Russo Ukrainian War, Day 155: Ukraine’s counter offensive in Kherson gathering momentum

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

Ukraine’s counter-offensive in Kherson is gathering momentum. Ukrainians destroy the Kherson bridge in a high-precision strike. Russia’s 49th Army is stationed on the west bank of the Dnipro River, looking highly vulnerable. Ground fighting is ongoing north of Kharkiv City. Russia captures a power station, redeploys troops toward southern Ukraine. Three Mars II MLR systems, 10 PzH200 self-propelled howitzers, and five Gepards already in Ukraine. Seafarer shortage stands in way of the Ukraine grain corridor. Russia cuts gas flows further as Europe urges energy saving. Territorial concessions are unacceptable to 84% of Ukrainians. Russia has made significant efforts to secure influence across Africa.

Daily overview — Summary report, July 28

According to military expert Stanislav Haider, as of July 26,

Donetsk Oblast. Berestove and the directions of Volodymyrivka, Mariinka, Siversk, Soledar saw the Russian assaults repelled by Ukrainian forces. The situation is very difficult in the direction of Bakhmut, but the Ukrainian army is holding defense. Assaults near Mazanivka were also repulsed. In the direction of Vidrodzhennia-Vershyna, the Russians have partial success having gained a foothold southeast of the settlement of Vershyna.

Russians attacked Avdiivka several times yesterday, including through the premises of the coke chemical plant, but the Ukrainian troops repelled them. 

“It seems that yesterday the Russians decided to go head-on in several directions and attack our positions with artillery in order to push the front line away from Donetsk and prepare for an attack on Bakhmut, Kostiantynivka,” Haider says.

Ukrainian troops launched a counterattack north of Sloviansk, pushing the Russians back several kilometers to the north. There is also some advancement of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the south of Donetsk oblast.

Kharkiv Oblast. Near Pasyka, Russian scouts tried to expose the positions of Ukrainian troops, were eliminated. The assault on the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the area of ​​Prudianka and Udy was successfully repelled. Russian forces have been at a standstill for weeks. Russians are short on forces in the Izium direction, redeploying their units from line to line. But unfortunately, they continue to shell peaceful cities.

Kherson Oblast. Ukrainians continue to advance at the Inhulets. Yesterday, the Ukrainian Armed Forces announced the capture of two settlements. There are reports that the Russians have several sections of pontoon crossings in the area of ​​the Kherson seaport and near the road bridge over the Koshova River.

Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Ukraine has small successes in Lobkove-Piatykhatky and Nesterianka sectors as Russians continue to transfer forces there from Donetsk Oblast. There is information about the transfer of a new battalion-tactical group from Donetsk.

The work of Ukrainian artillery. Horlivka, Donetsk Oblast, saw a Russian ammunition depot and military base destroyed; minus one Russian base in Shymshynivka, Luhansk Oblast; bases were also destroyed at Chornobayivka, Chornianka (Kherson Oblast) and in Donetsk, while another warehouse was eliminated in Beryslav district, Kherson Oblast.

According to military expert Stanislav Haider, as of July 28,

Donetsk Oblast. Berestove and the directions of Volodymyrivka, Mariinka, Siversk, Soledar saw the Russian assaults repelled by Ukrainian forces. The situation is very difficult in the direction of Bakhmut, but the Ukrainian army is holding defense. Assaults near Mazanivka were also repulsed. In the direction of Vidrodzhennia-Vershyna, the Russians have partial success having gained a foothold southeast of the settlement of Vershyna.

Russians attacked Avdiivka several times yesterday, including through the premises of the coke chemical plant, but the Ukrainian troops repelled them. 

“It seems that yesterday the Russians decided to go head-on in several directions and attack our positions with artillery in order to push the front line away from Donetsk and prepare for an attack on Bakhmut, Kostiantynivka,” Haider says.

Ukrainian troops launched a counterattack north of Sloviansk, pushing the Russians back several kilometers to the north. There is also some advancement of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the south of Donetsk oblast.

Kharkiv Oblast. Near Pasyka, Russian scouts tried to expose the positions of Ukrainian troops, were eliminated. The assault on the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the area of ​​Prudianka and Udy was successfully repelled. Russian forces have been at a standstill for weeks. Russians are short on forces in the Izium direction, redeploying their units from line to line. But unfortunately, they continue to shell peaceful cities.

Kherson Oblast. Ukrainians continue to advance at the Inhulets. Yesterday, the Ukrainian Armed Forces announced the capture of two settlements. There are reports that the Russians have several sections of pontoon crossings in the area of ​​the Kherson seaport and near the road bridge over the Koshova River.

Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Ukraine has small successes in Lobkove-Piatykhatky and Nesterianka sectors as Russians continue to transfer forces there from Donetsk Oblast. There is information about the transfer of a new battalion-tactical group from Donetsk.

The work of Ukrainian artillery. Horlivka, Donetsk Oblast, saw a Russian ammunition depot and military base destroyed; minus one Russian base in Shymshynivka, Luhansk Oblast; bases were also destroyed at Chornobayivka, Chornianka (Kherson Oblast) and in Donetsk, while another warehouse was eliminated in Beryslav district, Kherson Oblast.

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, July 28, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below. 

Situation in Ukraine. July 27, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. July 27, 2022. Source: ISW.

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According to information from the General Staff as of 06.00 28.07.2022, supplemented by its [18:00 assessment].

“Russian forces are focusing its main efforts on establishing full control over the territories of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, maintaining the captured Kherson and  Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv oblast’s parts, creating favourable conditions for resuming the offensive in certain directions, as well as blocking Ukraine’s maritime communications in the Black Sea.

The combat, numerical composition and nature of actions of the Russian forces remain without significant changes. Russian forces continue to carry out air and missile strikes, in particular from the territory of the Republic of Belarus.

In the Volyn and Polissya directions, the engineering equipment of the positions of units that arrived for rotation is recorded. In order to clarify the positions of our troops, expose the air defence system and control the camouflage of their units, the conduct of aerial reconnaissance by UAVs was noted.

In the Siverskyy direction, according to available information, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation is intensifying counter-intelligence measures in the border areas with Ukraine. Russian forces carried out artillery fire near Mykolaivka in the Chernihiv oblast and Tovstodubovo and Ryasne in the Sumy oblast. [Yesterday, enemy units shelled Senkivka and Khrinivka in the Chernihiv oblast and Progres and Bachivsk in the Sumy oblast with artillery. Russian forces used reconnaissance aircraft and UAVs for aerial reconnaissance.]

[In the Slobozhansky direction, Russian forces are conducting combat operations to hold the occupied lines and prevent the advance of Ukrainian units. Russian forces pay considerable attention to reconnaissance to expose our defence system and identify artillery firing positions.]

Kharkiv Battle Map. July 27,2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. July 27,2022. Source: ISW.

  • In the Kharkiv direction, artillery shelling was recorded in the areas of Kharkiv, Dementiivka, Mospanove, Sosnivka, Udy, Cherkaski Tyshky, Stary Saltiv, Tsirkuny, Protopivka, Zlochiv, Ruski Tyshki, Petrivka, Pryshyb, Prudyanka and Kalynove settlements. Russian forces launched an airstrike near Rusky Tyshky. To clarify the position of our troops and adjust the fire, the UAVs conducted aerial reconnaissance. [Yesterday, Russian forces fired artillery in the areas of Kharkiv, Rubizhne, Chuhuyiv, Tsupivka, Borshcheva, Zrubanka, Ivanivka, Ruska Lozova, Korobochkine, Bazaliivka, Pytomnyk.]
  • In the Sloviansk direction, intending to find weak points in the defence of our units, the occupiers conducted assaults in the Dovhenke – Mazanivka and Pasika – Dolyna directions, without success. Artillery shelling was noted in the areas of Andriivka, Nortsivka, Bohorodychne, Chepil, Velyka Komyshuvaha, Petrivske and Husarivka settlements. [Yesterday, Russian forces used artillery for shelling near Adamivka, Pashkovo, Dolyna, Hrushuvaha, Shevelivka, Virnopilla, Krasnopilalla, Mazanivka, Nova Dmytrivka, and Brazhkivka.]
  • [In the area of ​​the settlement of Pasika, a reconnaissance group yesterday tried to expose the positions of our troops. Unsuccessfully. The group was neutralized.]
Donetsk Battle Map Draft July 27,2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map Draft July 27,2022. Source: ISW.

[In the Donetsk direction, Russian forces continue their attempts to improve the tactical position in the directions of the cities of Kramatorsk and Bakhmut with assault actions.]

  • Russian forces did not conduct active operations in the Kramatorsk direction. It shelled the districts of Zakitne, Verkhnyokamyanske and Tetyanivka with artillery. Made an airstrike near Serebryanka. [Yesterday, they launched artillery fire near Kryvya Luka, Spirne, Hryhorivka, Vyimka, Siversk, and Dronivka. Conducted an airstrike near Serebryanka. It conducted an assault in the direction of Bilohorivka-Verkhnokamianske, suffered losses and withdrew.]
  • In the Bakhmut direction, Russian forces are trying to improve the tactical position, but our soldiers repelled the assaults in the Klynove – Bakhmut and Myronivskyi – Semihirya directions and forced the invaders to retreat. They have partial success in the direction of Vidrodzhennya – Vershyna, and are entrenched southeast of the settlement of Vershyna. The attempt to advance in the directions Volodymyrivka – Soledar and Streapivka – Soledar failed.
  • Russian forces carried out artillery fire in the areas of the settlements of Bilohorivka, Mykolaivka, Nova Kamyanka, Vesela Dolyna, Kodema, Semihirya and New York. Airstrikes near Yakovlivka, Pokrovsky and Soledar. [Yesteday, artillery shelled the districts of Bakhmut, Soledar, Yakovlivka, Fedorivka, Bakhmut, Pokrovske, Vershyna, Zaytseve, Sukha Balka and Vesele. Airstrikes near Yakovlivka and Pokrovske.]
  • [Ukrainian soldiers successfully repelled enemy assaults in the settlement of Berestove and the directions of Volodymyrivka – Soledar and Roty – Semihirya. Russian forces, with losses, withdrew.]
  • Russian forces did not conduct active operations in the Avdiyivka, Novopavlivka, and Zaporizhzhia directions. In order to strengthen the grouping of troops in the Zaporizhzhia direction, additional units are being transferred. [Yesterday, shelling was recorded, in particular, in the districts of Piskiv, Kostyantynivka, Avdiivka, and Gulyaipol. The occupiers carried out airstrikes near Novoandriivka, Kamianske and Olhivske.]
  • Artillery shelling was recorded in the areas of Vremivka, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, Novokalynove, Opytne, Stepnohirsk, Biloghirya, Volodymyrivka, Velyka Novosilka, Mykilske, Malynivka and Pervomaiske settlements. The occupiers used aviation near Avdiyivka, Maryinka, Pavlivka, Kamianske and Maly Shcherbaky.

In the Pivdenny Buh direction, Russian forces are concentrating their efforts on holding the occupied lines and returning lost positions in the Kryvorizka direction. [Russian forces are trying to prevent the advancement of units of the Defense Forces deep into the temporarily captured territory. Yesterday, Russian forces shelled the areas of Osokorivka, Tokarevo, Ivanivka, Andriivka, Kiselivka, Partyzanske, Kavkaz, Stepova Dolyna, Kotlyareve and Polyana settlements with artillery and tanks. There were airstrikes near Lyubomirivka and Novomykolaivka.]

  • In order to constrain our actions, Russian forces is shelling from artillery, MLRS and tanks in the areas of Trudolyubivka, Potemkyne, Posad-Pokrovske, Andriivka, Blahodatne, Ternivka, Chervona Dolyna, Prybuzke, and Luparevo. Made an airstrike near Novopetrivka.
  • Ukrainian soldiers repulsed the assault in the direction of Bruskynske – Bilohirka. The occupiers suffered losses and withdrew.

In the waters of the Black Sea, outside the base points, there are three warships with “Kalibr” cruise missiles. [Russian naval forces continue to perform the specified tasks of covering the land group and isolating the area of ​​hostilities.]

[Russian occupiers continue to actively use prohibited types of weapons – phosphorous and cluster ammunition. Such and other violations of the laws and customs of war are systematically recorded and documented for international criminal institutions. The responsibility of the occupiers who will remain alive is inevitable.]

[Ukrainian units continue to successfully carry out missile and artillery fire missions in the designated directions. It is increasingly difficult for Russian forces to replenish losses, especially in manpower.]”

Military Updates 

Ukrainian Armed Forces confirmed that the Kherson bridge was destroyed in a high-precision strike, Ukrayinska Pravda reports. “Ukrainian forces have conducted more high-precision missile strikes on the Antonivka Road Bridge in Kherson. Natalia Humeniuk, head of the joint coordination press centre for the Ukrainian Defence Forces stressed that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are controlling the logistical and transportation routes that have strategic significance for the Russian occupying forces in Kherson Oblast with firepower in order to prevent the Russians from replenishing their supplies.

On the night of 26-27 July, posts about and videos of the strikes on the Antonivka bridge and the response of the Russian air defence systems in the Russian-occupied city of Kherson began to appear on social media. There was no confirmed information about the consequences of these strikes.

On the morning of 27 July, Kyrylo Stremousov, a collaborator with the occupiers in Kherson Oblast, said that the Antonivka Road Bridge over the river Dnipro in Kherson had been damaged after an overnight attack by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The Antonivka Road Bridge had already been struck and damaged earlier.”

KhersonMap, Ukraine. Kherson–Mykolaiv Map, Ukraine. July 27,2022. Source: ISW. ~

KhersonMap, Ukraine. Kherson–Mykolaiv Map, Ukraine. July 27,2022. Source: ISW.

It’s impossible to move across Antonivka Bridge, invaders’ logistics routes destroyed, Ukrinform reports. “At night, the Armed Forces of Ukraine launched high-precision strikes on the Antonivka Bridge in Kherson. The bridge is not destroyed, but it is impossible to move across it due to the damages inflicted. The Armed Forces of Ukraine destroyed the logistics and transport routes of the occupiers, Acting Head of the Kherson Regional Military Administration Dmytro Butriy posted on Facebook.”

Russia captures power station, redeploys troops toward southern Ukraine, Reuters reports. “Russian forces took over Ukraine’s second-biggest power plant and are conducting a “massive redeployment” of troops to three southern regions, a Ukrainian presidential adviser said, amid expectations of a Ukrainian counter-offensive.

Russian-backed forces said on Wednesday they had captured the Soviet-era coal-fired Vuhlehirsk power plant intact, in what was Moscow’s first significant gain in more than three weeks. The Russian redeployment to the south appeared to be a switch to strategic defence from offence, [Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said], with troops sent to Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions.

Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, earlier tweeted that Russia was concentrating “the maximum number of troops” in the direction of the Kherson but gave no details.”

The Russians have brought a lot of air defense equipment to the occupied territories, but Ukrainian reconnaissance “sees” them, Ukrayinska Pravda reports, citing Yurii Ihnat, spokesperson of the Command of the Air Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. “Unfortunately, the occupiers have a lot of air defence equipment. They have the whole Buk lineup (Buk-M1s, M2s and M3s), Tors, Pantsirs, S-300s, and S-400s. It’s already in the occupied territories. We have full information about the location of these systems. Our intelligence is working, we know where they are, so we are taking certain measures to counteract them.”

Situation in Ukraine. July 28, 2022. British Intelligence. ~

Situation in Ukraine. July 28, 2022. British Intelligence.

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

  • Ukraine’s counter-offensive in Kherson is gathering momentum. Their forces have highly likely established a bridgehead south of the Ingulets River, which forms the northern boundary of Russian-occupied Kherson.
  • Ukraine has used its new long-range artillery to damage at least three of the bridges across the Dnipro River which Russia relies upon to supply the areas under its control. One of these, the 1,000-metre-long Antonivsky bridge near Kherson city, was damaged last week. Ukraine struck it again on 27 July 2022 and it is highly likely that the crossing is now unusable.
  • Russia’s 49th Army is stationed on the west bank of the Dnipro River and now looks highly vulnerable. Similarly, Kherson city, the most politically significant population centre Occupied by Russia, is now virtually cut off from the other occupied territories. Its loss would severely undermine Russia’s attempts to paint the occupation as a success.
  • Russian private military company Wagner has likely succeeded in making tactical advances in the Donbas around the Vuhlehirska Power Plant and the nearby village of Novoluhanske. Some Ukrainian forces have likely withdrawn from the area.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is currently undertaking a tour of Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, and the Republic of the Congo. Russia will highly likely seek to exploit the visits to blame the West for the international food crisis and win the support of African states which have otherwise remained neutral about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • Since 2014, Russia has made significant efforts to secure influence across Africa, with Wagner frequently deploying as one of its favoured tools of influence in the region. Russia probably primarily engages with Africa because it believes it will enhance the ‘Great Power’ identity Russia aspires to. Its secondary goals are probably to secure commodity concessions and to persuade African states to vote in line with Russia’s interests in international forums.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of Thursday 28 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 40230 (+160),
  • Tanks – 1742 (+4),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 3979 (+8),
  • Artillery systems – 894 (+11),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 258 (+0),
  • Air defence means – 117 (+0),
  • Aircraft – 222 (+0),
  • Helicopters – 190 (+0),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 2854 (+7),
  • Vessels/boats – 15 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 729 (+3),
  • Special equipment – 75 (+0),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – 174 (+0)

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

Humanitarian 

Ukraine brings another 25 bodies of dead defenders home, Ukrayinska Pravda reports, citing the press service of the Ministry of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine. “In accordance with the norms of the Geneva Convention, another 25 bodies of dead defenders have been repatriated to Ukrainian-controlled territory.

On 19 July, Ukraine repatriated more than 45 bodies of dead defenders to Ukrainian-controlled territory. On 3 July, it became known that the bodies of more than 400 dead have been repatriated during the full-scale war with Russia.”

Ukraine receives over 680,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid since the beginning of the war, Ukrinform reports. “Over the past week, more than 22,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid have been delivered to the territory of Ukraine. Since the beginning of the military aggression of the Russian Federation, more than 683,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid batches have arrived in Ukraine. We sincerely thank international, charitable, religious, non-governmental and private organizations, enterprises, and foundations, Deputy Head of the President’s Office Kyrylo Tymoshenko said at a briefing, Ukrinform reports.

He also informed that more than 940,000 evacuees and internally displaced persons had been provided with accommodation as of today.”

OHCHR recorded 12,272 civilian casualties in Ukraine as of July 25. 5,237 were killed (including 348 children) and 7,035 injured (including 560 children).

️️Environmental 

Agricultural exports through Danube ports will reach 1.3M tonnes in July, Ukrinform reports. “Exports of agricultural products through the Danube ports will come to 1.3 million tonnes in July, according to Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov. They [shipments from Danube ports] are growing. This means that there will be 1.3 million this month, the minister said.

Kubrakov added that currently, approximately half of agricultural products are exported through Danube ports. Another 30% falls on the railway and 20% on road transport. According to the minister, if three ports in the Black Sea operate, then they will account for 70-80% of export volumes, as it was before the Russian full-scale invasion.”

Seafarer shortage stands in way of the Ukraine grain corridor, Reuters reports. “Finding enough seafarers willing to sail ships stuck inside Ukraine’s ports is set to pose a major challenge to the proposed grains corridor designed to ease an international food crisis. Henrik Jensen, managing director of Danica, which specialises in providing crew for ships in Ukraine and eastern Europe, said it may be hard to find people willing to go. The main concern at the moment is the security of crew members, he said.

Until national navies assist the Ukrainian authorities to sweep these mines and create a safe corridor, seafarers will face significant personal risk sailing through these stretches of water, Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), told Reuters. London’s insurance market has placed the entire region on a separate high-risk list, meaning soaring costs for shipments.”

Russia cuts gas flows further as Europe urges energy saving, Reuters reports. “Russia delivered less gas to Europe on Wednesday in a further escalation of an energy stand-off between Moscow and the European Union that will make it harder, and costlier, for the bloc to fill up storage ahead of the winter heating season.

The cut in supplies, flagged by Gazprom earlier this week, has reduced the capacity of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline – the major delivery route to Europe for Russian gas – to a mere fifth of its total capacity. Nord Stream 1 accounts for around a third of all Russian gas exports to Europe.

On Tuesday, EU countries approved a weakened emergency plan to curb gas demand after striking compromise deals to limit cuts for some countries, hoping lower consumption will ease the impact in case Moscow stops supplies altogether.  The plan highlights fears that countries will be unable to meet goals to refill storage and keep their citizens warm during the winter months and that Europe’s fragile economic growth may take another hit if gas will have to be rationed.”

Legal 

Ukraine wants big banks to be prosecuted for ‘war crimes,’ Zelenskyy’s top economic aide says, CNBC reports. “Major US and European banks should be prosecuted for “committing war crimes” over their financing of trade with the Russian regime, according to a top aide to Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Oleg Ustenko, the economic advisor to Zelenskyy, said the Ukrainian government believes banks, such as JPMorgan, HSBC and Citi, are aiding the Kremlin’s war efforts in Ukraine through financing companies that trade oil with Russia. Everybody who is financing these war criminals, who are doing these terrible things in Ukraine, are also committing war crimes in our logic, he told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble Tuesday on “Capital Connection.” Asked directly if he wants to see these banks prosecuted for war crimes, Ustenko said: “Exactly.”

Ustenko said Zelenskyy believes these banks should be held accountable for prolonging the conflict and the war on Ukraine. His comments came in response to a FT report last week, which said that Ukraine’s government wrote to the chiefs of US and European banks — such as Jamie Dimon from JPMorgan and Noel Quinn from HSBC — urging them to cut ties with the groups that are trading Russian oil.

In letters seen by the FT,  Ustenko wrote to the bankers asking them to cut off financing for businesses that trade Russian oil and sell shares to Gazprom and Rosneft, two of Russia’s state-backed oil and gas companies.

According to the FT, the letters accused Citigroup and Credit Agricole of “prolonging” the war by providing finances to companies that ship Russian oil. The letters also reportedly warned the banks will not be allowed to take part in the reconstruction of Ukraine when the war is over.”

358 children were killed, and 693 children injured, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of July 28. 2,197 educational establishments are damaged because of shelling and bombings, 223 of them are destroyed fully. 25,575 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 12,178 crimes against national security were registered.

Support 

IRIS-T systems to be delivered to Ukraine by September, Germany’s top diplomat hopes, Ukrinform reports, citing RFE/RL. “We are also delivering the IRIS-T air defence system. Well, I’m hoping for late summer, early September… And it’s in the final stages of production; it was supposed to go to another country. Therefore, we had to agree with another country that they would move, that this system could be sent to Ukraine, and I really hope that we will be able to do this with more of these IRIS-T systems, [German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock] said.”

Three Mars II MLR systems, 10 PzH200, and five Gepards already in Ukraine – German defence ministry, Ukrinform report, citing the Ministry of Defense of the Federal Republic of Germany. “Germany has delivered to Ukraine the promised batch of three Mars II multiple launch rocket systems. The three promised Mars II-type multiple rocket launchers and three more PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers have been delivered. We keep our word, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said.

It was also stated that Germany will continue to support Ukraine through further supplies of heavy weapons, ammunition, and by training Ukrainian troops in Germany. The Ministry of Defense reported that Ukraine currently has ten PzH 200 self-propelled howitzers and five Gepard anti-aircraft tanks, in addition to three Mars II MLR systems.”

Germany greenlights sale to Ukraine of 100 Panzerhaubitze2000 self-propelled howitzers, Ukrinform reports, citing Spiegel. “According to the publication, on July 13, the Federal Ministry of Economy granted the German arms manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) a permit to produce Panzerhaubitze2000 systems.

As reported, 100 self-propelled howitzers cost EUR 1.7 billion. At the same time, preliminary deliveries are estimated at EUR 600 million. KMW intends to kick off production immediately. At the same time, it is noted that the production of the entire batch may take several years. Panzerhaubitze2000 are capable of hitting targets at a 30 km range.

Territorial concessions are unacceptable to 84% of Ukrainians, Ukrayinska Pravda reports, citing Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS), according to the results of a survey conducted between 6-20 July 2022. “One-tenth of Ukrainians agree to concede territories to Russia to end the war, but for 84% of citizens, territorial concessions are unacceptable.

Only 10% of respondents believe that in order to achieve peace and preserve independence, it is acceptable to give up some territories. The mood of the population has, for the most part, remained unchanged since May. Respondents from the east of the country and those who call themselves Russian-speaking Russians in Ukraine are somewhat more inclined to make concessions.”

In the report Business retreats and sanctions are crippling the Russian economy, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Steven Tian, Franek Sokolowski, Michal Wyrebkowski, and Mateusz Kasprowicz have released one of the first comprehensive economic analyses measuring Russian current economic activity five months into the invasion, and assessing Russia’s economic outlook.

Russia’s strategic positioning as a commodities exporter has irrevocably deteriorated, as it now deals from a position of weakness with the loss of its erstwhile main markets, and faces steep challenges executing a “pivot to Asia” with non-fungible exports such as piped gas.

Despite some lingering leakiness, Russian imports have largely collapsed, and the country faces stark challenges securing crucial inputs, parts, and technology from hesitant trade partners, leading to widespread supply shortages within its domestic economy.

Despite Putin’s delusions of self-sufficiency and import substitution, Russian domestic production has come to a complete standstill with no capacity to replace lost businesses, products and talent; the hollowing out of Russia’s domestic innovation and production base has led to soaring prices and consumer angst.

As a result of the business retreat, Russia has lost companies representing ~40% of its GDP, reversing nearly all of three decades’ worth of foreign investment and buttressing unprecedented simultaneous capital and population flight in a mass exodus of Russia’s economic base.

Putin is resorting to patently unsustainable, dramatic fiscal and monetary intervention to smooth over these structural economic weaknesses, which has already sent his government budget into deficit for the first time in years and drained his foreign reserves even with high energy prices – and Kremlin finances are in much, much more dire straits than conventionally understood.

Russian domestic financial markets, as an indicator of both present conditions and future outlook, are the worst performing markets in the entire world this year despite strict capital controls, and have priced in sustained, persistent weakness within the economy with liquidity and credit contracting – in addition to Russia being substantively cut off from international financial markets, limiting its ability to tap into pools of capital needed for the revitalization of its crippled economy.

Looking ahead, there is no path out of economic oblivion for Russia as long as the allied countries remain unified in maintaining and increasing sanctions pressure against Russia, and The Kyiv School of Economics and McFaul-Yermak Working Group have led the way in proposing additional sanctions measures across individual sanctions, energy sanctions and financial sanctions, led by Ambassador Michael McFaul, Tymofiy Mylovanov, Nataliia Shapoval, and Andriy Boytsun.

Defeatist headlines arguing that Russia’s economy has bounced back are simply not factual – the facts are that, by any metric and on any level, the Russian economy is reeling, and now is not the time to step on the brakes.”

Ukraine expects to get up to $20B in loan from IMF, says NBU governor, Ukrinform reports. “Ukraine is in consultations with the International Monetary Fund to seal by year-end an agreement for a $15-$20 billion loan to help restore its war-torn economy. That’s according to National Bank Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko, who spoke with Reuters.

Kyiv has already submitted its request to the IMF and is now in consultation with the fund over the new financing, the governor said. He hopes Ukraine would receive as much as $20 billion over two or three years through a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) or an Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

Finance experts believe that battered by Russia’s invasion, Ukraine’s economy faces a 35%-45% economic contraction in 2022 and a monthly fiscal shortfall of $5 billion. Therefore, the nation is heavily reliant on foreign financing from its Western partners.”

New Developments 

A. President: We are doing everything to ensure occupiers have no logistical capabilities, UkrinformRegarding the Antonivka Bridge in Kherson and other crossings in the region. Of course, all of them will be rebuilt, but by us. We are doing everything to ensure that the occupiers have no logistical capabilities on our land,” the president said. Zelensky emphasized that Ukrainians will break all the plans of the occupiers and liberate their territory using military, diplomatic and all other available tools.

In recent days, the Armed Forces of Ukraine have hit three key targets: the Antonivka Bridge, the Daryivka Bridge, and the road through the Kakhovska HPP dam. The invaders tried to hastily repair the bridges in an effort to restore supply routes for ammunition and heavy equipment but the safety of using the bridges remains questionable. The Russians also build a pontoon crossing across the Inhulets River near the village of Daryivka.”

B. FM Kuleba: In the war with Russia, Ukraine needs the West to have stamina, UkrinformWe need stamina… Not for us. We have stamina. We need Europeans and people in the West to have stamina as well, Kuleba said. We are fighting the war. I cannot impose any opinion or narrative on people living in Europe. If they decide that it’s safer to try to make a deal with Putin, they are free to do it. But, the truth is that they will not succeed, because Putin will take it as a sign of weakness, and he will only increase the pressure, Kuleba stressed.”

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

map source: https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-july-27

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Wednesday 27 July:

Russian forces appear able to sustain only two significant offensive operations in Ukraine at this time, one attempting to seize Siversk and the other advancing on Bakhmut. These operations have focused on advances in the Siversk, Donetsk Oblast, direction from Verkhnokamianka and Bilohorivka and in the Bakhmut direction from the areas of Novoluhanske and the Vuhlehirska Thermal Power Plant since the end of the operational pause on July 16. Russian forces have committed enough resources to conduct near-daily ground assaults and to seize territory on these two axes but have been unable to sustain a similar offensive operational tempo or to make similar territorial gains elsewhere in Ukraine. The Russian offensive, therefore, remains likely to culminate before seizing any other major urban areas in Ukraine. 

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces currently appear able to sustain only two significant offensive operations in Ukraine, both in Donetsk Oblast, and the Russian offensive remains likely to culminate before seizing additional significant population centers.
  • Ukrainian forces may have launched a localized counterattack southwest of Izium.
  • Russian forces attacked settlements east of Siversk and northeast and southeast of Bakhmut.
  • Ground fighting is ongoing north of Kharkiv City.
  • Ukrainian forces struck the Antonivskyi Bridge for the third time in ten days on July 27, likely rendering it unusable.
  • The Mari El Republic north of Kazan sent two volunteer battalions to train and is forming a third battalion to deploy to Ukraine.
  • Russian occupation authorities are importing Russians to work in occupied territories due to a lack of Ukrainian collaborators.
  • Mariupol occupation authorities continue withholding humanitarian aid to force civilians to cooperate with and work for the occupation administration.

The New York Times reports on The battle for Kherson. “Kherson was the first Ukrainian city to fall to Russian forces. Since March, the port city and its surrounding region have been a key beachhead, from which Russian forces continuously launch attacks. Now Ukraine’s forces are moving to take it back, and the fighting in the south of the country is heating up.

Ukrainian long-range missiles hit a bridge overnight that is critical for Russia to resupply its forces in Kherson. Dozens of Russian missiles also struck targets across the Ukrainian regions of Odesa and Mykolaiv as Moscow moved troops and military equipment in the direction of Kherson to reinforce its positions, according to the Ukrainian military high command. Both armies are trying to limit their opponents’ logistics operations.

Since long-range Western weapons systems started arriving, Ukraine has pounded Russian ammunition depots and command and control centres behind the front lines.

Ukraine’s southern military command said today that its forces took back two villages in the north of the Kherson region, Andriivka and Lozove. A spokeswoman for the military command said that retaking the villages put more Russian positions within range of Ukrainian artillery. […]

The Ukrainian military appears to have begun to turn the tide in the Kherson region, if haltingly. Its forces are currently about 30 miles from the city. They have liberated 44 towns and villages along the border areas, about 15 percent of the territory, according to the region’s military governor, Dmytro Butrii.

Ukraine’s military intelligence service has also been sending fighters into occupied territory to carry out acts of sabotage and provide information about Russian troop locations. Officials installed by the occupying Russian authorities have been assassinated and their cars have been blown up in some cases.

But a full-on counterattack would require a huge number of troops and many more offensive weapons systems than Ukraine has available at the moment, some Western and Ukrainian officials say. Ukrainian and Western intelligence officials also say that it’s important that Ukraine tries to launch an offensive while the Russian military is in a relatively weaker position, having expended weapons and personnel in their Donbas offensive.”

Ukraine Has Ground Down Russia’s Arms Business, Foreign Policy reports. “The Defense Department and US intelligence officials believe that Russia’s severe losses of high-end equipment in Ukraine, including hundreds of tanks and helicopters disabled by American- and European-provided shoulder-fired rockets, will begin to cause significant slowdowns in the Kremlin’s arms deliveries into Africa, which could give inroads to Russia’s competitors, such as China and the United States. Russia accounts for nearly half of major arms exports to Africa, according to a count by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, primarily supplying weapons to Algeria, Egypt, Sudan, and Angola.  […]

Inside the Pentagon, top officials also see major impacts on Russia’s defense industrial base from pursuing the war in Ukraine as a result of US and Western sanctions, which have already eroded the Kremlin’s ability to restock complex parts, such as guidance systems and microchips used in precision-guided munitions.

In all, Russia accounts for about one-fifth of global arms sales. It has a long history of providing helicopters, such as the Mi-17 and Mi-35, to African clients for counterinsurgency operations. Experts said that officials in African countries are increasingly worried about getting spare parts for Soviet-era systems that are featuring heavily in Ukraine. 

What we’re seeing is a significant challenge for them [Russia] on arms sales because of all the economic effects that they’re experiencing from their decision to pursue this war in Ukraine, Kathleen Hicks, the Pentagon’s No. 2 official, said in May. That is one of their major levers on the continent … they will be very constrained from using that lever going forward. […]

Arms exports aren’t just a tool of foreign policy. They also help drive the domestic Russian arms industry. Russia depends on defense exports to keep production lines humming and to support research and development costs to build new systems. In developing the Su-75 “Checkmate” fighter aircraft—a possible lower-cost alternative to the US-built F-35—Russia has looked for an anchor client, such as the United Arab Emirates or Algeria, to drive down costs before beginning production, said John Parachini, a senior international and defense researcher at the Rand Corp. And those sales have a ripple effect on Russia’s efforts to produce big-ticket items for themselves. 

They can’t really afford to produce a smaller lot number at the price they’re having to pay for labor and materials, Parachini said. So they really need some export sales to lower the cost to furnish weaponry for their own military.

While officials have not provided specifics on precise Russian sales that could be slowed down, Hicks, the Pentagon deputy secretary, said in May that Russia would struggle to produce advanced fighter jets, naval platforms, and space capabilities because of Western economic sanctions and export controls. Russia has also been hampered in its efforts to move ahead with the Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet program.“

2. Consequences and what to do? 

IMF cuts global growth outlook, warns high inflation threatens recession, Reuters reports. “The International Monetary Fund cut global growth forecasts again on Tuesday, warning that downside risks from high inflation and the Ukraine war were materializing and could push the world economy to the brink of recession if left unchecked.

Global real GDP growth will slow to 3.2% in 2022 from a forecast of 3.6% issued in April, the IMF said in an update of its World Economic Outlook. It added that world GDP actually contracted in the second quarter due to downturns in China and Russia.

The fund cut its 2023 growth forecast to 2.9% from the April estimate of 3.6%, citing the impact of tighter monetary policy. World growth had rebounded in 2021 to 6.1% after the COVID-19 pandemic crushed global output in 2020 with a 3.1% contraction.

“The outlook has darkened significantly since April. The world may soon be teetering on the edge of a global recession, only two years after the last one,” IMF Chief Economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas told a news conference. The world’s three largest economies, the United States, China and the euro area, are stalling, with important consequences for the global outlook, he added.

The fund said its latest forecasts were “extraordinarily uncertain” and subject to downside risks from Russia’s war in Ukraine pushing energy and food prices higher. This would exacerbate inflation and embed longer-term inflationary expectations that would prompt further monetary policy tightening.

Under a “plausible” alternative scenario that includes a complete cut-off of Russian gas supplies to Europe by year-end and a further 30% drop in Russian oil exports, the IMF said global growth would slow to 2.6% in 2022 and 2% in 2023, with growth virtually zero in Europe and the United States next year. Global growth has fallen below 2% only five times since 1970, Gourinchas said – recessions in 1973, 1981 and 1982, 2009 and the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

The IMF said it now expects the 2022 inflation rate in advanced economies to reach 6.6%, up from 5.7% in the April forecasts, adding that it would remain elevated for longer than previously anticipated. Inflation in emerging market and developing countries is now expected to reach 9.5% in 2022, up from 8.7% in April. Inflation at current levels represents a clear risk for current and future macroeconomic stability and bringing it back to central bank targets should be the top priority for policymakers, Gourinchas said. […]

The IMF cut its eurozone growth outlook for 2022 to 2.6% from 2.8% in April, reflecting inflationary spillovers from the war in Ukraine. But forecasts were cut more deeply for some countries with more exposure to the war, including Germany, which saw its 2022 growth outlook cut to 1.2% from 2.1% in April. Italy, meanwhile saw an upgrade in its 2022 growth outlook due to improved prospects for tourism and industrial activity. But the IMF said last week that Italy could suffer a deep recession under a Russian gas embargo. 

Russia’s economy is expected to contract by 6.0% in 2022 due to tightening Western financial and energy sanctions – a “fairly severe recession,” Gourinchas said. But that is an improvement over the April forecast of an 8.5% contraction, due to Moscow’s measures to stabilize its financial sector, which is helping to support the domestic economy. The IMF estimates that Ukraine’s economy will shrink by some 45% due to the war, but the estimate comes with extreme uncertainty.”

Hans Petter Midttun: Two months ago, the Head of the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine, Kyrylo Budanov, predicted that the breaking point in the war to be in August and that most active combat actions would be finished by the end of the year. He has been forecasting a Russian defeat from the very start of the full-scale invasion.

If the West upholds its defence, financial and humanitarian support to Ukraine, and continues to strengthen the sanctions on Russia through winter, Russia’s ability to wage war will gradually become weaker.

Over the last months, we have seen the Russian offensive losing momentum and slowly grinding to a halt as Ukraine’s counter-offensive is gaining pace. Ukraine is in process of cutting the link between Kherson and the Eastbank of Dnepr, isolating the Russian forces on the Westbank.

The Russian Air Force has not operated over Ukrainian-controlled territory for nearly three months, having lost more than 400 aircraft and helicopters. Having more than 700 operational and tactical level unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) shot down, and suffering from bad intelligence, it is struggling to locate and destroy critical Ukrainian capabilities like its command and control, air defence, logistics and not least, its long-range fire.

Well under half of all Russian missiles hitting their intended target. Two to three out of every ten missiles fired fail to launch or fizzle during their flight. Two more have technical problems such as not fusing properly even if they fly to their intended range. Two to three more miss their aim points even when they reach their intended target. In May already, Ukraine assessed the Russian missile success at just below 40 percent. It is presently running low on precision-guided missiles and is already using missiles designed for naval strikes and air defence in their secondary role against land targets.

Multiple reports indicate huge manning problems. Not only has Russia lost more than 40,000 killed in action and potentially three times the number wounded, but it is also facing problems replacing the losses. On top of that, the losses include some of its elite units, at least 12 generals and a very high number of younger officers. In the face of huge casualties, fundamental leadership problems, technical problems, lack of logistics and, again, long-range precision strikes by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the motivation of the ones who have survived the first 5 months to move forward is understandable, low.

As the ultimate indication of its structural challenges, the Russian Black Sea Fleet has lost 15 vessels to a country that has no navy (in the proper understanding of the word).

The list of Russian problems is by no means complete. Reports of the Russian Defence Industry struggling to replace lost equipment and restore storage of precision-guided ammunition, support the assessment the Head of DIU made in May. The tide is turning. The report “Business retreats and sanctions are crippling the Russian economy” gives a unique insight into the true state of affairs, giving further credit to the prediction that we might indeed be seeing an end to “active combat actions” before the end of the year, provided that the West does not stumble and falter as winter is approaching.

That said, the end of “active combat actions” does not necessarily mean that all of Ukraine will be liberated. “Turning the tide” implies that by starting a broader counter-offensive, Ukraine will be facing the same challenges Russian forces have met when moving over open terrain against prepared, fortified positions. It might very well mean that the war reverts to the same format as before 24 February, only along a new and broader frontline through parts of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv Oblast.

The maritime blockade – designed to strangle the Ukrainian economy and undermine the economic viability of the state – will most certainly be in place until the West finally decides to intervene.

Ukraine’s economy might go into a steep decline this fall, Ukraine Business News reports.

According to the FT, due to the war, Ukraine’s monthly expenses have increased from $250M in February to $3.3B in May. The cabinet has already introduced drastic cuts in spending on day-to-day services to cover its military needs. It is noted that Western aid to Kyiv is insufficient and too slow, while the country’s obligations, on the contrary, are very large.

Since the invasion, Ukraine has received $12.7B in financial aid out of a promised $38B. Ukraine’s net reserves are now only $12.9B, compared to $19B in February. This is enough to pay for importing necessary goods for 2.5 months including everything from agricultural resources to car parts and fuel.

Experts believe that the Ukrainian government’s financial options are very limited and there may not be the ability to pay all the Ukrainian social obligations.”

I share the assessment by most experts that Russia will not be able to capture much more territory, and that it, on the contrary, risks losing some of the territories it is presently occupying. Its ambition of occupying a greater part of Ukraine – including the capital – remains a wet dream.

But all of this – the sense that Russia is failing and the tide is turning – is based on the assumption that the Russian Army needs to advance to be victorious. As previously stressed, that is not the case. It only needs to defend and hold what it has already occupied. The assessment by the Financial Times – which is supported by many reports on the state of the Ukrainian economy, the “maritime ripple effects”, and the economic impacts of the war – underlines that Ukraine is far more likely to be defeated in the economic sphere than in the military.

The key message is that a 3-dimensional problem needs a 3-dimensional solution.

As previously argued, the single-minded focus on the military situation – further limited to ground operations in the East only – will render us unable to come up with an effective counter-strategy. Western support to Ukraine allows it to counter the Russian Army but renders it unable to counter the threats in the Air and at Sea. It does not counter the non-military effects of the Russian Hybrid War. The support is not designed to counter the Hybrid War, which after nearly 8,5 years continues to undermine the basis for Ukrainian statehood.

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