Russo Ukrainian War, Day 162: Russians use Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant to blackmail the West

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Russians use Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant to blackmail the West. Russia set fire to the prison complex holding Ukrainian POWs in Olenivka but blamed Ukraine. Moscow is attempting to secure Iranian drones for use in Ukraine. A combat readiness check in some groups of the Belarusian army held. Russian artillery bombardments continued in the northern Donbas. No major territorial advances reported. Ukrainian forces continued to apply localized pressure to the Russian defensive line in the North East Kherson oblast. No territorial gain repored.

According to military expert Stanislav Haider, as of August 4,

Donetsk Oblast. The situation in the direction of Bakhmut remains difficult because Russians don’t spare human resources. The Ukrainian Armed Forces stopped them from getting into the area of ​​Dacha-Kodema and Zaytseve-Vesela Dolyna-Bakhmutske, which upset all the Russian plans and deadlines regarding the capture of Bakhmut. The direction of Volodymyrivka is dangerous there, but Ukraine controls high points there. Once again, Russian social media circulated the information on the battles in Soledar, which is fake. Pisky, Pokrovske are Ukraine-controlled. Now the Russians are on the Yakovlivka-Bakhmutske line and there is no advance. In the direction of Avdiivka, the Russian assaults also don’t stop, but Ukrainian troops are holding firm: the attacks from two main directions have been repulsed. The attack on Krasnohorivka, south of Avdiivka, has also been repulsed. In Mariinka, the Russians advanced 200 meters, but the battles are dynamic and everything can change tomorrow. The direction of Siversk saw unsuccessful Russian attacks on Verkhniokamianske, Hryhorivka, Ivano-Dariivka.

Kharkiv Oblast. Russian shelling of Kharkiv and its suburbs continues. Also, the tactical actions of the Russians and reconnaissance in the Dementiiivka area take place. The front is stalled. The Russian forces are unsuccessfully trying to attack, in particular in the direction of Bairak-Husarivka.

Kherson Oblast. The Russian troops continue to deploy personnel and equipment in Kherson Oblast from other directions of the front and from Russia. According to various estimates, there are 25 to 30 battalion-tactical groups (BTGs), and they can add a dozen more across the entire south. In the directions of Visokopillia-Arkhanhelske and the Inhulets, the Armed Forces of Ukraine repelled all russian counterattacks, Rrussians retreated with significant losses. The Ukrainian artillery is also working well – there is a hit in the area of ​​the Antonivskyi railway bridge.

Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Russians are unsuccessfully trying to regain their lost positions in the areas of Dorozhnianka, Nesterianka, Shcherbaky, and Stepove. Artillery duels go on in the direction of Huliaypole.

The work of Ukrainian artillery:

  • Beryslav district (Kherson Oblast): surgical hits on a Russian base and on an ammunition warehouse;
  • Chornobaivka (Kherson Oblast): a Russian base;
  • Donetsk: an ammunition depot;
  • Kadiivka (Luhansk Oblast): a Russian base
  • Kherson: information is being clarified.

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, August 4, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below. 

Situation in Ukraine. August 3,2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. August 3,2022. Source: ISW.

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The one-hundred-sixty-second (162) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military invasion continues.
In the Volyn and Polissya directions, units of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus are carrying out the task of strengthening the protection of the section of the belarusian-Ukrainian border in the Brest and Gomel regions.
In parts of the special operations forces of the Armed Forces of the republic of belarus, a combat readiness check was held.
In the Siversky direction, the enemy shelled the areas of Medvedivka in the Chernihiv oblast and Krasnopilla and Myropilla in the Sumy oblast with barrel artillery.
In the Kharkiv direction, the enemy carried out fire damage from tanks, barrel and rocket artillery in the areas of the settlements of Kharkiv, Lebyazhe, Borshcheva, Dementiivka, Korobochkyne, Velyki Prohody, Ruski Tyshki, Stariy Saltiv, Prudyanka, Pytomnyk, Tsupivka.
Made an offensive attempt in the direction of Bayrak – Husarivka, hostilities continue.
In the Sloviansk direction, shelling was recorded near Bohorodychne, Dibrivne, Mazanivka, Karnaukhivka, Chepil and Husarivka. The occupiers tried to advance in the direction of Dovhenke – Bohorodychne. They were repulsed and left.
In the Kramatorsk direction, the enemy fired near Siversk, Mykolaivka, Starodubivka, Spirne, Kryvya Luka, Verkhnokamyanske, Hryhorivka, Serebryanka, Raihorodok, and Kalenyky. Conducted an airstrike near Spirne.
It led an offensive battle in the direction of Yaremivka – Dolyna, had no success, withdrew.
In the Bakhmut direction, the enemy used barrel and rocket artillery in the areas of Yakovlivka, Travneve, Kodema, Pokrovske, Rozdolivka, Kurdyumivka, Zaitseve, Bakhmut and Soledar settlements. Airstrikes near Yakovlivka, Soledar and Kodema.
The occupiers tried to improve the tactical position in the directions Streapivka – Soledar, Dolomite – Travneve, Vidrodzhenya – Vershyna, Pokrovske – Bakhmut, Vasylivka – Yakovlivka, Semihirya – Vershyna. The enemy had no success in all the indicated directions and retreated. Conducts offensive operations in the direction of Novoluhanske – Kodema, hostilities continue.
In the Avdiivka direction, the enemy shelled the districts of Pisky, Prechistivka, Shevchenko, Volodymyrivka, Nevelske, Netaylove and Krasnohorivka. It led assault operations in the directions Lozove – Pisky and Vesele – Pisky, was unsuccessful, withdrew.
On the Novopavlivske and Zaporizhzhia directions, shelling from artillery and tanks was recorded near Zaliznychne, Varvarivka, Maryinka, Hlyaipole, Novosilka, Hulyaipilske and Temyrivka. The enemy launched an airstrike near Novopol. Fighting continues in the Oleksandrivka-Marinka direction.
In the South Buh direction, the enemy fired from tanks, barrel and rocket artillery in Mykolaiv, Prybuzke and another 25 settlements. The enemy continues conducting aerial reconnaissance by UAVs.
Two sea-based cruise missile carriers are in readiness for the use of high-precision weapons in the waters of the Black and Azov Seas.
russian occupiers are suffering casualties, demoralized and looking for any chance to get a light wound. In order to get back to the territory of the russian federation, they resort to self-mutilation and various simulations of poor health.
Our fighter aircraft continue to patrol the airspace of Ukraine, and our strike aircraft provide fire support to units in designated operational areas without fail.

Military Updates 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1554900566131838977

Russia spends more than $100 million on missiles in one day. On August 2, Russia fired eight X-101 (X-555) cruise missiles in the direction of the central, southern, and western regions of Ukraine. Seven of them were shot down by the Ukrainian Air Defense. The cost of one missile is $13 million.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1554925714708865025

Regional Updates 

 

Donetsk Battle Map, August 03, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map, August 03, 2022. Source: ISW.

 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1554935890614657024

In the Luhansk Oblast and Donetsk Oblast, unable to overcome the defensive fortifications of Ukrainian soldiers, the Russians increasingly use aviation. Over the past day, airstrikes were carried out near eight settlements located on the administrative borders of the Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts. The Russians aim at limiting the actions of the Ukrainian army in order to prevent their transfer to other directions and, with this goal, they carry out numerous attacks simultaneously from different sides. Over the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian soldiers repelled nine Russian troops’ attacks. The Russians were forced to retreat to the indicated areas.

 

Kharkiv Battle Map, August 03, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map, August 03, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the Kharkiv Oblast, Russians shelled Chuhuiv, killing one citizen of the Russian Federation and injuring another. There is information that in the coming days the enemy will intensify missile attacks on the Kharkiv Oblast.

In the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, the Russians shelled the Kryvyi Rih region, killing 1 and injuring 1. A 70-year-old woman was gardening when the Russians struck. Several dozen private houses damaged.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1554798035670032387

In the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the situation at the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is out of control. “All the principles of nuclear safety have been violated. An extremely serious and dangerous matter is at stake,” the IAEA said.

Russian occupiers torture diver to death at Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant; Ukraine warns of nuclear provocation

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1554974980269555712

In the Kherson Oblast, the Russian military build the second ferry crossing after the Ukrainian army attacked and damaged the Antonovsky automobile and railway bridges. The Russians need the bridge to transport equipment across the Dnieper near occupied Kherson.

In the Mykolaiv Oblast, the Russian troops destroyed a supermarket, multi-story buildings, a pharmacy, and several shops. Two hits on the territory of the equestrian school reported. Mykolaiv was hit with S-300 systems.

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. August 03,2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. August 03,2022. Source: ISW.

 

https://twitter.com/DefenceHQ/status/1555120210964873216

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

  • As of Sunday 10 July, Russian artillery bombardments continued in the northern Donbas sector, but probably without any major territorial advances. Ukrainian forces continued to apply localized pressure to the Russian defensive line in North East Kherson oblast, also probably without achieving territorial gain.
  • In late June, a Russian-language media agency based in Russia’s far eastern Lake Baikal region uploaded a video in which the wives of soldiers from the Eastern Military District’s (EMD’s) 36th Combined Arms Army directly appealed to a local politician for their husbands to be returned home from service in Ukraine.
  • One woman claimed that personnel of EMD’s 5th Separate Guards Tank Brigade are ‘mentally and physically exhausted,’ because they have been on active combat duty since the launch of the ‘special military operation’ on 24 February 2022. The lack of scheduled breaks from intense combat conditions is highly likely one of the most damaging of the many personnel issues the Russian MoD is struggling to rectify amongst the deployed force.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 4 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/1554857310572404737

According to Ukrainian intelligence, the Russian military, PMC “Wagner” and the FSB used torture to interrogate the prisoners of war in Olenivka. During interrogations, they actively used physical torture and beatings. The goal was not to obtain confidential information, but to bully, physically humiliate, and psychologically demoralize the Ukrainian prisoners. The FSB planned to involve Ukrainian prisoners in filming pro-Russian propaganda reports. Ukrainian prisoners showed exceptional courage and invincible willpower. The Russian side does not intend to exchange prisoners of war and, in order to conceal the improper conditions and forms of interrogation of Ukrainian servicemen, deliberately destroyed the prisoners. Wagner militants mined the place of detention of Ukrainian prisoners of war using a flammable substance.

About 6.6 million internally displaced Ukrainians lost their jobs. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 60% of those who had a job before they were displaced have now lost their jobs, 9% have had no income since the start of the war, and 35% reported that their monthly family income does not exceed 5,000 UAH, which is 1,500 UAH less than the minimum wage in Ukraine. “The situation with the employment of internally displaced persons remains quite critical and is one of the reasons pushing people to return,” the study says.

5.5 million previously displaced returned home. The vast majority were on the territory of Ukraine and 16% returned from abroad. Ukrainians have returned to Kyiv and the Kyiv Oblast, as well as Kharkiv, Odesa, and Chernihiv Oblasts.

Mariupol faces a stray pet situation. Many were abandoned. Many fled the explosions and are lost. Others’ owners were killed. Volunteers are feeding animals now but the issue will become a real problem in wintertime.

️️Environmental 

Ukraine is the most mined country in the world, according to the State Emergency Service. It will take at least 5 years to clear the territories. It can take a decade to clear the seas. The UK is to transfer two ships to Ukraine for the demining of the Black Sea.

Legal 

Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmygal signed a decree on the mandatory evacuation of the population of the Donetsk Oblast. In the Rivne region, a plan is being prepared for the evacuation of the population in case of an invasion from the territory of Belarus.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1554927263111585793

The UN launches a mission to establish the facts of the tragedy in the Olenivka colony.

Support 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1554830378971500544

Switzerland has joined the seventh package of EU sanctions against Russia, including a gold embargo. The country also froze the assets of Sberbank, which is now forbidden to provide funds, economic resources, and technical services. The freeze also applies to subsidiaries of Sberbank.

Lithuania blocks Russia’s transit to the Kaliningrad region due to Russia’s inability to pay for transport services. Lithuanian banks refuse to deal with Russian companies.

Germany ruled out the launch of Nord Stream 2. Its certification has been terminated. Gas storage facilities in Germany are quickly filling up and the level is higher than in previous years.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has allocated an additional $1.8 million to WHO to support healthcare in Ukraine. Since February 24, $15.5 dollars have been provided, the Ukrainian Bureau of WHO reported.

New Developments 

Ukraine is withdrawing its 40 peacekeepers from Kosovo, the Republic of Serbia.

Rising tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh:

  • The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan announced the conduct of Operation Retribution in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan demanded the complete demilitarization of the Armenian forces in Karabakh, the complete withdrawal of Armenian troops, and the disarmament of Armenian armed formations.
  • The equipment of the Iranian army is allegedly being transferred closer to the border with Azerbaijan.
  • The EU called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to immediately cease hostilities.

The ex-Chancellor of Germany Schroeder recently met with Putin. He later spoke on the following:

  • Merkel and Steinmeier made a “wise decision” at the NATO summit in 2008 to prevent Ukraine from joining the alliance.
  • Nord Stream 2 needs to be launched.
  • The Kremlin wants a negotiated solution and the grain supply agreement “can continue the way forward.”

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

map source: https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-august-3*

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 4 August, 2022:

Russian forces are likely using Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Enerhodar to play on Western fears of a nuclear disaster in Ukraine, likely in an effort to degrade Western will to provide military support to a Ukrainian counteroffensive. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi said on August 3 that Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), which is currently occupied by Russian forces, is “completely out of control” and that “every principle of nuclear safety has been violated” at the plant.[1] He warned that Russian forces are not respecting the physical integrity of the plant and pleaded with Russia and Ukraine to quickly facilitate a visit of IAEA monitors to the complex. Russian Zaporizhzhia Occupation Administration Head Evgeniy Balitskyi responded that the IAEA was welcome at the plant: “We are ready to show how the Russian military guards it today, and how Ukraine, which receives weapons from the West, uses these weapons, including drones, to attack the nuclear plant, acting like a monkey with a grenade.”[2] Russian officials are framing Ukraine as irresponsibly using Western-provided weapons and risking nuclear disaster to dissuade Western and other allied states from providing additional military support to Ukraine’s looming southern counteroffensive.

Russian forces based around the NPP have attacked Ukrainian positions in Nikopol and elsewhere in recent weeks, intentionally putting Ukraine in a difficult position—either Ukraine returns fire, risking international condemnation and a nuclear incident (which Ukrainian forces are unlikely to do), or Ukrainian forces allow Russian forces to continue firing on Ukrainian positions from an effective “safe zone.” Ukrainian Mayor of Enerhodar Dmytro Orlov reported on August 3 that Russian forces launched rockets on Enerhodar from neighboring villages to falsely accuse Ukrainian forces of shelling Enerhodar and endangering the NPP.[3] ISW assessed on July 21 that Russian forces may be storing heavy military equipment in the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Enerhodar to protect it from Ukrainian strikes.[4] Russian forces have also likely staged false flag attacks around Enerhodar since early July, as ISW previously reported.[5]

Russian forces likely set fire to the prison complex holding Ukrainian POWs in occupied Donetsk Oblast but blamed Ukraine for an alleged precision strike using Western-supplied military equipment, likely to deter additional Western military support to Ukraine. The Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported that it has determined that the Wagner Group deliberately set fire to the prison complex on July 28. This report is consistent with the damage observable in Russian-provided video of the site. The GUR reported that Wagner forces “mined” the building with unspecified flammable substances, which led to a rapid spread of fire throughout the building.[6] Russian-provided footage and commercial satellite imagery from the colony showed that the walls of the building were burned but still standing and did not reveal shell craters or other indicators consistent with an artillery strike. ISW previously reported that imagery from the site shows 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.[7] Russian officials previously claimed that the deaths of the POWs were the result of a Ukrainian HIMARS strike, likely as a component of the ongoing Russian information operation attempting to dissuade the US from continuing to provide Ukraine with HIMARS.

The Kremlin is likely continuing efforts to leverage its relationship with Tehran in order to receive drones for use in Ukraine. Russian state-owned space agency Roscosmos announced on August 3 that Russia will launch a remote-sensing satellite (named “Khayyam”) into orbit on behalf of Iran on August 9.[8] The Kremlin may intend this launch to encourage or repay Tehran for the provision of Iranian drones that would be employed in operations in Ukraine, and possibly other military equipment or support. Iran has a huge ballistic missile arsenal and domestic missile manufacturing capabilities that it could provide to Russia in exchange for economic and military cooperation.[9] Iran has prioritized the development of its military space program in recent years and launched one satellite in April 2020 and one in April 2022. US and Middle Eastern officials stated as early as June 2021 that Russian officials were preparing to send a Russian-made Kanopus-V satellites to Iran, which would expand Tehran’s overall surveillance capabilities in the Middle East and beyond.[10] As ISW reported on August 2, Russian and Iran are likely continuing to facilitate cooperation through recently signed bilateral aviation agreements in order to bolster Russian military capabilities in Ukraine and assist Tehran with sanctions mitigation.[11]

The Russian Defense Ministry has altered the focus of its reporting after the fall of Lysychansk, likely to orient on narratives that resonate positively with milbloggers and war correspondents rather than those that draw criticism from that community. The Russian Defense Ministry has shifted its reporting style to focus on claims of declining Ukrainian morale and successful Russian strikes on Western-provided military equipment, rather than reporting on day-to-day Russian advances on the frontline.[12] Russian forces have made limited gains around Bakhmut and Avdiivka in recent days, but the Russian Defense Ministry has not claimed territorial gains around the theater since at least the fall of Lysychansk. Milbloggers, war correspondents, and other groups have criticized the Defense Ministry and the Kremlin for exaggerated and inaccurate claims of territorial gains, undermining Moscow’s narratives and credibility.[13] The Defense Ministry apparently flirted with the idea of suppressing or attempting to control the milblogger community, but it seems instead to have opted to adjust its own narratives.[14] The Defense Ministry is now letting milbloggers, war correspondents, and DNR officials cover the situation unfolding in Avdiivka, Pisky, and south of Bakhmut positively without making claims of its own that might draw criticism. Milbloggers released footage from the reported capture of the Butivka Coal Mine ventilation shaft and on the southern outskirts of Pisky, where they celebrated recapturing small segments of years-long contested territory–but the Defense Ministry has made no statement on the subject.[15] Some of the milbloggers such as Maksim Fomin (known under alias Vladelen Tatarzkiy) have previously served within DNR units and include anecdotes about their service in the Donetsk City area prior to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Such coverage of the war likely aims to boost morale among DNR and Russian fighters. The Kremlin or the Defense Ministry may have decided that the milbloggers and war correspondents are more credible sources for the constituencies it cares most about and realized that its own claims were losing credibility. They may alternatively be focusing on narratives that generate positive resonance within that community.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces are likely using Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Enerhodar to play on Western fears of a nuclear disaster in Ukraine, attempting to thereby degrade the will of Western powers to provide military support to a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
  • Russian forces likely set fire to the prison complex holding Ukrainian POWs in occupied Donetsk Oblast but blamed Ukraine for an alleged precision strike using Western-supplied military equipment, likely to increase US hesitancy to continue providing HIMARS to Ukraine.
  • Moscow is likely continuing efforts to leverage its relationship with Tehran in order to secure drones for use in Ukraine.
  • Russian forces conducted a limited ground attack northwest of Sloviansk and continued efforts to advance on Bakhmut from the northeast, east, and southeast.
  • Russian forces are prioritizing frontal assaults on Avdiivka and failed to gain ground in Pisky.
  • Russian forces are reportedly forming a strike group to prevent Ukrainian counteroffensives in northern Kherson Oblast or counterattack against them.
  • Russian occupation authorities may allow both in-person and online voting in upcoming pseudo-referenda on the annexation of occupied Ukrainian territory into Russia, enabling more straightforward Russian vote rigging.

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