Russo Ukrainian War. Day 186: Shelling of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant continues

 

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Russia is deploying the newly formed 3rd Army Corps to the front. Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks in Donbas and the Kharkiv Oblast. Ukrainian forces targeted Russian airborne command-and-control elements in Kherson Oblast. Russian and Ukrainian sources traded accusations of shelling the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Russia blocked a key UN document on nuclear weapons due to the occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant by the Russian Federation. The Pentagon signed a contract for the purchase of NASAMS for Ukraine.

Daily overview — Summary report, August 28

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, August 28, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below. 

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The one hundred eighty-sixth (186) day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military invasion continues.
The situation has not undergone significant changes in the Volyn, Polissya, and Siversky directions. In order to demonstrate the presence and constrain the actions of units of the Defense Forces, the enemy shelled the Bilopylla district of the Sumy oblast.
In the Kharkiv direction, the enemy fired from barrel and jet artillery in the areas of Kharkiv, Peremoha, Protopopivka, Husarivka, Slatyne, Ivanivka, Petrivka, Ruska Lozova, Sosnivka, Velyki Prohody settlements. Airstrikes near Husarivka and Pervomaiskyi.
In the Sloviansk direction, shelling from barrel artillery and multiple rocket systems was recorded in the areas of Dovhenke, Kurulka, Adamivka, Dolyna, Brazhkivka, Dibrivne, Bohorodichne, Krasnopillya and Kostyantynivka settlements. The enemy tried to conduct assaults in the direction of the settlements of Dovhenke and Bohorodychne, but had no success and was forced to retreat.
In the Kramatorsk direction, the enemy continued artillery shelling near Sloviansk, Verkhnyokamyansk and Siversk.
In the Bakhmut direction, the areas of the settlements of Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Soledar, Shumy, Vesela Dolyna, Yakovlivka, Mayorsk and Zaytseve were hit by fire from tanks, barrel artillery and MLRS. Enemy aircraft struck near Kodema.
The enemy tried to launch an offensive in the directions of Vershyna Kodema, Semihirya and Zaytseve. Ukrainian defenders stopped and pushed the invaders back.
In the Avdiivka direction, the enemy shelled the areas of Nevelske, Vodyane, Orlivka, Novooleksandrivka, Vesele, New York, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka and Pervomaiske settlements with tanks, barrel and jet artillery. Carried out airstrikes near Valentynivka and Vodyanyi. It led an offensive in the direction of Lozove – Pervomaiske, received a strong repulse and was forced to retreat.
In the direction of Novopavlivka, the enemy continued shelling civilian and military infrastructure from tanks and artillery near Pavlivka, Vugledar, Volodymyrivka, Bohoyavlenka, Novoukrainka, and Novomykhailivka.
In the Zaporizhzhia direction, shelling was recorded near Dorozhnyanka, Charivne, Orikhove, Mala Tokmachka, Mali Shcherbaki, Olhivske, Stepove, Novosilka and Zelene Pole.
In the South Buh region, the occupiers continued to attack the areas of Mykolaiv, Oleksandrivka, Stepova Dolyna, Prybuzke, Lupareve, Lymany, Posad-Pokrovske, Novohryhorivka, Shyroke, Pervomaiske, Partyzanske, Kvitneve, Kiselivka, Kobzartsi, Velyke Artakove, Yakovlivka, Andriivka, Potyomkine, Olhyne, Trudolyubivka, Knyazivka, Dobryanka and Topolyne. The enemy used aviation to strike near Andriivka.
The situation in the water areas of the Black and Azov Seas has not undergone significant changes. There is still a threat of the enemy using Kalibr-type sea-based cruise missiles against infrastructure facilities deep in the territory of Ukraine.

Military Updates 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1563692849786277888

The Russian Federation faces shortages of missiles, as reported by The Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine.

  • no more than 45% of the missiles that the Russians had at the start of the war
  • at least 55% of stocks are spent; the stocks of X-22 and S-300 are running out.
  • 20% of Iskanders and Calibers,
  • about 30–40 hypersonic Daggers (they were not put into mass production)

Russia is deploying the newly formed 3rd Army Corps to the front. Conflict Intelligence Team discovered photos and videos of the transportation of Russian military equipment by rail. “The video shows the full composition of the Buk complex, and the photo shows the T-80BV and T-90M tanks. According to the Russian Railways database, both trains run from Mulino, Nizhny Novgorod region, to the Neklinovka railway station, Rostov region, near the border with the Donetsk region of Ukraine. They left Mulino on August 22 and 24, respectively, which approximately corresponds to the time of departure of the 3rd Army Corps formed there, which was named by the Ukrainian analyst Konstantin Mashovets and confirmed by our sources.”

According to the experts, the transportation of Buk complexes indicates the transfer of a large formation, for example, the army. The photos might show the transfer of the entire 3 corps, or at least that part of it that is considered combat-ready. The DefMon3 analyst wrote about the presence of an air defense division or brigade in the corps, referring to data from Ukrainian sources. Sources also claimed that the corps is relatively well equipped with equipment, but the morale, discipline and desire to master the new equipment are low. It is impossible to say with certainty exactly where the Russian command plans to use the forces of the corps. However, the final point of the echelons (Neklinovka station), located in the south of the Rostov region, is closest to the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia sectors of the front.

Russia plans to increase the number of troops in Ukraine by another 90 thousand people. According to the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, there is 160,000 military personnel in Ukraine, not counting the National Guard. The Russians increase mobilization reserves using the “volunteer” and reserve battalions. The intelligence noted that Russia has big problems in manning the armed forces.

By the end of 2022, Ukraine may push Russia back to the position of February 24, provided Western countries supply weapons to Ukraine in the right amount, said Ben Hodges, former commander of US forces in Europe. Ukrainians have been incredibly resilient, resourceful, and innovative, but they need longer-range and more accurate artillery and missiles that can fire farther and keep destroying Russian artillery, logistics, and hitting Russian airfields. The Russians have already reached the climax of the offensive and are no longer able to advance. Moreover, they are unable even to defend their rear. The duration of the war will depend on whether we do everything that we promised, and whether we deliver all the weapons that we promised.

Regional Updates

In the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, the Russian troops hit the Nikopol district seven times and Kryvyi Rih three times. In the Kryvyi Rih region, the Russians fired from Hurricanes and cannon artillery. In Nikopol, private houses, a training center and power lines damaged. 5,000 left without electricity.

In the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the Russians fired at educational buildings; some are damaged beyond repair. 4 dead, including a woman with two children. In the occupied Mikhailovka, a collaborator was found dead. Previously, in occupied Berdyansk a collaborator was assassinated and died in the hospital.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1563677750115930117

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

  • On 25 August 2022, the Russian Presidential Administration issued a presidential decree increasing the established strength of the Russian armed forces to 1,150,628, an increase of nearly 140,000. The government was instructed to provide funding to achieve this.
  • It remains unclear whether Russia will attempt to fill this increased allocation from recruiting more volunteer ‘contract’ soldiers, or from increasing the annual targets for the conscription draft. In any case, under the legislation currently in place, the decree is unlikely to make substantive progress towards increasing Russia’s combat power in Ukraine. This is because Russia has lost tens of thousands of troops; very few new contract servicemen are being recruited; and conscripts are technically not obliged to serve outside of Russian territory.

Losses of the Russian army 

As of 28 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 

At the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, mercenaries of the Russian “Wagner” imprison and torture local residents, volunteers, and entrepreneurs. According to the Eastern Human Rights Group, the occupiers are carrying out filtration measures in the illegal prison. Some inmates are released for ransom. “The detainees are poured a solution of chlorine under their feet in a closed cell, tortured with electric current, suffocated with plastic bags, etc.,” the human rights activists said in a statement.

️️Environmental 

Russia blocked the adoption of a joint declaration by a United Nations conference on nuclear disarmament, reports BBC. The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is reviewed by its 191 signatories every five years, aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Russia objected due to “grave concern” over military activities around Ukraine’s nuclear plants, in particular Zaporizhzhia.

The list of members of the forthcoming IAEA mission includes the head of the nuclear agency, Rafael Mariano Grossi, and 13 experts from different countries, including Poland, Lithuania, China, Serbia. The US and the UK are not on the list as Russia considers them “unfairly biased.”

The Russian occupiers are making final preparations to connect the Zaporizhzhia NPP to the Russian power grid, according to Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) representative Vadym Skibitskyi. At the end of July, the Russians checked the possibility of connecting the Zaporizhzhia NPP to the energy network of the Russian Federation. “Now they are waiting for the moment, making the last adjustments. They are determined to connect the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to the unified grid of Russia. First of all, in order to fully provide Crimea with electricity. They planned to do this in the first half of August, but they failed,” Skibitskyi said.

Legal 

A petition calling for Putin to be tried by court gained more than 1.8 million signatures. The petition was posted on the Avaaz platform in March at the initiative of Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba. The minister urged the world community to join the restoration of justice. The idea has received legal and civil support, in particular from the PACE, the European Parliament, the NATO PA, and the OSCE PA, gaining more than 1.8 million signatures. “By giving the order to attack Ukraine, Putin has committed a crime of aggression, the heaviest of all crimes against international peace. This crime cannot and must not go unpunished. That is why we call on our international partners to support the creation of a Special Tribunal for the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine. The world’s public support for the initiative is very important. We call on people around the world to sign the petition “Putin to the Tribunal,” Kuleba said.

Support 

The Pentagon signed a contract for the purchase of NASAMS for Ukraine. Arms manufacturer Raytheon Missiles & Defense announced the $182 million deal. The NASAMS anti-aircraft missile systems ordered by the Pentagon are intended for Ukraine. “Raytheon Missiles & Defense and our partners are working hard to rapidly produce this critical, proven air defense capability to help Ukrainians defend their homeland,” the company said.

Slovakia signed an agreement with Poland and the Czech Republic to patrol its skies as Bratislava decommissions its Soviet-made MiG-29s. Bratislava will transfer these vehicles to Ukraine. Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nagy told reporters at an air show on Saturday that Bratislava is still ready to send planes to Ukraine, but an agreement has yet to be reached. “There is political will, and it makes sense to help those who need it,” Nagy said. “The possibility is being discussed, and as soon as an agreement is reached, we will inform you.” Slovakia has previously stated that it is ready to send 11 fighter jets to Ukraine.

The UK to give Ukraine six underwater drones. According to the Ministry of Defense of the country, they will help in clearing the coast for safer grain exports. The United Kingdom will donate three of them from its own stocks and buy three more. The kind of drones is not specified but at the moment the UK is training Ukrainian sailors to use these devices.

New Developments 

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1563720524529745922

Serbia and Kosovo settled a dispute over documents for moving across the border, the EU said. Kosovo Serbs, like all other citizens, will be able to move freely between Kosovo and Serbia. The European Union received guarantees from Kosovo Prime Minister Kurti. The introduction of new rules for the stay of citizens of Serbia on the territory of Kosovo is scheduled for September 1, and recently there were reports that Serbia is again increasing the presence of its armored vehicles on the border. “This is a European decision. We congratulate both leaders on this decision and their leadership,” said Josep Borrell, head of European diplomacy.

Russian Rosatom will start building two new nuclear reactors in Hungary in the coming weeks, Hungarian Foreign Minister Petr Szijjártó said. The deal, concluded between Russia and the EU state in 2014, is aimed at expanding the existing Paks nuclear power plant, which currently produces 40% of Hungary’s electricity. The Russian nuclear industry was not subject to EU sanctions.

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

Map https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-august-27*

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Saturday 23 August, 2022:

The volunteer battalions constituting Russia’s 3rd Army Corps will likely deploy to Ukraine in ad hoc combined arms units to renew offensive operations, possibly on the Donetsk City axis and the Southern Axis. The volunteer battalions Russia has been forming have been divided into two general groups, as ISW has previously reported. Some battalions are deploying to the front lines as soon as they have completed their abbreviated initial training. Others have been coalescing into a new 3rd Army Corps.[1] An analysis by Janes Intelligence Group of new images from combat training for elements of the 3rd Army Corps at the Mulino Training Ground in Nizhny Novogorod found 3rd Army Corps troops training with more modern Russian equipment such as BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, T-80BVM and T-90M tanks, and the latest AK-12 assault rifle variants.[2] The other Russian volunteer battalions that have fought in Ukraine, such as the North Ossetian “Alania” Battalion, have not entered combat with older equipment. The fact that the 3rd Army Corps units are training on better gear and apparently being held back to deploy in more coherent combined arms groups suggests that the Russian military intends to commit them to offensive operations and hopes to regain momentum somewhere along the front line. Elements of the 3rd Army Corps are reportedly already deploying from Nizhny Novgorod closer towards Russia’s border with Ukraine. The Georgia-based Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) observed T-80BV and T-90M tanks that were in Mulino likely of the 3rd Army Corps deploy to Rostov Oblast on August 27.[3] If this report is correct, it could suggest that the Russian military intends to commit the 3rd Army Corps to reinforce offensive operations near Donetsk City, where drives around Mariinka, Pisky, and Avdiivka have been stalling after making some gains. Elements of the 3rd Army Corps may also deploy to the Southern Axis. A Russian Local media outlet reported that the Khabarovsk Krai “Baron Korf” signals battalion will support the deployment of Russian field posts in Kherson Oblast and provide command and control to the new Russian 3rd Army Corps, indicating the Kremlin will likely deploy 3rd Army Corps elements to Kherson and Ukraine’s south.[4]3rd Army Corps elements are unlikely to generate effective combat power, however. Better equipment does not necessarily make more effective forces when the personnel are not well-trained or disciplined, as many members of the 3rd Army Corps’ volunteer units are not. Previous military experience is not required for many of 3rd Army Corps’ volunteer elements.[5] Images of the 3rd Army Corp elements have shown the volunteers to be physically unfit and old.[6] Analysts have also noted that Russia’s lack of experienced non-commissioned officers (NCOs) will hurt the 3rd Army Corps effectiveness.[7] ISW has previously commented on reports of indiscipline among the personnel of the 3rd Army Corps as well.[8]

Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command stated that a 10-person Russian sabotage and reconnaissance group attempted assault operations in Kherson Oblast on August 27, suggesting that Russian offensive capabilities in Kherson Oblast have degraded even further. [9] A 10-person group amounts to a squad, which is too small to act effectively as a maneuver unit. If the Southern Operational Command correctly reported the size and mission of this unit, it would indicate that Russian ground forces in Ukraine have degraded to the point that they are attempting to conduct offensive operations and echelons too low to make meaningful gains. ISW has no independent confirmation of the current size of Russian assault echelons attempting ground attacks in Ukraine, but this report is consistent with the Ukrainian campaign to degrade Russian logistics capabilities in western Kherson Oblast and ISW’s prior assessments of diminished Russian military morale in Ukraine.[10]

Key Takeaways

  • Volunteer battalions that comprise Russia’s 3rd Army Corps are likely being prepared to attempt offensive combined arms operations but will likely lack sufficient combat power to make a material difference on the battlefield.
  • Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command stated that a 10-person Russian sabotage and reconnaissance group attempted assault operations in Kherson Oblast, indicating that Russian offensive capabilities in Kherson Oblast have degraded further.
  • Russian forces conducted a limited ground attack north of Kharkiv City.
  • Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks southwest of Izium, northeast of Siversk, northeast and south of Bakhmut, and west and southwest of Donetsk City.
  • Ukrainian forces targeted Russian airborne command-and-control elements in western Kherson Oblast.
  • Russian and Ukrainian sources traded accusations of shelling the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.
  • Russian military leadership may be shifting to a new phase of mobilization in central Russia and have likely exhausted pools of potential recruits in more peripheral and disenfranchised regions.
  • Russian authorities are intensifying law enforcement operations in occupied areas.

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