Russo Ukrainian War, Day 170: Latvia names Russia terrorist sponsor state. Explosions at Belarus airfield.

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Latvia announces Russia terrorist sponsor state. Explosions at an airfield in Belarus. The UN Security Council met to discuss the security of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in connection with the Russian invasion.The US State Department called on Russian forces to cease all military activity near the Zaporizhzhia plant. Russians shelled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant four times in one day.  Russian forces conducted ground attacks in Donbas and continued to carry out air and missile strikes on military and civilian objects in Ukraine. At least five Su-24 FENCER fighter-bombers and three Su-30 FLANKER H multi-role jets were almost certainly destroyed or seriously damaged in the blasts at the Russian airfield in Crimea. Ukrainians strike on Russian command posts and ammunition depots in the south.

Daily overview — Summary report, August 12

Situation in Ukraine. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Ukraine. Source: ISW.

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, August 12, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below. 

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The one hundred seventieth (170) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military invasion continues.
The enemy continues to carry out air and missile strikes on military and civilian objects on the territory of Ukraine.
Situation in Donetsk. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Donetsk. Source: ISW.

The enemy’s aviation group supports the actions of the ground groups, concentrating the main efforts in the Donetsk direction.
There were no significant changes on the Volyn, Polissya and Seversky directions.
Demonstrations are ongoing with the aim of restraining our units. The implementation of additional measures to strengthen the protection of the section of the Ukrainian-russian border in the Bryansk region is noted.
Situation in Kharkiv. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Kharkiv. Source: ISW.

In the Kharkiv direction, the enemy carried out fire damage with the use of barrel and rocket artillery in the areas of the settlements of Lebyazhe, Sosnivka, Ukrainka, Dementiivka, Pytomnyk, Ruski and Cherkaski Tyshki, Shevelivka, Protopopivka, Verkhniy Saltiv, Tsirkuny, Stara Hnylytsia, Husarivka, Korobochkyne. Carried out airstrikes near Rtyshchivka and Verkhniy Saltiv.
In the Sloviansk direction, shelling was recorded near Virnopilla, Bohorodychne, Shnurky, Kurulka, Krasnopilla, Dolyna and Zalyman. Near Zaluman, the enemy also carried out an airstrike. The enemy is trying to make up for the loss of personnel and equipment.
In the Kramatorsk direction, the enemy shelled Siversk, Hryhorivka, Serebryanka, and Verkhnokamyansk districts with barrel and jet artillery.
It led an offensive in the direction of the settlements of Verkhnokamianske and Ivano-Daryivka, was unsuccessful, and withdrew.
In the Bakhmut direction, the enemy fired from tanks and artillery near Pereyizne, Vesele, Bakhmut, Soledar, Vershyna and Kurdyumivka. Used aviation near Vyimka, Ivano-Daryivka, Spirne, Yakovlivka, Soledar and Bakhmutske.
As a result of the offensive in the direction of Horlivka – Zaitseve, the enemy was partially successful.
The enemy waged offensive battles in the direction of the settlements of Ivano-Daryivka, Vyimka, Bakhmut, Vesela Dolyna and Kodema, was unsuccessful, and retreated. After regrouping, it resumed the attack on Codema, the hostilities continue.
In the Avdiyivka direction, artillery shelling was recorded near Vodyane, Oleksandropil, Avdiivka and Pisky. The enemy launched airstrikes near Maryinka and Vodyane.
The occupiers tried to conduct offensive battles in the districts of Spartak and Maryinka, they did not succeed, they withdrew. Fighting continues near the village of Pisky.
On the Novopavlivske and Zaporizhzhia directions, the areas of the settlements of Mala Tokmachka, Malynivka, Lukyanivske, Hulyaipole, Shcherbaki, Volodymyrivka, Bohoyavlenka, Novodanylivka, Orihiv, Novopil, Novosilka and Zaliznychne were shelled. The enemy launched airstrikes near Vuhledar, Mali Shcherbaki and Novomykhailivka.
In the Southern Buh region, in order to restrain the actions of our units, the enemy fired at the positions of the Defense Forces and civil infrastructure objects in the areas of the settlements of Ukrainka, Posad-Pokrovske, Lupareve, Stepova Dolyna, Novogrigorivka, Vesely Kut, Shyroke, Kobzartsi, Kavkaz, Bila Krynytsia, Lepetykha , Topolyne, Ivanivka, Potemkyne and Trudolyubivka.
Carried out airstrikes near Osokorivka, Andriivka, Blahodatne, Novohryhorivka, and Myrne. Conducted aerial reconnaissance of the UAVs.
The enemy’s naval group focuses its main efforts on conducting reconnaissance, blocking civilian shipping in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, and attacking military facilities and infrastructure elements deep in the territory of Ukraine.
Two carriers of sea-based cruise missiles are ready for use.
Ukrainian defenders are inflicting losses on the russian occupiers in all directions where active hostilities are ongoing.

British Intelligence Map. Situation in Ukraine. August 12. ~

British Intelligence Map. Situation in Ukraine. August 12.

Military Updates 

Blasts at an air base in Crimea caused Russia to suffer the worst loss of aircraft in a day since World War II, according to CNN. The destroyed combat aircraft apparently were Su-24 bombers and Su-30 multi-role fighters. CNN checked the available data on the losses of military aircraft during the Soviet era. In modern Russia, there is no evidence of such significant losses from one incident in one day. “The number of planes destroyed at the base likely mark Tuesday as one of the most destructive days for Russian military aviation in more than seven decades, including the Soviet era. A CNN examination of the little available data on military aircraft losses during Soviet times and in modern Russia do not indicate such a substantial toll from one incident in a single day.”

The Ukrainian army forces destroyed the Russian command post in the south. Losses: 41 personnel, 3 Msta-B howitzers, 7 units of armored, automotive vehicles, and an ammunition depot.

Regional Updates 

In the Kharkiv Oblast, Ukrainian air defense forces shot down two Caliber cruise missiles fired from the Black Sea during the day. Overnight, another shelling was reported. Only four arrivals, a hit on the courtyard of a residential building in downtown Kharkiv reported.

The Sumy Oblast is the most mined in Ukraine among the liberated territories. More than 47% of the Oblast mined; more than 6,000 explosive objects destroyed, Interior Minister Denis Monastyrsky said. Now, due to the large forested area, there are mined “islands” that cannot be entered.

In the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Nikopol was shelled with 120 Grads overnight. 3 killed, 9 injured, ️including a 13-year-old girl; 4 hospitalized, more than 40 high-rise buildings, 5 apartments damaged. In the Kryvyi Rih region, Russians fired on the Zelenodolsk community. In Dnipro, a rocket hit is reported.

 

Situation in Kherson and Mykolaiv. Source: ISW. ~

Situation in Kherson and Mykolaiv. Source: ISW.

In the Kherson Oblast, the Ukrainian military destroyed another ammunition depot of the Russian Federation. Losses reported: 19 personnel, 4 armored and automotive vehicles.

In the Mykolaiv Oblast, the Russian army attacked the port infrastructure in the city of Mykolaiv. In the city, the abandoned apartments will become a problem during the heating season, according to the Mayor. Windows are broken and the glass is now in short supply, and there is a concern about wasting gas on heating the outdoors.

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

  • On 9 August 2022, explosions occurred at the Russian-operated Saky military airfield in western Crimea. The original cause of the blasts is unclear, but the large mushroom clouds visible in eyewitness video were almost certainly from the detonation of up to four uncovered munition storage areas.
  • At least five Su-24 FENCER fighter-bombers and three Su-30 FLANKER H multi-role jets were almost certainly destroyed or seriously damaged in the blasts. Saky’s central dispersal area has suffered serious damage, but the airfield probably remains serviceable.
  • The loss of eight combat jets represents a minor proportion of the overall fleet of aircraft Russia has available to support the war. However, Saky was primarily used as a base for the aircraft of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet.The fleet’s naval aviation capability is now significantly degraded. The incident will likely prompt the Russian military to revise its threat perception. Crimea has probably been seen as a secure rear-area.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 12 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 

More than 130 women from Azovstal are in captivity. During the briefing, the Minister for the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, Iryna Vereshchuk, said that women soldiers, border guards and medical workers are kept in Russian prisons.

️️Environmental 

Ukraine’s natural resources worth at least $12.4 trillion are now under the control of the Russian Federation, according to The Washington Post. The publication cites a SecDev analysis and notes, that the territories controlled by the Russian troops contain 63% of coal deposits in Ukraine, 11% of oil deposits and 33% of deposits of important minerals, including lithium. Russia also has access to deposits of oil, gas, limestone, titanium ore, uranium, gold, zirconium ore, and strontium.

The Russian troops fired at the territory near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant four times in one day, according to Energoatom. The agency reports that the Russian troops fired at the fire station located on the territory of the power plant and later hit the territory located next to the first power unit. Allegedly, the Russian military damaged the pumping station for domestic wastewater. Smoke clouds reported nearby. Energoatom also informed that “the situation is escalating” and that several radiation sensors were damaged.

The UN Security Council met to discuss the security of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in connection with the Russian invasion. ️There is no immediate emergency danger at the Zaporizhzhia NPP, but the situation can change at any moment, said IAEA head, Rafael Grossi, at the meeting. Grossi is still calling for IAEA to be allowed to visit the station.

At the UN Security Council, the representative of Ukraine also spoke in favor of the IAEA visit to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and called on Russia “not to disrupt this mission.” ️Ukraine put forward several conditions for Russia to allow the IAEA mission to the Zaporizhzhia NPP:

  • Russia must declare that it accepts the IAEA representatives without any conditions.
  • Do not obstruct the passage of the representatives from Ukraine, clear the nuclear power plant and approaches to it.
  • Remove troops, weapons, and equipment from the station.

The United States called for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the ZNPP territory and supported the IAEA visit to Ukraine. Washington called on Russia to transfer the control of the power station to Ukraine and create a demilitarized zone around the nuclear power plant. The US State Department said that Russia bears full responsibility for all possible risks at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed concern about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia NPP and called for an end to hostilities around it. He also called on the parties to withdraw military personnel and equipment from the station and refrain from the further deployment of forces or equipment on the spot. Guterres did not mention that the Zaporizhzhia NPP was being fired upon by the Russian military.

The UN Security Council should demand immediate withdrawal of the Russian terrorists from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, said political expert Valentin Gladkikh. According to him, by initiating the meeting of the UN Security Council, Russia will try to accuse Ukraine of shelling the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and will manipulate the IAEA to its advantage. The complete demilitarization of the station, the withdrawal of the occupying forces from its territory, the return of this facility to Ukraine, and bringing to justice those responsible for the crimes, should be the only issue on the agenda of the UN Security Council and the only condition for the safe operation of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, the expert noted.

The transit of Russian oil through the Ukrainian part of the Druzhba pipeline is resumed after Hungary took over the payment for services. Earlier it was reported that the Russian Transneft could not pay for transit services. As a result, the oil transit to Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia was suspended for 6 days.

Legal 

https://euromaidanpress.com/2022/08/11/why-russia-should-be-designated-a-state-sponsor-of-terrorism/

Latvia recognized the Russian Federation as a state sponsor of terrorism. The decision was made by the Latvian Seim. As stated in a statement on the parliament’s website, “Russia is using suffering and intimidation as a tool in its attempts to demoralize the Ukrainian people and the armed forces, to paralyze the ability of the state to act with the aim of occupying Ukraine. The Sejm recognizes Russian violence against the civilian population, which is carried out to achieve political goals, terrorism, and Russia as a terrorism-supporting state, and encourages other like-minded countries to express this opinion.” In addition, the parliamentarians called on European countries to immediately suspend the issuance of tourist visas and limit the issuance of entry visas to citizens of the Russian Federation and Belarus.

The website of the Latvian Sejm was down following the statement on the recognition of the Russian Federation as a country sponsoring terrorism.

Estonia to close the borders for Russian citizens with Schengen visas, said the Estonian Foreign Ministry. The decision to close the borders of Estonia for Russians, for whom the republic had previously approved visas, will affect 50,000 people, Foreign Minister said. Estonia, along with Latvia and Finland, are the transit countries on the way for Russians to enter the EU in the absence of air traffic.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he could hardly imagine stopping the issuance of Schengen visas to Russians. He stated that it was not ordinary Russians who were responsible for the start of the war in Ukraine, but the leadership of the country.

The Russian Federation announced a pseudo-trial of Ukrainian prisoners of war in Mariupol. Footage of cages built allegedly for a public process appeared on the social media. Ex-commander of Azov Maxim Zhorin says that this situation should be a test for international organizations that call themselves human rights defenders. According to Zhorin, there was no reaction from international organizations to the past atrocities of the Russian Federation and the criminals did not bear any responsibility. The Russians now openly and fearlessly announce the next crimes in the form of so-called “tribunals,” said Zhorin.

It is reported that the Russian Federation plans to hold the trial of Ukrainian prisoners in Mariupol on August 24, the Independence Day of Ukraine. There are about 10,000 Mariupol residents in Russian prisons, as well as a large number of prisoners of war, according to the Mariupol Mayor.

Support 

$1.5 billion in military aid for Ukraine raised at the conference of Northern European allies in Copenhagen, with more than 20 countries participating. $110 million allocated for the purchase of weapons and training for Ukraine.

50,000 food packages with heating elements handed over to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as a part of the agreement between the city of Kyiv and the Israeli Embassy in Ukraine. The program includes humanitarian aid well as the training of Ukrainian psychologists. Israel will also accept wounded Ukrainian defenders, in particular those in need of prosthetics and children diagnosed with cancer.

The UK will give Ukraine three additional M270 MLRS systems and missiles. The UK has already provided three launchers similar to the US HIMARS systems. They use the same missiles with a range of up to 80 km. These precision-guided weapons are already helping Ukraine target Russian munitions shipments and command centers.

New Developments 

️Explosions at the Belarusian military airfield “Zyabrovka” reported today. The T-72 tank, RPN 92N6E, and ammunition were destroyed, according to the monitoring group “Belarusian Guyun.” Details are being clarified.

The joint air defense system of the US and Canada spotted two Russian surveillance aircraft near Alaska in the past two days, The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said.

Russia is preparing fakes about Zelensky for the West, Ukrainian intelligence informs. According to the agency, the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation agreed on the creation of a new structure affiliated with the Russian special services. Its main task will be to implement an information campaign aimed at discrediting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Western Europe. In particular, they are going to create a website of the so-called “Zelensky Fund” and spread fakes through it. In the near future, a full-fledged “launch” of the project is expected.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation refused to represent the interests of Kyiv by Switzerland. The reason for the refusal, Foreign Ministry officials claim, is the loss of the neutral status of Switzerland after joining the sanctions against Russia.

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 11 August, 2022:

The US State Department called on Russian forces to cease all military activity surrounding the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) and support the creation of a demilitarized zone amidst new reports of shelling at the ZNPP on August 11.[1] The US State Department also called on Russia to return control of the plant to Ukraine.

Ukrainian and Russian occupation authorities accused each other of shelling the ZNPP on August 11. Ukraine’s nuclear operating enterprise Energoatom reported that Russian shelling damaged the area of the commandant’s office, storage of radiation sources, and the nearby fire station.[2] The fire station is approximately 5km east of the ZNPP. The Ukrainian Strategic Communications Center stated that Russian forces are deliberately staging provocations at the ZNPP and are carrying out dangerous experiments involving power lines to blame Ukrainian forces at the United Nations (UN) Security Council.[3] Russian-appointed Zaporizhzhia Oblast Occupation Administration Head Yevgeniy Balitsky claimed that Ukrainian shelling damaged the ”Kakhovskaya” high-voltage power line, resulting in a fire and a large cloud of smoke seen on social media footage from the city.[4]

Russian officials have previously accused Ukraine of striking positions of crucial significance to Ukrainians – such as the falsely-claimed HIMARS strike on the Olenivka colony in occupied Donetsk Oblast. CNN investigation concluded that “there is almost no chance that a HIMARS rocket caused the damage to the warehouse where the prisoners were being held.”[5] Russians may be continuing a similar narrative around the ZNPP to discourage further Western support to Ukraine. ISW cannot independently verify the party responsible for the shelling of the ZNPP.

Russia’s 64th Separate Guards Motor Rifle Brigade (64th SGMRB) of the 35th Combined Arms Army (CAA) has likely been destroyed in combat, possibly as part of an intentional Kremlin effort to conceal the war crimes it committed in Kyiv Oblast. Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty (RFEFL) investigative journalist Mark Krutov conducted an investigation into the brigade following its participation in atrocities in Bucha and concluded that after heavy fighting on the Izium and Sloviansk axes, the brigade has largely ceased to exist.[6] Krutov stated that out of 1,500 soldiers who were in the brigade before the war, 200 to 300 were likely killed.[7] Krutov quoted CNA Russia Studies director Michael Kofman’s estimates that the typical ratio for those killed to those wounded in action is around 1 to 3.5, which would mean that the 64th SGMRB suffered up to 700 to 1,000 wounded in action.[8] It is typical for Russian units that are so severely degraded during combat to be disbanded and survivors reallocated into other combat elements, but Krutov noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot disband the 64th SGMRB without embarrassment. Putin had awarded the brigade the honorary ”guards” designation on April 18, following the emergence of evidence that it had committed war crimes in Bucha.[9] The brigade was rushed back into combat in eastern Ukraine after it had completed its withdrawal from around Moscow without much time to rest, refit, receive replacements, or recover. Speculation at the time ran that the Kremlin was eager to have the brigade destroyed in combat to avoid revelation of its war crimes.[10]

Ukrainian intelligence warned that the Kremlin is setting conditions to launch an informational attack on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in an effort to discredit him. The Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported that the Russian Presidential Administration approved the creation of a new informational task force within the Russian special services responsible for establishing the fake “Zelensky Foundation.”[11] The foundation will feature an unspecified falsified proposal targeting foreign aid organizations and will operate as a ”multi-level marketing” scheme likely focusing on recruitment in European countries. The GUR noted that the main concept behind the foundation is to distribute misinformation in the European media sphere. The GUR noted that as of August 10, Russian special services had created a site for the foundation, prepared social media fake screenshots and comments, and established a network of bloggers to promote the foundation. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar echoed similar concerns that Russia has intensified its information operations by spreading rumors in an effort to create friction between Ukrainian military and political officials.[12]

A collection of complaints sent to the Russian military prosecutor’s office and verified by Bellingcat and the Insider included instances of Russian authorities tricking or coercing conscripts into taking combat positions, limiting the extent of information provided to the families of Russian soldiers, and failing to provide soldiers with basic food or medical care. The archive includes reports that Russian commanders have ordered soldiers to launch assaults with no equipment, refused to allow soldiers to quit or to dismiss them for clearly fileable offensives, and failed to notify soldiers’ relatives of their death.[13] The report also highlighted complaints from residents of occupied Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts that accused Russian forces of looting, trespassing, and firing military equipment from civilian infrastructure.

Ukrainian General Staff Main Operations Deputy Chief Oleksiy Gromov stated that Ukrainian forces were not responsible for explosions at the Zyabrovka airfield near Gomel, Belarus overnight on August 10-11.[14] The Belarusian Ministry of Defense (MOD) claimed that an inspection run caused an engine fire at the Zyabrovka airfield and that there were no casualties.[15] Senior Advisor to Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovkaya Franak Viacorka amplified local reports of at least eight explosions near the Zyabrovka airfield.[16] Social media video footage showed flashes near the airfield.[17]

Key Takeaways

  • The US State Department called on Russian forces to cease all military activity surrounding the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) amidst new reports of shelling at the ZNPP.
  • Russian forces conducted ground attacks east of Siversk and northeast and southeast of Bakhmut.
  • Russian forces continued ground attacks on the north and southwestern outskirts of Donetsk City.
  • Ukrainian officials confirmed additional Ukrainian strikes on Russian command posts and ammunition depots along the Southern Axis.
  • Russia’s Khabarovsk Krai is forming two new volunteer battalions.

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