Russo Ukrainian War, Day 171: ‘Alarming conditions’ at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, IAEA says

 

Daily review

Article by: Hans Petter Midttun

Ukrainian army disabled bridge in Nova Kakhovka. Ukraine says it can hit ‘almost all’ Russian supply lines in the occupied south. Belarus extends military exercises once again. The US doesn’t know what hit Crimea base, an official says. ‘Very alarming’ conditions at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,  IAEA chief warns. Borrell supports the call for demilitarisation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and urges IAEA to visit. Ukrainian farmers already harvested more than 20M tonnes of grain. Western countries pledge $1.55 bln in military aid to Ukraine. Medvedev says that the EU also has nuclear power plants and “accidents are possible” there.

Daily overview — Summary report, August 13

Situation in Ukraine. British Intelligence. ~

Situation in Ukraine. British Intelligence.

According to military expert Stanislav Haider, as of August 13,

Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic have decided to launch a program to expand the production of artillery systems, ammunition, and other military equipment for Ukraine. According to the head of the Ministry of Defense, Sweden can also start producing weapons for Ukraine.

Donetsk Oblast. The direction of Bakhmut saw Russian troops keeping on the attacks on the outskirts of Bakhmut, trying to push the Ukrainian forces from the T-0504 highway to the city’s first houses. The fiercest battles are taking place at the crossroads and in the fields around it. For several days now, the Russians have not been able to advance beyond the Knauf plant.

The Russian assault on Yakovlivka continues as the Russians managed to reach the town for a short time but were repulsed. The Russian troops continue constant attacks on Hryhorivka, Verkhnokamianske, and Ivano-Dariivka, they bypassed Ivano-Dariivka from the south and are now trying to advance to the town of Vymka, hostilities continue. Pisky has been almost completely destroyed. Russian attempts to storm the areas of Pisky and Maiinka failed as the Ukrainians pushed the invaders back to their initial positions. In the south of Donetsk Oblast, the Russians are regrouping unable to regain their lost positions. 

Kharkiv Oblast Russia continues to use aircraft along the entire front line. Once again, there were unsuccessful Russian attacks in the areas of Prudianka and Husarivka. To the south, fighting continues in the districts of Brazhkivka, Suliрivka, and Dovрenke.

Kherson Oblast. The Ukrainian Armed Forces continue to knock out the Russian control points and warehouses. There is a partial Ukrainian advance near Snihurivka. Intense fighting continues at the Inhulets, near Snihurivka, and near Visokopillia. Russian assaults near Oleksandrivka were repulsed. The Ukrainian bridgehead is intact, Ukrainian troops constantly repulse Russian attacks along the entire line. 

Zaporizhzhia Oblast. There are no major changes in this direction. The Armed Forces of Ukraine repulse the Russian assaults and immediately move forward in small steps. The battle line goes through the directions of Shcherbaky, Dorozhnianka, and Nesterianka. Russians continue to terrorize Ukrainian cities (Zaporizhzhia, Nikopol, etc.) using missiles.

The Ukrainian artillery destroyed Russian ammunition depots in Beryslav district (Kherson Oblast), Makiivka, Horlivka (Donetsk Oblast), a Russian base in Vasylivka district (Zaporizhzhia Oblast), and a yet unknown facility in Kakhovka district (Kherson Oblast). 

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, August 13, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below. 

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“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 favourable conditions for resuming the offensive in certain directions, as well as blocking Ukraine’s maritime communications in the Black Sea.

There are no major changes in the Volyn, Polissya, and Siversky directions. [According to the available information, on August 11 of this year, a check of the readiness of the system of combat control and notification of the armed forces of the Republic of Belarus for use was carried out.]

[In the Siversky direction, Russian forces continue to hold units in the border areas of the Bryansk and Kursk regions to constrain the actions of units of the Defense Forces. Yesterday, Russian forces shelled the areas of Oleksandrivka in Chernihiv Oblast and Yuryevo, Bilopylla, Atynske and Yastrubyne in Sumy Oblast with artillery.] Russian forces shelled the territory near Senkivka and Hremyach of the Chernihiv oblast and Basivka and Kindrativka of the Sumy oblast with barrel artillery.

  • [The rotation of units of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, which perform tasks in the border regions of the Kursk and Belgorod regions, continues.]

[In the Slobozhansky direction:]

Kharkiv Battle Map. August 12, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kharkiv Battle Map. August 12, 2022. Source: ISW.

  • In the Kharkiv direction, Russian forces continued to attack targets in the areas of Kharkiv, Udy, Dementiivka, Ruski Tyshki, Cherkaski Tyshky, Velyki Prohody, Prudyanka, Protopopivka, Petrivka, Stary Saltiv, Verkhniy Saltiv, Mospanove and Korobochkyne settlements. It carried out airstrikes near Stary Saltiv and Mospanove. [Yesterday, Russian forces fired from tanks, artillery and MLRS in the areas of the settlements of Udy, Odnorobivka, Prudyanka, Slatyne, Dementiivka, Nove, Pytomnyk, Ruska Lozova, Ruska and Cherkasky Tyshky, Tsyrkuny, Chernyak, Petrivka, Shestakove, Stary Saltiv, Mospanove, Kutuzivka, Lisne, Ivanivka, Husarivka, Lebyazhe, Korobochkyne, Slobozhanske and Chepil. Russian forces used attack and army aircraft for strikes near Verkhnyi Saltiv, Rtyshchivka, Ukrainka and Bayrak.]
  • In the Sloviansk direction, shelling was recorded near Dolyna, Brazhkivka, Nortsivka, Dibrivne, Mazanivka, and Bohorodychne. Enemy aircraft again operated near Zalyman. [Yesterday, the occupiers exerted fire on the positions of the Defense Forces near Velyka Komyshuvakha, Dmytrivka, Dibrivne, Virnopilla, Rydne, Protopopivka, Mazanivka, Bohorodychne, Nortsivka, Krasnopilla, and Dolyna. Airstrikes were carried out near Zalyman.]
    • [Russian forces tried to conduct offensive battles in the direction of Pasika – Bohorodychne and Tychotske – Dolyna. It was repulsed and ran away.]

[In the Donetsk direction:]

Donetsk Battle Map. August 12,2022. Source: ISW. ~

Donetsk Battle Map. August 12,2022. Source: ISW.

  • In the Kramatorsk direction, Russian forces shelled the districts of Kramatorsk, Verkhnyokamyansk and Hryhorivka with artillery and MLRS. [Yesterday, shelling was recorded near Siversk, Zvanivka, Hryhorivka, Verkhnokamyanske, and Raihorodok.]
    • [Yesterday, Russian forces attempt to carry out combat reconnaissance in the direction of Biloghrivka – Hryhorivka failed.]
    • With offensive and assault actions, Russian forces units tried to advance in the directions of the Lysychansky Refinery – Ivano-Daryivka and Mykolaivka – Vyimka. Fighting continues in the direction of Spirne – Ivano-Daryivka.
  • In the Bakhmut direction, enemy artillery and tanks hit the Chasiv Yar, Berestove, Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Pereizne, Soledar, Spirne, Rozdolivka, Yakovlivka, Vershyna and Zaytseve areas. Airstrikes were recorded near Yakovlivka, Vesela Dolyna, Zaitseve, Bakhmut and Soledar. [Yesterday, the occupiers used tanks and various calibre artillery to fire in the areas of Bakhmut, Soledar, Ivano-Daryivka, Vyimka, Spirne, Yakovlivka, Kodema, Vershyna, Zaitseve and Vasyukivka settlements. Airstrikes were recorded near Vyimka, Ivano-Daryivka, Spirne, Yakovlivka, Soledar, and Bakhmutske.]
    • [Yesterday, the invaders tried to conduct reconnaissance near Spirne. Ukrainian soldiers inflicted fire damage and neutralized Russian forces.]
    • [With offensive and assault actions, the Russian occupiers unsuccessfully tried to break through the defence of our units and advance in the direction of the settlements of Spirne, Ivano-Daryivka, Vyimka, Yakovlivka, Kodema, Vershyna and Zaitseve. They suffered losses and left chaotically. Fighting continues in some areas.]
    • Russian forces carried out assaults in the directions of Pokrovske – Bakhmut, Vidrodzhenya– Vershyna, Vuglehirska TPP – Zaitseve, but had no success, and withdrew. [In the direction Pokrovske – Bakhmut, Russian forces had partial success yesterday and are trying to gain a foothold.]
  • In the Avdiyivka direction, the occupiers fired from artillery and MLRS in the areas of Kurakhove, New York, Nevelske, Pervomaiske, Opytne, Maryinka, Vodyane, Krasnohorivka and Novobakhmutivka settlements. Assault aircraft hit near Maryinka. [Artillery shelling continued yesterday near Maryinka, Vodyane, Netaylove, Avdiivka, Pisky, Krasnohorivka, and Novobakhmutivka. Russian forces carried out airstrikes near Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, Vodyanyi and Avdiyivka.]
    • [Yesterday, Ukrainian defenders suppressed all enemy assault attempts in the Spartak, Pisky and Maryinka areas and drove the invaders back to their previous positions.]
    • The invaders waged offensive battles in the direction of Novoselivka Druha – Krasnohorivka and Spartak – Avdiivka, they were unsuccessful and were pushed back. Fighting continues in the Donetsk-Pisky and Novoselyvka-Oleksandropil directions.
  • On the Novopavlivske and Zaporizhzhia directions, Russian forces shelled positions from artillery, MLRS and tanks in the areas of Volodymyrivka, Pavlivka, Prechistivka, Vuhledar, Bohoyavlenka, Novopilla, Zaliznychne, Hulyaipilske, Olhivske, Shevchenko, Burlatske, Novosilka, Drozhnyanka, and Novodanilivka settlements. It carried out an airstrike in the Novosilka region. [Yesterday, enemy fire was detected near Novomykhailivka, Shevchenko, Novoyakovlivka, Velyka Novosilka, Volodymyrivka, Vugledar, Novopil, Preobrazhenka, Vremivka, Novosilka, Zelene Pole, Novodanilivka, Kamianske, Novoandriivka, Hulyaipole and Bilohirya. Enemy aviation operated near Vuhledar and Novomykhailivka.]
    • In the direction of Storozhove – Novosilka, our soldiers successfully stopped the Russian offensive and pushed the invaders back.
    • [Yesterday, the occupiers were advancing in the Yehorivka-Pavlivka direction. Russian forces were stopped and pushed back.]

In the Pivdenny Buh direction, Russian forces fired tanks and artillery in the areas of Posad-Pokrovske, Stepova Dolyna and another 27 settlements. Carried out airstrikes near Osokorivka and Andriivka. It continued conducting aerial reconnaissance of the UAVs. [Yesterday, airstrikes were carried out in the areas of Osokorivka, Andriivka, Blahodatne, Novohryhorivka, Lozove, Myrne, Bruskynske and Veliky Artakov.]

  • Russian forces tried to conduct an offensive battle in the direction of Sukhy Stavok – Lozove, but was unsuccessful and retreated.
  • [Russian forces are trying to restore the combat capability of the units that suffered losses during the hostilities in the indicated direction.]

Two warships with cruise missiles are ready for use in the waters of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

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

[Losses of Russian occupation forces in manpower are increasing. In this regard, the command of the invaders is expanding the practice of postponing the terms of rotations of advanced units for an indefinite period without supplementing them with personnel. All this significantly affects the moral and psychological state of Russian servicemen and so-called volunteers and worsens their motivation to participate in hostilities.]”

Military Updates 

Armed Forces of Ukraine disabled bridge in Nova Kakhovka, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Operational Command South. “The road bridge over the Nova Kakhovka dam was destroyed by units [of the Ukrainian forces] using missile fire and artillery to prevent its intended use.”

Ukraine says it can hit ‘almost all’ Russian supply lines in the occupied south, Reuters reports. “Natalia Humeniuk, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern military command, said Ukraine has nearly all of Russia’s southern supply routes under “fire control,” meaning that Ukraine is able to hit them with ranged weapons at will.

Our forces are controlling the situation in the south, despite Russian forces trying to bring in reserves even though almost all their transport and logistical arteries have been hit or are under our fire control, she added in a national broadcast.

Ukraine says it has been able to hit dozens of Russian ammunition depots thanks to Western deliveries of long-range multiple-launch missile systems, such as US- supplied HIMARS. Kyiv hopes that by acquiring new missiles capable of striking Russian logistics deep behind the front lines, it can turn the tide of the conflict in coming weeks.”

Russo-Ukrainian War, Day 171: ‘Alarming conditions’ at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, IAEA says ~~

Belarus extends military exercises once again, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Belaruski Hajun, a Belarusian Telegram channel monitoring military activity on the territory of the Republic of Belarus. “Belarus has once again extended its military exercises – until 20 August at least.

Five training grounds were excluded from the exercises, but two new ones have been added: the 210th aviation range of the Air Force and Air Defence Forces (Ruzhany firing range) and the shooting range near the village of Vyalets (Volozhin district).

Military exercises in Belarus have been extended for a week since 29 April. The total number of extensions is 16 weeks.

“It should be noted that the Belarusian army has become better prepared for defensive operations, but it is still not prepared for a large-scale offensive due to the lack of real combat experience,” the monitoring group believes.

The US doesn’t know what hit Crimea base, official says, The Washington Post reports. “The Pentagon does not know what weapons were used in a powerful attack that hit a Russian air base in Crimea this week, a senior military official told reporters Friday.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity under terms set by the Pentagon, provided a list of the various items that the United States finds to have been damaged in the incident, including “a number of Russian aircraft, fighters, fighter bombers, surveillance aircraft,” and “a pretty significant cache of munitions,” along with an ammunition dump, some other structures and the airfield.

At least eight Russian fighter aircraft were “almost certainly destroyed or seriously damaged” in Tuesday’s explosions at the Saki Air Base in Crimea, the British Defense Ministry said. “The airfield probably remains serviceable,” it added. A Ukrainian official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Washington Post earlier that Ukrainian special forces were behind the attack on the Russian base.”

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

  • The two primary road bridges giving access to the pocket of Russian occupied territory on the west bank of the Dnipro in Kherson Oblast are now probably out of use for the purposes of substantial military resupply.
  • On 10 August 2022, Ukrainian precision strikes likely rendered the road crossing of the Dnipro River at Nova Kakhovka unusable for heavy military vehicles. In recent days, Russia has only succeeded in making superficial repairs to the damaged Antonivsky road bridge which likely remains structurally undermined. Last week, the main rail bridge near Kherson was also further damaged. Since late July 2022, Russia has been using a pontoon ferry near the railway bridge as its main military resupply route.
  • Even if Russia manages to make significant repairs to the bridges, they will remain a key vulnerability. Ground resupply for the several thousand Russian troops on the west bank is almost certainly reliant on just two pontoon ferry crossing points. With their supply chain constrained, the size of any stockpiles Russia has managed to establish on the west bank is likely to be a key factor in the force’s endurance.
  • 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 Saturday 13 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 43400 (+200),
  • Tanks – 1856 (+7),
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 4115 (+7),
  • Artillery systems – 978 (+3),
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 261 (+0),
  • Air defence means – 136 (+0),
  • Aircraft – 233 (+0),
  • Helicopters – 193 (+0),
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 3036 (+15),
  • Vessels/boats – 15 (+0),
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 779 (+1),
  • Special equipment – 91 (+1),
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0),
  • Cruise missiles – 187 (+2)

Russian enemy suffered the greatest losses (of the last day) in the Bakhmut and Kryvyi Rih directions.

Heavy Losses Leave Russia Short of Its Goal, US Officials Say, The New York Times reports. “With 500 Russian troops killed or wounded every day, according to the latest estimate by American intelligence and military officials, Russia’s war effort has decelerated to a grinding slog, the officials said. […] “I think it’s safe to suggest that the Russians have probably taken 70 or 80,000 casualties in less than six months,” Colin Kahl, the under secretary of defense for policy, told reporters at the Pentagon on Monday, referring to deaths and injuries.

Two American officials said that estimate of Russia’s losses included about 20,000 deaths. Of that number, 5,000 are believed to be mercenaries from the Wagner Group […]. American officials say their casualty estimates are based on satellite imagery, communication intercepts, social media and on-the-ground media reports.”

Humanitarian 

Russian invasion: 203 children considered missing – Ombudsman’s Office, Ukrinform reports. “The press service of the Ombudsman’s Office delivered the update on Facebook, Ukrinform reports. 203 children have gone missing, 6,482 have been deported, 4,441 have been found, and 50 have been returned, the statement elaborates.”

Russo-Ukrainian War, Day 171: ‘Alarming conditions’ at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, IAEA says ~~

War deprives over 3,000 Ukrainian children of parental care, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion in Ukraine, 3,182 children have been left without parental care, according to Volodymyr Vovk, Deputy Head of the Department for the Protection of Children’s Rights of the National Social Service of Ukraine.”

Ukraine takes back the bodies of 522 defenders thought to be missing, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Oleh Kotenko, Commissioner for Issues of Persons Missing under Special Circumstances, has reported that the bodies of 522 defenders, who were on the list of missing persons, have already been returned to Ukraine.

Kotenko has given assurances that Ukraine is working hard to recover all the bodies of the fallen. He also clarified that so far negotiations with the occupiers have not been conducted directly, but through the International Red Cross.”

Millions of refugees from Ukraine have crossed borders into neighboring countries, and many more have been forced to move inside the country. The escalation of conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of civilian infrastructure, forcing people to flee their homes seeking safety, protection and assistance the UNHCR reports. As of 10 August:

 

Individual refugees from Ukraine recorded across Europe: 6,377,256
Belarus, Hungary, Republic  of Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia 3,541,398
Other European countries 2,835,858
Refugees from Ukraine registered for Temporary Protection or similar national protection schemes in Europe: 3,822,552
Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia 1,439,682
Other European countries 2,382,870
Border crossings from Ukraine (since 24 February 2022): 10,638,132
Border crossings to Ukraine (since 28 February 2022): 4,506,002

️️Environmental 

‘Very alarming’ conditions at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,  IAEA chief warns, the UN reports. “The situation at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has deteriorated rapidly to the point of becoming “very alarming,” Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi warned the Security Council on Thursday afternoon. These military actions near such a large nuclear facility could lead to very serious consequences, Mr. Grossi said at the meeting requested by Russia, which was marked by resounding calls to allow the Agency’s technical experts to visit the area amid mounting safety concerns.

The IAEA chief said that on 5 August, the Zaporizhzhia plant – Europe’s largest – was subjected to shelling, which caused several explosions near the electrical switchboard and a power shutdown. One reactor unit was disconnected from the electrical grid, triggering its emergency protection system and setting generators into operation to ensure power supply. The senior UN official said that there was also shelling at a nitrogen oxygen station. While firefighters had extinguished the blaze, repairs must still be examined and evaluated.

He said that the preliminary assessment of IAEA experts indicate that there is no immediate threat to nuclear safety as a result of the shelling or other military actions. However, this could change at any moment, Mr. Grossi cautioned.

He recalled his recent address to the ongoing Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, where he outlined seven indispensable pillars that are critical for nuclear safety and security. These included aspects dealing with the physical integrity of the plant, off-site power supply, cooling systems, and emergency preparedness measures. All these pillars have been compromised if not entirely violated at one point or another during this crisis, flagged by the IAEA chief. 

Any nuclear catastrophe would be unacceptable and thus preventing it should be our overarching goal”. He asked both sides to cooperate with the UN atomic agency. This is a serious hour, a grave hour, and the IAEA must be allowed to conduct its mission in Zaporizhzhia as soon as possible”.

Borrell supports call for demilitarisation of ZNPP, urges IAEA to visit, Ukrinform reports. “Zaporizhzhia facility must not be used as part of any military operation. I support call for demilitarisation of the area starting with full withdrawal of Russian forces and urge IAEA to visit, Borrell, posted on Twitter. He also underscored that Russia must immediately hand back full control over the facility to Ukraine as its rightful sovereign owner.

As reported, on August 11, Russian forces continued shelling the Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine and in Europe. In particular, five hits were recorded near a welding area and a storage of radiation sources. Five more explosions occurred in the area of ​​a fire station, located not far from the ZNPP.”

Almost one-third of Ukraine needs to be cleared of ordnance, the ministry says, Reuters reports. “About 27% of Ukraine’s territory will need to be cleared of mines and explosives, according to the latest estimates by the ecology ministry nearly six months since Russia began its invasion and bombardment of its neighbour.

So far Ukrainian authorities have cleared more than 620 square kilometres (240 square miles) of land that were littered with thousands of explosive devices, including 2,000 bombs dropped from the air.

Nearly 300,000 square kilometres (116,000 square miles) are still seen as “contaminated”, according to data released by Ukraine’s Emergency Services. Making that area safe could take a decade, the government said.”

Ukrainian farmers already harvested more than 20M tonnes of grain, Ukrinform reports. “Ukrainian farmers have already harvested 20.8 million tonnes of early grain crops, according to the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food.

Grain and leguminous crops were collected from an area of 5.5 million hectares (49%), with 20.8 million tonnes of grain being threshed. […] As reported, Ukraine’s Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food increased the forecast for this year’s harvest to 65-67 million tonnes.”

Legal 

Occupiers announce the start date for captured foreigners’ show trial – Russian media, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Interfax, quoting a source within the militants’ “judicial bodies”. “The court hearing is scheduled for 15 August. It will be held in a closed session. According to the media, the accused are Swedish citizen Matias Gustavsson, Croatian Vjekoslav Prebeg, and British citizens John Harding, Dylan Healy, and Andrew Hill.

According to the “laws” of the self-proclaimed republic, the foreigners are suspected of participating in an armed conflict as mercenaries, undergoing training for allegedly terrorist activities, committing actions with the aim of seizing power, and assisting in the recruitment of mercenaries. If the guilt of the defendants is proven, according to the “laws” of the occupiers, they may face execution.”

The US is concerned at reports of “illegitimate authorities” charging foreigners in Ukraine, Reuters reports. “The United States is concerned by reports that British, Swedish, and Croatian nationals were being charged by “illegitimate authorities in eastern Ukraine”, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday. Russia and its proxies have an obligation to respect international humanitarian law, including the rights and protections afforded to prisoners of war, Blinken wrote on Twitter.”

361 children were killed, and 711 children injured, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine reports as of August 13. 2,328 educational establishments are damaged as a result of shelling and bombings, 289 of them are destroyed fully. 28,231 crimes of aggression and war crimes and 13,181 crimes against national security were registered.

Support 

Western countries pledge $1.55 bln in military aid to Ukraine, Reuters reports. “Western countries on Thursday committed more than 1.5 billion euros ($1.55 billion) in cash, equipment and training to boost Ukraine’s military capabilities in its war against Russia, Danish Defence Minister Morten Bodskov said. The money, which was pledged by a group of 26 countries at a conference in Copenhagen, will be used to supply existing weapons, missiles and ammunition, increase weapon production for Ukraine, train Ukrainian soldiers, and de-mine war-torn areas in Ukraine.

We will continue to assist Ukraine in its military needs,” Bodskov told journalists at the end of the conference that brought together European defence ministers to discuss long-term support for the country’s defence against Russia’s invasion.

Defence ministers of Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic signalled willingness to expand productions of artillery systems, munitions, and other military equipment to Ukraine, Bodskov said.”

The UK is committed to training more Ukrainian troops than initially planned, Ukrinform reports, citing CNN. “I think we’re committed now to really going beyond that. We are going to train more and for longer,” [UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace] said when asked whether the UK could train more Ukrainian troops than the 10,000 by October as initially outlined.

UK and allies agree to expanded International Fund for Ukraine support, the UK Government states. “At the Copenhagen Conference, the UK and a coalition of key allies and partners have agreed to expand the International Fund for Ukraine (IFU) to finance military training and equipment for Ukraine to help the country free itself from Russia’s invasion.

Britain will put £250 million of the recently announced £1 billion into the IFU, a flexible low-bureaucracy fund, which will be used to provide military equipment and other support to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). The fund will ensure a steady flow of money not just for the provision of vital new weapons, but the essential maintenance and repair of existing kits, and training to maximise the Armed Forces of Ukraine’s effectiveness on the battlefield.

Britain has so far trained more than 2,300 Ukrainian personnel in the UK under a training programme announced in June. Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany and Latvia have announced they will be joining the initiative, after the Netherlands previously announced its intention to support the scheme.

It comes after the UK announced it would send additional multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) launchers, along with a significant number of precision guided rockets to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s indiscriminate use of artillery.”

Berlin to host international donors conference on Ukraine reconstruction, Ukrinform reports, citing German Ambassador to Ukraine Anka Feldhusen. “The international expert conference on the restoration and reconstruction of Ukraine will be held in Berlin on October 25, focusing on specific sectors in which the embattled nation can receive quick assistance.”

New Developments 

  1. Minister Reznikov: Compromise with Russia possible only after all Ukrainian territories liberated, Ukrinform reports, citing DR Denmark. “We will win this war, we will liberate our territories, all of them. A compromise could be if they go out from our lands, and we will discuss the next future of the neighbourhood between Ukraine and Russia,” [Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov] said. In his words, Russians have to pay reparations for all the cities ruined and all the Ukrainians killed. They have to receive punishment for all the murders, rapes and other atrocities they committed.”
  2. German ambassador to Ukraine: Undeniable parallels between Putin and Hitler, Ukrainska PravdaEuropean Pravdareports that the Ambassador of Germany to Ukraine, Anka Feldhusen, has said in an interview with Ukrinform that there are clear and undeniable parallels between the regime of Russian leader Vladimir Putin and the Nazi Third Reich. Feldhusen made these comments against the backdrop of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz rejecting calls for an EU ban on tourist visas for Russian citizens because, according to him, “this war is Putin’s war”.
  3. Podoliak outlines current Ukraine–Russia dialogue points, UkrinformUkraine maintains a dialogue with the Russian Federation exclusively at the level of settling the issue of exchange of POWs and the bodies of the dead, [Mykhailo Podoliak, Adviser to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said.] At the same time, he emphasized that there were no dialogues on military and political issues. Even the negotiations on grain corridors were held not directly but through an intermediary.”
  4. Zelensky suggests that Parliament extend martial law and general mobilization, UkrinformUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has introduced two draft bills to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine: on the extension of martial law and on the extension of general mobilization. On May 22, 2022, at the initiative of President Zelensky, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine extended martial law and general mobilization for a period of 90 days, until August 23, 2022.”
  5. Medvedev says that the EU also has nuclear power plants and “accidents are possible” there, Ukrainska PravdaDmitry Medvedev, the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia, said that there are also nuclear power plants in the European Union, and “accidental” incidents are possible there.

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

map source: https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-august-12-0*

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 12 August, 2022:

  1. On the War

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Friday 12 August:

The Kremlin is reportedly attempting to mobilize industry to support prolonged war efforts in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported that the Kremlin initiated the “industrial mobilization” of the defense enterprises in early August, banning some employees and the entire leadership at the Russian state industrial conglomerate company Rostec from taking vacations. The GUR added that the Military-Industrial Commission of the Russian Federation, chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin, is preparing to change the state defense order program by early September to increase expenditures by 600-700 billion rubles (approximately $10 billion). Russian outlet Ura also reported that Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu likely visited the Uralvagonzavod factory, the largest tank manufacturer in Russia and the producer of Russia’s T-72 main battle tanks, on August 12. The GUR previously reported that Uralvagonzavod faced financial issues due to Western-enforced sanctions and failure to meet state contract obligations. If true, Shoigu’s visit could suggest that the Kremlin is attempting to restart or expand the operation of the military-industrial complex. ISW has previously reported that the Kremlin has been conducting a crypto-mobilization of the Russian economy by proposing an amendment to the federal laws on Russian Armed Forces supply matters to the Russian State Duma on June 30. The amendment obliges Russian businesses, regardless of ownership, to fulfill Russian military orders and allows the Kremlin to change work conditions for employees. Putin signed the amendment on July 14, which indicates that the Kremlin will continue to introduce more measures to expand the Kremlin’s direct control over the operations of Russia’s military-industrial complex.

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces conducted ground attacks east of Siversk and northeast and southeast of Bakhmut.
  • Russian forces conducted ground attacks southwest and northwest of Donetsk City.
  • Ukrainian forces destroyed the last functioning bridge Russian forces used to transport military equipment near the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant.
  • Ukrainian officials confirmed additional Ukrainian strikes on Russian ammunition depots and a logistics point in Kherson Oblast.
  • Russian regional officials may be misrepresenting percentage fill of newly formed volunteer battalions.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. August 12, 2022. Source: ISW. ~

Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. August 12, 2022. Source: ISW.

Ukrainian partisans are likely targeting Russian occupation officials and Ukrainian collaborators who are preparing for the sham annexation referenda to disrupt the Russian annexation of occupied Ukraine.“

Russian intelligence could stage blasts in Crimea, Russia, or Belarus – Presidential Office chief’s advisor, Ukrinform reports, citing the adviser to the head of the President’s Office of Ukraine, Mykhailo Podoliak. “All these incidents: a brewery in Donetsk, a military unit in Russia, warehouses in Yeysk, Zyabrivka airfield in Belarus, from where planes constantly took off to bomb our territory… All of them also have their roots in the Russian special services, who do this in order to arouse their population to say: ‘Stand up, great country, stand up for war.’ They seek to try to mobilize public mood in a certain way because concealed mobilization is going on, but there are not many who are willing to fight, said Podoliak.

In his opinion, in this way the Russian Federation wants to influence its population and create grounds for mobilization. To this end, they create all these conflicts – many in Belarus and also in the Russian territory, he added.

The advisor to the head of the President’s Office recalled that in order to justify the unleashing of the Second Chechen War, the Russian special services blew up a number of residential buildings on Russian territory, which resulted in multiple civilian casualties. They (the Russians – ed.) want to do the same today. Therefore, we have to understand it, work this situation out, be ready for the fact that there will be many such provocations, explained Podoliak.”

2. Consequences and what to do? 

Russia’s Economy Shrinks, The New York Times reports. “In the first snapshot to fully capture the costs of the war for Russia, data released today showed that the gross domestic product fell 4 percent from April to June, compared with a year earlier. The drop is the start of what analysts say will be a downturn that will last several years, my colleagues Eshe Nelson and Patricia Cohen report.

Despite imports drying up and sanctions blocking financial transactions to such an extent that the country was forced to default on its foreign debt, the fall in G.D.P. was not as severe as some had predicted. This was in part because state coffers were flush with energy revenue as prices rose because of the war. But the economic toll is expected to grow heavier with time as Western nations turn away from Russian oil and gas, critical sources of export revenue.

Western sanctions sparked an exodus of hundreds of Western companies, cut off Russia from about half of its $600 billion in foreign currency and gold reserves and imposed strict restrictions on dealings with Russian banks. Russia moved quickly in the days after the invasion to mitigate the impact of sanctions and was able, to some extent, to soften the blow. Still, Russia’s central bank said today that it expected the economy to have a deeper contraction next year and not return to growth until 2025.

The outlook for the coming months looks bleak. Russian companies will need to rearrange their supply chains as imports seize up and businesses have trouble getting replacement parts for Western-made machines. Prospects for the energy sector are also dimming. Oil output will fall further next year, and Russia will have to find buyers for about 20 percent of its oil.”

Inflation in Ukraine exceeds 22% in July, Ukrinform reports, citing the National Bank’s press service. “Ukraine’s consumer inflation in July accelerated to 22.2% in annual terms due to the consequences of Russia’s terrorist actions and temporary occupation of certain territories.”

Ukraine is in default according to Fitch and S&P, Reuters reports. “Global rating agencies S&P and Fitch on Friday lowered Ukraine’s foreign currency ratings to selective default and restricted default as they consider the country’s debt restructuring as distressed. Earlier this week, Ukraine’s overseas creditors backed the country’s request for a two-year freeze on payments on almost $20 billion in international bonds. The move will save Ukraine some $6 billion on payments according to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

S&P lowered Ukraine’s foreign currency rating to “SD/SD” from “CC/C.” Given the announced terms and conditions of the restructuring, and in line with our criteria, we view the transaction as distressed and tantamount to default, S&P said.

Fitch cut the country’s long-term foreign currency rating to “RD” from “C,” as it deems the deferral of debt payments as a completion of a distressed debt-exchange. S&P also said the macroeconomic and fiscal stress stemming from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may weaken the Ukrainian government’s ability to stay current on its local currency debt and lowered the Eastern European country’s local currency rating to “CCC-plus/C” from “B-minus/B”.

Battered by Russia’s invasion, which started on Feb. 24, Ukraine faces a 35%-45% economic contraction in 2022 and a monthly fiscal shortfall of $5 billion.”

Hans Petter Midttun: In the “2018 Security Outlook”, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) concluded that “Western assessments that Russia is vulnerable to economic collapse and disruptive internal discontent are exaggerated. Russia is adapting to adversity; the economy is deliberately tilted to security rather than economic freedom. Political power in Russia is being steadily concentrated at the national level in an attempt to overcome system dysfunction in delivery. The current regime appears to be coherent, durable and united at the centre. […] Two trends should be emphasized. First, Russia is not modernising its military primarily to extend its capacity to pursue hybrid warfare. It is modernising conventional military capability on a large scale; the state is mobilising for war. Second, on the important issues which generate international tensions, the regime does not change its policies: it reinforces them.”

Four years later, it is fair to conclude that CSIS was right in its assessment of Russian intent and actions.

The transformation of a low-intensity hybrid war into a full-scale war was advertised well in advance. The initial phase of the Hybrid War started more than a decade before Russia launched its military assault on Ukraine on 20 February 2014. Russian always intended to conclude the war on its terms. To be victorious.

For 8 years, Ukraine warned the international community about the Russian militarization of its border regions. Several UN resolutions on the militarization of Crimea are just some of the official reporting on the fact. A simple google search will reveal multiple open source reports on new Russian bases being built and forces being established or relocated closer to Ukraine.

The Swedish Defence Research Agency analyzed Russia’s Strategic-level Military Exercises from 2009 to 2017. In 2018, it concluded that Russia was Training for War. At the end of 2018, NATO published the report “VOSTOK 2018: Ten years of Russian strategic exercises and warfare preparation”. “Nearly five years on from the initiation of hostilities against Ukraine and three years after the start of operations in Syria, Russian military forces continue to operate in both theatres, while also continuing or initiating operations (such as air and maritime patrols) in other regions. [ ] These developments suggest the need to reassess doubts about Russia’s ability to sustain military operations, including large-scale ones”.

During the same period, the Russian information war, diplomatic messaging, and narrative became increasingly belligerent. Even more crucially, Russia started waging a Hybrid War against the West.

The full-scale invasion of Ukraine was a long time coming. The USA, NATO and the EU had all the information they needed to conclude that a full-scale war on the European continent was in the making. They either chose to not act on the information available to them or chose to build their assessments on what was deemed as the political desirable outcome of the conflict.

The question is: Will they make the same mistake assessing the impact of sanctions on Russian ability continue the war in Ukraine? Or are “Western assessments that Russia is vulnerable to economic collapse and disruptive internal discontent” still exaggerated?

In February, President Biden cautioned that it could take time for sanctions on Russia to have the desired impact, acknowledged the coming weeks and months “will be hard on the people of Ukraine.”

“No one expected the sanctions to prevent anything from happening,” Biden said. “This could take time, and we have to show resolve so [Putin] knows what’s coming and so the people of Russia know what he’s brought on them.”

At the time, President Biden said the USA and its allies would revisit the decision “in a month” indicating that we needed to wait Russia out and allow time for the sanctions to fully impact the country’s economy.

They were, however, indicating months rather than years.

As reported on 11 August, 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.

After more than 8 years of assessing that Russia cannot afford to uphold its military commitment in several theatres of operation – and after experiencing that Russia not only continue to increase its military footprint and start a full-scale war – it even retaliates with harsh economic actions of its own – we might need to revisit our strategy towards Russia.

This war will be decided on the battlefield. While the sanctions have impact on Russia’s ability to wage war, it is by no means decisive. There is no sign of Russia giving up on Ukraine. It is on the contrary, in the process of fortifying its defensive positions and laying minefields to better defend its occupied territories. The sanctions will not help evict the dug-in Russian forces in Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson and Mykolaiv oblast. Military force will.  

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