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Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 512: Russians attacked two Black Sea ports

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 512: Russians attacked two Black Sea ports

Russians attacked two Black Sea ports at night: grain terminals damaged. Russians destroy 60,000 tonnes of grain in Chornomorsk port. 

Morning report day 512 – July 20

The report is based on media reports, expert analyses, and official information posted online.

Source: War Mapper.

Situation

Situation in Ukraine. July 19, 2023. Source: ISW.

According to information from the General Staff as of 06.00 20.07.2023, supplemented by its [18:00 assessment].

“Last night, the Russian Federation launched yet another missile and airstrike on Ukraine. Information on the aftermath of this terrorist attack is currently being updated.

On July 19, the enemy used 16 Kalibr sea-launched cruise missiles, 8 Kh-22 cruise missiles, 6 Oniks cruise missiles, 1 Kh-59 air-launched guided missile, and 32 Shahed combat UAVs to launch a massive missile and airstrike on the territory of Ukraine. Air defence of the Ukrainian Defence Forces intercepted 13 Kalibr cruise missiles, 1 Kh-59 air-launched guided missile and 23 Shahed combat UAVs.

In addition, the enemy launched 78 airstrikes and 69 MLRS attacks at the positions of Ukrainian troops and various settlements.

The likelihood of missiles and airstrikes across Ukraine remains high.

The adversary focuses its main efforts on Kupiansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Marinka axes, with around 30 combat engagements taking place On July 19.

  • Volyn and Polissya axes: no significant changes. [There are no signs of the formation of enemy offensive groupings. Armed Forces of Belarus continue to perform tasks on the Ukrainian border.]
Luhansk Battle Map. July 19, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Sivershchyna and Slobozhanshchyna axes: the enemy launched an airstrike in the vicinity of the village of Hrem’yachka (Chernihiv oblast). The invaders fired mortars and artillery at more than 20 settlements, including Hirs’k, Yeline, Leonivka (Chernihiv oblast), Seredyna-Buda, Bachivs’k, Myropillya, Pokrovka (Sumy oblast), Udy, Kozacha Lopan’, Strilecha, Vovchans’k, Mala Vovcha, and Budarky (Kharkiv oblast).
  • Kupiansk axis: the Ukrainian troops are standing their ground. The adversary launched an airstrike in the vicinity of Kyslivka. Dvorichna, Zapadne, Syn’kivka, Kyslivka, and Berestove (Kharkiv oblast) came under artillery and mortar fire from the occupiers.
Donetsk Battle Map. July 19, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Lyman axis: the adversary launched airstrikes in the vicinities of Nevs’ke, Novolyubivka, Bilohorivka (Luhansk oblast), Yampil’, Serebryanka, and Spirne (Donetsk oblast). The settlements of Nevs’ke, Bilohorivka (Luhansk oblast), Tors’ke, Verkhn’okam’yans’ke, Berestove, and Rozdolivka (Donetsk oblast) were shelled with artillery.
Bakhmut Battle Map. July 19, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Bakhmut axis: the Ukrainian defenders successfully repelled adversary attacks in the vicinity of Bohdanivka. The enemy launched an airstrike near Dyliivka. More than 10 settlements, including Vasyukivka, Markove, Bohdanivka, Chasiv Yar, Ivanivske, Stupochky, and Oleksandro-Shul’tyne (Donetsk oblast), suffered from enemy artillery shelling.
  • Avdiivka axis: under heavy fire from enemy aircraft and artillery, the Ukrainian defenders successfully repelled Russian troops’ attacks in the vicinity of Nevelske. The adversary launched a missile and airstrike in the vicinity of the city of Avdiivka. At the same time, the invaders fired artillery at more than 10 settlements, including Lastochkyne, Avdiivka, Karlivka, and Nevel’s’ke (Donetsk oblast).
  • Marinka axis: despite enemy airstrikes and artillery fire, the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to hold back the Russian offensive in the vicinities of Marinka and Krasnohorivka. The adversary shelled more than 10 settlements, including Krasnohorivka, Marinka, Heorhiivka, and Pobjeda (Donetsk oblast).
  • Shakhtarske axis: the enemy launched airstrikes in the vicinities of Novomykhailivka and Blahodatne (Donetsk oblast). The occupant forces shelled more than 10 settlements, including Paraskoviivka, Novomykhailivka, Vuhledar, and Blahodatne (Donetsk oblast).
Zaporizhzhia Battle Map. July 19, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Zaporizhzhia and Kherson axes: the adversary focuses its main efforts on preventing the further advance of Ukrainian troops. The invaders made unsuccessful attempts to regain the lost position in the area north of Pryyutne (Zaporizhzhia oblast). The occupant forces shelled more than 20 settlements, including Novodarivka Ol’hivs’ke, Malynivka, Hulyaipole, Zaliznychne, Bilohir’ya, Lobkove (Zaporizhzhia oblast), Dudchany, Kozats’ke, L’vove, Ivanivka, Antonivka, Berehove, Kizomys (Kherson oblast), and the city of Kherson.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. July 19, 2023. Source: ISW.

At the same time, the Ukrainian Defence Forces continue to conduct offensive operations on Melitopol’ and Berdyans’k axes, consolidating their positions, and conducting counter-battery fire.

[Russians continue to turn the civil infrastructure of the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine for their own needs. For example, in the cultural centre in Kalanchatka council of the Kherson Oblast, the occupiers set up a military hospital, where more than 50 Russian invaders are currently being treated for injuries of varying degrees and undergoing rehabilitation.]

On July 19, the Ukrainian Air Force launched 7 airstrikes on the concentrations of occupant troops. Also, the Ukrainian defenders intercepted 2 operational-tactical level reconnaissance UAVs of the enemy.

On July 19, the Ukrainian missile and artillery troops hit 4 concentrations of troops, weapons, and military equipment of the adversary, 1 ammunition depot, 11 artillery systems at their firing positions, 2 air defence assets, and 1 station of the adversary of the enemy.“

Ukraine’s Armed Forces advance on Melitopol frontUkrainska Pravda reports, citing Valeri Shershen, spokesman of the United Press Center of the defence forces of the Tavriia front. “Ukraine’s defence forces have advanced by more than one kilometre on the Berdiansk front.

It is worth emphasising on the Melitopol front. We note that there is an advance of the shock units of our troops – more than one kilometre along the front line. The enemy continues to focus its main efforts on holding company strongholds. This is important for us. The enemy is concentrating significant efforts on preventing the further advance of our troops. […]

Shershen also explained why control over the village of Staromaisorske in Donetsk Oblast is important. The village of Staromaiorske is primarily a settlement that rises above the terrain. There is the Mokri Yaly River here. That is, it is an important commanding point for fire control. The Russian invaders have pulled up their reserves here, but they are losing fire control. Our shock units dominate here.”

Tarnavskyi: Defense forces have success, gain foothold in Tavria directionUkrinform reports. “In Tavria direction, the defence forces knock the enemy out and have some success, they gain a foothold on the achieved frontiers, General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, the commander of the Tavria operational-strategic group of troops, posted on Telegram.

According to him, artillery units of Ukraine’s defense forces performed 1,573 fire missions during the day. The enemy lost more than two companies in killed and wounded. Thirty-five units of the enemy’s military equipment were destroyed, Tarnavskyi added. In particular, tanks, eight armored combat vehicles, three 2A65 Msta-B howitzers, Orlan-10 UAV, 2S3 Akatsiya artillery system, two 2S5 Giatsint-S self-propelled guns, two Giatsint-B guns, Pole EW system, vehicles, and eight ammunition depots were destroyed.”

The third night of missile and UAV strike on Ukrainian ports, the Ukrainian General Staff reports. “On the night of July 20, 2023, the invaders again attacked the southern regions of Ukraine! This time, Odesa and Mykolaiv were hit by Russian missiles. In total, the enemy launched 19 cruise missiles and 19 kamikaze drones: 7 “Onyx” from the coastal missile complex “Bastion” (Crimea); 4 Kh-22 air-launched cruise missiles – launched from Tu-22MZ aircraft (Black Sea area); 3 Kalibr sea-based cruise missiles, presumably from a submarine (Black Sea area); 5 “Iskander-K” land-based cruise missiles (Crimea); and 19 strike UAVs of the “Shahed” type from two directions – southern (Chauda, Crimea) and northeastern (Kursk).

As a result of the combat work of our soldiers, 18 air targets [out of 38] were destroyed: 2 Kalibr sea-based cruise missiles; 3 “Iskander-K” surface-based cruise missiles; and 13 strike drones of the “Shahed” type.”

Second massive missile and UAV strike on Odesa, the Ukrainian General Staff reports. “On the night of July 19, 2023, the Russian invaders attacked Ukraine from the south, using air-, land-, and sea-based cruise missiles, as well as Iranian attack UAVs of the “Shahed” type. Objects of critical infrastructure and military facilities were attacked, the main direction of the attack was Odesa.

During several waves of attacks, the enemy used 16 Kalibr sea-based cruise missiles, presumably from the small missile ship “Ingushetia” and the frigate “Admiral Essen” from the Black Sea; 8 Kh-22 cruise missiles from Tu-22M3 long-range aircraft from the Black Sea; 6 “Onyx” cruise missiles from the coastal missile complex “Bastion” (Crimea); 1 Kh-59 guided air missile from the Su-35 fighter from the Black Sea; and 32 attack UAVs of the “Shahed-136/131” type from the Chauda training ground (Crimea) and Primorsko-Akhtarsk (Rostov region).

According to the results of combat operations, 37 air targets were destroyed [out of 63] by the air defense of the Air Force and air defense systems of other components of the Defense Forces of Ukraine: 13 Kalibr cruise missiles; 1 guided air missile Kh-59; – 23 attack UAVs “Shahed-136/131”.

The strikes of the Kh-22 and Onyx missiles were aimed at the infrastructure of the Odesa region. Local military administrations will report on the consequences of these strikes and the victims.”

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

British Intelligence Map.
  • On 17 July 2023, Russia failed to renew its involvement in the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI). This effectively nullified the security agreement which, despite the war, had ensured the safe passage of vessels exporting grain from Ukraine. Russia is aiming to deter all merchant shipping from Ukrainian ports.
  • Russia likely made the decision to leave some time ago because it decided that the deal was no longer serving its interests. Russia has masked this with disinformation, claiming its withdrawal is instead due to concerns that civilian ships are at risk from Ukrainian mines and that Ukraine was making military use of the grain corridor without providing evidence for these claims.
  • On 19 July 2023, the Russian MoD said it would assume all vessels approaching Ukraine were carrying weapons.
  • The Russian Black Sea Fleet (BSF) will likely now take a more active role in disrupting any trade which continues. However, BSF blockade operations will be at risk from Ukrainian uncrewed surface vehicles and coastal defence cruise missiles.
  • Since the start of July 2023, there has highly likely been an increase in fighting around the lower reaches of the Dnipro River.
  • As well as intense combat on the eastern bank around the small Ukrainian bridgehead near the ruined Antonivsky Bridge, small units of Russian and Ukrainian troops have also been contesting islands in the Dnipro delta.
  • Both sides are using small, fast motorboats, and Ukraine has successfully used tactical one-way attack uncrewed aerial vehicles to destroy some Russian boats.
  • Russia faces a dilemma in deciding whether to respond to these threats by strengthening its Dnipro Group of Forces at the expense of the stretched units facing the Ukrainian counter-offensive in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

As of Thursday 20 July, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the invasion to the present day:

Losses of the Russian Army. Source: Euromaidan Press.
  • Personnel – about 240010 (+530)
  • Tanks – 4129 (+6)
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 8065 (+6)
  • Artillery systems – 4592 (+19)
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 692 (+3)
  • Air defence means – 433 (+3)
  • Aircraft – 315 (+0) 
  • Helicopters – 310 (+0)
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 7134 (+29)
  • Vessels/boats – 18 (+0)
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 3918 (+33)
  • Special equipment – 685 (+2)
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0)
  • Cruise missiles – 1293 (+14)

Number of mobilised fugitives from Russian army doublesUkrainska Pravda reports, citing Mediazona. “In the first half of 2023, Russian military courts received 2,076 cases of unauthorised leave in military units, which is two times higher than last year’s figure; most of the defendants were mobilised. Since the courts started publishing sentences announced in spring, it has become obvious that the main category of those convicted of fleeing the service was the mobilised ones. […]

According to Ukraine’s Defence  Intelligence, against the background of a full-scale war in Ukraine, Russia is conducting covert mobilisation and preparations for further mobilisation measures, mobilising about 20,000 people per month.”

Humanitarian

Russians attacked two Black Sea ports at night: grain terminals damagedUkrainska Pravda reports. “On the night of 19 July, Russia attacked the grain terminals in the ports of Odesa and Chornomorsk, as a result of which the traders’ infrastructure was damaged. This was announced by Oleksandr Kubrakov, the Deputy Prime Minister for Reconstruction and the Minister of Community Development, Territories and Infrastructure.

Russia continues to terrorise the world even after withdrawing from the Grain Initiative. Grain terminals and port infrastructure in the ports of Odesa and Chornomorsk have been attacked, the minister wrote. Kubrakov specified that the grain infrastructure of international and Ukrainian traders and carriers Kernel, Viterra, and CMA CGM Group was damaged. The port infrastructure, which is involved in the operation of the grain corridor, was also attacked the night before, and the tanks and berths of the Odesa port were damaged.

An attack on grain terminals is an act of aggression against the world. The goal of Russian terrorists is the destruction of any means of supplying grain to world markets. The terrorist state is at war not only with Ukraine but with the population of Africa and Asia, for whom this grain is a matter of survival. The world must protect grain and port infrastructure. This is a guarantee, first of all, for the food security of the world, he summarised.”

Russians destroy 60,000 tonnes of grain in Chornomorsk portUkrainska Pravda reports, citing Mykola Solskyi, Minister of Agrarian Policy of Ukraine. “In the port of Chornomorsk, 60,000 tonnes of grain were destroyed, which was to be loaded onto a large cargo vessel and shipped through the Black Sea Grain Corridor 60 days ago. Much of the grain export infrastructure of the port of Chornomorsk was also put out of action. Experts have estimated that it will take at least a year to fully restore the affected facilities. […]

The minister has pointed out once again that if Ukraine is unable to export food, the population of the poorest countries will be on the verge of survival. In addition, the global economy will suffer. The price of grain will increase and not all countries will be able to afford to buy agricultural products, which means that the price of food will increase significantly: flour, grains, meat.”

Putin: Russia will consider returning to grain deal if all its requirements are met and implementedCensor.net reports, citing Economic Truth. “Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia would consider returning to grain deal under one condition – if all principles of Russia’s participation in agreement are fully taken into account, and most importantly, implemented. […]

Among the conditions Putin voiced were the lifting of sanctions on Russian grain and fertilizer supplies to world markets, the connection of banks to SWIFT, and the end of all restrictions. […] He also named the resumption of supplies of spare parts for agricultural machinery and “resolving the issue of freight and insurance for Russian ships among the conditions.

In addition, he said that the Togliatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline should be restored. He also said that “Russian assets related to agriculture” should be unblocked. Putin claims that these conditions are specified in Russia’s Memorandum with the UN. If all these conditions are fulfilled, we will immediately return to this agreement, Putin said.”

Grain corridor: Option with route through territorial waters of NATO countries being consideredUkrainska Pravda reports, citing Vasyl Bodnar, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Türkiye. “Ukraine is considering a new route for a grain corridor that could pass through the territorial waters of NATO member states. We may not even use the route agreed as part of the grain agreement, but transport grain through the territorial waters of Romania and Bulgaria, he said.

According to the ambassador, the main problem is Russia’s threats to attack port infrastructure and possibly ships carrying grain. This is a risk that affects insurance and shipping companies. The occupiers will likely not implement anything they’ve been saying, but the threat remains, he said. […]

Earlier, Ukraine offered Türkiye and the UN to extend the work of the grain corridor in the Black Sea without Russia. For this purpose, it would be possible to involve Turkish warships to guard the civilian vessels loaded with grain. However, Türkiye considers this option very risky. The Bloomberg agency reported this, citing an informed official.”

Five countries to ask EU to extend Ukrainian grain import banEuropean Pravda reports, citing Reuters, quoting István Nagy Hungary’s Minister of Agriculture. “Five Central European EU members – Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia – plan to jointly request the European Union to extend the ban on importing Ukrainian grain after September 15. […] According to the agency, the Central European countries are concerned that the collapse of a deal allowing Black Sea exports this week could lead to increased grains flows and bottlenecks in the five countries, the Central European states fear.

Heading for the meeting in Warsaw, Minister of Agriculture Istvan Nagy said the five countries would ask for this import ban to remain on four Ukrainian products – wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seeds – for now, with transit shipments continuing. However, he mentioned that Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia would also discuss an option where countries could individually ask the EU to add products to the ban list.

Obviously, Ukraine, given its sheer size, anything it produces and exports to Europe, that upsets the market. The situation is the same with chicken meat, eggs, honey, Nagy said. “For the time being, the four products will remain, we are striving to preserve the ban on these four products, and probably there will be an agreement that countries, individually, can ask the EU to impose a ban on additional products…this is what we will talk about,” the minister concluded.

Meanwhile, Poland’s Minister of Agriculture, Robert Telus, stated that Warsaw was willing to improve transit through Poland but that the EU needed to help with infrastructure. As per Minister Nagy, land-based transport of grains was expensive, and he suggested the EU should offer a progressive transit fee subsidy to Ukraine or the shipping companies to allow grains to be shipped to alternative ports, to avoid a burden on European markets.”

Environmental

Russians prepare false flag “assault” on ZNPP – Defence IntelligenceUkrainska Pravda reports, citing the press service of the DIU. “The Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU) has reported that in the near future, the Russians are planning to organise another provocation at the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) with the use of heavy weapons.

The occupiers are likely to organise another armed provocation on the territory of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the near future. To this end, the FSB’s ‘military counterintelligence department’ is spreading information among the occupation contingent about the alleged preparation of an assault on the ZNPP by the Ukrainian defence forces. The Russian secret service has claimed that an assault on the nuclear power plant will be organised late in July; assault groups and unnamed volunteer armed units of Ukraine are allegedly supposed to take part.

The Defence Intelligence of Ukraine believes that spreading such information may indicate that the Russian occupiers are preparing a false flag operation that will lead to a large-scale accident at the ZNPP. According to the available information, other simulated attacks on the plant are currently being prepared with the aim of further accusing Ukraine of it. The Defence Intelligence of Ukraine has called such actions an act of nuclear terrorism.”

In Ukraine, more than 400 people were injured by mines, another 221 people diedCensor,net reports, citing the spokesman of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, Oleksandr Khorunzhy, with reference to Ukrinform. “Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation into Ukraine, 221 people have died from mines and explosive objects, more than 450 people have been injured. 

According to him, since the full-scale invasion, the pyrotechnic units of the State Emergency Service have neutralized 3049 air bombs. During this time, experts surveyed 91,401 hectares of land. Demining works are mainly ongoing in the de-occupied parts of the Donetsk region, Mykolaiv region, Kharkiv region, and Kherson region. Currently, the priority for demining is infrastructure facilities, power lines, and gas pipelines, so that people in the de-occupied territories feel more comfortable – they have water, gas and electricity, Khorunzhy noted.

The State Emergency Service hopes that thanks to international partners, there will be 20 specialized demining machines by the end of the year, and such a process will be carried out more actively. We need 100 such machines. This will be a breakthrough and help our civil sector and the recovery of the country, Khorunzhy noted. Also, according to him, the State Emergency Service needs to increase the number of armored vehicles for transporting ammunition to the places of their liquidation.” 

Cultural heritage continues to suffer in Ukraine, Ministry of Culture records losses caused by warUkrainska Pravda reports, citing Kateryna Chuieva, Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine. “Cultural monuments in Ukraine continue to suffer due to Russian full-scale invasion. The list of damaged sites includes unique objects of cultural heritage, which were destroyed in the attacks of the Russians. Today, the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy, which records such losses, cannot provide full information on the losses, because some of the destroyed objects are in the temporarily occupied territories or in the combat zone. […]

The official announced the data from oblast military administrations on the loss of cultural heritage as of 25 June. As of today, damage or destruction of more than 664 objects of cultural heritage was recorded, excluding objects of cultural infrastructure, such as libraries or other institutions located in modern buildings. The overall figure includes a small number of archaeological heritage sites, the bulk of which are currently poorly accessible for examination.

Today, 84 monuments of national importance, 514 monuments of local importance, as well as 66 newly discovered cultural heritage sites are known to be damaged or destroyed, the statement said.”

Legal

Red Cross of Belarus admits stealing children from UkraineUkrainska Pravda reports, citing Belarusian publication Zerkalo with reference to the statement of Dmitry Shevtsov, the chairman of the Belarusian Red Cross, during a trip to Donbas, which was broadcast on the Belarus 1 TV channel. “The Belarusian Red Cross has confirmed that it is taking part in “exporting” Ukrainian children from the occupied territories to Belarus.

I was outraged to the core by the fact that people, I think, because their minds are corrupted, or they think doing so makes sense, accused Belarus of kidnapping children who come to us for rehabilitation. And to be honest, the fact is that the Belarusian Red Cross has taken an active part in this – and is taking and will continue to do so. Shevtsov said this to Belarusian television during a trip to the occupied territories of Ukraine. […]

The Zerkalo publication reports that during its previous trip to the occupied Ukrainian territories, Shevtsov was seen in camouflage  with the letter Z (the symbol of Ruscism and Russia’s aggression in Ukraine) on it. However, the Red Cross charter requires members of the organisation to remain neutral. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was studying the incident.”

Support

US announces new $1.3 billion military aid package for UkraineCensor.net reports, citing Pentagon press service. “United States announces a new package of military aid to Ukraine worth $1.3 billion. As noted, the package is provided under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI). The Pentagon clarifies that USAI is the authority under which the United States purchases equipment from industry or partners for further shipment to Ukraine.

It is reported that the new aid package for Ukraine from the United States includes: 4 NASAMS anti-aircraft missile systems and ammunition; 152-mm artillery shells; demining equipment; optically guided missiles (TOW); Phoenix Ghost and Switchblade unmanned aerial vehicles; high-precision aerial munitions; anti-drone and electronic warfare detection equipment; 150 fuel trucks; 115 tactical vehicles for towing and transportation of equipment; 50 tactical vehicles for equipment recovery; equipment to ensure the security of ports and harbors; and tactical secure communication systems.

The United States will continue to work with its allies and partners to ensure that Ukraine has the means to meet its immediate needs on the battlefield and its long-term security assistance needs, the Pentagon emphasized.” 

Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg to supply Ukraine with M113 armoured vehiclesUkrinform reports, citing Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren. “The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg will provide Ukraine with a batch of M113 armoured vehicles.”

US and NATO grapple with critical ammo shortage for UkraineCNN reports. “The US and Europe are struggling to provide Ukraine with the large amount of ammunition it will need for a prolonged counteroffensive against Russia, and Western officials are racing to ramp up production to avoid shortages on the battlefield that could hinder Ukraine’s progress. The dwindling supply of artillery ammunition has served as a wake-up call to NATO, US and Western officials told CNN, since the alliance did not adequately prepare for the possibility of a protracted land war in Europe following decades of relative peace. […]

US officials emphasized to CNN that there is a set level of munitions in US stockpiles around the world, essentially an emergency reserve, that the military is not willing to part ways with. The levels of those stockpiles are classified. But officials say the US has been nearing that red line as it has continued to supply Ukraine with 155mm ammunition, the NATO standard used for artillery rounds. The US began ramping up ammunition production last year when it became clear that the war would drag on far longer than anticipated. But the ammunition will still take “years” to mass produce to acceptable levels, National Security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN Sunday.

The US decided to send cluster munitions to Ukraine to help alleviate a potential shortage in the meantime, providing Kyiv with a supply of American weapons that haven’t been tapped into so far. But because cluster munitions can pose a long term risk to civilians, their transfer to Ukraine is only intended to be a stopgap measure until more unitary rounds can be produced, officials said. […]

Meanwhile, the UK will invest an additional £2.5 billion into stockpiles and munitions, and will also increase “investment in the resilience and readiness of the UK’s munitions infrastructure, including storage facilities,” according to the country’s newly released Defence Command Paper Refresh.

To date, the US has provided Ukraine with over 2 million 155mm artillery rounds, according to the Pentagon. The Defense Department has set a goal of producing 70,000 artillery shells per month and is now producing just under 30,000 shells monthly, according to an Army spokesperson – up from around 15,000 per month when the war in Ukraine began in February 2022. 

But Ukraine is still burning through the available supply. […] A year and a half into the war, Ukraine’s rate of artillery fire has hardly abated, even as its own stockpiles have been on a slow, steady decline. Ukrainian troops now typically fire between 2,000 and 3,000 artillery shells per day at Russian forces, a US defense official told CNN. The rate was higher before the counteroffensive began, as Ukraine conducted shaping operations to prepare to advance on Russian positions. […]

Army spokesperson Ellen Lovett told CNN last week that the Army’s production ramp up of 155mm artillery ammunition continues as planned. We have already nearly doubled monthly production and contracts are in place to rapidly increase production over the next year and a half. Lovett added that the Army’s plans to significantly increase production of other key systems going to Ukraine, including GMLRS, Javelin anti-tank and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, are also on contract and underway. […]

 But another problem NATO has run into writ large is incentivizing contractors to substantially ramp up production of supplies that governments have not been purchasing en masse in recent years, specifically the 155mm artillery shells, a senior NATO official told CNN last week. […]

The Pentagon has also asked Congress, as part of the 2024 defense budget, to provide enough funding to allow DoD to strike multi-year contracts with defense contractors.” 

Crowdfunding campaign launched in Lithuania to buy 500 FPV drones for UkraineUkrinform reports, citing Delfi. “The Lithuanian organization “Mazi, bet stiprus” (“Small, but strong”) has launched the “Songs of Drones” campaign, which will last until August 24, with the aim of collecting EUR 300,000 for the purchase of 500 FPV kamikaze drones for Ukraine.

Raimundas Aleknavicius, the founder of the organization, said that both the Ukrainian counteroffensive and new Russian attacks are taking place at the front, and one of the most influential factors in the war is the use of drones. The war in Ukraine will go down in world military history as a war of constantly evolving drone technologies. Along with combat Bayraktars, commercial DJIs and various fixed-wing drones, FPV-type kamikaze drones are currently gaining more importance in the war between Ukraine and Russia, Aleknavicius said.”

Ramstein participants discuss training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 – Austin, Censor.net reports, citing US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin following the meeting, an Ukrinform correspondent reports. “Preparation of practical training for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets was one of the main topics of Contact Group on Ukraine’s Defence meeting. We heard from the co-chairs of the F-16 Coalition, (representatives of) Denmark and the Netherlands. They continue to develop a comprehensive training plan to help some very eager Ukrainian pilots learn to fly the fourth-generation aircraft, the Pentagon chief said.

He informed that during the meeting they discussed providing Ukraine with additional air defence capabilities and ammunition. I’ve asked our friends to continue to scrutinise what they have in their weapons stockpiles, Austin said.

In addition, he said, the participants of the Ramstein 14 discussed increasing the production of ammunition for Ukraine within the framework of the EU initiative, as well as at the level of bilateral agreements.” 

EU member states to explore €20 billion war fund option for UkraineEuractiv reports. “EU member states are debating setting up a dedicated ‘Ukraine Defence Fund’ to keep the country’s armed forces equipped for the next four years at a cost of up to €20 billion, EURACTIV has learnt. According to the new proposal put forward by the EU’s diplomatic service (EEAS) on Monday, which is expected to be discussed by EU foreign ministers on Thursday (20 July), the fund would come under the existing European Peace Facility (EPF).

Over the past year, the intergovernmental fund has been used to reimburse member states for their lethal and non-lethal deliveries to Ukraine and send aid to other partners in the bloc’s neighbourhood and fund missions and operations. So far, under the EPF, the EU has allocated €5.6 billion for Ukraine. However, negotiations on the EU level have proved laborious, with top-ups to the fund often running into delays or outward opposition by Hungary.

The new proposal of a dedicated Ukraine fund would help continue to support member states to cover their own costs of purchased and donated military equipment, such as ammunition, missiles and armoured vehicles, three EU diplomats said.

It would also support financing the training of Ukrainian soldiers in the framework of the EU’s military training mission (EUMAM), which the bloc launched in November last year, they said. The proposal, which could be adopted by autumn, could see the financial ceiling of support being increased to €20 billion for four years, the diplomats said.

The move comes as, over the past year, Europeans moved from breaking the bloc’s defence taboos, one after the other, first with the use of the European Peace Facility (EPF) to finance the reimbursement of weapons deliveries to war-torn Ukraine, then with the joint purchase of ammunition. The ‘Ukraine Defence Fund’ would be part of the EU’s broader efforts to show its long-term sustainable commitment to Ukraine, which the EU has been trying to craft for the past year. It was floated by EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell during the EU’s leaders’ summit last month.”

New developments

  1. The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation declared several areas of the Black Sea temporarily dangerous for navigationInterfax.ru reports. “Several areas in the northwestern and southeastern parts of the international waters of the Black Sea have been declared temporarily dangerous for navigation, according to the Russian Ministry of Defence. The Ministry said that from 00:00 Moscow time on July 20, all ships traveling in the Black Sea to Ukrainian ports will be considered as potential carriers of military cargo. Also, the Ministry of Defence stated that the countries of the flag of such ships will be considered involved in the Ukrainian conflict on the side of Kyiv.”
  2. White House: Russia may attack civilian shipping in Black SeaReuters reports. “The White House warned on Wednesday that Russia may expand its targeting of Ukrainian grain facilities to include attacks against civilian shipping in the Black Sea. Adam Hodge, White House National Security Council spokesperson, said US officials have information indicating Russia laid additional sea mines in the approaches to Ukrainian ports. We believe that this is a coordinated effort to justify any attacks against civilian ships in the Black Sea and lay blame on Ukraine for these attacks, he said. Hodge said Russia had announced that all ships proceeding to Ukrainian ports in Black Sea waters would be considered potential carriers of military cargo.”
  3. Potential US presidential candidate downplays significance of war in UkraineUkrainska Pravda reports, citing CNN. “Florida Governor Ron Desantis, who is considered Donald Trump’s main competitor for the Republican presidential election, does not believe that Russia’s war against Ukraine is of paramount interest to the United States and promises to shift its focus to Asia.” 
  4. Trump wants EU to pay for US arms in UkraineIrish Sun reports. “Former President Donald Trump has pledged a novel solution for funding the replacement of US weapons sent to Ukraine amid Kiev’s conflict with Russia: demanding that European allies pay for it. Trump unveiled the idea in a campaign video posted on Tuesday, vowing that he would lean on Europe for replenishment of US stockpiles if he’s elected president again in 2024. He claimed that his successor, President Joe Biden, “foolishly squandered” the strong military position that he built up after taking office in 2017.”
  5. Putin to Not Go to South Africa Where He Could Get ArrestedEuropean Pravda reports. “Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend the BRICS summit in South Africa, as per mutual agreement, where he could have faced arrest under an International Criminal Court (ICC) order. The summit will be attended by the leaders of Brazil, India, China, and South Africa. By mutual agreement, President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation will not attend the Summit but the Russian Federation will be represented by Foreign Minister, Mr Sergey Lavrov, stated the office of Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa.”
  6. Odesa can be protected by additional SAMP/T or Patriot systems – ZelenskyUkrainska Pravda reports, citing Interfax-Ukraine, quoting President Zelensky. “To protect Odesa from the air, Ukraine needs additional SAMP/T or Patriot air defence systems. […] If we had appropriate additional systems, they would protect the infrastructure of Odesa and not only the port infrastructure. Or Patriot systems… You also know very well who gave us these systems. But all this is still not enough to protect the relevant infrastructure.” 
  7. IOC bans London from conducting qualifiers for 2024 Olympics due to UK position on Russian and Belarusian athletesUkrainska Pravda reports, citing The Times. “The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has deprived London of the right to conduct qualifying competitions in new sports for the 2024 Olympics because of the UK government position on the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes. […] The IOC’s decision stems from the UK government’s insistence that Russian and Belarusian athletes must sign a personal declaration of neutrality and agree not to support the war in Ukraine if they want to compete in the UK.”

Assessment

  1. On the War

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Wednesday 19 July:

(quote) Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove line and did not make confirmed advances on July 19. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces made advances northeast of Kupiansk. The Russian MoD claimed that Russian units advanced more than one kilometer in depth and two kilometers in width in the Kupiansk direction and captured the Movchanove railway station near Lyman Pershyi (11km northeast of Kupiansk). Other Russian sources claimed that Russian forces took control of the Movchanove railway station near Lyman Pershyi as well as positions near Masyutivka (13km northeast of Kupiansk) and Synkivka (8km northeast of Kupiansk). A prominent Russian milblogger claimed that elements of the 6th Combined Arms Army (Western Military District) have been assaulting Ukrainian strongholds west of Lyman Pershyi for several days and have recently advanced two kilometers in the area. ISW has not observed visual confirmation of these claims. Former Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) Interior Minister Vitaly Kiselev claimed that heavy fighting continues near Synkivka.

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Automatisk generert beskrivelseUkrainian forces continued to defend positions in the Kupiansk area on July 19. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continue to hold firm in the Kupiansk direction. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar reported on July 18 that Russian offensives in this direction have been unsuccessful. Maliar and Ukrainian Luhansk Oblast Head Artem Lysohor claimed that Ukrainian forces in the Kupiansk direction have the initiative.

Russian forces continued limited ground attacks along the Svatove-Kreminna line on July 19 and made no confirmed advances. Former Ukrainian Luhansk Oblast Head Serhiy Haidai stated that Russian forces have repeatedly tried to advance in the Svatove-Kreminna direction and have constantly attacked Ukrainian positions in Bilohorivka (12km south of Kreminna) in order to establish a new defensive line to protect Lysychansk. Haidai stated that the situation in the Svatove-Kreminna direction, however, has stabilized. A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces of the 1st Tank Regiment (2nd Guards Motorized Rifle Division, 1st Guards Tank Army, Western Military District) are operating near the Svatove-Kreminna line. A Russian source claimed that Russian forces made gains near Karmazynivka (12km southwest of Svatove), although ISW has not observed visual confirmation of this claim. The milblogger claimed that Russian forces probed Ukrainian positions near Torske (15km west of Kreminna) and that Russian forces and Ukrainian forces engaged in low-intensity combat in the Serebryanske forest area near Dibrova (6km southwest of Kreminna). Other Russian milbloggers claimed that positional battles continue in this area. A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces unsuccessfully attacked Ukrainian forces in the direction of Vesele (30km south of Kreminna).

Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted ground attacks in the vicinity of Kreminna and did not make any confirmed gains on July 19. The Russian MoD claimed Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully attacked elements of the Russian Central Grouping of Forces near Karmazynivka, Shepilove (9.5km southeast of Kreminna), Bilohorivka, and Kreminna in Luhansk Oblast and that Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully attacked elements of the Russian Southern Grouping of Forces near Bilohorivka, Donetsk Oblast (33km south of Kreminna). A Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces attacked Russian forces northwest of Novovodyane (17km southwest of Svatove).  

Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on Bakhmut’s northern and southern flanks on July 19 and made gains in some areas. Geolocated footage published on July 19 indicates that Ukrainian forces advanced west of Andriivka (10km southwest of Bakhmut). The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations north and south of Bakhmut City and forced Russian forces to retreat from positions northeast of Orikhovo-Vasylivka (11km northwest of Bakhmut). Russian milbloggers amplified footage on July 19 purporting to show Ukrainian forces conducting assaults on Russian trench positions near Dubovo-Vasylivka (7km northwest of Bakhmut) with non-Western armored vehicles. Russian milbloggers claimed on July 18 and 19 that Ukrainian forces made marginal advances near Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut) and liberated new positions at dominant heights on the western outskirts of the settlement. Other milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations near Klishchiivka and Andriivka. Another milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces are attempting to reestablish control over recently lost positions on dominant heights near Klishchiivka.

Russian forces conducted limited counterattacks in the Bakhmut area on July 19 and did not make any confirmed gains. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian assaults near Bohdanivka (6km northwest of Bakhmut). A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces unsuccessfully counterattacked in the direction of Minkivka (16km northwest of Bakhmut), Hryhorivka (9km northwest of Bakhmut), Berkhivka (4km north of Bakhmut), and Ivanivske (6km west of Bakhmut). A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces drove Ukrainian forces out of positions at unspecified dominant heights near Klishchiivka.

Russian forces continue to deploy elite formations and units to support Russian defensive operations around Bakhmut. The Russian MoD published footage on July 19 showing elements of the 98th Guards Airborne (VDV) Division defending against Ukrainian assaults on Bakhmut’s northern flanks. Russian sources also amplified footage on July 19 showing elements of the 11th VDV Brigade operating in the Bakhmut direction. ISW has previously observed elements of the 106th VDV Division defending north and south of Bakhmut, and Russian sources have claimed the 31st VDV Brigade and the 364th Special Forces Brigade (Russian General Staff Main Directorate) are also operating in the Bakhmut direction.

Ukrainian forces reportedly continued limited offensive operations along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City front on July 19 and did make any confirmed or claimed gains. […] A Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces also conducted probing attacks near Kamianka (5km northeast of Avdiivka) and Kurta Balka (5km east of Avdiivka).

Russian forces continued limited offensive operations along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City front on July 19 and made marginal gains. Geolocated footage published on July 19 indicates that Russian forces made marginal advances northwest of Marinka. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks near Nevelske, Krasnohorivka (22km southwest of Avdiivka), and Marinka. Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces Spokesperson Major Valerii Shershen reported that Russian ”Storm-Z” assault detachments conducted unsuccessful offensive operations between Oleksandrivka (26km southwest of Avdiivka) and Marinka. A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces also unsuccessfully attacked Ukrainian strongholds near Avdiivka.

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Automatisk generert beskrivelseUkrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in the western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area and made advances in the area as of July 19. Geolocated footage published on July 18 shows that Ukrainian forces advanced north of Staromayorske (9km south of Velyka Novosilka). A Russian milblogger also claimed that Ukrainian forces achieved unspecified success near Staromayorske. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces achieved success in the Velyka Novosilka-Staromayorske (up to 9km south of Velyka Novosilka) and Novosilka-Staromayorske (up to 10km southwest and 9km south of Velyka Novosilka)  directions and have established control over new unspecified positions. Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces Spokesperson Major Valerii Shershen reported that Ukrainian assault units conducted a significant number of offensive actions in the Velyka Novosilka-Staromayorske direction. Shershen stated that Russian forces are losing fire control in the Staromayorske area and that this is a vector of Ukrainian advance in the Berdiansk (Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area) direction. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar stated on July 18 that Ukrainian forces also achieved unspecified success on the Velyka Novosilka-Urozhaine (up to 9km south of Velyka Novosilka) line. 

Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks in the western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area on July 19, and Russian sources claimed they made limited advances. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations near Rivnopil (10km southwest of Velyka Novosilka), Novodarivka (15km southwest of Velyka Novosilka), and north of Pryyutne (14km southwest of Velkya Novosilka). A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces recaptured unspecified positions near Rivnopil. Another milblogger amplified footage claiming to show elements of the Russian 34th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (49th Combined Arms Army, Southern Military District) operating near Pryyutne.

Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast and reportedly made limited advances in the area on July 19. Shershen reported that Ukrainian forces advanced more than a kilometer in an unspecified area in the Melitopol (western Zaporizhzhia Oblast) direction. Maliar also stated that Ukrainian forces achieved success on the Mala Tokmachka-Novopokrovka line (9-13km southeast of Orikhiv). Several Russian milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted an unsuccessful attack near Robotyne (12km south of Orikhiv).

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Automatisk generert beskrivelseRussian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continue their interdiction campaign in southern Ukraine. A Kremlin-affiliated milblogger claimed that Ukrainian artillery stuck Russian military warehouses in Burchak (42km southwest of Orikhiv) and that Russian air defenses intercepted Ukrainian missiles targeting Molochansk (42km northeast of Melitopol) and Melitopol. The milblogger also claimed that Ukrainian forces launched six HIMARS rockets at Tokmak and that Russian air defenses intercepted four of the six HIMARS rockets. Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov also reported that residents heard explosions in Tokmak.

Russian sources continue to amplify footage indicating that Ukrainian forces hold positions on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast. Several Russian milbloggers amplified footage purporting to show Ukrainian forces attempting to land boats and reinforcements near the Antonivksy Bridge,

An explosion at a Russian training ground in occupied Kirovskyi Raion (Islam Terek Raion), southeastern Crimea, disrupted the Russian use of the Tavrida highway that connects eastern Crimea to Sevastopol on July 19. Russian and Ukrainian sources reported that Russian ammunition depots detonated following an explosion at the Starokrymskyi Training Ground in Kirovskyi Raion. Geolocated footage showed explosions at the reported Russian ammunition depot south of Aivazovske (25km northwest of Feodosia). Crimean Occupation Head Sergei Aksyonov stated that the explosions caused a landfill to catch on fire and announced that the Russian occupation officials will block movement on the Tavrida highway until the consequences of the fire are managed. Aksyonov also announced the evacuation of 2,000 residents. Aksyonov stated that the cause of the explosion is unknown as of the time of this publication, and Russian occupation officials notably did not accuse Ukrainian forces of striking Russian military infrastructure. A Representative of the Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Andriy Yusov denied claims that GUR Chief Major General Kyrylo Budanov confirmed Ukraine’s involvement in the explosion. Russian milbloggers, however, accused Ukrainian forces of striking a Russian ammunition depot but did not provide a consistent suggestion of the means Ukraine might have used to conduct this strike. Some ultranationalist milbloggers claimed that the explosion sparked criticism of Russian military officials within the Kremlin as these officials continued to lie about the situation in Crimea.

Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on July 19 and made gains in these areas. Geolocated footage published on July 19 indicates that Ukrainian forces made gains near Andriivka (10km southwest of Bakhmut). The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations north and south of Bakhmut City and forced Russian forces to retreat from positions northeast of Orikhovo-Vasylivka (11km northwest of Bakhmut). The Ukrainian General Staff also reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in the Berdiansk (Zaporizhzhia-Donetsk Oblast border area) and Melitopol (western Zaporizhzhia Oblast) directions. Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces Spokesperson Major Valerii Shershen stated that Ukrainian forces advanced more than a kilometer in an unspecified area of the Melitopol direction. A prominent Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces lack rotations and reinforcements on the Zaporizhzhia front and south of Bakhmut, which is preventing Russian forces from recapturing lost positions. The milblogger forecasted that continued delays in resolving these rotation and reinforcement issues south of Bakhmut threaten serious consequences for the Russian grouping in the area.

Wagner Group financier Yevgeniy Prigozhin and reportedly Wagner Commander Dmitry Utkin greeted Wagner fighters at the new Wagner base near Asipovichy, Belarus, on July 18. Footage posted on July 19 and likely captured on July 18 shows Prigozhin addressing Wagner fighters at the field camp near Asipovichy, Belarus. Prigozhin welcomed the fighters to Belarus in a ceremony whose symbolism demonstrates that Prigozhin still controls the Wagner Group. Prigozhin handed the Wagner flag that had previously flown at the Wagner Group’s main military base in Molkino, Krasnodar Krai, to the local Wagner commander – a man with a first name of Sergey and callsign “Pioneer” – who will command Wagner forces in Belarus. “Pioneer” has reportedly been awarded five Orders of Courage and participated in combat in Syria, Central African Republic, Sudan, Mali, and other countries. Prigozhin stated that unspecified current events in Ukraine are a “shame in which [Wagner] does not need to participate” but acknowledged that Wagner may return to Ukraine when Wagner can be sure that Wagner fighters will not be forced to “shame” themselves. Prigozhin also ceremonially presented ribbons of Russian and Belarusian flags so that “no one will think that [Wagner] fights without a flag and without a Motherland as some have said.” Prigozhin stated that Wagner personnel will remain in Belarus “for some time” and that they will make “make the Belarusian army the second army in the world” – an insult directed against the Russian Ministry of Defense. Prigozhin also stated that Wagner will embark on a new journey in Africa after regrouping in Belarus. An unidentified man – reportedly Dmitry Utkin (callsign “Wagner”) – also thanked the Wagner fighters for their work and for making Wagner a world-famous name. Utkin said that “this is only the beginning of the biggest jo