Russo Ukrainian War: Day 169. Russia has still not allowed the Red Cross to visit Olenivka

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

The Ukrainian army put the Kakhovka bridge in the Kherson Oblast out of order. Kremlin propaganda succeeds in information warfare.  The US will provide military aid to Ukraine “as much as necessary.”  Britain to send more M270 multiple rocket launchers to Ukraine. Russian [Proxy] head says Azov trial to begin this summer. G7 Demands Immediately Hand Back Full Control over the ZNPP to Ukraine. Switzerland agrees to represent Ukraine’s interests in Russia, but Moscow is hostile.

Daily overview — Summary report, August 11

According to military expert Stanislav Haider, as of August 11,

Britain will provide Ukraine with three additional units of M270 MLRS and ammunition for them. Currently, Ukraine has 25 pieces of HIMARS and MLRS with a total possible simultaneous volley of up to 204 rockets. Ukraine also received four more Gepard air defense systems from Germany

Donetsk Oblast. The areas of Bakhmut, Yakovlivka, Avdiivka, Mariinka, and Soledar didn’t see any significant changes, everything remains under Ukrainian control. There’s heavy fighting south of Bakhmut, in Kodema, where the Russian units are suffering heavy losses. At Pisky, Ukrainian troops repelled all Russian assaults, most of the town is under Ukrainian control while the rest is a gray zone. A Russian assault on Krasnohorivka was also repulsed. Unsuccessful insignificant Russian attacks occurred in the area of Siversk. In the region’s south, fighting took place in the direction of Pavlivka and Mykilske, but it was another unsuccessful Russian attempt to regain their lost positions. Russia continues transferring its troops from the Sloviansk direction to Volnovakha. The Russian S-300 air defense missile system was brought to the Donetsk area from Mariupol.

Kharkiv Oblast also didn’t see much change. Ukrainian troops repulsed more Russian attacks in the directions of Udy, Prudianka, and Husarivka. Fighting continues in the direction of Brazhikivka and Sulyhivka, where the Russians tried to break through the Ukrainian defenses but failed and retreated. The Ukrainian forces continue to advance in places, and the liberation of Bairak was officially announced, it’s not the only such settlement in the area, yet the advancement in other areas wasn’t officially confirmed.

Kherson Oblast. At the Inhulets river, nothing has changed as the Ukrainian bridgehead holds, so it does in the Vysokopillia area. The Russians tried to attack Partyzanske, Blahodatne, but the Ukrainian artillery quickly stopped them. Russians continued to fortify their positions on the left bank of the Dnipro. Ukrainian forces are still making some progress, but there are no details yet. Russian logistics are disastrous as bridges are unusable with only pontoon and ferry crossings available which takes more time, yet the Russian troops continue their preparations for an offensive. In the Novokamianka area, the Ukrainian artillery hit another command post of Russia’s 126th Separate Coast Guard Brigade. Russia’s 49th Army lost its command post near Chervonyi Maiak. The third command post – of a battalion tactical group of the 76th Airborne Assault Division – was also hit in Ishchenka.

Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Russian troops continue to regroup. In the areas of Shcherbaky and Dorozhnianka, the Ukrainian army continues its advance in the direction of Polohy. Near Nesterianka, the Ukrainian military holds defense and repels Russian counterattacks.

 

Situation in Ukraine. August 10, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. August 10, 2022. Source: ISW.

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, August 11, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below. 

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According to information from the General Staff as of 06.00 11.08.2022, supplemented by its [18:00 assessment].

“Russian forces are concentrating their efforts on establishing full control over the territories of the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, maintaining the temporarily captured areas of the Kherson oblast and parts of the Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, and Mykolaiv oblasts, creating favorable conditions for resuming the offensive in certain directions, as well as blocking Ukraine’s maritime communications in the Black Sea.

Russian forces continue to carry out air and missile strikes on military and civilian objects on the territory of our State.

The situation has not changed in the Volyn and Polissya directions. The units of the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus are performing the task of strengthening the protection of the section of the Belarusian-Ukrainian border in the Brest and Gomel regions. [According to available information, since August 9 of this year, in Minsk, under the leadership of the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus, meetings with territorial defense units with the involvement of reserve conscripts have begun. The threat of missile and air strikes from the territory of the Republic of Belarus remains.]

In the Siversky direction, Russian forces fired barrel artillery at civilian and military infrastructure in the areas of Logy settlements of Chernihiv oblast and Vorozhba, Mezenivka, Hrabovskoe and Slavhorod of Sumy oblast. [Yesterday, Russian forces shelled civilian infrastructure in the areas of Senkivka, Chernihiv oblast and Havrylova Sloboda, Stari Vyrky, Seredyna-Buda, and Brusky, Sumy oblast.]

[In the Slobozhansky direction:]

Kharkiv Battle Map. August 10, 2022. Source: ISW ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. August 10, 2022. Source: ISW

  • In the Kharkiv direction, Russian forces carried out fire damage near Udy, Petrivka, Protopopivka, Korobochkyne and Shevelivka. [Yesterday, Russian forces actively conducted aerial reconnaissance by UAVs. Considerable efforts are devoted to improving the logistical support of units operating in the specified direction. It carried out shelling in the vicinity of Svitlychne, Prudyanka, Ruska Lozova, Cherkaski and Ruski Tyshky, Verkhniy and Stary Saltiv, Korobochkine and Shevelivka. Made an air strike near Husarivka.]
  • [In order to improve the tactical position, the occupiers yesterday carried out assaults in the areas of the settlements of Uda, Petrivka and Husarivka. Ukrainian soldiers inflicted significant losses on the invaders and forced them to retreat.]
  • In the Sloviansk direction, Russian forces continued shelling from artillery and tanks near Karnaukhivka, Virnopilla, Bohorodychne, Mazanivka and others. [Yesterday, Russian forces carried out fire damage from tanks, artillery and MLRS in the areas of Dovhenke, Velyka Komyshuvakha, Virnopilla, Dibrivne, Bohorodychne, Krasnopilla and Dolyna. Near Velyka Komyshuvakha, the occupiers tried to break through the defence of our troops, but they did not succeed, they retreated.]
Donetsk Battle Map. August 10,2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. August 10,2022. Source: ISW.

[In the Donetsk direction, intending to displace Ukrainian units from the occupied borders, Russian forces used barrel, rocket artillery and tanks. For the reconnaissance of logistics support routes and critical infrastructure objects, the UAV conducted aerial reconnaissance.]

  • In the Kramatorsk direction, Russia used rocket artillery and tanks near Siversk, Verkhnokamyanske, Serebryanka, and Hryhorivka for fire damage. It conducted offensive actions near Hryhorivka and Verkhnokamyanske, was unsuccessful and withdrew. Fighting continues in the Ivano-Daryivka area. [Yesterday, shelling was recorded near Siversk, Verkhnyokamyanske, Hryhorivka and Sydorovo.]
  • In the Bakhmut direction, Russian forces fired at our troops from tanks and artillery near Bakhmut, Kostyantynivka, Pereizne, Vesele, Bakhmutske, Vesela Dolyna, Yakovlivka, Vershyna and Zaytsevw. The enemy carried out airstrikes near Vyimka, Spirne, Soledar, Bakhmut and Zaitseve. [Yesterday, Russian forces fired artillery at civilian infrastructure near Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Soledar, Yakovlivka and Vershyna. Airstrikes near Yakovlivka, Spirne, Soledar, Bakhmut, Zaytseve, Vershyna and Vesele. Conducted aerial reconnaissance of the UAVs.]
    • [It tried to advance in the areas of the settlements of Bakhmut, Kodema, Spirne, Yakovlivka and Soledar with offensive and assault actions, it was unsuccessful, and it withdrew.]
    • The occupiers conducted reconnaissance by fighting near Yakovlivka. Our soldiers drove the invaders back. Russian forces unsuccessfully conducted offensive and assault operations near Bakhmutske and Zaytseve. The enemy retreated with losses. Fighting continues in the areas of Vershyna and Dacha settlements.
  • In the Avdiyivka direction, Russian forces carried out artillery fire near Maryinka, Vodyane, Netaylove, Avdiyivka, Pisky, Opytne and Krasnohorivka. Conducted an airstrike near Avdiivka. Conducts offensive operations in the directions of Maryinka and Piski, hostilities continue. [Yesterday, artillery shelling continued near Avdiivka, Maryinka, Pisky, Kurakhove, Sukha Balka, and Krasnohorivka. Near the Krasnohorivka and Maryinka, the occupiers also used aviation.]
    • [Russian forces carried out offensive actions in the direction of Avdiyivka and Pisky, received a decent repulse and retreated.]
  • On the Novopavlivske and Zaporizhzhia directions, shelling from artillery and MLRS, and tanks were recorded in the areas of the settlements of Novomykhailivka, Mala Tokmachka, Malynivka, Lukyanivske, Vuhledar, Novodanylivka, Vremivka, Bilohirya, Burlatske and Kushuhum. The occupiers used aviation near Novomykhailivka, Prechystivka and Zolota Nyva. They tried to advance near Pavlivka. Ukrainian soldiers resolutely stopped these attempts. [Yesterday, Russian forces carried out shelling near Novomykhailivka, Vuhledar, Shevchenko, Velyka Novosilka, Bilohirya, Burlatske and Olhivske. Airstrikes were recorded in the areas of Pavlivka, Vuhledar, Novosilka, Novodanylivka and Poltavka settlements. Enemy reconnaissance UAVs were operating.]

In the Pivdenny Buh direction, Russian forces are concentrating their main efforts on holding the occupied positions and preventing the advance of our troops. Supports the high intensity of UAV reconnaissance.

  • Russian forces shelled civilian and military infrastructure in the areas of Mykolaiv, Ukrainka, Prybuzke, Lymany, Stepova Dolyna, Blahgodatne, Vesely Kut, Kobzartsi, Bila Krynytsia, Tverdomedove and Osokorivka settlements. Airstrikes near Andriyivka, Novohryhorivka, Bila Krynytsia, Myrne, Velike Artakove, and Lozove. [Yesterday, they carried out shelling of civilian and military infrastructure in the areas of Prybuzke, Lymany, Luch, Oleksandrivka, Novomykolaivka, Myrne, Blahodatne, Kobzartsi, Knyazivka and Trudolyubivka settlements. Airstrikes in Andriivka, Olhany and Novohryhorivka districts. Tried to conduct reconnaissance by fighting near Lozova. It came under the accurate fire of our soldiers, suffered losses and retreated ]

The threat of missile strikes on military facilities and critical infrastructure facilities on the territory of Ukraine remains.”

Military Updates 

Armed Forces of Ukraine put the Kakhovka bridge in the Kherson Oblast out of order, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Operational Command South and Kherson Oblast State Administration. “Our controlled fire on transport-logistics routes in the temporarily occupied territories of Kherson Oblast led to the bridge in the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station obtaining the status of ‘unsuitable for use’. The hit was accurate but effective.

The Kherson Oblast State Administration has confirmed that the Kakhovka bridge is unsuitable for use after being attacked by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. August 10, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. August 10, 2022. Source: ISW.

About 20 enemy aircraft constantly patrolling near Ukrainian borders, Ukrinform reports. “About 20 aircraft are constantly in the airspace around the Ukrainian borders. They are patrolling around the clock. These are different types of aircraft that conduct patrols, Yuriy Ignat, spokesperson for the Air Force Command of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, said. He also stressed that some of these aircraft, in addition to patrolling, also fire Kh-59 and Kh-58 air-to-air missiles.”

 

What weapon Ukraine might have used to hit airfield in Crimea

 

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

  • Russia is highly unlikely to be capable of fulfilling some export orders for armoured fighting vehicles because of the exceptional demand for vehicles for Russia’s own forces in Ukraine, and the increasing effect of Western sanctions.
  • Belarus has recently released details of a new domestically upgraded T-72B main battle tank (MBT). Belarus probably developed this alternative solution in place of an MBT modification programme previously contracted to Russian state-owned company UralVagonZavod.
  • Russia has long considered the defence industry to be one of its most important export successes. However, its military-industrial capacity is now under significant strain, and the credibility of many of its weapon systems has been undermined by their association with Russian forces’ poor performance in the Ukraine war.
  • Russian commanders highly likely continue to be faced with the competing operational priorities of reinforcing the Donbas offensive, and strengthening defences against anticipated Ukrainian counter attacks 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.

As of Thursday 11 August, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

  • Personnel – more than 43000 (+200),
  • Tanks – 1846 (+14),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 4100 (+14),
  • Artillery systems – 974 (+3),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 261 (+0),
  • Air defence means – 134 (+1),
  • Aircraft – 232 (+0),
  • Helicopters – 193 (+0),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 3018 (+13),
  • Vessels/boats – 15 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 772 (+6),
  • Special equipment – 90 (+1),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – 185 (+0)

Russian enemy suffered the greatest losses (of the last day) in the Donetsk direction.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of Thursday 11 August, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

  • Personnel – more than 43000 (+200),
  • Tanks – 1846 (+14),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 4100 (+14),
  • Artillery systems – 974 (+3),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 261 (+0),
  • Air defence means – 134 (+1),
  • Aircraft – 232 (+0),
  • Helicopters – 193 (+0),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 3018 (+13),
  • Vessels/boats – 15 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 772 (+6),
  • Special equipment – 90 (+1),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – 185 (+0)

Russian enemy suffered the greatest losses (of the last day) in the Donetsk direction.

Humanitarian 

EU: Russia has still not allowed ICRC to visit Olenivka, Ukrinform reports. “The blast in Olenivka resulting in the death of dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war, including defenders of Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant who had surrendered to Russia, is a heinous act and must be thoroughly and independently investigated, reads the statement by the EU delegation made at a meeting of the OSCE Special Permanent Council meeting in Vienna.

The EU noted that the prisoners were registered by the ICRC and were under Russia’s legal protection. Twelve days have passed since the tragedy and Russia has still not allowed an independent international mission to visit Olenivka. We urge Russia to grant the ICRC access to all prisoners of war, the delegation said.”

Russian attack on Dnipropetrovsk Oblast kills 13, Ukrainska Pravda reported Wednesday, citing Valentyn Reznichenko, the Head of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Military Administration. “It was a tragic night…The Russian army has killed 13 civilians in the Nikopol district and injured another 11. Russian forces have twice used Grads [multiple-launch rocket systems – ed.] to fire on the district, launching 80 rockets on residential neighbourhoods. This was a deliberate and ruthless attack on civilians who were sleeping in their homes.

Russian forces also attacked the city of Marhanets and the Myrove hromada (amalgamated territorial community) in the Nikopol district. Ten people have been killed in Marhanets, and another 11 have been injured. Ten have been hospitalised, including 7 in critical condition.”

U.N. expects ‘big uptick’ in ships wanting to export Ukraine grain, Reuters reports.  “The United Nations expects a “big uptick” in ships wanting to export Ukraine grain through the Black Sea after transit procedures were agreed and a goal of 2-5 million tonnes a month is “achievable,” a senior U.N. official said on Wednesday.

Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations agreed transit procedures on Monday for a deal struck in July to resume Ukraine Black Sea grain and fertilizer exports. The procedures include a 10 nautical mile protection zone for ships.”

 

 

NEST initiative gives Ukrainians rebuilding their houses after Russia’s invasion a temporary mobile home

️️Environmental 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1557364644120891397

G7 Demands Immediately Hand Back Full Control over the ZNPP to Ukraine, European Pravda reports. “The G7 heads of foreign affairs have released a statement regarding the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, in which they demand that Russia has to hand back full control over the ZNPP to Ukraine immediately.

In that context, we demand that Russia immediately hand back full control to its rightful sovereign owner, Ukraine, of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant as well as of all nuclear facilities within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders to ensure their safe and secure operations. Ukrainian staff operating the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant must be able to carry out their duties without threats or pressure. It is Russia’s continued control of the plant that endangers the region,” reads the statement on the official website of the German Federal Foreign Office. […]

They underlined the importance of facilitating a mission of IAEA experts to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant to address nuclear safety, security and safeguard concerns, in a manner that respects full Ukrainian sovereignty over its territory and infrastructure. IAEA staff must be able to access all nuclear facilities in Ukraine safely and without impediment, and engage directly, and without interference, with the Ukrainian personnel responsible for the operation of these facilities, they concluded.

On August 9, the IAEA announced that shelling at the ZNPP had damaged the station, but radiation was normal.”

Russia occupies territories in Ukraine with natural resources worth more than $12 trillion, Ukrinform reports. “At least $12.4 trillion worth of Ukraine’s energy deposits, metals and minerals are now under Russian control,” reads the article by The Washington Post. It is noted that Ukraine harbours some of the world’s largest reserves of titanium and iron ore, fields of untapped lithium and massive deposits of coal. Collectively, they are worth tens of trillions of dollars.

According to The Washington Post, in case of annexation of the territories occupied by Russia, Kyiv would permanently lose access to almost two-thirds of its deposits, including storages of natural gas, oil and rare earth minerals necessary for some high-tech components, which may prevent Western Europe from looking for alternatives to imports from Russia and China.

In addition to 63 per cent of the country’s coal deposits, Moscow has seized 11 per cent of its oil deposits, 20 per cent of its natural gas deposits, 42 per cent of its metals and 33 per cent of its deposits of rare earth and other critical minerals including lithium,” the article reads.”

Legal 

361 children were killed, and 705 children injured, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of August 11. 2,321 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, 286 of them are destroyed fully. 27,791 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 13,011 crimes against national security were registered.

Russian [Proxy] head says Azov trial to begin this summer, Reuters reports. “The head of the Russian [Proxy] administration in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region said on Wednesday that a trial of captured personnel from Ukraine’s Azov Regiment would take place by the end of the summer, likely in the city of Mariupol. The Azov Regiment, a unit of Ukraine’s national guard with far-right and ultranationalist origins, garnered international attention for its resistance to the Russian siege of Mariupol’s vast steelworks.”

Hans Petter Midttun: Reuters used the term “Russian-backed separatist” in the article. It is a widely used term resulting from more than 8 years of Russian disinformation. They have, however, avoided using the same terminology to describe the occupation authorities in the newly occupied oblasts. Why is that? Except for the fact that it always was disinformation and their illegal framework is the same.

Support 

Britain to send more M270 multiple rocket launchers to Ukraine, Ukrinform reports, citing BBC. “The United Kingdom is doubling the number of multiple rocket launchers for Ukraine. So far, the country has already given three M270 systems to Ukraine. They use the same missiles with a range of up to 80 kilometres as American HIMARS systems. Wallace confirmed that the UK would send three more such systems to Ukraine, as well as a significant number of missiles for them.

He said Britain was very satisfied with how Ukraine is using multiple rocket launchers that it has already received from the West. According to him, Ukrainian forces have shown that they are much better at distinguishing which targets to hit so that they do not quickly run out of ammunition. Wallace said this was part of Ukraine’s transition from using old Soviet-era weapons to more modern NATO weapons.”

The US will provide military aid to Ukraine “as much as necessary” – Pentagon, Censor.net reports, citing Bloomberg. “The United States and its allies will continue to provide military aid to Ukraine. According to Austin, military aid will be provided “as much as is needed”. We are committed to helping Ukraine and providing it with equipment to protect its sovereign territory, the US Defense Minister emphasized.”

Hans Petter Midttun: “As much as needed” for what? To evict the Russian forces? To liberate Kherson? To stop the Russian advance and freeze the conflict? As the war is closing its 8,5-year mark, I find it incomprehensible that the West has yet to define its red lines, strategic aim and objective for its support to Ukraine.

Switzerland agrees to represent Ukraine’s interests in Russia, but Moscow is hostile, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “European Pravda reported on the agreement between Ukraine and Switzerland, quoting Michael Steiner, Head of Media at the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). “Ukraine would like Switzerland to assume the mandate of a protecting power in Russia. The relevant negotiations have been completed. For the mandate of a protecting power to take effect, Russia has to give its consent, Steiner said. The “mandate of a protecting power” means that Switzerland could represent Ukraine’s diplomatic interests in Russia in the absence of diplomatic relations between the two countries. […]

Oleh Nikolenko, the spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, noted that hundreds and thousands of Ukrainian citizens – especially children – who had been illegally taken from cities and villages in parts of Ukraine temporarily occupied by the Russian army need help, but Ukrainian diplomats are no longer present on the territory of the Russian Federation.[…] According to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, an international agreement governing treaties between states, Russia must give its consent for Switzerland to represent Ukraine in the host state [Russia – ed.].

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Moscow has had no contact with the government of Switzerland regarding its representation of Ukraine’s interests in the Russian Federation. Sergei Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, has previously said that Russia is not prepared to consider offers to facilitate negotiations with Ukraine made by countries that have signed on to anti-Russian sanctions,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said, as quoted in Kommersant [a Russian media outlet – ed.].

The Russian Foreign Ministry added that Switzerland’s neutrality has been somewhat devalued” after Bern signed on to all seven EU sanctions packages against Russia, which Russia deemed “practically equivalent to taking a side in the conflict. The Russian statement also recalls that Russia has included Switzerland on the list of unfriendly powers alongside the EU and some other countries. In light of this, we believe that it is difficult to talk about Bern’s involvement in any issues touching on Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.”

New Developments 

  1. China calls the US ‘main instigator’ of the Ukraine crisis, ReutersIn an interview with the Russian state news agency TASS published on Wednesday, China’s ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui, accused Washington of backing Russia into a corner with repeated expansions of the NATO defence alliance and support for forces seeking to align Ukraine with the European Union rather than Moscow.”
  2. Estonia protests to Russia about the ‘unacceptable’ violation of its airspace, ReutersEstonia considers this an extremely serious and regrettable incident that is completely unacceptable,” the ministry said in a release, saying the helicopter had flown over a point in the southeast of the small Baltic nation without permission. Estonia made an identical complaint to Moscow in June.”
  3. Zelenskyy: war must end with the liberation of Crimea, Ukrainska Pravda reported Tuesday (following the explosions at the military airbase in Novofedorivka). “Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, claimed that the war of Russia against Ukraine started with the invasion of Crimea and will end with its liberation.”
  4. Crimea and Donetsk are Ukraine and need to be liberated, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to the head of the Office of the President. “Legally, Donetsk and Crimea have the same status as Mariupol or Melitopol. These are Ukrainian territories occupied by the Russian army that are subject to liberation. Everything else is a fiction of Russian propaganda.”
  5. Ending the active phase of the war is vital before the onset of winter, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Interfax-Ukraine. “Andrii Yermak, the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said that it is vital for Ukraine to end the active phase of the war before the onset of winter, as there is a risk of Russian attacks on the thermal energy infrastructure.”
  6. Kuleba Called On EU and G7 Countries to Stop Issuing Visas to Russians, European PravdaI call on all EU and G7 states to stop issuing visas to Russians. President Zelenskyy is absolutely right to insist on this. Russians overwhelmingly support the war on Ukraine. They must be deprived of the right to cross international borders until they learn to respect them.
  7. Ukraine’s creditors agree on a 2-year freeze on $20 bln overseas debt, ReutersUkraine’s overseas creditors have backed its request for a two-year freeze on payments on almost $20 billion in international bonds, a regulatory filing showed on Wednesday, a move that will allow the war-ravaged country to avoid a messy debt default.”

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

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

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Wednesday 10 August:

Ukrainian officials framed the August 9 attack in Crimea as the start of Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the south, suggesting that the Ukrainian military expects intense fighting in August and September that could decide the outcome of the next phase of the war. A Ukrainian official told Politico on August 10 that “you can say this is it” when asked about the start of Ukraine’s planned counteroffensive. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vaguely noted on August 10 that the war “began with Crimea and must end with Crimea – with its liberation.”

Russian officials remain confused about the August 9 attack on the Saki Air Base in Russian-occupied Crimea, over 225km behind Russian lines, which destroyed at least eight Russian aircraft and multiple buildings. Satellite imagery confirmed reports from Ukraine’s air force that the attack destroyed at least eight Russian aircraft, contradicting Russian claims that the explosions did not damage any aircraft and were not the result of an attack. Russian outlets shared conflicting stories: the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed on August 9 that munitions had been detonated at a storage site at the airfield due to negligence, not an attack, and claimed that no aircraft were damaged. Russian milblogger Rybar claimed on August 10 that the explosion was likely not caused by a missile strike and hypothesized that the explosions could be due to negligence and non-compliance with safety regulations or to a small helicopter with a bomb attacking a nearby parking lot. Mixed stories in Russian media and among Russian milbloggers indicate that either officials within the Russian Ministry of Defense have competing theories regarding the attack and are sharing them with the media, or that the Kremlin has failed to coordinate its information operation to deny that Ukraine conducted a successful attack so far behind Russian lines. Russian forces at the airbase likely know by now what happened but may not yet understand how or from exactly where Ukrainian forces conducted the attack.

Ukrainian officials are playing up the evident Russian confusion surrounding the attack to obfuscate Ukraine‘s longer-range capabilities. An anonymous Ukrainian official told the New York Times that the attack was carried out with the help of partisans. Another anonymous Ukrainian official told the Washington Post that Ukrainian special forces caused the explosion, while other Ukrainian officials implicitly referenced the attack but did not overtly take credit for it. ISW still cannot independently assess what caused the explosions at the airfield—satellite imagery depicts multiple craters and scorch marks, but such damage could have been caused by many things–special forces, partisans, or missiles, on-site or from a distance.

Nevertheless, Ukrainian military officials took credit for two long-range missile strikes on an ammunition depot in Novooleksiivka in Henichensk district (north of Crimea) and on the battalion tactical group (BTG) command post of the 217th Guards Airborne Regiment in the Maksyma Horkoho on the southwestern Kherson Oblast coast. The settlements are situated 100km and 170km south of frontlines along the Kherson Oblast administrative border respectively. Ukraine’s claimed attacks demonstrate longer-range missile capabilities but do not demonstrate the range they would have needed to hit the Saki Air Base from along the front lines. Ukrainian forces have various systems that they could have used or modified to hit Russian military infrastructure in Crimea or southern Kherson Oblast.

The Kremlin’s changing plans suggest that occupying forces will likely move up the date of the annexation referenda in occupied Ukraine. The advisor to Ukraine’s Kherson Oblast Civil Military Administration, Serhiy Khlan, claimed on August 10 that occupation forces have stopped discussing September 11 as a date for Russia’s sham referenda on the annexation of occupied Ukrainian territories. ISW previously assessed September 11, the date that polling will be held in local and regional elections across the Russian Federation, to be the most likely date for annexation referenda to be held. Khlan noted that Russian occupation forces had referred to September 11 as the date of the sham referenda, “but now the dates are again unclear.” Occupation authorities have taken measures to be able to hold sham referendums at any time—ISW reported on August 3 that Russian forces would offer easily manipulated “online voting” in the Donetsk Oblast referendum and reported on August 7 that occupation forces in occupied Zaporizhzhia Oblast were planning door-to-door “surveys” of the local population.

The political, military, economic, and other consequences of a prolonged Russian military occupation of southern and eastern Ukraine would be devastating to the long-term viability of the Ukrainian state. The performative drama of annexation will not change the on-the-ground realities created by the brutal Russian occupation. Forced passportization, rubleization, “filtration,” and other “integration” measures already underway in Russian-occupied areas are far more important and damaging to Ukraine than the referenda would be.

Ukrainian nuclear operating enterprise Energoatom Head Petro Kotin suggested that Ukrainian forces interrupt power lines leading to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) should Russian forces start disconnecting the ZNPP from the Ukrainian power system. Kotin told Reuters on August 9 that Russian forces intend to damage all power lines to the ZNPP and connect the plant to the Russian power grid, effectively stealing the ZNPP from the Ukrainians.

The Embassy of Uzbekistan in Russia cautioned the Uzbek diaspora that any form of participation in the Russian invasion of Ukraine is punishable by up to 10 years in Uzbek prison, effectively denouncing Russian volunteer recruitment efforts among Central Asian immigrants. The Embassy noted that Uzbek law prohibits all citizens from engaging in mercenary activity and warned Uzbeks to stay clear of any “provocations.” […]

Iran reportedly began training Russian forces on Iranian UAV systems in recent weeks, demonstrating the deepening military cooperation between Iran and Russia. A US official told CNN that “Russian officials conducted training in Iran as part of the agreement for UAV transfers from Iran to Russia,” citing newly declassified US intelligence. Russia launched a satellite on Iran’s behalf on August 9, likely in exchange for the drones and other military equipment and economic collaboration. Iran may leverage new Russo-Iranian aviation deals to transfer UAVs to Russia for use in Ukraine.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian officials remain confused about the August 9 attack on the Saki Air Base in Russian-occupied Crimea, over 225km behind Russian lines, which destroyed at least eight Russian aircraft and multiple buildings.
  • The Kremlin’s changing plans suggest that occupying forces are most likely to move up the date of the annexation referenda in occupied Ukraine. Annexation makes it harder to imagine any negotiated settlement to the war on any terms that Ukraine or the West could accept, demonstrating that the Kremlin is fundamentally unserious about ending the war on any terms short of a Ukrainian surrender.
  • Iran reportedly began training Russian forces on Iranian UAV systems in recent weeks, demonstrating the deepening military cooperation between Iran and Russia.
  • Russian forces conducted ground attacks west of Izium.
  • Russian forces continued limited ground assaults northeast and west of Bakhmut and likely made marginal gains in these areas.
  • Russian forces made marginal gains northwest of Donetsk City and are continuing attempts to push northwestward from current footholds on the outskirts of Donetsk City.
  • Russian forces conducted multiple unsuccessful offensives north and northeast of Kharkiv City.
  • Russian forces conducted an unsuccessful reconnaissance-in-force operation in northwestern Kherson Oblast
  • Russia’s Oryol Oblast is reportedly forming a volunteer battalion.

Ukraine plans to liberate Kherson by the end of the year, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Dmytro Marchenko, Major General of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in an interview with RBC Ukraine. “Kherson will be liberated 100%. That is, the liberation of Kherson and the end of the active phase of the war, and then some more local military actions will take place. But by the end of the year, we must finish the main phase of this war. […]

He is also sure that the occupiers in the Kherson region will not be able to hold their pseudo-referendums on joining Russia, because the people of Kherson are very pro-Ukrainian and are fiercely resisting.

According to Marchenko, Western aid is now coming to Ukraine in small batches and this is making it very difficult to carry out a counteroffensive. But he believes that as soon as Ukraine receives the full aid package, the offensive will be “rapid”. I would not like to make predictions. But if we have the amount of weapons that we were promised, that we actually need, then, I think, we will celebrate victory in the spring of next year.”

Russian media reveals a survey according to which 65% of Russians want a peace treaty with Ukraine, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Kommersant with link to a survey conducted by the Russian Field polling agency. “According to the survey, 65% of Russians would approve of Vladimir Putin’s decision to stop the military operation in Ukraine and sign a peace agreement. At the same time, 60% of respondents would support the intention of the Russian president to launch a new offensive in Kyiv. Overall, 52% of respondents supported the continuation of the military operation, and 38% supported the transition to peace talks.

The authors of the study note that during the period from mid-March to the end of July, the ratio of supporters and opponents of the war hardly changed: now it is supported by 69% of respondents, and the opposite opinion is shared by 23%, while another 8% found it difficult or declined to answer.

59% of Russians believe that the so-called “military operation” in Ukraine has dragged on, while 28% of survey participants hold the opposite opinion. According to 30%, military operations will last more than a year, and 18% expect them to end within a year. 20% of respondents hope for the end of the war within six months, and only 13% of respondents are optimistic about the end of hostilities within 1-3 months.

29% of respondents expressed their desire to take part in the “special operation”, and most often people aged 45 to 59 years (37%) admit this, while only 23% of men from 18 to 29 years old do. Almost two-thirds of Russian men (62%) are not prepared to take part personally in military operations in Ukraine if they have the opportunity. The sociologists note that this value is 6 per centage points higher than the indicators of a similar survey that was conducted in the second half of May.

Few people want to help the Russian military financially: 67% are not ready to donate their funds to support the war at all, and 12% agree to spend no more than 1 thousand rubles a month on it. 

The authors of the study caution that its results on several questions about what is happening in Ukraine may not coincide with the real picture, since “Russians are afraid to talk about this topic”, in particular, “refusals have increased, sincerity has decreased”.”

2. Consequences and what to do? 

Effects of Western sanctions on Russian economy to be felt by late 2023, Ukrainska Pravda reports.  “The Kyiv School of Economics has released a report titled Impact of Sanctions on the Russian Economy, which concludes that the critical impact of sanctions is unlikely to be felt before the end of 2023. The researchers note that the impact of sanctions on the Russian economy will continue to increase over the long term, particularly in light of the limits on the export of Russian energy resources.

The authors of the report explain that while the forecasts of the Russian economy’s contraction in 2022 have been lowered from -10-30% to -6-9.5% and the forecasts of inflation in Russia have also been reduced, from 20% to 12-15%, this improved outlook is underpinned by high oil and gas revenues, shaped in turn by high prices in the energy market. Sanctions are already hitting the domestic Russian economy. Industrial production year-on-year was down 1.8% in June, including car production, down 62% year-on-year.

Russo-Ukrainian War: Day 169. Russia has still not allowed the Red Cross to visit Olenivka ~~

The KSE report stresses that the majority of sanctions imposed on the Russian energy sector have yet to take effect. In particular, a series of oil and gas restrictions are set to come into effect later this year, with the European embargo on Russian seaborne crude oil entering into force on 5 December 2022, and the embargo on Russian oil products on 5 February 2023.

Meanwhile, “the volume of Russian gas sales to Europe is running at one third of last year’s levels, and looks set to decline from here, and effectively stop no later than 2024, when Germany expects to be fully independent of Russian gas,” the report continues.

The authors of the report expect that as the European oil embargo is implemented, Russia’s oil and gas revenues will be reduced by 40%. Despite the international sanctions imposed on Russia, its current account surplus has tripled to $166.6 billion (compared to the previous year).

 

Hans Petter Midttun: At the end of July the European Council presented an assessment of the impact of sanctions on the Russian economy. “Since Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Council has adopted six packages of sanctions against Russia and Belarus. The sanctions are aimed at weakening Russia’s ability to finance the war and specifically target the political, military and economic elite responsible for the invasion. Although it may take a long time to see the impact on Russia of some of the sanctions imposed, current estimates show that restrictive measures are already working as expected, and the first results are visible through economic indicators.”

According to information published on its website, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was expected to drop by over 11 %, the largest drop since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Estimates indicated that Russia’s inflation rate will increase sharply in 2022, reaching 22 %.

Russian trade in goods and services is predicted to decline significantly. Many foreign companies are “self-sanctioning” by curtailing operations or leaving Russia, even if not required legally. Yale University’s School of Management, which tracks more than 1,350 foreign companies in Russia, estimates that as of mid-June, 12 per cent were scaling back operations, 35 per cent were suspending operations, and 24 per cent had announced they would withdraw entirely. According to a report published by the same school on 20 July, “as a result of the business retreat, Russia has lost companies representing ~40% of its GDP, reversing nearly all of three decades’ worth of foreign investment and buttressing unprecedented simultaneous capital and population flight in a mass exodus of Russia’s economic base.”

Are the sanctions weakening Moscow’s ability to fund its war effort, Center for Strategic and Internation Studies (CSIS) asked in June? According to Gerard DiPippo, “while the sanctions froze most of Russia’s overseas assets, Russia continues to receive revenues from its energy exports. Oil and gas revenues accounted for 47 per cent of Russian federal revenues from January to May of this year, even though Russian oil production fell in April. Oil and gas revenues, however, increased by 80 per cent. Russia is still earning roughly $1 billion per day in export revenues from oil and gas, about half of which flows directly into Moscow’s coffers. For comparison, Russian fiscal data suggests that Moscow spent $325 million per day on military expenditures in April, the latest data available. 

The oil and gas revenues mitigate Moscow’s need to tap other domestic resources for revenues. Reduced energy exports would not be fatal to Moscow’s fiscal position, as the Russian government’s balance sheet was strong going into the war, with public debt of $284 billion, or only 16 per cent of 2021 GDP. The sanctions prevent the Russian government from borrowing in international markets, but—despite the hype about a potential Russian sovereign bond default—Moscow did not rely on external borrowing even before the war. The Russian government had $62 billion in external debt last year, only one-third of which was owed in foreign currency. On top of that, Russia’s National Wealth Fund, which receives excess oil and gas revenues, has nearly $200 billion in assets, half of which is in usable ruble, renminbi, or gold assets.”

CSIS findings are supported by the findings of The Kyiv School of Economics (KSE) report mentioned previously, which concludes that the critical impact of sanctions is unlikely to be felt before the end of 2023.

While CSIS suggests that “using sanctions to coerce Russia to end the war now seems unlikely to succeed unless Russia’s battlefield prospects seem bleak to Moscow”, KSE argues that “the critical impact of sanctions is unlikely to materialize before the end of 2023, unless more sanctions are implemented. Putin’s Russia had a balance of payments crisis in 2008, 2014-15 and 2020 when oil and gas revenues fell sharply. Next year, as the European oil embargo is implemented, we expect a 40% reduction in Russia’s oil and gas revenues. With the RUB under pressure, Russia’s ability to wage war on Ukraine will be weakened. And if Europe stops buying Russian gas – possible immediately, the KSE institute argues – Russia’s oil and gas revenue next year would fall critically low.”

Sanctions are temporary. They are designed to induce costs to coerce the country targeted to adhere to the will of the international community. They are supposed to be lifted once the country gives in to the pressure. In the case of the Russian Federation, this point would ideally happen when it has withdrawn its forces from Ukraine. President Putin will, however, most likely expect this to happen as a part of its negotiations “for a peaceful resolution of the war” it launched in 2014.

As previously reported, several Europan leaders have already called for Ukrainian concessions. Neither the USA, the EU nor NATO has defined its strategic aim and objectives for their support of Ukraine. No red lines have been drawn. And none has publically supported Ukraine’s aim of liberating all occupied territories, including the Crimean Peninsular. Nor does the inflow of weapons, ammunition, sensors or command and control systems fully support a Ukrainian counter-offensive operation.

Putin has, therefore, no reason to expect that the Russian economy will not be restored in the next upcoming years.

That’s why the article “In the Ukraine war, a battle for the nation’s mineral and energy wealth” by The Washington Post is crucially important. At least $12.4 trillion worth of Ukraine’s energy deposits, metals and minerals are now under Russian control” Ukraine harbours some of the world’s largest reserves of titanium and iron ore, fields of untapped lithium and massive deposits of coal. Collectively, they are worth tens of trillions of dollars.

“In addition to 63 per cent of the country’s coal deposits, Moscow has seized 11 per cent of its oil deposits, 20 per cent of its natural gas deposits, 42 per cent of its metals and 33 per cent of its deposits of rare earth and other critical minerals including lithium.”

The article fails to mention the rich oil, gas, minerals and maritime resources within the Ukrainian Maritime Exclusive Economic Zone.

If we accept negotiations on Russian terms – and if we follow the inclination of the heads of state of Germany, France and Italy and “compromise” – Russia might end up both seeing its economy recover, its territory increase, and its control over the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea extended, and simultaneously achieve tremendous economic gains. The latter goes far beyond any temporary economic pain the West can inflict on Russia.

Ukraine, however, would have lost a greater part of the resources its future prosperity is based upon. Parts of its rich agricultural areas will be lost or destroyed. A continued Russian maritime blockade of the Ukrainian ports will further weaken the economic viability of the state.

As repeatedly stressed, this war is not decided on the battlefield only. All who still claim that Russia has not achieved any of its strategic aim and objectives are mistaken. It has created the perfect basis from which to undermine Ukraine. Russia only needs to hold the territory it is presently occupying. To succeed, it needs to deter a direct Western humanitarian intervention under the auspice of the UN and to make sure that the West does not supply the tools Ukraine needs to conduct a successful counter-offensive operation.

It is time to change the Russian calculus. It is time to do the right thing. It is not at least, high time NATO start helping Ukraine solve NATO’s mission: Defend security in the Euro-Atlantic area.

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