize the highway between Lysychansk and Bakhmut. Russians have been trying to seize the strategically important road for more than two months but they still cannot control several kilometers of this road. The occupying forces continue to launch artillery strikes, as well as rocket and air strikes.

In the Kharkiv Oblast, as a result of a missile attack on Chuhuev, 3 killed. A school, a shop and several houses were also destroyed.

In the Cherkasy Oblast, a village was hit, no casualties reported, after Russians launched 6 X-101 (X-555) missiles at Ukraine from Tu-95 bombers from the Caspian Sea area. 4 were shot down by air defense.

In the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, 6 missiles were fired at Dnipro from Tu-95 MS bombers.  Air defense forces shot down 4 enemy Kh-101 missiles over Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia. The school building, vocational schools, pharmacies, administrative and storage buildings, a bus, two cars, 12 five-story buildings, 13 private houses in Dnipro were damaged.  Yuzhmash enterprise, a world-leading producer of rocket and space projects, was damaged. 3 people, 15 injured. The invaders spent about $78 million on yesterday’s missile attack on the Dnipro. The launch of one X-101 rocket costs about $13 million. Russians also fired 53 rockets from Grads at Nikopol, 2 killed.

In the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, a convoy of Russian military equipment up to 100 units drove towards Zaporizhzhia through Mariupol. It consisted mainly of BMD-4s and armored personnel carriers. In addition, a large number of Russian soldiers brought by KAMAZ trucks were settled in the villages of Nikolsky and Mangushsky districts bordering on the Zaporizhzhia region.

In the Mykolaiv Oblast, incessant air strikes and artillery fire continue.

In the Kherson Oblast, Ukrainian forces are advancing.

In the Odesa Oblast, Russians launched a missile strike from the Tu-95. A missile hit a warehouse of a manufacturing and trading company, a fire broke out with an approximate area of ​​1000 m2.

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

  • Russia is reinforcing its defensive positions across the occupied areas of the South of Ukraine. This includes the movement of manpower, equipment and defensive stores between Mariupol and Zaporizhzhia, and in Kherson. Russian forces in Melitopol are also increasing security measures.
  • Ukrainian forces have been applying pressure on the Russian defensive line in Kherson Oblast for over a month now, and recent political statements from both Zelenskky and the Deputy Prime Minister have warned of forthcoming offense operations to force Russia out of the areas it currently controls. Russian defensive moves are likely a response to anticipated Ukrainian offensives, to demands made by Defence Minister Shoygu on a recent visit to the Donbas, and also to the attacks Ukraine is launching against command posts, logistic nodes and troop concentrations. Given the pressures on Russian manpower, the reinforcement of the South whilst the fight for the Donbas continues likely indicates the seriousness with which Russian commanders view the threat.

Losses of the Russian army

As of 16 July, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

 

Humanitarian 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1548412908975128576

Germany’s decision to reactivate coal and oil-fired power plants is temporary, according to Chancellor Olaf Scholz says. They are meant to relieve energy shortages resulting from the war in Ukraine. The German government remains committed to combating the climate crisis.

️️Environmental

The US and Saudi Arabia agreed to help Ukraine with grain exports. Following the meeting between US President Joe Biden and Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman, “the parties noted the importance of strategic economic and investment cooperation, especially against the backdrop of the current crisis in Ukraine and its consequences.” “The leaders of the countries reaffirmed their commitment to helping the Ukrainian people and ensuring the unimpeded export of grain and wheat to mitigate the consequences of the global food crisis threatening a number of Middle Eastern and African states,” the statement says.
Russia destroys Ukrainian agriculture. Large-scale fires, mined lands, broken equipment, bombed-out farms, warehouses, and elevators, lack of fuel, completely disrupted logistics: these are the conditions under which Ukrainian farmers are forced to cultivate fields on the front line, reports CNN. The Russians are deliberately destroying the agricultural wealth of Ukraine. “It is not Ukrainian wheat that is burning, the world’s food security is burning,” CNN quotes the Ministry of Defense.

Legal 

Ukraine threatens to sue the largest Western banks. Letters demanding to stop cooperation with the aggressor received at least four banks: JPMorgan, HSBC, Citigroup and Crédit Agricole. The Ministry of Justice is going to file a lawsuit against the banks in the International Criminal Court after the end of the war.

Ukraine calls to brand Russia a terrorist state after missile strike kills 21 in Vinnytsia

Support 

The EU is preparing a “golden package” of sanctions against Russia. The 7th package of sanctions, in addition to a ban on gold imports, will impose personal sanctions on individuals close to Putin. Their assets will be frozen.

US President Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed support for Ukraine following the meeting in Jeddah and promised to make efforts to ensure grain exports to avoid a global food crisis.
The Netherlands will help the British to train Ukrainian military personnel. Soldiers from various units of the Royal Netherlands Army and the Marine Corps will join the UK-organized training of Ukrainian soldiers at the end of August.
Bulgaria will continue the repair of Ukrainian military equipment, despite the requirements of the Russian Federation. In response to this, Moscow is going to revoke the licenses of Bulgarian enterprises for the repair of Russian helicopters. Bulgarian Defense Minister Dragomir Zakov said, this decision will not seriously affect Bulgaria and will not interfere with the repair of Ukrainian military equipment. “What happened to gas has now happened to helicopter licenses,” Zakov said, referring to an earlier suspension of Russian gas supplies to Bulgaria after it refused to pay in rubles.
https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1548378346408382475

New Developments 

The special services of the Russian Federation stepped up their activities in the countries of Eastern Europe. In order to determine the delivery schemes and the number of weapons for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Russian military attaches in the EU countries received an order to recruit police officers and citizens involved in the transportation of weapons, intelligence reports.

The meeting of finance ministers of the G20 countries ended without a final communiqué due to disagreements in assessing the war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. The presence of Russia in Bali is like “the participation of an arsonist at a meeting of firefighters”, said the head of the Canadian Ministry of Finance Chrystia Freeland.
Saudi Crown Prince announces an increase in oil production from 10 million barrels per day to 13, Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud said at the meeting with President Biden. As noted in the joint communiqué of the US and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, strategic, economic, and investment cooperation is important for the parties, especially given the crisis in Ukraine and its consequences.
https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1548313680340611076

Assessment 

  1. On the war.

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Saturday 15 July, 2022:

The Russian Defense Ministry announced that the Russian operational pause has concluded on July 16, confirming ISW’s July 15 assessment.[1] Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu ordered Southern Group Commander General of the Army Sergey Surovikin and Central Group Commander Colonel General Alexander Lapin to increase offensive operations on all axes on July 16, but the tempo of the resuming Russian offensive will likely fluctuate or stutter over the coming days.[2] Russian forces conducted fewer ground assaults on all axes on July 16 than on July 15, but maintained increased artillery and missile strikes on July 16.[3]

Shoigu indicated that Surovikin and Lapin will both continue to command forces on the Eastern Axis even though a force concentration and effort of this size should only require a single, very senior overall commander. Surovikin should in principle be in overall command because he outranks Lapin. Shoigu has not even named Surovikin as the head of Russia’s Southern Military District (SMD) despite the likely ousting of SMD Commander General of the Army Alexander Dvornikov and despite Surovikin’s experience commanding the Southern Grouping in Ukraine. Lapin, in contrast, has been and remains commander of the Central Military District.[4] The Kremlin‘s failure to use the operational pause to reorganize the Russian military command structure in Ukraine and its decision to instead retain an ad-hoc command structure is very odd.  The apparent dual command of two very senior generals over operations in a very small area may hinder Russian operations going forward.

Ukrainian HIMARS strikes against Russian ammunition depots, logistics elements, and command and control are likely degrading Russian artillery campaigns. Ukrainian officials confirmed that American-supplied HIMARS arrived in Ukraine on June 23.[5] Ukrainian operators have been using the HIMARS to strike multiple Russian targets – notably ammunition depots – since June 25.[6] The destruction of these ammunition depots has likely degraded Russian forces’ ability to sustain high volumes of artillery fire along front lines. Detected heat anomalies from NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) remotely sensed data decreased significantly in Donbas starting around July 10.

 Ukraine’s destruction of Russian ammunition depots using HIMARS is likely one of several factors that reduced the quantity of observed heat anomalies in Donbas between July 10-15. The reduced number of observed heat anomalies also corresponds in part to the assessed Russian operational pause from July 6 – July 15.[7] The number of observed heat anomalies began increasing on July 15 – the day ISW assessed that Russian forces began emerging from their operational pause.[8] The intensity of Russian artillery attacks along the Sloviansk-Bakhmut axis in the coming days may clarify the degree to which the reduction in intensity was due to the operational pause or the result of Ukrainian attacks.

Key Takeaways

  • The Russian Ministry of Defense announced the cessation of the operational pause, confirming ISW’s July 15 assessment that Russian forces are likely resuming ground attacks along multiple axes of advance. The cessation of the operational pause is unlikely to lead to a massive increase in ground attacks across Ukraine but will rather likely be characterized by continued limited ground assaults focused on the Sloviansk-Siversk-Bakhmut salient.
  • The Kremlin may have ordered Russian forces to take control of the entirety of Kharkiv Oblast, despite the extraordinary low likelihood of Russian success in such an effort.
  • Russian forces conducted limited ground assaults around Siversk and Bakhmut and otherwise fired on Ukrainian military and civilian infrastructure across Eastern Ukraine.
  • Russian occupation authorities likely are responding to the perceived threat of Ukrainian partisan activities by strengthening administrative regimes in occupied areas.

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