Russo Ukrainian War, Day 160: Russians turned the Zaporizhzhia NPP into a “nuclear shield”

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky
Russians had limited to no progress in Donbas. The first ship with Ukrainian food left the port of Odesa. The Russian military turned the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant into a “nuclear shield.” ISW assesses that Russian forces were responsible for the Olenivka prison attack that killed 53 Ukrainian POWs. ️An embargo on coal imports from Russia came into force in the EU. EU allocates 1 billion euros of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine.

Daily overview — Summary report, August 2

According to military expert Stanislav Haider, as of August 2,

Donetsk Oblast. The key axes now are the directions of Bakhmut and Avdiivka. Heavy fighting continued in the direction of Bakhmut, but the Ukrainian troops are holding on. There are no battles in Soledar. Ukrainian troops eliminated another Russian reconnaissance group in the Yakovlivka area as the Russians are trying to capture 5 key settlements around Bakhmut. Ukraine might have lost Pokrovske, though there is no official confirmation. In the Siversk direction, Russian attempts to seize Hryhorivka and Ivano-Dariivka failed again after they suffered significant losses of troops and combat equipment. Fighting continues in the direction of Avdiivka, the situation is difficult – the Russians don’t spare soldiers and throw them into battle over and over, but the front hasn’t changed since 2015. The Armed Forces pushed back the Russian forces a little from the outskirts of Pisky. Fighting continues near the dump of the Avdiivka quarry. In the direction of Vuhledar, the Russians tried to regain their lost positions without success. Ukrainian soldiers thwarted all Russian attempts to advance in the direction of Mariinka.

Kharkiv Oblast saw no major changes. Near the border, the Russians again unsuccessfully assaulted in the areas of the settlements of Bairak and Dementiivka but were defeated. The Russian grouping’s redeployment to the southern direction continued, and newly equipped battalions partly arrive in this direction.

Kherson Oblast. Russian forces continued their regrouping and bringing equipment from other directions, concentrating about 30 battalion-tactical groups here. Arkhanhelske-Vysokopillia line didn’t see any major changes. Russians tried to advance on Trudoliubivka, the Ukrainian army repelled the attack. Now the Russian occupation forces are trying to restore the bridges to improve logistics, which creates bottlenecks with huge numbers of equipment, playing in the hands of the Ukrainian artillery. Reflectors appeared near the bridges.

Zaporizhzhia Oblast didn’t see much change as well. In the area of ​​Shcherbaky and Nesterianka, the Russians unsuccessfully tried to regain their lost positions. Ukrainian troops neutralized a Russian reconnaissance group near Novopil. The Russians are continuing to regroup as troops are leaving occupied Mariupol, while their brand-new artillery division was moved from Vasylivka to the Polohy area.

The work of the Ukrainian artillery:

  • Russian ammunition warehouse was destroyed in Bashtanka district (Mykolaiv oblast), Beryslav district and Nova Kakhovka (Kherson Oblast), Melitopol district (Zaporizhzhia Oblast);
  • both Russian ammo depot and a base were destroyed in Skadovsk, Kherson Oblast;
  • Chornobaivka (Kherson Oblast): information is being clarified.
Situation in Ukraine. August 1, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. August 1, 2022. Source: ISW.

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, August 2, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below. 

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The one hundred sixtieth (160) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military invasion continues.

The position and composition of the units of the armed forces of the republic of belarus in the Volyn and Polissya directions remain without significant changes. The threat of missile and air strikes from the territory of this country remains.

In the Siversky direction, the enemy shelled the area of ​​the village of Mykhalchyna Sloboda in Chernihiv oblast. The enemy periodically carries out aerial reconnaissance of the positions of the defense forces in the border areas of Chernihiv and Sumy oblasts.

Kharkiv Battle Map, August 1, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map, August 1, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the Kharkiv direction, the enemy shelled the districts of Kharkiv, Chuhuyev, Protopopivka, Husarivka, Cherkaski Tyshky, Petrivka and Rtyshchyvka with barrel and jet artillery. Made an airstrike near Verkhniy Saltiv. It deployed separate units in the areas of Bayrak and Dementiyivka settlements, and withdrew after being hit by fire.

In the Sloviansk direction, shelling was recorded near Kurulka, Hrushuvaha, Chepil, Karnaukhivka, Dolyna, and Barvinkovo, and an airstrike near Dibrivne.

Donetsk Battle Map, August 1, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map, August 1, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the Donetsk direction, the enemy’s efforts are focused on conducting an offensive in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka directions.

In the Kramatorsk direction, the enemy shelled the Serebryanka, Siversk, Zvanivka, and Donetsk areas from tanks and artillery. Airstrikes near Serebryanka. He led an assault near Ivano-Daryivka, had no success, withdrew.

In the Bakhmut direction, the enemy shelled military and civilian infrastructure in the areas of Yakovlivka, Soledar, Bakhmut, Kodema, Semihirya, Travneve and Zaitseve settlements. It carried out airstrikes near Soledar, Yakovlivka, Semihirya, Pokrovske, and Bilohorivka.

Ukrainian soldiers repelled assaults in the areas of Yakovlivka, Vershyn, Kodema, and Travnevo. Fighting continues in the areas of Bakhmut and Zaitseve settlements.

In the Avdiivka direction, shelling was recorded near Avdiivka, Netaylove and New York. The enemy used aviation near Novobakhmutivka, Avdiivka and Krasnohorivka. It led assaults in the Avdiyivka area, was unsuccessful, withdrew. Fighting continues near Pisky.

In the Novopavlovsk and Zaporizhzhia directions, the enemy shelled the areas of Maryinka, Kostyantynivka, Novosilka, Pavlivka, Charivne and Mala Tokmachka settlements.

Tried to put forward a reconnaissance group near Novopilla. It was discovered, caused fire damage and neutralized.

In the South Buh direction, the enemy is concentrating its main efforts on preventing the advance of our troops.

It carried out systematic shelling in the areas of Mykolaiv, Trudolyubivka, Tokarevo, Topolyne, Knyazivka, Osokorivka, Apostolove, Ivanivka, Posad-Pokrovske, Novohrihorivka, Kobzartsi, Shyroke and Andriivka.
It led assaults in the area of ​​Trudolyubivka, had no success, left.

The enemy naval group in the waters of the Black and Azov seas focuses its main efforts on conducting reconnaissance, blocking civilian shipping in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, and attacking objects deep inside the territory of Ukraine.

Military Updates 

Concerned about the Ukrainian counter-offensive in the occupied south, Russia is deploying a large number of troops to the territory of the occupied Crimea to be used in the south of Ukraine later. According to a representative of the military intelligence of Ukraine, two weeks ago Russia withdrew tactical groups of airborne troops from the Donetsk region and transferred them to the occupied Kherson.

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. August 1, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. August 1, 2022. Source: ISW.

 

Ukraine–the US Talk: Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny, Head of the Presidential Office Andriy Yermak, and Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba held a telephone conversation with the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, US Presidential Adviser Jacob Sullivan and Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. According to the General Staff, they discussed the operational situation and the needs of the army. Ukrainian officials thanked the US for strengthening the defense capability of Ukraine.

Regional Updates 

In the Kharkiv Oblast, the Russian army shelled a public transport stop in the city of Kharkiv yet again. A 72-year-old man died in the hospital. One injured.

In the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, the Russian army deliberately hits residential areas. As the result of massive shelling, 2 women injured in the city, 8 private houses destroyed, power grids damaged. In suburbs, 30 houses damaged, 1 injured.

In the Zaporizhzhia Oblast: The movement of a large amount of the Russian military engineering equipment and manpower towards Zaporizhzhia from Mariupol is recorded.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1554240560579297280
According to British Defence Intelligence, (last 48 hours): 

  • The Sierra Leone-flagged cargo ship RAZONI left the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odesa on 1 August, headed to the port of Tripoli in Lebanon loaded with 26,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain. This marks the first grain shipment from a Ukrainian port since the invasion began, enabled by an agreement on a grain export transit corridor between Ukraine, Turkey, the UN, and Russia on 22 July.
  • The reported strike on Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol on Navy Day is the latest setback for the Black Sea Fleet in the five-month-old war against Ukraine, which included the loss of its flagship, the cruiser MOSKVA, in April 2022.
  • Following the reports of cancelled parades, it is unlikely that the Black Sea Fleet can manage high profile public events alongside its wartime activities.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 2 August, 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/1554342806075883520

Russian occupiers plan to build a technopark on the site of the destroyed Azovstal in Mariupol. By 2035, the Russian government plans to increase the city’s population from 212,000 to 500,000.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1554179880983609346

Russia attacked civilian targets 60 times more often than military ones. More than 3.5 million Ukrainians left without a home,  according to the Center for countering disinformation under the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. During the 5 months of the war, Russia inflicted 17,300 strikes on civilian targets and 300 strikes on military otargets. More often, the Russians strike at the civilian infrastructure of cities located along the front line. The Kremlin is counting on the shelling to encourage local residents to stop resisting and oppose the ‘Kyiv regime’. The “scorched earth” tactics replaced the Russian army’s failure rate on penetrating Ukraine’s territory. According to the center, one of the reasons for striking civilian targets is also the low accuracy of Russian weapons, and the use of outdated or false data. “More than 50% of the entire housing stock in Mariupol, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Bucha, Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk has been damaged or destroyed. The number of Ukrainians left homeless already exceeds 3.5 million people or 8% of the country’s population,” the CPI added.

️️Environmental 

The first ship with Ukrainian food left the port of Odesa. The vessel RAZONI, under the flag of Sierra Leone, 26,000 tons of Ukrainian corn on board, is heading to the port of Tripoli in Lebanon. It will move along the corridor and safety is guaranteed by the UN and Turkey. 16 ships are waiting at the port of Odesa to export agricultural products. New applications for ships to enter the port are reported.

As a result of the Russian shelling in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast , 100 hectares of wheat were destroyed.

An embargo on coal imports from Russia came into force in the EU. The measure was included in the fifth package of sanctions,  adopted in early April. Previously, the EU imported Russian coal worth 8 billion euros on the annual basis.

The head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen urged to prepare for the worsening situation with gas supplies to the EU: “Given that Russia has already partially or completely cut off gas supplies to 12 EU states, we should all be prepared for the worst situation.” Algeria, Nigeria and Niger signed a memorandum on the construction of a gas pipeline across the Sahara to Europe, Le Monde reports.

 

Western countries postponed the ban on the insurance of the sea transportation of Russian oil due to fears of inflation and the energy crisis.

The invaders turned the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant into a “nuclear shield.” US Secretary of State said Russia is using the nuclear power plant as a military base and is firing at Ukrainian forces around it. The Ukrainians cannot return fire, otherwise there will be a terrible accident at the nuclear power plant.

In Lysychansk, the occurrence of whitened lips and swollen bodies reported in children due to problems with water and unsanitary conditions. Corpses in the streets, broken sewers, and improvised toilets in the yards of high-rise buildings may lead to a humanitarian crisis.

Legal 

In the temporarily occupied territories of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Kharkiv Oblast, the Russian occupiers force the use of Russian passports. Pensioners, disabled people, and other socially unprotected citizens need to receive Russian citizenship in order to receive social benefits. Ukraine continues to pay pensions and social benefits to its citizens in the temporarily occupied territories, but the Russian invaders blocked the banking system and postal system and don’t allow the payments in. There is also a  risk of the mobilization of the male population for the war against Ukraine. The fake referendum on independence or joining the Russian Federation is being prepared for September 11th.

 

Support 

️EU allocates 1 billion euros of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine and already provided an additional €500 million in macro-financial assistance to Ukraine. Another 500 million euros will arrive in a matter of days.

New Zealand extends sanctions against Russia. New sanctions apply to a number of enterprises of the military-industrial complex, SOGAZ and Russian Railways. The sanctions include a travel ban, an asset freeze, a ban on financial transactions, and the entry of ships and aircraft into the country, and prohibit New Zealand individuals and legal entities from providing goods and services to the Russian Armed Forces and defense enterprises.

The UK to provide warships to Ukraine.  The ships will be upgraded and equipped with the equipment needed by Ukraine. These will be anti-mine ships. The Ukrainian military is receiving training.

 

New Developments 

The amount of Russian assets frozen in France is 1.2 billion euros. The Head of Tracfin (French Directorate of Intelligence and Combating Underground Financial Schemes) commented on the latest published report of the agency of the French Ministry of Economy and Finance, responsible for combating money laundering.

French President Macron and Zelenskyy held a telephone conversation. The presidents discussed the current situation in Ukraine, the atrocities of the Russian army on the territory of Ukraine, including Olenivka, the transportation of Ukrainian grain and the practical aspects of increasing exports by other logistical routes.

 

The President of Bulgaria dissolved Parliament and appointed a provisional government. Elections to the country’s parliament are scheduled for October 2.

 

Biden is ready to discuss with the Russian Federation a new nuclear weapons control system if Russia behaves as a “good faith partner.” Biden assured that the US is ready to sit down at the negotiating table with Russia to discuss a new strategy to replace the START-3 treaty, to expire in 2026. China should take part in the negotiations.

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

map source: https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-august-1*
The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 1 August, 2022:

Russian forces are reportedly continuing to transfer troops from northern Donetsk Oblast to support defensive positions in southern Ukraine and may be halting the Sloviansk campaign for the time being. The Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence (GUR) Representative Vadym Skibitsky stated that Russian forces withdrew airborne tactical groups from Donetsk Oblast and redeployed the units to occupied Kherson Oblast territories two weeks ago.[1] Skibitsky added that Russian forces are also redeploying elements of the Eastern Military District (EMD) operating in Sloviansk to southern Ukraine and are transferring a large number of troops to Crimea to prepare to defend occupied Kherson and/or Zaporizhzhia Oblasts against Ukrainian counteroffensives. The UK Defense Ministry also noted that Russian forces likely identified Zaporizhzhia Oblast as a vulnerable front in need of reinforcement, and the Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces are regrouping in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.[2] Social media footage has shown Russian forces moving equipment and personnel to both Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Oblasts in recent weeks.[3]

The Russian withdrawal of some troops from northern Donetsk Oblast will deprive the Sloviansk effort of necessary combat power, in the same way that Russian forces neglected the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Oblasts fronts during offensive operations in Luhansk Oblast. The withdrawal will likely create an opportunity for Ukrainian forces to launch a counteroffensive on the Izium axis, just as the Russian capture of Luhansk Oblast allowed Ukraine to set conditions for a counteroffensive in Kherson Oblast. The Russian redeployment of troops to Zaporizhzhia Oblast also suggests that Ukrainian counteroffensives are not confined to Kherson Oblast and will likely take place throughout the southern axis.

ISW assesses that Russian forces were responsible for the killing of 53 Ukrainian POWs in an explosion at a Russian-controlled prison in Olenivka, Donetsk Oblast on July 28. Two US officials anonymously confirmed to Politico on August 1 that no traces of US-provided High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), Ukraine’s most precise artillery system, were found at the prison site.[4] The Kremlin alleges that Ukraine fired HIMARS and precision-guided rockets to kill Ukrainian POWs and deter Ukrainian defectors. Satellite and other imagery from the site indicate that the attack only damaged one building, did not collapse the walls of that building, and did not leave any shell craters in the vicinity, very strongly suggesting that the destruction of the prison was the result of either a precision strike or an internally planted incendiary or explosive.[5] One US official told Politico that “the evidence showed the attack was not conducted by Kyiv.” If Ukraine had used something other than HIMARS to conduct the strike, the attack would almost certainly have left collateral damage around the facility, including craters and other damaged buildings. Given the US assessment that HIMARS were not used in the attack, ISW assesses that Russia was responsible for this attack on Ukrainian POWs in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

Russian Federal Subjects Generating Volunteer Units As Of August 1, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Russian Federal Subjects Generating Volunteer Units As Of August 1, 2022. Source: ISW.

Key Takeaways

  • ISW assesses that Russian forces were responsible for the July 28 attack on the Olenivka prison that killed 53 Ukrainian POWs; two anonymous US officials confirmed that there is no evidence that Ukrainian forces used US-provided HIMARS, some of the only munitions Ukraine has that are precise enough to do the kind of limited damage seen in satellite and other imagery, to strike the prison.
  • Russian forces are transferring elements of the Eastern Military District (EMD) from the Sloviansk area to support defensive positions along the Southern Axis.
  • Russian forces did not conduct any offensive operations north of Sloviansk or around Siversk.
  • Russian forces conducted unsuccessful ground assaults on settlements south and southeast of Bakhmut.
  • Russian proxy authorities did not claim any territorial gains near Avdiivka as Russian forces launched unsuccessful ground assaults on Avdiivka and Pisky.
  • Russian regional officials are reportedly failing to provide promised payments to the “Atal” Volunteer Battalion of the Republic of Chuvashia.
  • The Kremlin is likely prioritizing propaganda and sham referenda over the welfare of Ukrainian civilians in occupied Ukrainian territories.
  • Russian occupation forces are likely increasing efforts to deter and suppress partisan movements in occupied territories as partisan attacks on Russian officials and Ukrainian collaborators continue.

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