Russo Ukrainian War, Day 168: A series of explosions destroyed a Russian airfield in Crimea

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Several large explosions hit Russian positions near Sevastopol and north of Crimea. A series of explosions destroyed a Russian Federation airfield Saki near Novofedirivka. Russia did not blame Ukraine. Ukraine has not taken credit. Ukraine will not conduct peace talks without the withdrawal of the Russian Federation troops from Crimea and Donbas. Russian forces conducted ground attacks southeast of Siversk, around Bakhmut, north of Donetsk City and southwest of Donetsk City near the Zaporizhzhia-Donetsk Oblast border. Ukrainian officials claimed that Russian forces continued to fire artillery systems from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and that the Russian occupiers began implementing a plan to connect the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to the Russian energy system and disconnect it from the Ukrainian energy system. In Mariupol, the invaders force Ukrainian prisoners of war, mostly the Azovstal defenders, to exhume corpses. Russia to stop oil supplies to Europe through the territory of Ukraine. The southern Europe countries carry out record purchases of Russian oil in secret. The Pentagon confirmed sending a new type of missile to Ukraine. The US will allocate $ 89 million to Ukraine for the training for demining experts. Russian officials are continuing to take prominent roles in preparing for the sham referenda in Russian-occupied regions despite Kremlin claims that Russia is not conducting the referenda.

Daily overview — Summary report, August 10

Reported shellings by region/oblast. August 8, 2022. Source: Icelandic data analysis. ~

Reported shellings by region/oblast. August 8, 2022. Source: Icelandic data analysis.

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, August 10, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below. 

 

Situation in Ukraine, August 9, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine, August 9, 2022. Source: ISW.

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The one hundred sixty eighths (168) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military invasion continues.
In the Volyn and Polissya directions, the situation did not change. Until August 11, the first stage of joint operational-tactical training with the combat firing of the Armed Forces of the russian federation and the republic of belarus is planned.
There is a threat of the providing by the enemy of missile and aviation strikes from the territory and airspace of republic of belarus.
In the Siversky direction, the enemy fired at the barrel artillery near Senkivka of Chernihiv oblast.
In the Kharkiv direction, shelling of tanks, barrel and jet artillery in areas of settlements of Udy, Dementiyivka, Nove, Pytomnyk, Ruski Tyshky, Peremoga, Verhniy Saltiv, Staryy Saltiv, Mospanove, Stara Hnylytsa, Husarivka, Korobochkyne, Pyatyhirske, and Shevelivka.
In order to improve the tactical position, the enemy fought the offensive battles in the direction of the Veterynarne – Udy, had no success, suffered losses, departed. The fighting is ongoing in the direction of Bayrak – Husarivka.
In the Sloviansk direction, the enemy fired at the districts of the Velyka Komyshuvakha, Dmytrivka, Karnaukhivka, Dovhenke, Virnopilla, Nova Dmytrivka, Bohorodychne and Dolyna.
In the Kramatorsk direction, the enemy was carried out by artillery shelling near Siversk, Hryhorivka, Verkhnokamjansk, Sydorove and Rayhorod.
In the Bakhmut direction, the invaders were shelling from the barrel, jet artillery and tanks in the areas of settlements of Konstantynivka, Bakhmut, Ivano-Dariivka, Pokrovske, Zaitseve, Kodema, Kurdyumivka, Bakhmutske, Soledar, Yakovlivka and Vershyna. Aviation strikes were struck by the assault and army aviation near Spirne, Soledar, Bakhmut, Zaitseve and Vershyna.
The enemy attempted to conduct assault actions in the directions of Novoluhansk – Spirne, Volodymyrivka – Yakovlivka, Stryapivka – Soledar. It had no success and withdraw.
In the Avdiivka direction, shelling near Mariinka, Avdiivka, Opetne, Pisky, Pervomaiske, Nevelske, Petrovske, Netaylove and Krasnohorivka was recorded. The hostile aircraft of assault aviation operated near Krasnohorivka and Mariinka.
The enemy tries to restore the offensive in the direction of Donetsk – Pisky, fighting continues. The enemy led the attack in the directions of Mineralne – Avdiivka and Spartak – Avdiivka. It had no success, suffered losses and withdraw.
In Novopavlivsk and Zaporizhzhia directions, the occupiers fired from tanks, barrels and jet artillery areas of settlements Kostantynopolske, Novomykhaylivka, Mala Tokmachka, Velykomykhailivka, Pavlivka, Volodymyrivka, Shevchenko, Prychystivka, Velyka Novosilka, Burlatske, Vremivka, Zaliznychne, Stepove, Poltavka, Novosilka, Hulaypole and Mali Shcherbaky. The enemy carried out air strikes near Pavlivka, Vuhledar, and Novosilka.
In the South-Buh direction, the enemy fired at tanks and artillery of various calibres along the line of combat contact and caused aviation strikes near Novohryhorivka, Andriivka and Olhyne. It led air intelligence UAVs.
In the waters of the Black Sea, two carriers of sea-based cruise missiles of the Kalibr type are in readiness for the use of high-precision weapons. There is a threat of missile strikes on military sites and critical infrastructure sites in Ukraine.
The attack aircraft of the Air Force of Ukraine continues to patrol the airspace of Ukraine, and the strike – unreasonably provides fire support to our units in certain operating areas.

Military Updates 

Mykhailo Podoliak, an adviser to the head of the President’s Office, spoke to BBC Ukraine, about the counteroffensive of Ukrainian troops in the Kherson direction and called it a psyop, “an information-psychological operation.” “[…] it is essential for us to liberate Kherson because it is a very big city. This is the only city of this size that is under occupation if you do not take into account Luhansk and Donetsk — this is a different issue, an issue of eight years of war. And therefore, there are certain actions our army is already taking today. Was it [the Kherson counteroffensive] IPSO (information-psychological operation)? Of course, today all public comments are part of the IPSO. We need to demoralize the Russian army. They must understand that there will always be a territory of fire here, that they will be burned here. This is key,” Podoliak said.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1557154764240179206

Ukraine will not conduct peace talks without the withdrawal of the Russian Federation troops from Crimea and Donbas, Podoliak also said. The primary condition for negotiations is the withdrawal of Russian troops outside the borders before a full-scale invasion.

Podoliak commented on the numbers of the Ukrainian army losses, “I think that the numbers have decreased by 2.5–3 times from that figure [100–200 previously cited.] I think that [the number is] around 30–50 people. But, again, it’s not entirely correct for us to talk about this. In short, when specific The figures of how many people are dying will be given by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”

The Pentagon confirmed sending a new type of missiles to Ukraine. The AGM-88 HARM, an American high-speed anti-radar missile, will help increase the combat capability of the Ukrainian Air Force, according to the US Department of Defense.

Regional Updates 

In the Kharkiv Oblast, the invaders shelled the city of Kharkiv, damaging an electrical pole and tram rails.

In the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, the Russians fired at Nikopol three times from Grads, 120 rockets total. Three enterprises damaged, residential areas destroyed. 1 injured. “The night of intense shelling … The Russian army covered two districts with fire — Nikopol. Sinelnikovsky district also came under fire.

In the Kherson Oblast, due to the recent strikes of the Ukrainian army on the Antonivskyy and Kakhovskyy bridges, the Russian occupying forces began to panic, according to Kherson Regional State Administration. Antonovsky bridge was surrounded on both sides. Local residents were not allowed to pass. Russian military families are evacuating from Kherson in high numbers.

In Crimea, a series of explosions destroyed a Russian Federation airfield Saki near Novofedirivka. The Russian aircraft reportedly took off from this airfield to bomb the Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts.

The three largest Russian news agencies called the violation of fire safety requirements as the reason for the explosion of ammunition at the Saki airfield. As a result of the explosions, one person died and 7 were injured. The fire after the explosions at the airfield near Novofedirivka was localized. A high (“yellow”) level of a terrorist threat reportedly announced by the Russian Federation authorities August 9 — 24.

️The New York Times, citing an official from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, wrote that explosions at the airfield in the temporarily occupied Crimea were the work of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. According to the unnamed official, only “Ukrainian-made” weapons were used for the strike, writes the publication. “This was an air base from which planes regularly took off for attacks against our forces in the southern theater,” the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military matters. The official would not disclose the type of weapon used in the attack, saying only that “a device exclusively of Ukrainian manufacture was used.”

An InformNapalm analyst expressed the opinion that today the Armed Forces of Ukraine worked according to the classical scheme: the AGM-88 HARM disabled the radar/air defense, and then unannounced ATACMS flew through the broken “window.” The 43rd Separate Naval Assault Sevastopol Aviation Regiment is based at this airfield in Novofedorivka (satellite images show that the Su-24, Su-24MR and Su-30SM were based at this airfield.)

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

  • Russian commanders highly likely continue to be faced with the competing operational priorities of reinforcing the Donbas offensive, and strengthening defences against anticipated Ukrainian counterattacks in the south.

 

  • To support the Ukraine operation, Russia has almost certainly established a major new ground forces formation, 3rd Army Corps (3 AC), based out of Mulino, in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast east of Moscow. Russia likely plans to resource a large proportion of 3 AC from newly formed ‘volunteer’ battalions, which are being raised across the country, and which group together recruits from the same areas.

 

  • Russian regional politicians have confirmed that potential 3 AC recruits are being offered lucrative cash bonuses once they deploy to Ukraine. Recruitment is open to men up to 50 years old and with only middle-school education. A Russian army corps typically consists of 15-20,000 troops, but it will probably be difficult for Russia to bring 3 AC up to this strength, given very limited levels of popular enthusiasm for volunteering for combat in Ukraine. 3 AC’s effect is unlikely to be decisive to the campaign.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 10 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 

Ukraine returned the bodies of 17 more of its defenders. The process of returning the bodies takes place in accordance with the norms of the Geneva Convention.

In Mariupol, the invaders force Ukrainian prisoners of war, mostly the Azovstal defenders, to exhume the bodies of the dead. Local residents report that now the bodies are being dug up on the Left Bank. The Ukrainian military is forced to move the bodies in a heavy decay state without any means of protection at a gunpoint.

️️Environmental 

Russia announced that it will stop oil supplies to Europe through the territory of Ukraine. The transit of oil via the Druzhba pipeline through the territory of Ukraine was stopped on August 4. The Russian company cites sanctions as the reason for making it impossible to pay Ukrtransneft for transit services.

The southern Europe countries carry out record purchases of Russian oil in secret, Bloomberg reports, citing data on the movement of tankers. “The supply of Russian oil to the ports of Italy and Turkey has grown globally, as well as to the Mediterranean region as a whole, becoming the highest since mid-June,” the report says. Bloomberg writes that the growth in demand for Russian oil by a number of European countries indicates a high risk of violating the sanctions regime against the Russian Federation.

The Russian occupiers began implementing a plan to connect the Zaporizhzhia NPP to the Russian energy system and disconnect it from the Ukrainian energy system, said the President of “Enerhoatom” Pyotr Kotin. “Rosatom personnel handed over to the station a special program for reconnecting the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to Crimea. The prerequisite for this program is damage to the ZNPP communication lines with the energy system of Ukraine,” he said.

Ukraine demands an urgent visit of the IAEA to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. “We really need this visit urgently, as soon as possible. I would say no later than the end of this month,” said the representative of Ukraine to international organizations Yevhen Tsymbalyuk.

Legal 

The families of Azovstal defenders demand that the UN and the Red Cross prevent the “tribunal” of the Azov POW. The statement was published by the Association of Families of Azovstal Defenders. The families of Ukrainian defenders emphasize that a propaganda show is being prepared. The “tribunal” will not be legitimate, according to them. They are asking Zelenskyy and the alleged security guarantors of the defenders of Azovstal — the UN and the ICRC — to prevent the fake “tribunals.”

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas called to limit the tourism of Russian citizens to Europe and stop issuing visas to Russians. “Stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. Visiting Europe is a privilege, not a human right,” Kallas said. She recalled that at the moment air communication with Russia is closed. The Schengen countries continue to issue visas to Russian citizens. This has a negative impact on Russia’s neighboring countries — Estonia, Latvia, and Finland — due to the flow of Russian citizens across the land border.

Support 

Ukrainians in the occupation and war zone to receive an additional payment of UAH 2,220 per person. According to the Ministry of Social Policy, 10,000 Ukrainians may receive additional payments. This applies to those living in the temporarily occupied territories or in the zone of active hostilities. On August 8, the Ministry of Social Policy signed a memorandum of understanding with the French humanitarian organization ACTED. 10,000 applicants from the most vulnerable groups will be covered, in addition to the existing state programs. The allowance will be UAH 2220 per person per month for three months. At first, the program will cover residents of Kharkiv, Donetsk, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk, and Mykolaiv Oblasts.

The United States will allocate $ 89 million to Ukraine for the training of sappers for demining, Reuters reports.

New Developments 

The English-language account of the Russian Foreign Ministry on Twitter was blocked for publishing fake content. The blocking was caused by the publication of excerpts from a briefing on “US military biological activities.”

️The plant for the production of Turkish attack drones Bayraktar can be launched in Ukraine before the end of 2023, said the Ambassador of Ukraine to Turkey Vasyl Bodnar. “The construction itself may take several months, and the launch of the plant may be in 2023, perhaps by the end of the year,” he said.

Russia will bomb the Bayraktar factory if it is built in Ukraine, said Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov. “If the production of Turkish drones appears in Ukraine, it will fall under demilitarization,” Peskov said.

The Russian Il-76 VKS arrived at the Gomel airport in Belarus once again. Previously, this board brought another batch of missiles for the S-300/400. According to Belarusian Gayun, missiles can be transported to the Zyabrovka airfield, controlled by the Russians.

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

map source: https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-july-10

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 9 August, 2022:

The Ukrainian General Staff made no mention of Izium in its 1800 situational report on August 9, nor did other prominent Ukrainian sources despite Western sources’ claims of an ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive in this area. This silence represents a noteworthy departure from previous Ukrainian coverage of the Kharkiv-Donetsk axis.

Russian and Ukrainian sources reported a series of large explosions deep within Russian-occupied Kherson Oblast and Crimea on August 9, but Ukrainian officials have not claimed responsibility for them as of the time of this publication. Social media users reported witnessing 12 loud explosions at the Saky airbase in Novofedorivka on the Crimean western coast.[1] Social media footage only showed the large cloud of smoke and the aftermath of the incident.[2] Social media footage also showed a large smoke cloud near Novooleksiivka in Henichensk district, in the vicinity of the Kherson Oblast-Crimean border.[3] Advisor to the Kherson Oblast Administration Serhiy Khlan reported that explosions occurred on the Russian ammunition base but noted that there is no official confirmation of Ukrainian involvement in the incident.[4]

The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that several aircraft munitions detonated in the storage areas of the Saky airbase due to poor fire protocol, rejecting reports that Ukrainian strikes or sabotage at the military facility caused the explosions.[5] The Russian Defense Ministry added that the incident did not result in any casualties or damage to Russian aviation equipment. The Russian Health Ministry claimed that five civilians were wounded in the incident, however.[6] Social media footage also showed firefighters extinguishing a burning plane, which also contradicts the original Russian Defense Ministry claim.[7] Russian-appointed Head of Crimea Sergey Aksyenov claimed that Russian officials are only evacuating a few residents in homes near the airbase, but social media footage showed long traffic jams approaching the Crimean bridge and the departure of several minibusses, reportedly with evacuees.[8] Russian propagandist Margarita Simonyan claimed that the incident was a result of sabotage rather than a missile or rocket strike.[9] Russian milbloggers voiced differing opinions regarding the origin of the strike, with some speculating that Ukrainian forces used US-provided long-range army tactical missile systems (ATACMS).[10] Ukrainian forces do not have the ATACMS systems, however.

The Kremlin has little incentive to accuse Ukraine of conducting strikes that caused the damage since such strikes would demonstrate the ineffectiveness of Russian air defense systems, which the Ukrainian sinking of the Moskva had already revealed. ISW does not yet have any basis independently to assess the precise cause of the explosions. The apparent simultaneity of explosions at two distinct facilities likely rules out the official Russian version of accidental fire, but it does not rule out either sabotage or long-range missile strike. Ukraine could have modified its Neptune missiles for land-attack use (as the Russians have done with both anti-shipping and anti-aircraft missiles), but there is no evidence to support this hypothesis at this time.

Russia launched an Iranian satellite into orbit on August 9 that could be used to provide military intelligence on Ukraine. Iranian Space Agency Head Hassan Salariyeh stated that the remote-sensing satellite, Khayyam, has a one-meter camera resolution.[11] Khayyam has already begun broadcasting telemetry data.[12] Iranian officials have denied that another state will have access to satellite feed at any point, but Western intelligence officials have claimed that Russian authorities will maintain access.[13]

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 forces conducted ground attacks to the southeast of Siversk and around Bakhmut.
  • Russian forces conducted ground attacks north of Donetsk City and southwest of Donetsk City near the Zaporizhzhia-Donetsk Oblast border.
  • Several large explosions hit Russian positions near Sevastopol and north of Crimea, but Russia did not blame Ukraine for them and Ukraine has not taken credit for them.
  • Russia launched a surveillance satellite for Iran.
  • Western media has reported that a Ukrainian counteroffensive is underway near Izium, but the Ukrainian General Staff was notably completely silent about the area in its evening report.
  • Russian sources suggested that recently-formed volunteer battalions are responsible for much of the Izium sector.
  • Ukrainian officials claimed that Russian forces continued to fire artillery systems from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.
  • Russian officials are continuing to take prominent roles in preparing for the sham referenda in Russian-occupied regions despite Kremlin claims that Russia is not conducting the referenda.

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