Russo Ukrainian War, Day 158: Mandatory evacuation of the Donetsk Oblast announced

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Russian forces conducted limited ground assaults in Donbas. Russians pull reinforcements close to the Ukrainian border near Izium. Ukrainian forces disrupted a Russian ground assault in Kherson Oblast with preemptive artillery strikes. Damage to the railway bridge across the Dnipro near Kherson likely to disrupt Russian supply chains. A mandatory evacuation of the Donetsk Oblast announced. Russian Embassy in the UK said that Ukrainian prisoners of war must be killed. Norway donated 14 IVECO LAV III armored patrol vehicles to Ukraine. Russian hostilities in the Black Sea kill at least 5,000 dolphins.

Daily overview — Summary report, July 31

The US has begun procurement of NASAMS for Ukraine. Norway supplied 14 IVECO LAV III armored patrol vehicles to the Ukrainian military. Poland has prepared 8 Krab self-propelled guns for transfer to Ukraine.

Donetsk Oblast. Heavy fighting continued in the Semihirya area, where the Russians had partial success. “But, this settlement is not a defense node, so sooner or later there will be a [Ukrainian] withdrawal to Kodema,” Haider says. The Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Novopavlivka directions saw Russian assaults repelled. In the Maryinka area, fighting is going on in Oleksandrivka.

In the Sloviansk direction, the Ukrainian army is now entrenching itself in the captured positions, and gradually advancing. Unsuccessfully, Russian forces tried to launch reconnaissance groups near Dolyna, suffered losses, and fled.

Also, Ukrainian troops completely neutralized another Russian reconnaissance group in the direction of Striapivka-Soledar. Russians continued their attempts to advance on Mykilske, Yehorivka, but unsuccessfully, although they had strengthened it again with “DNR” units.

Kharkiv Oblast. As before, the Russians tried to advance on Dementiivka, Prudianka, and Udy, but failed. From the Belgorod region, the Russians began to transfer their reserves to reinforce Izium. Also, the two “longest-lasting” shock armies of the Russians, the 1st Tank Army and the 20th Army, remain near Izium. Plus, there’s the 90th Separate Tank Division, which had 45,000 troops and 1,500 tanks at the beginning of the invasion and now has 30-40% less manpower and only 50% of tanks.

Kherson Oblast. The Armed Forces of Ukraine “shut down” another bridge used by the Russian troops for delivering equipment to the area of Kherson – the only railway crossing became impassable. At Dariivka, the Russians reinforced the eastern bank of the Inhulets, concentrating more than 45 vehicles there as they set up a support point to cover a bridge. They build a pontoon bridge there.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces continued to eliminate Russian warehouses and fortified areas. One settlement was liberated by expanding the bridgehead at the Inhulets. Russians continue to transfer a large amount of equipment and troops.

“It seems that the entire Eastern [Military] District and 4 divisions of the [Russian] Airborne Forces are being gathered near Kherson, this process has already been going on for 2 weeks,” Haider says, “The Kerch bridge is also closed for civilians due to the flow of echelons with military equipment. Do they want to exchange the northeast for the south, in order to open a corridor to Transnistria. and cut us off [Ukraine] from the sea? Good luck.”

Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Counter-battery battles continue. The Ukrainian Armed Forces managed to make a small advance in the Shcherbaky area.

The work of the Ukrainian artillery. The artillerymen eliminated:

  • Russian ammunition warehouses in Snihurivka district (Mykolaiv Oblast), Alchevsk and Pervomaisk (Luhansk Oblast), Beryslav district and Dariivka (Kherson Oblast);
  • Russian ammo depots and military bases in Nova Kakhovka and Chornobaivka (Kherson Oblast);
  • Russian bases in Enerhodar (Zaporizhzhia Oblast), Tavriisk (Kherson Oblast).

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, July 31, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below. 

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The one hundred fifty eights (158) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military invasion continues.
The combat, numerical composition and nature of the actions of the enemy group remain unchanged. russian occupiers have not stopped air and missile strikes on civilian objects on the territory of Ukraine.
The situation has not changed on the Volyn and Polissya directions. In order to constrain the actions of the Defense Forces, the deadlines for conducting measures to check the combat readiness of the Armed Forces of the republic of belarus have been extended again. This time until the sixth of August this year.
In the Siversky direction, the enemy continues to hold separate units of the armed forces of the russian federation in the border areas of the Bryansk and Kursk regions. Conducts aerial reconnaissance of the BpLA.
The infrastructure objects of the settlements of Zaliznyi Mist of Chernihiv and Zhuravka of Sumy oblasts were fired from barrel artillery.
In the Slobozhansky direction, the enemy is conducting combat operations along the state border of Ukraine, carrying out systematic shelling of the positions of our troops along the entire line of contact with the aim of holding the occupied lines and preventing the advance of units of the Defense Forces.
Kharkiv Battle Map, July 30, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map, July 30, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the Kharkiv direction, the enemy fired artillery, rocket artillery and tanks in the areas of Kharkiv, Slatyne, Pytomnyk, Cherkaski Tyshky, Fedorivka, Petrivka, Rubizhne, Mospanove, Peremoha, Asiivka, Husarivka and Chepil settlements.
Conducted aerial reconnaissance of the UAVs in the areas of Prudyanka, Duvanka and Shapovalivka. Made an air strike near Stary Saltiv.
In the direction of Nova Husarivka – Husarivka, the enemy forces of the reconnaissance group tried to clarify the location of the positions of our troops, but were unsuccessful, the group withdrew.
In the Sloviansk direction, the enemy launched artillery fire near Andriivka, Dolyna, Krasnopill, Mazanivka, and Adamivka. It led an assault near Dmytrivka, was unsuccessful, withdrew.
Enemy unsuccessfully tried to use a sabotage and reconnaissance group near Dolyna, suffered losses and withdrew.
Donetsk Battle Map. July 30, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. July 30, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the Donetsk direction, the enemy is trying to improve the tactical position in the Bakhmut and Avdiiv directions. Conducts assault operations with the support of assault and army aviation. Trying to determine the defense system of our units.
In the Siversky direction, he fired artillery near Sloviansk, Siversk, Vyimka, Spirne and Serebryanka. It carried out airstrikes in the vicinity of Spirne and Hryhorivka.
In the direction of Bakhmut, it conducted artillery shelling in the areas of Perevizne, Fedorivka, Yakovlivka, Pokrovske, Vesela Dolyna, Semihirya, Kostyantynivka and Zalizne settlements. Airstrikes near Pokrovsky and Bakhmut.
The occupiers tried to improve their tactical position in the direction of Roty – Vershyna and Pokrovske – Bakhmut by assaulting them, and retreated with losses.
An attempt to reconnoitre the positions of the front edge in the direction of Streapivka – Soledar was unsuccessful, the enemy’s reconnaissance group was detected and neutralized. Air reconnaissance by enemy UAVs near Pavlohrad, Kramatorsk and Ozerne was recorded.
In the Avdiivka direction, the occupiers shelled the districts of Novokalynove, Tonenke, Opytne, Vodyany, Pisky, and Nevelske. The enemy carried out airstrikes near Avdiyivka and Novoselivka. It led assaults in the direction of Vesele – Pisky and Lozivske – Pisky, was unsuccessful, withdrew. The enemy used unmanned aerial vehicles for reconnaissance in the Pokrovsk and Avdiyivka area.
On the Novopavlivske direction, shelling was carried out in the areas of settlements of Novomykhailivka, Pavlivka, Shevchenko, Zolota Nyva, Vremivka and Novopilla. Air strikes were recorded near Stepove and Mali Shcherbaky.
The enemy did not conduct active operations in the Zaporozhzhia direction. Shelled Charivne, Orikhiv and Kamianske districts. Conducted aerial reconnaissance of the UAVs near Orikhiv and Novoyakovlivka.
In the South Buh direction, the enemy is concentrating its efforts on holding the occupied lines and preventing the offensive of the units of the Defense Forces in the Kryvyy Rih direction. Continues to carry out fire influence and air strikes to constrain the actions of our units. Takes measures to replenish losses and strengthen troops.
Fired from barrel artillery and rocket salvo systems in the areas of the settlements of Osokorivka, Ivanivka, Tokarevo, Novovorontsovka, Bila Krynytsia, Andriivka, Vesely Kut, Partyzanske, Shevchenko, Blahodatne, Ukrainka, Prybuzke and Dniprovske. Conducted aerial reconnaissance of our positions.
Two sea-based cruise missile carriers are ready to use high-precision weapons.

Regional Updates 

The Russian Federation continues to destroy populated areas of Donbas with barrel and rocket artillery. The Ukrainian Army hit a Russian reconnaissance group in Donbas and forced it to retreat. Earlier, the invaders carried out massive offensives.
The Ukrainian army destroyed Russian ammunition warehouses making it more difficult to replenish their weapons reserves and maneuver.

Russia’s nightmare comes true. HIMARS altering the course of the war in Ukraine, but for how long?

In the Donetsk Oblast, explosions and anti-personnel mines on the roads reported. Occupiers shelled Sloviansk damaging a bus station and neighboring buildings.

https://twitter.com/War_Mapper/status/1553531857886748674

In the Kharkiv Oblast, Russians launched two missile attacks on the city of Kharkiv, hitting the area of ​​a tractor manufacturing plant, and destroying a school. No casualties reported.

In the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Russian troops shelled Nikopol. 15 private houses damaged. About a thousand people were left without electricity.

In the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the Ukrainian army reportedly attacked the Russian military equipment in Enerhodar. Several explosions and fire reported. No civilian casualties reported. Official information is forthcoming.

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map, July 30, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map, July 30, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the Kherson Oblast, the Russian invaders installed two pontoon bridges and a ferry crossing trying to cope with the consequences of the recent attacks of the Ukrainian army on the Antonivka bridge.

In the Mykolaiv Oblast, as a result of night shelling, 1 killed, 6 wounded, residential high-rise buildings damaged. The number of victims of yesterday’s shelling of a bus stop increased: two more men died in the hospital, bringing the death toll to 7. People were killed with their dogs while waiting for public transportation in the morning.

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

  • On 28 July 2022, Russia fired at least 20 missiles into northern Ukraine from Belarusian territory. This follows Russia’s use of Belarusian territory to launch the main thrusts of its failed attempt to take Kyiv in February.
  • Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko continues to follow Moscow’s line on the Ukraine conflict, stating on 21 July that Ukraine must accept Russia’s demands for the war to stop.
  • His regime has become ever more authoritarian, with the expansion of the death penalty for ‘preparing terrorist acts’. His increasing and baseless accusations of Western designs on Belarus and Ukraine likely indicate that he has become almost wholly dependent on Russia.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 31 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/1553515531059150848

InformNapalm research: The Russian military burned Ukrainian prisoners of war in Olenivka in their sleep, probably using thermobaric weapons. Based on the analysis of the images of the Russian war crime scene, the experts believe that the strike was not made by HIMARS.

  • the GMLRS rocket simply would not leave a single “living place” in the fittings, walls, and ceilings;
  • the explosion would have torn people apart, not burned alive;
  • GMLRS leaves behind a large crater (often seen in the video of the destroyed occupiers’ ammo warehouses). No such crater is reported on the scene in Olenivka.
  • Thermobaric weapons incinerate victims, leaving the bodies unharmed. The Russians could have locked the door and fired RPO-A Shmel or MPO-A thermobaric ammunition through the windows.

Ukraine started the procedure to return the bodies of Ukrainian servicemen killed in Olenivka. Ukraine turned to the Red Cross for assistance in visiting the crime scene to inspect the bodies and communicate with the wounded.

Ukraine will conduct a mandatory evacuation of residents of the Donetsk region. According to Deputy Prime Minister, at least 200,000–220,000 local residents will have to be evacuated from the non-occupied areas of the Donetsk Oblast before the start of the heating season.

️️Environmental 

The Prime Minister of Latvia said that Latvia will completely cut off the Russian gas and will focus on the flow from the Klaipeda terminal and other destinations.

At least 5,000 critically endangered dolphins died due to the Russian military activities in the Black Sea. The sea washes out ashore less than 5% of the dead animals. The remaining 95% cannot be registered. According to Ukrainian marine biologists, it is possible that tens of thousands of dolphins have died.

Legal 

The UN is ready to send experts to investigate the deaths of Ukrainian POWs in Olenivka with the consent of both parties.

Support 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1553382907435069440

Polish gunsmiths prepared eight self-propelled howitzers Krab to be transferred to Ukraine. Retraining of Ukrainian army servicemen operating howitzers is being completed in Poland. The first 18 Krab howitzers were delivered from Poland to Ukraine as part of military support in May. The equipment was transferred from the funds of the Polish army.

The Pentagon plans to deliver a new batch of Phoenix Ghost drones to Kyiv in August. The Phoenix Ghost was introduced to Ukraine “in the early stages” of the Russian aggression. “They still have some of those original systems that we gave them. Delivery of the next batch … will begin in August,” said a US Department of Defense spokesman, noting that Washington is counting on regular deliveries in the future. The US Department of Defense noted that it was involved in the purchase of a significant amount of aircraft parts, but is more focused on medium and long-term cooperation in aviation. Speaking about support in aviation, the official noted that Ukraine uses Soviet-type aircraft but the US does not have any Soviet-style aircraft. When this resource is exhausted, deliveries of Western-style aircraft will start.

Norway hands over 14 IVECO LAV III armored patrol vehicles to the Ukrainian military. These vehicles have good mobility and protection.

New Developments 

Ukrainian officials have denounced a call on social media by Russia’s embassy in Britain for members of the Azov Regiment to face a “humiliating death.” The Russian post on Twitter came hours after an attack on a prison complex in an area of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine that is under Russia-backed separatist control, writes RFEL/RL’s Ukrainian Service.

The US Ambassador to the UN said that Russia does not hide its intention to wipe Ukraine off the face of the earth. In an interview with Sky News, Linda Thomas-Greenfield stressed that the Kremlin intends to annex all the eastern regions and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the country’s south.

Advisor to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Mykhailo Podoliak said , “Forget the phrase “because of Ukraine” when talking about rising prices, famine, or the energy crisis. It was Russia who declared war on the civilized world, committed genocide, uses gas as a weapon and starves poor countries. Ukraine protects the world paying the cost with the lives of its best people.”

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 30 July, 2022:

Russian forces are likely prioritizing offensive operations toward Bakhmut and around Donetsk City at the expense of efforts to take Siversk and Sloviansk. Russian commanders are likely seeking to exploit recent gains in the Novoluhanske area to pressure Bakhmut from the east. Their efforts around Donetsk City likely aim to push Ukrainian forces out of artillery range of the city. They may also be intending to gain as much ground in Donetsk Oblast as possible before planned referenda in September. Russian offensive operations are very unlikely to take Bakhmut, which is large and well-defended, or to make dramatic gains west of Donetsk City even if they manage to take the towns of Avdiivka and Pisky that have held out against their pressure since the original Russian invasion in 2014. Fighting in these areas will likely intensify, however, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is calling on residents to evacuate.[1]

Neither Russia nor Ukraine produced new evidence regarding the cause or responsibility for the deaths of Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) at the Olenivka prison in occupied Donetsk Oblast. Russian officials raised the death toll of the event to 50 and released a list of deceased POWs.[2] Ukrainian officials stated that they are unable to verify the list at this time and called for an international investigation.[3] Maxar has provided post-strike imagery of the damage. ISW is unable to confirm the nature or cause of the incident, although it remains more likely that Russian forces were responsible.

Closer view of damaged buildings of Olenivka prison after attack on 30 July, 2022. Maxar. Source: ISW. ~

Closer view of damaged buildings of Olenivka prison after attack on 30 July, 2022. Maxar. Source: ISW.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces conducted ground assaults around Bakhmut and the environs of Donetsk City as well as southwest of Izium. One assault east of Bakhmut made limited gains.
  • Russian forces did not conduct ground assaults near Siversk again, suggesting that they are deprioritizing operations in that area.
  • Satellite imagery showed Russian reinforcements concentrated near the Ukrainian border on the ground line of communication (GLOC) leading toward Izium.
  • Ukrainian forces disrupted a Russian ground assault in Kherson Oblast with preemptive artillery strikes.
  • Ukrainian officials claim that damage to the railway bridge across the Dnipro near Kherson renders Russian forces unable to resupply their positions on the west bank of the river by rail.

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