The US and other NATO states are unlikely to provide F-16s to Ukraine with the specific modifications necessary to carry nuclear weapons, and the notion of Ukraine acquiring nuclear weapons is preposterous, according to the US-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
ISW assessed that the Kremlin routinely amplifies information operations about the nuclear escalation with the West over the war in Ukraine or Russia’s willingness to negotiate in an effort to weaken Western support for Ukraine.
Meanwhile, as of 13 July, Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the frontline and made gains in some areas.
The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in the Bakhmut, Melitopol (Zaporizhzhia Oblast), and Berdiansk (Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area) directions.
The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces achieved partial success in the Novodanylivka-Shyroka Balka (3km south of Orikhiv) and Mala Tokmachka-Novopokrovka (6-13km southeast of Orikhiv) directions, Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
Ukrainian officials also reported that Ukrainian forces advanced on Bakhmut‘s southern flank. Geolocated footage, published on 11 July, shows that Ukrainian forces recently made limited advances north of Krasnohorivka (9km north of Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast).
In addition as per ISW report, Russian forces conducted a series of Shahed drone strikes across Ukraine on 13 July. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces launched 20 Shahed-131/136 drones, two Kalibr missiles and one Iskander-M missile. Russian and Ukrainian sources reported that Russian forces targeted Mykolaiv, Kirovohrad, and Kyiv oblasts.
The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian air defenses shot down all 20 Shahed drones and both Kalibr missiles.
“Russian forces constantly use combined missile and drone strikes and seek opportunities to bypass Ukrainian air defenses to inflict maximum damage,” Ukrainian Southern Operational Command Spokesperson Nataliya Humenyuk said.
Other takeaways from the ISW’s report:
- The Kremlin reportedly ordered the detention and suspension of several senior military officers following the Wagner Group’s armed rebellion on June 24, supporting ISW’s prior assessment that the Kremlin likely intends to purge the MoD of figures viewed as disloyal.
- The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on July 13 that Russian authorities detained at least 13 senior military officers and suspended or fired around 15 senior officers following the Wagner Group’s armed rebellion on June 24
- Russian authorities arrested the Russian Deputy Minister for Digital Development Maxim Parshin for allegedly accepting bribes.
- Russia may not be fulfilling some of its commitments to Iran in their bilateral security partnership, even as the Russian military continues to rely heavily on Iranian-made drones in Ukraine.
- The Associated Press (AP) reported on July 13 that Russian forces and occupation administrations are conducting a wide-scale campaign to detain and abuse civilians and are planning to build additional internment infrastructure in the occupied territories.