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Ukraine liberates as much area in 5 weeks as Russia occupied in 6 months – ISW

Bakhmut offensive Ukraine map
Assessed control of terrain in Bakhmut as of 10 July 2023 Credit: ISW
Ukraine liberates as much area in 5 weeks as Russia occupied in 6 months – ISW

Ukrainian Forces have liberated 253 square kilometers of territory since the beginning of the counteroffensive on 4 June, while Russian forces have captured a total of 282 square kilometers in the entire theater since 1 January, ISW reported.

The Institute for the Study of War’s assessment reveals that “in five weeks, the Ukrainian Army has liberated nearly the same amount of territory that Russian forces captured in over six months.”

Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on July 10. Continued offensive actions continue in the Bakhmut, Berdiansk (western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhzhia Oblasts), and Melitopol (western Zaporizhzhia Oblast) directions.

Assessments by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) suggest that Ukrainian claims of establishing fire control over Bakhmut may be more credible than previously anticipated. While earlier reports indicated that Russia was controlling and intercepting Ukrainian lines of communication, Ukrainian officials and sources report that Ukrainian forces have fire control over Bakhmut and Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) around the city.

Other takeaways from the ISW’s report:

  • Russian Chief of the General Staff and overall theater commander Army General Valery Gerasimov’s first public appearance since Wagner’s rebellion supports ISW’s previous assessment that he will likely retain his official position within the Russian military.
  • The Kremlin and Western intelligence officials reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin on 29 June (and/or 1 July) following Wagner’s armed rebellion on 24 June.
  • Putin’s decision to meet with Prigozhin is inconsistent with the Kremlin’s prior rhetoric about Prigozhin and his role within the Wagner private military company (PMC).
  • A Kremlin-affiliated war correspondent characterized the Putin-Prigozhin meeting as the Kremlin’s attempt to “gently” replace Prigozhin and restructure Wagner.
  • Gerasimov’s public reemergence and the acknowledgment of the Putin-Prigozhin meeting is likely a part of the Kremlin’s wider narrative effort to portray itself as fully in control following Wagner’s rebellion while also reaching out to those who lean toward loyalty toward Wagner and especially Prigozhin himself.
  • It is unclear whether any agreements between the Kremlin and Prigozhin will prompt significant numbers of Wagner personnel to agree to sign contracts with the MoD.
  • Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov claimed that Chechen Akhmat Special Forces have deployed to the Bakhmut direction, but a local Ukrainian commander denied having encountered Chechen forces, suggesting that these Chechen elements are not making significant frontline contributions to Russian operations in Ukraine.
  • Former Russian officer and prominent critical nationalist milblogger Igor Girkin claimed on 10 July that he managed to deliver a speech in St. Petersburg despite efforts by law enforcement to censor him and prevent the speech from happening
  • Russian and Ukrainian forces conducted ground attacks along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line and in the Bakhmut direction.
  • Russian forces conducted ground attacks along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations south of Orikhiv in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast on 10 July.
  • Russian forces are continuing to suffer significant casualties on the battlefield.
  • Russian occupation officials acknowledged widespread utility service disruptions in occupied Donetsk Oblast.
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