Russo Ukrainian War, Day 152: Blinken questions Russia’s credibility after the attack on Odesa port.

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

The Ukrainian army continues the offensive in the Kherson Oblast. Ukrainians damaged all three Russian-controlled bridges leading into Kherson City. Russian forces attempted limited ground assaults in Donbas. Russia destroyed schools and kindergarten in Donetsk Oblast. The US is seriously considering declaring Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. The US Secretary of State Blinken questioned Russia’s credibility after the missile attack on Odesa port. The Kremlin is facing mounting domestic dissent from ethnic minorities.

Daily overview — Summary report, July 25

Situation in Ukraine. July24,2022. Source ISW ~

Situation in Ukraine. July24,2022. Source ISW

Ukrainian military expert Roman Ponomarenko shared his assessment of the current situation and thoughts about future developments:

It’s already the 5th month of the full-scale war. In the previous month, Ukraine returned Zmiiny (Snake) Island, but lost Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk. However, in general, the Russian offensive in Donetsk Oblast has been restrained. The same is true in other areas of the 2,450 km long battlefront.

The previous month saw Ukraine using a new military tactic of long-range attacks thanks to the weapons supplied by the Allies – HIMARS and 155 mm howitzers. Ukraine hits the areas of concentration of Russian soldiers, warehouses, logistics and communication centers.

Despite the heavy losses, the Russian forces have no problems with equipment and infantry in the directions of their main strikes.

“I have many stories of our (Ukrainian, – Ed.) soldiers who fought in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. Everyone is talking about the enemy’s powerful artillery fire, and masses of tanks and infantry breaking through our defenses. Despite this, the Armed Forces of Ukraine maintain the continuous front in general, the defense remains systematic, breakthroughs are quickly localized, and the troops, for the most part, retreat in an organized manner.” Ponomarenko says.

The war is gradually entering a protracted phase.

“At the moment, it reminds me a bit of the Iran-Iraq war. Both sides voice loud statements about counterattacks and victories by the end of the month/year, but in reality, there’s a completely different story. Both sides currently have no forces for powerful offensives,” Ponomarenko believes.

The last battles near Vysokopillia proved that the Ukrainian Armed Forces still cannot break through the Russian defenses and encircle the enemy even in the local area. The liberation of Kherson is currently as far away as it was in May. The Russian offensive near Bakhmut-Siversk, despite the numerical advantage of the enemy, was also generally delayed. And both sides increasingly insist on the need to protect soldiers’ lives and focus on the distant destruction of the enemy.

“In my opinion, we will have an advantage in this, thanks to Western weapons,” Ponomarenko says.

The tactics of attrition involve protracting the conflict because it really is a war of attrition.

“Can we win it? Quite a question as our economy is on the verge of collapse, and all our allies are reeling,” Ponomarenko believes.

“We also have to understand that we (Ukraine, – Ed.) cannot win the war with the HIMARS alone. For that, we need tanks, armored personnel carriers, guns, planes, and unlimited ammunition. Without them, it is better not to start talking about counterattacks and liberation. Since these deliveries in serious quantities are not expected in the near future, the current state of affairs on the fronts will continue,” Ponomarenko concludes.

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, July 25, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below. 

Show the Content

A hundred and fifty-second age of heroic confrontation of the Ukrainian nation Russian military invasion began.
In Volyn, Polísʹkomu and síversʹkomu directions without special changes. The enemy’s units fired from the stvolʹnoí ка artillery areas of the settlements of Воstrubine, grabovske and volodimirívka sumy region.
In the Slobozhansky direction, the enemy continues to conduct combat in order to maintain the occupied borders and prevent the advancement of the Defense Forces towards the state border.

Kharkiv Battle Map July 24,2022. Source ISW ~

Kharkiv Battle Map July 24,2022. Source ISW

In the Kharkiv direction carried out a fire impact of our positions with tanks, barrel and jet artillery in the areas of the settlements of Kharkiv, malinivka, borschova, Ivanivka, nursery, new, Russian tyshki, petrivka, dementia, gusarivka, prudyanka , Šapovalivka, rubížne, ševelívka, duvanka, mospanove, Russian lozova and mihaylivka. He made an air strike near Prudânka, Petrivka and Yavírsʹkogo.
In the Slavic direction, there was a fire impact of the positions of the Defense Forces units with the use of all available fire devices near Morkitsivka, Virgin, Petrovsky, Barvinkova, Konstantinovka, New Dmitrivka, Valley, New Mykolaivka , Karnaukhivki, Díbrovny and Chepil.
In the Kramatorsky direction, shelling was recorded near Krivoi Luka, Platonivka, Siverskaya, Verkhnyokamiansky, Zvanivka, Ivano-Daryivka and Spirny. And the air strikes are near Grigorívka and Serebryanka.
Storm actions in the direction of berestove – ivano-Darivka and verhnyokamâanka – ivano-darivka Ukrainian soldiers fought back and forced the occupiers to roll back. The opponent is leading the offensive near the Spírny, the combat is ongoing.
In the Bakhmutsʹkomu direction, in order to destroy the defensive positions, the enemy shelled the areas of the settlements of Berestove, Bílogorívka, Soledar, Bakhmutsk, Pokrovske, Yakovlivka, Kurdyumivka, Bakhmut, Merry Valley, Novolugansk, Zaitseve and Travneve. Marked the flight of bpla opponent in the area of kramatorsk.
Occupants launched air strikes near Soledar, Pokrovsky and the territory of Vuglegirsk TES. The storm in the direction of the top – Luhansk ended for them a failure and a step back. The enemy is leading the attack in the direction of mironívsʹke – luhansk, combat is ongoing.
On Avdiiv Novopavlivsky and Zaporizhzhia directions of active actions of the opponent are not marked. In order to consolidate the actions of our troops, shelling from barrel and jet artillery positions and arming tanks along the collision line. The enemy made air strikes near shevchenko, merry and poltavki. He led air reconnaissance over omelʹnikom, Віcherbakami, Novodanilívko да and malinívko ли.
In the south direction marked artillery shelling in the areas of the settlements of potʹomkin, chervonopillâ, kvítneve, kiselivka, partizansʹke, pervomaisʹke, luch, posad-pokrovske, blagodatne, shevchenkove, pribuzke, stepova valley, new star. The enemy carries out intensive air reconnaissance of the BPLA. Also caused an avíacíjnogo strike near bílogirki.
According to the available information, outside the base points are two carriers of winged missiles of the caliber type.

Military Updates 

“The war is already at a decisive stage,” said General Romanenko. With the massive supplies of weapons, the Ukrainian Army will be able to liberate the country (including Donbas and Crimea) in the spring, he said. “The task of our defense operation is to stop the enemy on the entire front and force him to go on the defensive. If possible, this stage should develop into an operational pause. If not, then during the further conduct of hostilities we need to form an operational strategic reserve.”

The Ukrainian air defense shot down all 4 cruise missiles fired from the Black Sea, intercepting and destroying the enemy’s missiles with 100% result, showing daily improvement.

The Russian Air Force involved civil aviators in the war in Ukraine. According to Ukrainian military intelligence, pilots and aviation personnel of the Russian state-owned airlines have been involved in the military action, transporting personnel, weapons, and military equipment. In social networks and private conversations, the pilots express dissatisfaction with their participation in combat operations, complain about the impossibility for themselves and their families to go abroad and discuss bringing them to justice and punishment for war crimes after the inevitable military defeat of Russia,” the source said.

It will be possible to close the sky over Ukraine by the end of 2023, due to the large deliveries of Norwegian NASAMS anti-aircraft missile systems.

Regional Updates 

In the Luhansk Oblast, the Ukrainian army used HIMARS to attack a hotel, killing and wounding 100 Russian military personnel and the command post of the occupiers. Near Lysychansk, Ukrainian artillery fired at the Russian detachment of the Sakhalin OMON which just arrived in Ukraine, killing 12 special forces.

Situation in Donetsk. July 24 2022. ~

Situation in Donetsk. July 24 2022.

In the Donetsk Oblast, two more schools, a kindergarten and private houses were destroyed as a result the Russian army shelling.

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map, July 24,2022. Source ISW ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map, July 24,2022. Source ISW

The Kherson Oblast will be liberated by September, said the adviser to the head of the Kherson Oblast Military Administration Serhiy Khlan. “You can say that there was a turning point on the battlefield. We see that the Armed Forces of Ukraine prevail […] moving from defensive to counter-offensive. We can say that by September the Kherson region will definitely be liberated, and all the plans of the occupiers will fail.” He noted that the strategic steps that were taken on the Antonovsky and Darevsky bridges, the destruction of ammunition, command posts, and equipment behind enemy lines, and along the line of collision are the results of preparatory work. More powerful and accurate artillery strikes along the front line are next, along with pushing the Russian army from their positions. The Ukrainian army hit a bridge across the Dnieper, across the gateway of the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station.

In the Mykolaiv Oblast, Russians shelled and destroyed a warehouse and the territories of several private enterprises. A fire ensued. Another school was destroyed. 5 wounded, including a teenager.

In the Khmelnytskyi Oblast, Russians fired missiles, one was shot down by air defense forces.

In the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the Ukrainian army fired at the infrastructure of the Russian occupiers, including the airfield of Melitopol and the railway infrastructure in the Melitopol Oblast, used to transport military equipment and personnel. “This greatly complicates the logistics of the enemy,” wrote Melitopol Mayor Fedorov.

The Odesa Oblast: the Russian Federation first denied the attack on Odesa port, and then admitted it and promised to “do it again.” “We attacked the military infrastructure in the port of Odesa. […] Harpoon missiles. They were based in Odesa and we destroyed them… We did not violate the Istanbul Agreement. We simply destroyed the military infrastructure of Ukraine — and we will do it again “, — said the Kremlin mouthpiece, propagandist Yevgeny Popov.

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

  • Inconclusive fighting continues in both the Donbas and Kherson sectors. Russian commanders continue to face a dilemma; whether to resource the offensive in the east, or to bolster the defense in the west.
  • On 18 July 2022, intelligence identified a Russian military vehicle refit and refurbishment facility near Barvinok, in Russia’s Belgorod Oblast, 10km from the Ukrainian border. At least 300 damaged vehicles were present, including main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, and general support trucks.
  • In addition to its well-documented personnel problems, Russia likely continues to struggle to extract and repair the thousands of combat vehicles that have been damaged in action in Ukraine.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 25 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 

The occupiers are militarizing teenagers in Mariupol, establishing several military-patriotic camps in the agricultural enterprises of the Mariupol area. The Russian occupational authorities teach teenagers, many of them orphaned during the war, to handle weapons and incite hatred to Ukraine.

Environmental

Legal 

The US is seriously considering declaring Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink said in an interview with Radio Liberty. “With regard to declaring Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, we are considering this issue, it requires careful analysis in accordance with American laws … We use all available means, including many that would be applied to a country that is such a sponsor. However, we are also seriously considering such an announcement. And we will continue to hold Russia accountable under our laws.”

Support 

The transfer of advanced Iris-T SLM air defense systems to Ukraine at the end of summer is on hold. Ukraine filed an application for the purchase of 11 units of German air defense systems in early July. The deal was approved by the German Ministry of Economy, but the final permit must be issued by the Federal Security Council. The application remains without approval for three weeks. Delivery of the systems is now expected by the end of the year.

Ukraine and the US set a goal to bring the number of Western MLRS units in the Ukrainian army up to 25–30 units. “It is the logistics of delivering missiles for the MLRS that is now the key issue,” said Andriy Yermak, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine.

HIMARS long-range missiles will accelerate Ukraine’s victory over Russia, said the adviser to the head of the Presidential Office Podoliak. “Simple logic: the further the HIMARS missiles fly (100 kilometers), the faster the war will end. Less civilian casualties, less economic pressure on Europe, less Russian migration, and food blackmail. HIMARS is a great “switch” of Russian arrogance.”

The US Secretary of State Blinken questioned Russia’s credibility after the missile attack on Odesa. He said that the Kremlin continues to show disregard for the safety and protection of millions of civilians as it “perpetuates its attack on Ukraine” and that the attack undermined the work of the UN, Turkey, and Ukraine to bring critical food to world markets.

Poland raised money for Bayraktar for Ukraine. More than 200,000 people transferred funds as part of the “Buy Ukraine Bayraktar” campaign, collecting 22.5 million zlotys (5 million US dollars.)

The Armed Forces of Ukraine received 6 Stormer HVM anti-aircraft missile systems, a British-made self-propelled anti-aircraft gun. The first complexes entered service in the late 90s of the last century. Stormer HVM can detect aircraft and helicopters at a distance of 18 km and 8 km, respectively. A missile launch is performed less than 5 seconds after target acquisition. The speed of the Starstreak rocket is 1 km/s.

New Developments 

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said that the “grain deal” will work. “It will be guaranteed that the Ukrainians will clear their territorial waters and allow ships to leave. And throughout their journey, Russia and Turkey will ensure their security with their naval forces.”

NYT’s the United Nations’“unnamed source” said that Russia might have had the right to shoot at Odesa port. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry immediately turned to the UN leadership for clarification and received an assurance that the unofficial comment by an “unnamed source” for The New York Times does not reflect the position of the UN. “Only the statement of Secretary-General reflects the position of the organization,” said a spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

map source: https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-july-24*

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 25 July, 2022:

Ukrainian officials are increasingly acknowledging Ukrainian counteroffensive operations in Kherson Oblast. Kherson Oblast Administration Advisor Serhiy Khlan stated on July 24 that Ukrainian forces are undertaking unspecified counteroffensive actions in Kherson Oblast.[1] Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on July 23 that Ukrainian forces are advancing “step by step” in Kherson Oblast.[2] His statement does not make clear whether he is referring to small, ongoing Ukrainian advances in Kherson Oblast or a broader counteroffensive.[3] Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported on July 24 that Ukrainian forces are firing on Russian transport facilities in Kherson Oblast to impede maneuverability and logistics support. This activity is consistent with support to an active counteroffensive or conditions-setting for an upcoming counteroffensive.[4] Khlan also said that Ukrainian strikes on Russian-controlled bridges around Kherson City only aim to prevent Russian forces from moving equipment into the city without stopping food and other essential supplies from entering the city.[5]

Alarm in the Russian nationalist information space continues to grow as the pace of Russian operations slows in the face of successful Ukrainian high-mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) strikes on key Russian logistics and command-and-control nodes. Moscow Calling, a medium-sized Russian Telegram channel with 31,000 subscribers, posted an appraisal of the entirety of Russian operations in Ukraine since February 24.[6] Moscow Calling defined three distinct phases of the war—the first spanning from initial invasion to the withdrawal of Russian troops from Kyiv, Sumy, and Chernihiv Oblasts and the second spanning between that point and the introduction of Western-provided HIMARS.[7] Moscow Calling notably defined the arrival of HIMARS as a distinct turning point in the war and stated that previously provided Western weapons systems (such as NLAWs, Javelins, Stingers, and Bayraktars) did very little against Russian artillery bombardment (they are not designed or intended to counter artillery attack), but that HIMARS changed everything for Russian capabilities in Ukraine.[8] Moscow Calling strongly insinuated that recent Ukrainian strikes on Russian warehouses, communication hubs, and rear bases are having a devastating and potentially irreversible impact on the development of future Russian offensives.[9]

This post is consistent with previous reports from Western defense officials that Russian troops are being forced to engage in various HIMARS mitigation tactics on the battlefield, including camouflage measures and constantly changing the location of equipment groupings.[10] These mitigation tactics are impeding Russian forces from conducting the massive artillery barrages that they have widely employed over the course of the war, as evidenced by NASA Fire Information for Resource Management (FIRMS) data that shows consistently fewer observed heat anomalies over the frontline in Donbas since the introduction of HIMARS to Ukraine.

Russian Federal Subjects Generating Volunteer Units As Of July 24, 2022. Source ISW ~

Russian Federal Subjects Generating Volunteer Units As Of July 24, 2022. Source ISW

The Kremlin is likely facing mounting (if still very limited) domestic dissent from within ethnic minority enclaves, which are disproportionately bearing the brunt of the Kremlin’s force generation efforts. Vasily Matenov, founder of the “Asians of Russia” organization, stated in early July that he had officially registered the organization in order to advocate for “endangered and small-numbered peoples who are discriminated against by the Russian state.”[11] Matenov emphasized that the preliminary goal of “Asians of Russia” is to stop the war in Ukraine due to devastating statistics on the combat deaths of soldiers from minority groups.[12] Similarly, Advisor to Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs Anton Gerashchenko cited Ukrainian sources that claim Russian authorities pay triple amounts to families of deceased soldiers from Moscow compared to families of soldiers from the minority-dominant region of Buryatia.[13] As ISW has previously reported, protest groups in ethnic minority enclaves have already formed in Tuva and Buryatia, and these communities will likely continue to protest the Kremlin’s reliance on drawing combat power from peripheral groups of Russian society.[14]

Key Takeaways

  • Ukrainian officials are increasingly acknowledging Ukrainian counteroffensive operations in Kherson Oblast.
  • The Kremlin is facing mounting (if still very limited) domestic dissent from ethnic minorities who are disproportionately bearing the burden of the Russian war in Ukraine.
  • Russian forces attempted limited ground assaults northwest of Sloviansk, east of Siversk, and south of Bakhmut on July 24.
  • Ukrainian strikes have damaged all three Russian-controlled bridges leading into Kherson City within the past week.
  • Russian forces attempted limited ground assaults in Kherson Oblast.
  • The Kremlin continued constituting regional volunteer battalions and is leveraging private military companies’ recruitment drives to generate combat power.
  • Russian occupation authorities continued setting conditions for annexation referenda in occupied territories and are recruiting Russian civilians for reconstruction efforts.

Ukraine needs independent journalism. And we need you. Join our community on Patreon and help us better connect Ukraine to the world. We’ll use your contribution to attract new authors, upgrade our website, and optimize its SEO. For as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

Tags: