Russo Ukrainian War, Day 166: Major turnover in Russian military leadership

 

Daily review

Russian military leadership continues to experience major turnover. Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks and have likely made incremental gains in Donbas, unsuccessfully attempted to advance on Mykolaiv. Forced mobilization continues in occupied Luhansk. Four vessels with Ukrainian grain left Odesa and Chornomorsk. 26,000 war crime cases are under investigation. Sweden will send instructors to the U.K. to train the Ukrainian military. Meta closes a Russian troll factory. North Korea offers Russia 100,000 volunteers to participate in the war in Ukraine.

Daily overview — Summary report, August 6

Donetsk Oblast. The Bakhmut direction: a Russian reconnaissance group was neutralized near Bilohorivka. Fighting continues in the area of Kodema where the situation is the most difficult as the Russians are trying to drive the Ukrainian Armed Forces away from the high point in the areas of Zaitseve and Travneve. In the area of Avdiivka and Mariinka, the situation is similar, the occupiers haven’t advanced anywhere, so they are looking for weak spots in the Ukrainian defense lines. In Pisky, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are holding the defense, and thanks to the Ukrainian artillery, the situation has normalized here a little. Sloviansk: the situation is fine for the Ukrainian forces in the direction of Izium.

Kharkiv Oblast. This direction has been practically unchanged for a few days now as the Russians haven’t been able to conduct serious offensive actions for a month and this is mainly due to the fact that they are transferring most of their forces towards Izium. The Russian forces are trying to attack the Dementiivka area. As for the areas of Velyka Komyshuvakha, Brazhkivka, and Sulyhivka, Ukrainians are gradually advancing there. Russians continue to reinforce the troops with those mobilized from the occupied Luhansk and Donetsk areas while moving their regular units move to the south.

Kherson Oblast. Russians don’t control Blahodatne – the reports claiming that are fake. Russians conducted attacks at the Inhulets and in the area of Arkhanhelske-Vysokopillia, but failed. Russian troops intensified shelling along the front line in order to prevent the Ukrainian fire control over key logistics routes, but in vain.

“If we trust the information on the readiness of the Ruscists (short for ‘Russian fascists,’ – Ed.) for an offensive in the area of ​​8-10 August, then from today they should redeploy the infantry of the 5th and 35th armies to the right bank [of the Dnipro river], perhaps that is why our [Ukrainian] strikes on the bridges began,” Haider says.

Zaporizhzhia Oblast. The Russians continue to redeploy their forces in the region from other directions (those get deployed into Tokmak, Chernihivka, Melitopol areas), but it should be understood that these aren’t fresh forces, and their strength may be at 50-60%. Their main task now is to prevent a Ukrainian offensive in the region. The Ukrainian army continues its advance in the Dorozhnianka area. As for the directions of Shcherbaky and Inzhenernyi, artillery duels are major activities there.

The work of the Ukrainian artillery. During the daytime yesterday, there was only one hit, namely on an ammunition warehouse in Donetsk. “Yet last night, the artillery ‘caught up’ – it will get into tomorrow’s report,” Haider says. It is known about hits on the airfield area and the Refma factory in occupied Melitopol, on facilities in Oleshky, Skadovsk, Chornobaivka, Nova Kakhovka, on the bridges – Antonivskyi, Dariivskyi, and the one along the dam of Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant.

“In total, over the past week, our [Ukrainian] troops destroyed 21 ammunition depots, 17 bases, 2 command posts, 1 headquarters, and 1 oil depot,” Haider says.

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, August 6, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below. 

Situation in Ukraine, August 7, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine, August 7, 2022. Source: ISW.

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The one hundred sixty sixth (166) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military invasion continues.
There were no significant changes in the position and actions of the enemy in the Volyn and Polissya directions. The build-up of the air defense system is noted.
In the Siversky direction, the enemy continues to hold separate units of the troops of the Western Military District in the border areas of the Bryansk and Kursk regions.
In the Kharkiv direction, the enemy carried out fire damage from barrel and rocket artillery along the line of contact. Fired at civilian infrastructure in the areas of Zolochiv, Prudyanka, Dementiyivka, Ptomnyk, Ruska Lozova, Ruski and Cherkaski Tyshky, Kutuzivka, Stary Saltiv, Chuhuiv and Asiivka.
Carried out airstrikes near Husarivka and Verkhniy Saltiv. Actively conducted aerial reconnaissance of UAVs of the operational-tactical level.
In the Sloviansk direction, the enemy shelled the areas of Velika Komyshuvakha, Virnopilly, Suligivka, Rydny, Dibrivny, Hrushuvakh, Bogorodichny, Nortsivka, and Dolyna. Airstrikes near Zalyman.
In the Kramatorsk direction, enemy shelling from tanks, barrel and rocket artillery was recorded near Kramatorsk, Siversk, Serebryanka, Hryhorivka and Spirne. The occupiers launched airstrikes near Hryhorivka and Ivano-Daryivka.
In order to improve the tactical position, the enemy waged an offensive battle in the Verkhnokamyanske area. Already traditionally suffered losses and left.
In the Bakhmut direction, the enemy shelled military and civilian infrastructure in the areas of Bakhmut, Chasiv Yar, Soledar, Zaitseve, Yakovlivka, Bilohorivka and Bakhmutske settlements. Used aviation near Bakhmut, Yakovlivka and Zaitseve.
The enemy continues to conduct reconnaissance, sparing no personnel. Enemy reconnaissance groups were detected and neutralized in the areas of Bakhmutske, Bakhmut and Yakovlivka settlements.
The enemy tried to conduct assaults near Bakhmut, Zaytsevo, Yakovlivka and Vershyn, but was unsuccessful and retreated.
In the Avdiivka direction, artillery shelling was recorded near Avdiivka, Pisky, Nevelske, Krasnohorivka, and Kurakhovo. The occupiers launched airstrikes near New York, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, and Yuryivka.
The enemy carried out offensive actions in the direction of Pisky, Nevelske and Avdiyivka, had no success, retreated.
In the Novopavlivske and Zaporizhzhia directions, the enemy continues shelling the military and civilian infrastructure in the areas of Novomykhailivka, Kostyantynivka, Shevchenko, Orihiv, Mala Tokmachka, Novodanilivka, Vremivka, Novosilka, Bilohirya, Stepove and Poltavka settlements. Used aviation for strikes near Novomykhailivka, Prechystivka, Volodymyrivka, and Novosilka. It led offensive actions in the directions of Maryinka and Shevchenko. Ukrainian soldiers met the invaders with accurate fire and pushed them back.
In the South Buh direction, the enemy’s main efforts continue to focus on holding the occupied positions and preventing the advance of our troops. The enemy actively conducts reconnaissance of UAVs.
Conducted shelling from barrel, rocket artillery and tanks along the entire line of contact. It carried out airstrikes in the districts of Olhyne, Novohryhorivka, and Andriivka.
In the waters of the Black Sea, the enemy’s ship group continues to perform the specified tasks. The threat of missile strikes on military facilities and infrastructure elements throughout Ukraine remains.
Ukrainian soldiers are firmly holding the defense, inflicting losses on the enemy and are ready for any changes in the operational situation.

Military Updates 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1556353229591650306

“Air defense will not protect Kharkiv and Mykolaiv from shelling,” said Yury Ignat, spokesman for the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The front-line cities of Kharkiv, Dnipro, Mykolaiv, and Zaporizhzhia suffer primarily from the heavy artillery Grads, Tornadoes, and Hurricanes, against which the air defense is powerless. Anti-aircraft missile systems cannot shoot down such targets, since the Grad “package” (40 rockets) flies in a matter of minutes.

Interview: What’s going on in the White House? Why won’t Biden hand over long-range HIMARS?

Mykhailo Podoliak, the adviser to the head of the President’s Office, listed the weapons that Ukraine needs the most:

  • Long-range artillery
  • MLRS
  • Modern air defense systems like IRIS-T
  • Lots of armored vehicles
  • Artillery and MLRS are needed to destroy the enemy’s logistics and logistics depots
  • Air defense — to protect the front-line and southern cities
  • Armored vehicles are needed to advance the Ukrainian army into the occupied territories.

Regional Updates 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1556338806378430465

In the Luhansk Oblast, Russian troops attacked but retreated again. They used cannon artillery 12 times a day and rocket artillery was used 4 more times. They brought in mortarmen and delivered two missile strikes. They fired at the settlements along the front line from all types of weapons, including tanks. The enemy carried out six strikes and army aircraft. In the occupied Sievierodonetsk, 10% of the 100,000 population remained in the city. People do not have water, electricity, or gas.

Donetsk Battle Map, August 07, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map, August 07, 2022. Source: ISW.

In Donetsk Oblast, the occupiers attacked the industrial zone of Kramatorsk. No casualties. In Sloviansk, after the morning shelling, the private sector suffered. No casualties. The Russians killed 5 civilians, 8 injured. In occupied Mariupol, a sunflower processing plant, set on fire by partisans, continues to burn. This is a clear demonstration of the effectiveness of Mariupol’s resistance tactics, said Piotr Andryushchenko, adviser to the Mayor of Mariupol.

Kharkiv Battle Map, August 7, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map, August 7, 2022. Source: ISW.

In the Kharkiv Oblast, Russians fired at several districts of Kharkiv from Belgorod with S-300 missiles. Buildings were destroyed. 25 hectares of crops burned down. Houses and outbuildings destroyed.

In the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Russians hit the Nikopol region with 60 shells from Grad and Hurricanes hit the Nikopol region. 2 wounded, 50 houses, bus stops, and cars damaged. The gas pipeline and electricity grid are affected. Rissoams also hit the Kryvyi Rih region with Hurricanes and cannon artillery.

In the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the Russians mined Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Enerhodar, according to a spokesman for the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense. The occupiers do not allow any international organizations to enter the station, including the IAEA. According to Enerhodar, three radiation monitoring sensors around the site of the nuclear power plant damaged. About 800 sq. m of window surfaces in different buildings of the station damaged. An employee of the ZNPP injured during the shelling. There is no radiation threat at the station at the moment.

In the Mykolaiv Oblast, the invaders fired at industrial enterprises in the vicinity of Mykolaiv. 1 dead, 6 wounded, houses destructed.

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

  • Russia is highly likely deploying anti-personnel mines to protect and deter freedom of movement along its defensive lines in the Donbas. These mines have the potential to inflict widespread casualties amongst both the military and the local civilian population.

 

  • In Donetsk and Kramatorsk, Russia has highly likely attempted employment of PFM-1 and PFM-1S scatterable anti-personnel mines. Commonly called the ‘butterfly mine’, the PFM-1 series are deeply controversial, indiscriminate weapons.

 

  • PFM-1s were used to devastating effect in the Soviet-Afghan War where they allegedly maimed high numbers of children who mistook them for toys. It is highly likely that the Soviet-era stock being used by Russia will have degraded over time and are now highly unreliable and unpredictable. This poses a threat to both the local population and humanitarian mine clearance operations.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 6 August, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

Losses of the Russian Army. Source: Kyiv Independent. ~

Losses of the Russian Army. Source: Kyiv Independent.

Humanitarian 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1556221109313445889

Forced mobilization continues in occupied Luhansk. Armed occupiers grab “volunteers” off the streets, force them into buses and take them away.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1556310233043148800

The terrorist attack in Olenivka was a special operation of the Russian Federation meant as the answer to the Western weapons supply to Ukraine. Andriy Yusov, a representative of the military intelligence of Ukraine, said, that the attack was a falsification. The occupiers are terrified of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which are becoming stronger every day due to the support of the Western allies.

️️Environmental 

Four vessels with Ukrainian grain left Odesa and Chornomorsk. 4 bulk vessels carrying 170 thousand tons of products sail to Istanbul along the “grain corridor.”

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1556251307970666496

Legal 

A deputy of the Russian State Duma threatened German journalists on a live show on prime TV, saying, “We will come and kill you all,” adding a direct threat of murder, inciting ethnic hatred, and extremism, and violating many laws.

26,000 war crime cases are under investigation, according to Yuriy Bilousov, head of the war crimes department of the Prosecutor General’s office.  135 people are accused of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Among them, 15 people are in custody, and 120 remain at large.

Support 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1556298382481694723

Sweden will send instructors to the U.K. to train the Ukrainian military. Swedish Defense Ministry said it will send up to 120 instructors for six months starting on Aug. 12 for military training.  In total, about 10,000 Ukrainians are expected to participate in the training in the U.K.

New Developments 

Meta closes a Russian troll factory Cyber ​​Front Z as part of anti-cyber espionage campaign. The factory was based in St. Petersburg. It started to work in March, a month after the start of the war. Yevgeny Prigozhin was involved in the Internet Research Agency troll farm, also located in St. Petersburg. Cyber ​​Front Z encouraged users to leave pro-Russian comments on social media.

Putin’s close friend Yevgeny Prigozhin is reported to be personally recruiting prisoners in Russia to fight in Ukraine. In exchange for the service, freedom and 100,000 rubles a month are offered. Prigozhin is allegedly the owner of the Wagner armed group.

North Korea offers Russia 100,000 volunteers to participate in the war in Ukraine.

Putin’s childhood friends, the Rotenberg brothers, continue to launder money in Britain, successfully circumventing the sanctions.They founded companies known as English limited partnerships (ELPs) allegedly engaging in fraud and money laundering.

Zelenskyy spoke with the President of the European Parliament Charles Michel about the situation at the front, the threat of the nuclear disaster at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, “grain corridor,” the unblocking of macro-financial assistance for Ukraine and more.

Beijing announced that it stops dialogue with the United States on a number of issues, amid growing resentment over US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

US and India to hold joint drills near disputed India-China border in mid-October in the Auli region in Uttarakhand state, about 95 km from the disputed border between India and China.

CBS News released a documentary on the US— Ukraine weapons supply chain. Some of the interviewed experts said that it was extremely difficult to track the transfer of weapons to the front, since after crossing the border, the US loses control over the military cargo. A Lithuanian volunteer believes that only 30–40% of supplies reach the front. The Amnesty International representative fears that Ukraine might repeat the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The filmmakers express a concern that Ukraine could become a “grey zone” with a huge stockpile of weapons.

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 6 August, 2022:

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. August 07,2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. August 07,2022. Source: ISW.

Russian occupation officials may be accelerating their preparations for illegitimate pseudo-referenda on the Russian annexation of occupied Ukrainian territory. The Ukrainian Mayor of Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ivan Fedorov, reported on August 7 that resistance among Ukrainian residents has forced Russian authorities to “constantly” change their plans for a referendum. Fedorov claimed that occupation authorities had planned a single day of voting but are now considering seven days of “voting from home” in which armed Russian military personnel will go house to house and “interview” Melitopol residents.[1] Fedorov claimed that only about 10% of the civilians remaining in Melitopol support Russia’s occupation and warned that Russian soldiers will threaten to shoot residents who do not vote for annexation.[2]  Ukrainian Kherson Administration Advisor Sergey Khlan noted that occupation authorities have not fully set conditions for a referendum as of August 7 but are accelerating their preparation after a three-week pause in preparations, which Khlan attributed to Ukrainian HIMARS attacks on Russian occupation logistics.[3] Occupation authorities could also alter the timeline of their sham referenda in response to changing realities on the ground, including a Ukrainian counteroffensive. Khlan reported that the preliminary referendum date remains September 11.

By removing in-person voting options and transitioning to house-to-house surveys, Russian occupation authorities are increasing their opportunities to directly intimidate Ukrainian civilians. This effort is unnecessary to rig the vote to the outcome the Kremlin desires but does make any independent oversight of the vote nearly impossible. Occupation authorities may also turn these “surveys” into intelligence gathering operations to weed out Ukrainian opposition in occupied areas. Removing in-person polling stations removes many requirements for bureaucrats to staff those locations. Russian forces have struggled to recruit people into these positions from occupied populations. In-home voting also limits opportunities for partisan attacks on those locations.

The Kremlin may order different types of voting in different occupied locations depending on perceived local support, perceived risk of partisan attacks, and bureaucratic capacity. For example, the Ukrainian head of the Luhansk Oblast Civil-Military Administration, Serhiy Haidai, reported on August 7 that Russian occupation authorities in Luhansk Oblast have identified venues to host their sham annexation referendum in person.[4] Haidai reported that Russian occupation authorities are actively campaigning for annexation by distributing propagandist newspapers and tying the provision of humanitarian aid including food, water, and construction materials to participate in the pseudo-referendum. Haidai said that the practice amounts to blackmail: “we [the Russians] will help you [Ukrainian civilians] meet your basic needs, while you go to the ‘referendum.’ Otherwise, die, and we will fabricate the result without you.” Russia has occupied parts of Luhansk Oblast since 2014 and likely has greater capacity to mobilize collaborators to administer polling stations than in newly occupied areas. ISW reported on August 3 that occupation authorities in Donetsk Oblast may allow in-person and online participation, providing multiple levers for Russian officials to alter the results.[5]

The Iranian Space Agency (ISA) denied reports on August 7 that Russia will use an Iranian satellite over Ukraine for several months after Russia launches the satellite on behalf of Iran. State-run Iranian news outlet IRNA cited an ISA statement on August 7 asserting that the satellite will be controlled by and from Iran “from day one, immediately upon launch.”[6] The ISA emphasized that “No other country will have access to such information, and rumors about satellite imagery being deployed in service of another country’s military objectives are untrue.” The Washington Post cited two Western intelligence officials’ claims on August 4 that Russia would retain control of the satellite after launch to surveil Ukraine and would cede control of the satellite to Iran at an indefinite future date.[7] ISW reported on August 3 that the Kremlin is likely continuing efforts to leverage its relationship with Tehran in order to receive drones for use in Ukraine.[8] ISW cannot independently confirm which state will control the satellite, which Russia plans to launch from Kazakhstan on August 9.

The UK Ministry of Defense (UK MoD) confirmed ISW’s previous assessments that Russian military leadership has experienced major turn-overs due to Russian military failures in Ukraine.[9] UK MoD reported that at least six Russian commanders have likely been dismissed from their posts since the beginning of the war in February, potentially including Eastern Military District (EMD) commander Colonel General Aleksandr Chayko and Western Military District (WMD) commander Colonel General Aleksandr Zhuravlev. UK MoD additionally stated that Army General Aleksandr Dvornikov has been removed from overall theater command of Ukraine and that Army General Sergey Surovikin has taken over the “Southern Grouping” of forces in Ukraine. UK MoD concluded that the lack of consistency in the Russian command structure and continued losses to military leadership on the battlefield are complicating command and control and the overall effectiveness of operations in Ukraine. ISW has previously reported on changes to Russian military command and continues to track the ramifications of these changes on Russian offensive capabilities.[10]

Note:  ISW does not receive any classified material from any source, uses only publicly available information, and draws extensively on Russian, Ukrainian, and Western reporting and social media as well as commercially available satellite imagery and other geospatial data as the basis for these reports.  References to all sources used are provided in the endnotes of each update.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian military leadership continues to experience major turnover, which is likely impacting Russian command and control efforts in Ukraine.
  • Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks southwest and southeast of Izium, east of Siversk, and to the east and south of Bakhmut.
  • Russian forces have likely made incremental gains in settlements on the northwestern and southwestern outskirts of Donetsk City and continued efforts to break Ukrainian defensive lines along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line of contact.
  • Russian forces unsuccessfully attempted to advance east of Mykolaiv City on August 7.
  • Russian forces are forming a new 72nd Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade in Orenburg Oblast as part of the 3rd Army Corps.

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