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Frontline report: Ukraine strikes Crimea with drones while Russia destroys more food terminals

Russian airfields in Crimea which were targeted by Ukrainian drones on 21 July 2023. Screenshot.
Frontline report: Ukraine strikes Crimea with drones while Russia destroys more food terminals

Putin claimed that Poland seized historic Russian territories amid Wagner troops’ arrival in Belarus. Meanwhile, Russian rockets continued destroyring Ukrainian harbors while Ukrainian drones targeted airfields in Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the National Security Council and made a series of statements concerning what is happening near the Polish, Belorussian, and Ukrainian border. Putin said that Poland is preparing to leverage its NATO membership status to invade Ukraine and possibly Belarus to annex its supposed historical territories. Putin emphasized that Poland seized historic Russian territories in the past by taking advantage of the civil war in Russia at the time. Putin also emphasized that Poland received its western territories as a gift from USSR and noted that if Poland forgot about that, then they would remind it.

In the meantime, Polish security official Stanislaw Zaryn stated that the Wagner Group is deploying its forces to the Polish border. After a demonstrative unsuccessful coup, the Wagner Group was supposedly exiled to Belarus, where they were received as experienced military instructors who would be training the Belorussian forces. Zaryn stated that such developments are not surprising and that Poland knows that the Wagner group could be used in provocations near the Polish border. This is a dangerous path for escalation and direct involvement for Belarus and Poland in the conflict.

In the meantime, Russian Black Sea Fleet decided to demonstrate what would happen with the ships that entered Ukrainian harbors after the cancellation of the grain deal and destroyed a ship as a part of target practice. As a target, they used an empty Ukrainian Corvette Ternopil that Russians seized in 2014 when they occupied Crimea. The ship was destroyed and sunk somewhere between Odesa and Sevastopol.

Today Russian forces also continued destroying Ukrainian harbors in the Odesa region. This time the main target of the Russian missile strike became not terminals with wheat but terminals with peas and barley. The spokeswoman for Ukraine’s Southern Group of Forces reported that Russians destroyed 120 tons of grain.

Meanwhile, Russian forces are facing a rise of Ukrainian partisans. Today Mariupol Mayoral Advisor reported that Ukrainian partisans identified and destroyed a huge Russian ammunition depot near Mariupol. Russian commanders who were responsible for handling supplies in Mariupol complained for a long time that the local residents were giving away their movements and location to the Ukrainian forces, which is why missile strikes here are so frequent and so precise, and destructive. It looks like one of the solutions to this problem was to relocate ammunition depots further from the city. Unfortunately for Russians, it became the target of the partisans instead.

Ammunition depot destroyed by Ukrainian partizans near Mariupol. Screenshot

Ukrainian forces also conducted a drone strike on Crimea. The first target became Russian military objects in Rozdolne. The footage from surveillance cameras indicates that there was at least 1 explosion somewhere outside the settlement. Some Ukrainian sources reported that the target of the drone was the Russian air defense. Other drones were seen in the sky near the Russian airfield in Saky. At first, Russian sources concluded that all drones were shot down, as there were no reports of explosions in the vicinity of the airfield. However, later it became clear that most drones managed to penetrate Russian air space and reach Hvardiiske.

In light of the increased activity of Ukrainian forces in Crimea, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Gavrylov stated that the chances of the Russian Black Sea Fleet surviving are shrinking every day. He said that compared to the last year, Ukrainians significantly improved their fire control over the Black Sea with aerial and marine drones, which is why Russian ships are not moving as freely as before. He said that his main goal right now is to force Russians to move their ships away from Crimea, especially missile carriers.

In our daily frontline report, we pair up with the military blogger Reporting from Ukraine to keep you informed about what’s happening on the battlefield in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

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