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Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 515: Russian strikes against Ukrainian South continue

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 515: Russian strikes against Ukrainian South continue
Ukrainian forces struck a Russian oil depot and ammunition depot in Crimea as part of this Ukrainian pressure campaign. Russia continues strikes against Ukrainian shipping and agricultural infrastructure in southern Ukraine. Daily overview — Summary report, July 21 The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 18.00 pm, July 21, 2023 is in the dropdown menu below:
Day 515 of the russian full-scale military aggression against Ukraine has begun.
Last night, the russian occupiers launched yet another missile attack on the territory of Ukraine. Information on the aftermath of this terrorist attack is currently being updated.
During the day of July 22, the russian invaders launched an air strike with Iranian Shahed combat UAVs. All 5x attack UAVs were intercepted by the Ukrainian defenders. In addition, the enemy launched 4x missile, 58x air strikes and 81x MLRS attacks at the positions of Ukrainian troops and various settlements. Unfortunately, the attacks have caused civilian casualties, damaged residential buildings and other infrastructure.
The likelihood of further missile and air strikes across Ukraine remains high.
The enemy continues to focus its main efforts on Kup’yans’k, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Mar’inka axes, with about 40x combat engagements taking place during the day of July 22.
Volyn and Polissya axes: no significant changes. No signs of formation of an offensive group.
Luhansk Battle Map. July 22, 2023. Source ISW.
Sivershchyna and Slobozhanshchyna axes: the adversary launched an air strike in the vicinity of Veterynarne (Kharkiv oblast). The invaders fired mortars and artillery at more than 15x settlements, including Tymonovychi (Chernihiv oblast), Seredyna-Buda, Uhroidy, Ryasne (Sumy oblast), Kozacha Lopan’, Strilecha, Ternova, and Budarky (Kharkiv oblast).
Kup’yans’k axis: the Ukrainian troops are standing their ground. Kam’yanka, Novomlyns’k, Dvorichna, Zapadne, Kup’yans’k, and Kyslivka (Kharkiv oblast) came under artillery and mortar fire of the adversary.
Lyman axis: the adversary attempted to advance in the
Donetsk Battle Map. July 22, 2023. Source: ISW.
of Nadiya (Luhansk oblast), Tors’ke, and Hryhorivka (Donetsk oblast), to no success. The invaders launched air strikes in the vicinities of Serebryans’kyi forest and Spirne (Donetsk oblast). The settlements of Nevs’ke, Bilohorivka (Luhansk oblast), Tors’ke, Verkhn’okam’yans’ke, Spirne, and Rozdolivka (Donetsk oblast) were shelled with artillery.
Bakhmut Battle Map. July 22, 2023. Source: ISW.
Bakhmut axis: the Ukrainian defenders successfully repelled adversary attacks in the vicinities of Bohdanivka and Ivanivske (Donetsk oblast). More than 10x settlements, including Vasyukivka, Markove, Bohdanivka, Ivanivske, Stupochky, Kostyantynivka, Druzhba, and New York (Donetsk oblast), suffered from enemy artillery shelling.
Avdiivka axis: the Ukrainian defenders successfully repelled russian troops attacks in the vicinity of Avdiivka. The adversary launched an air strike near Sjeverne (Donetsk oblast). At the same time, the fired artillery at more than 10x settlements, including Avdiivka, Pervomais’ke, and Nevel’s’ke (Donetsk oblast).
Mar’inka axis: the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to hold back the russian offensive in the vicinities of Krasnohorivka and Mar’inka (Donetsk oblast). The adversary launched an air strike near Krasnohorivka. The invaders shelled more than 10x settlements, including Maksymil’yanivka, Heorhiivka, Mar’inka, and Pobjeda (Donetsk oblast).
Shakhtars’ke axis: the adversary conducted unsuccessful offensive operations in the vicinity of Novomykhailivka. The invaders launched air strikes near Blahodatne and Makarivka and shelled more than 10x settlements, including Paraskoviivka, Novomykhailivka, Vuhledar, and Blahodatne (Donetsk oblast).
Zaporizhzhia Battle Map. July 22, 2023. Source: ISW.
Zaporizhzhia and Kherson axes: the adversary focuses its main efforts on preventing further advance of Ukrainian troops. The invaders made unsuccessful attempts to regain the lost position in the area north of Novodarivka (Zaporizhzhia oblast). The adversary launched air strikes in the vicinities of Huliaipilske, Mala Tokmachka, Novodanylivka, and P’yatykhatky (Zaporizhzhia oblast). The enemy fired artillery at more than 25x settlements, including Novodarivka, Hulyaipole, Huliaipilske, Novoandriivka, Stepove, Kam’yans’ke (Zaporizhzhia oblast), Nikopol’ (Dnipropetrovsk oblast), Zolota Balka, Dudchany, Beryslav, Antonivka, Bilozerka, Veletens’ke (Kherson oblast), and the city of Kherson. At the same time, the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to conduct the offensive operation on Melitopol’ and Berdyans’k axes, consolidating their positions.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. July 22, 2023. Source: ISW.
In the temporarily occupied city of Enerhodar (Zaporizhzhia oblast), the occupiers intensified repressions against the ZNPP employees who refuse to cooperate and sign contracts with the russian occupation administration. Instead, Ukrainians continue to resist: they do not show up to work, sabotage the decisions of the occupation administration etc. In turn, the invaders use psychological and physical coercion against such employees. Employees of the Rosgvardia (russian National Guard) and the russian Federal Security Service use intimidation, threats, blackmail, and beat Ukrainian specialists, take away their cash and bank cards, and confiscate their cell phones.
During the day of July 22, Ukrainian Air Force launched 12x air strikes on the concentrations of troops, weapons and military equipment of the adversary. Also, the Ukrainian defenders intercepted 4x operational-tactical level reconnaissance UAVs of the enemy.
During the day of July 22, the Ukrainian missile and artillery troops 21x artillery systems at their firing positions, 1x anti-aircraft missiles systems, and 1x other important enemy target.

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.
Ukraine shoots down more Iranian-made drones over last 24 hours – Air Force. Ukraine’s air defense units shot down five Russian combat and nine reconnaissance drones over the last 24 hours, according to the Air Force. “On the night of July 22, 2023, Russian occupiers launched an attack from the southeast direction with five Shahed-136/131 combat drones. Air defense forces successfully destroyed all five kamikaze drones,” the report said. In addition, Ukraine shot down nine tactical-level reconnaissance drones and conducted 25 airstrikes on the Russian positions on 21 July. According to British Defence Intelligence, (last 48 hours): 
  • In recent days there has been an increase in artillery fire along the north of the front line, in Luhansk and Kharkiv oblasts. This has likely been accompanied by some increase in Russian small-unit assaults, but the situation has been obfuscated by Russian disinformation.
  • Russia has likely only achieved marginal gains, but its renewed activity in the north highlights its importance to the Kremlin, when it is concurrently facing significant pressure in the southern Zaporizhzhia sector.
  • Russia’s Western Group of Forces is likely trying to advance back to the Oskil River in order to create a buffer zone around Luhansk Oblast, the possession of which Russia almost certainly considers one of its fundamental objectives of the war.

Losses of the Russian army 

Losses of the Russian Army. Source: Euromaidan Press.

Humanitarian 

Deutsche Welle cameraman injured in Russian strike in Donetsk Oblast – DW. A team of Deutsche Welle reporters has come under Russian fire in Donetsk Oblast while filming the Ukrainian army during target practice, DW informs.  As a result of the Russian attack, cameraman Ievgen Shylko was injured by a piece of shrapnel. Currently, he is being treated in a Ukrainian hospital and is in stable condition. Later, Ukrainian sources said Russia struck the Ukrainian positions with cluster munitions near the town of Druzhkivka. As a result of the attack, one soldier was killed. Russian shelling kills two civilians in Kharkiv Oblast. According to Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office, on the morning of 22 July, Russian shelling killed a woman in Kupiansk in Kharkiv Oblast and damaged a local enterprise. Later, occupiers launched another attack on the region, killing a 45-year-old man and injuring a 60-year-old man.

Environmental

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.

Support

Ukraine to receive 40,000 rounds of ammo for Gepard anti-aircraft guns from Rheinmetall. German automotive and arms manufacturer Rheinmetall plans to produce and deliver 300,000 rounds of ammunition for Gepard anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine. According to Bild, Ukraine will receive the first batch of ammo, which will include 40,000 rounds in 2023, to shoot down Russian drones, namely Shahed-136 kamikaze drones. “Every shot-down drone is crucial for the residents of Kyiv and other cities, who fear new attacks every day,” emphasized Armin Papperger, the CEO of Rheinmetall. Sweden to send USD 570 million to Ukraine to help its green energy industry. Sweden allocated over $570 million to help Ukraine overcome the consequences of Russia’s war in a new assistance program in 2023-2027. The new aid would support Ukraine’s green energy industry, media development, businesses, and trade. During the online presentation of Sweden’s recovery and reform cooperation strategy with Ukraine, the largest bilateral development aid program in Sweden’s history, First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine met with Minister for International Development Cooperation of Sweden Johan Forssell. They discussed mine clearance, training of State Emergency employees, and restrictions on the transportation of Ukraine’s grain in Europe.

New Developments

Girkin’s arrest likely to “infuriate” his fellow members and Russian soldiers – UK Intelligence. “Girkin has long been a critic of the Russian Ministry of Defence’s conduct of the war. However, in recent days his comments turned to direct criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his time in power”, the report reads. Ukraine’s 2nd-largest charity for the military will sell historical Budanov’s map with split Russia on auction. Ukraine’s Serhiy Prytula Foundation, which is the second-biggest private charity collecting money for the army in Ukraine, announced an auction to sell Budanov’s map — a famous map with split Russia sketched by the head of Ukrainian Intelligence Kyrylo Budanov. The fund will buy five EOS reconnaissance UAVs manufactured in Estonia. Huge explosions in the center of Crimea, Russian occupiers evacuate people within 5 km. As a result of an attack by Ukrainian drones on the Krasnogvardeiskyi district, a detonation occurred in an ammunition warehouse, Russian-installed head of Crimea Sergei Aksionov said. Biden and Zelenskyy discuss supply of long-range ATACMS missiles, Sullivan says. The US President Joe Biden and IUkraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discuss the delivery of long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine, according to Jake Sullivan, the United States national security advisor to President Joe Biden.

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 
The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of  July 20, 2022: Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on July 22. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations in the Berdiansk (Zaporizhzhia-Donetsk Oblast area) and Melitopol directions (western Zaporizhzhia Oblast).[1] The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Russian forces repelled 14 Ukrainian attacks south of Kreminna, Luhansk Oblast, and in the Bakhmut area.[2] The Ukrainian General Staff did not publish a situation report about its counteroffensive operations on July 22. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Ukrainian counteroffensive operations may soon increase in tempo and that the delay in counteroffensive operations was in part due to limited materiel. Zelensky stated at the Aspen Security Forum on July 21 that Ukrainian forces had plans to launch counteroffensive operations in the spring but that a lack of munitions and military equipment, such as mine-clearing equipment and continued Ukrainian training abroad, necessitated a delay.[3] Zelensky noted that the delay in Ukrainian counteroffensive operations allowed Russian forces to establish minefields and multiple defensive lines.[4] ISW assessed in January 2023 that the provision of Western weapons and materiel to Ukraine has been essential to Ukraine’s previous ability to conduct successful counteroffensive operations and that delays between Western pledges to send higher-end Western systems to Ukraine and the arrival of those systems likely hinder Ukraine’s ability to initiate and sustain large-scale counteroffensive operations.[5] Zelensky stated that counteroffensive operations may soon increase in tempo due to ongoing mine-clearing operations.[6] US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated on July 21 at the Aspen Security Forum that it is too early to draw conclusions about Ukrainian counteroffensive operations and that Ukraine will likely “make a profound difference” on the battlefield as Kyiv commits all of the forces that Ukraine prepared for the counteroffensive.[7] Ukrainian officials stated on July 22 that Ukraine’s interdiction campaign against Russian military targets in rear areas is successfully degrading Russian logistics and counterbattery capabilities, likely contributing to an asymmetrical attrition gradient in Ukraine’s favor. Ukrainian Chief of the Main Directorate of Missile Troops and Artillery and Unmanned Systems of the General Staff Colonel Serhiy Baranov stated on July 22 that Ukrainian missile and artillery units are responsible for approximately 90 percent of Russian losses.[8] Baranov stated that Ukrainian missile and artillery units have created a long-range “fire fist” thanks to Western high-precision missiles and artillery systems and that Ukrainian strikes are so powerful and accurate that Russian forces can no longer conduct effective counterbattery fire.[9] Ukrainian Southern Operational Command Spokesperson Captain First Rank Nataliya Humenyuk stated on July 22 that Ukrainian attacks on Russian ammunition concentrations in deep rear areas are causing logistical issues for the Russian military.[10] Humenyuk noted that this trend is reflected in decreased Russian shelling in Kherson Oblast, which indicates that Russian forces are experiencing “shell hunger” in the area.[11] Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces Commander Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi compared Ukraine’s counteroffensive to boxing on July 13 and stated that Ukraine intends to “hold the opponent at arm’s length” in order to avoid close combat because Ukraine can effectively defeat Russian forces from a long distance, likely referencing Ukraine’s continued interdiction campaign in eastern and southern Ukraine.[12] Baranov’s, Humenyuk’s, and Tarnavskyi’s statements suggest that the Ukrainian military is successfully carrying out this interdiction campaign. This campaign is a central aspect of Ukraine’s plan to create an asymmetrical attrition gradient that conserves Ukrainian manpower at the cost of a slower rate of territorial gains while gradually wearing down Russian manpower and equipment.[13] Ukrainian forces struck a Russian oil depot and ammunition depot in Crimea as part of this Ukrainian pressure campaign. The Ukrainian Armed Forces reported on July 22 that Ukrainian forces destroyed an oil depot and ammunition depot near Oktyabrske, Krasnohvardiiske Raion, Crimea.[14] Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces also struck an airfield near Oktyabrske where Russian forces have reportedly been stockpiling equipment for a month.[15] Crimea occupation head Sergey Aksyonov confirmed that Ukrainian forces struck an ammunition depot, causing it to explode and prompting occupation officials to evacuate residents within a five-kilometer radius of the depot.[16] Aksyonov also stated that Russian authorities suspended rail traffic on the Kerch Strait bridge to minimize risk.[17] A Kremlin-affiliated milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces launched two Storm Shadow cruise missiles, while other milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces used an unspecified number of drones for the strike.[18] ISW cannot confirm what kind of weapons Ukrainian forces used in this strike. A prominent Russian milblogger tied today’s strike to Ukraine’s previous strikes on Russian military warehouses in Crimea and the Chonhar and Kerch Strait bridges.[19] The milblogger claimed that Ukrainian strikes are aimed at disrupting Russian logistics and creating “shell hunger” in Russia’s forces fighting in southern Ukraine.[20] Russian strikes against Ukrainian shipping and agricultural infrastructure in southern Ukraine may be subsiding or entering a temporary lull. The intensity of Russian drone and missile strikes against Ukrainian shipping and agricultural infrastructure in southern Ukraine has steadily decreased since July 19. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces launched only five Shahed drones from the southeast direction – all of which Ukrainian air defense reportedly intercepted – on July 22.[21] In comparison, Russian forces launched 19 Shahed drones, four Iskander missiles, and three Kalibr missiles against Ukraine on July 21.[22] Russian forces launched seven Onyx cruise missiles, four Kh-22 anti-ship missiles, three Kalibr sea-based cruise missiles, five Iskander ballistic missiles, and 19 Iranian-made Shahed drones on July 20.[23] Russian forces fired even more ordnance at Ukraine on July 18 and 19, respectively.[24] Further details about former Russian officer and ardent nationalist Igor Girkin’s arrest for extremism continue to suggest a shifting balance of power among Kremlin factions and a notable factionalism within the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), in which Girkin had served. ISW has consistently assessed that Girkin likely had the backing of an unknown silovik, possibly within the FSB since Girkin was a former FSB officer and consistently used passports under fictitious names that he received from the FSB.[25] Russian sources, including the Angry Patriots Club, amplified a document from Girkin’s lawyer, Alexander Molokhov, on July 22 purporting to show that FSB investigators initiated the criminal case against Girkin on July 18 and that the Moscow Department of the FSB’s Service for the Protection of the Constitutional Order and Combating Terrorism (SZKSBT) provided the materials for the case.[26] Girkin previously suggested that the head of the SZKSBT’s Department for the Protection of the Constitutional Order (UZKS), Lieutenant General Aleksey Zhalo, censored Girkin’s July 9 speaking engagement at a bookstore in St. Petersburg.[27] Zhalo and Girkin have had a longstanding feud after Girkin publicly criticized Zhalo for the arrest of ultranationalist figures in 2018 and for failing to combat the Ukrainian Azov Regiment’s recruitment measures.[28] The involvement of the SZKSBT in Girkin’s case may be indicative of this personal struggle, although it may also suggest a degree of factionalism within the FSB itself. The alleged document also states that the FSB’s Center for Criminalistics (TsST) formally assessed on July 17 that Girkin’s May 25, 2022 Telegram posts, likely referencing comments he made criticizing a lack of payments to Russian personnel, constituted a crime.[29] The TsST and SZKSBT may have approved the initiation of Girkin’s criminal case because FSB leadership decided to stop protecting Girkin as he increasingly became more adversarial towards the Kremlin. It is also possible that the two FSB entities acted on longstanding desires to arrest Girkin after a potential shift in the balance of power in the Kremlin to the FSB’s detriment. FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov reportedly secured security guarantees for Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin in negotiations to end Wagner’s June 24 rebellion and may have lost what appeared to be the Kremlin’s increasing backing for the FSB.[30] Girkin himself recently claimed that Prigozhin’s rebellion shifted the balance of power within the Kremlin to favor factions hostile to the FSB and other Russian security organs.[31] Russian authorities’ recent initiation of criminal cases against other prominent Telegram administrators and ultranationalist figures with connections to the FSB and Russian security services suggests that select Russian officials may be trying to undermine the reputation of these security structures in the wake of a potential shift in the influence of Kremlin factions.[32] Girkin’s affiliates have launched a public effort to cast Girkin as an embattled figure in opposition to the Russian leadership. Angry Patriots Club members gathered at the Moscow Meshansky Court on July 21 and denounced the court’s charges against Girkin and its decision to remand Girkin at an unspecified pre-trial detention center until September 18.[33] Angry Patriots Club Chairman Pavel Gubarev stated in front of the court that the group would fight for Girkin’s release by any legal means and accused Russian leadership of using all of its resources to knock Girkin out of his “public work.”[34] Angry Patriots member and the coordinator for the Other Russia Party, Eduard Limonov, announced in front of the court that the Angry Patriots Club will launch a public campaign defending Girkin as a “political prisoner.”[35] Russian authorities detained Gubarev, Limonov, and Angry Patriots member Yan Sidorov for their demonstrations in front of the court, but later released them.[36] Girkin’s Telegram channel posted on July 22 a screed against Russian authorities for punishing Girkin, a “patriot… who gave his whole life to the service of the motherland,” while allowing those that took part in Wagner’s rebellion to escape punishment.[37] Girkin’s Telegram signed the post as “the Russian Movement in Support of Igor Strelkov” indicating that Girkin’s affiliates intend to galvanize widespread public support for Girkin.[38] It is unclear if Girkin’s affiliates, specifically those in the Angry Patriots Club, will succeed in this effort given that they represent a small, insular group within the wider Russian ultranationalist community. Girkin’s arrest has not generated widespread outrage in the Russian ultranationalist community as some previous cases have, suggesting an increasing fragmentation within the information space. Russian milbloggers notably did not express anger at Girkin’s arrest as they have in previous instances when Russian authorities have attempted to censor ultranationalist figures. Russian milbloggers recently decried Russian authorities charging pro-war Russian military doctor Yuri Yevich with discrediting the Russian military for offering a negative assessment of the state of Russian combat medicine.[39] The milbloggers defended Yevich and criticized Russian authorities for targeting someone they deemed to be a Russian patriot. Outrage at Girkin’s arrest and the subsequent defense of his patriotism was limited to members and supporters of the relatively isolated and small Angry Patriots Club, which Girkin launched in April, by contrast.[40] Girkin’s critics in the Russian ultranationalist information space notably did not celebrate his arrest, however. The lack of widespread outrage among milbloggers suggests that Girkin’s arrest is unlikely to deeply agitate the majority of the Russian ultranationalist community and Russian military personnel, contrary to some Western reporting. The tepid response from Russian milbloggers concerning Girkin’s arrest and Wagner-affiliated milbloggers’ continued support for Prigozhin after the Wagner rebellion likely indicates an increasing fragmentation within the Russian ultranationalist community along factional affiliations and significant ideological differences about Russia’s approach to the war in Ukraine.[41] Girkin’s arrest is likely not an indicator of a wider effort to censor the Russian ultranationalist community, but rather an attempt to excise a specific segment of the community that is vocally hostile to the Kremlin. Russian insider sources claimed on July 22 that Russian Duma Deputy Oleg Matveychev recently submitted a report to the Russian Presidential Administration proposing to recognize Girkin as a foreign agent in support of an overall effort to encourage self-censorship among jingoistic patriots that criticize the Russian leadership.[42] ISW cannot verify these claims, although they suggest that the Kremlin may have been in active discussions about how it could silence the section of the ultranationalist community that Girkin represents. Putin has routinely sought to maintain relationships with select milbloggers in a bid to leverage their connections to the wider Russian ultranationalist community, and Girkin’s arrest does not likely portend a Kremlin effort to reverse course on courting the increasingly prominent ultranationalist milblogger community.[43] Girkin’s arrest does suggest that the Kremlin views those whose criticism passes certain not entirely clear boundaries as a threat, particularly following the Wagner Group rebellion that aimed to replace Russia’s military leadership. Key Takeaways:
  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on July 22.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Ukrainian counteroffensive operations may soon increase in tempo and that the delay in counteroffensive operations was in part due to limited materiel.
  • Ukrainian officials stated on July 22 that Ukraine’s interdiction campaign against Russian military targets in rear areas is successfully degrading Russian logistics and counterbattery capabilities, likely contributing to an asymmetrical attrition gradient in Ukraine’s favor.
  • Ukrainian forces struck a Russian oil depot and ammunition depot in Crimea as part of this Ukrainian pressure campaign.
  • Russian strikes against Ukrainian shipping and agricultural infrastructure in southern Ukraine may be subsiding or entering a temporary lull.
  • Further details about former Russian officer and ardent nationalist Igor Girkin’s arrest for extremism continue to suggest a shifting balance of power among Kremlin factions and a notable factionalism within the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), in which Girkin had served.
  • Girkin’s affiliates have launched a public effort to cast Girkin as an embattled figure in opposition to Russian leadership.
  • Girkin’s arrest has not generated widespread outrage in the Russian ultranationalist community as some previous cases have, suggesting an increasing fragmentation within the information space.
  • Girkin’s arrest is likely not an indicator of a wider effort to censor the Russian ultranationalist community, but rather an attempt to excise a specific segment of the community that is vocally hostile to the Kremlin.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line and in the Bakhmut area but did not make gains.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations in the Kupiansk and Bakhmut areas and along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line and made claimed advances in the Kupiansk area.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations along the western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast but did not make advances.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area but did not make any confirmed or claimed advances.
  • Prominent Russian Federation Council members opposed a bill aimed at increasing the upper age limit for the conscription age while maintaining the lower limit of 18.
  • Russian occupation authorities continue to relocate Ukrainian children in occupied Ukraine to Russia.
  • The Wagner Group’s footprint in Belarus is likely expanding.
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