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Russia exaggerates Ukrainian losses to portray counteroffensive as flop – ISW

The Kremlin’s downplaying of Ukrainian operations is not suprise, but the rhetoric has gotten extreme, probably to suit domestic audiences.
Russia exaggerates Ukrainian losses to portray counteroffensive as flop – ISW

Russian authorities and pro-Kremlin sources are ramping up efforts to falsely characterize Ukraine’s recent counteroffensive operations as unsuccessful, the Institute for Study of War reported in its daily analysis.

In remarks on 27 July, President Vladimir Putin claimed Russian forces destroyed nearly 80% of Ukrainian armored vehicles and killed 60% of personnel in recent counterattacks. While not credible, his inflated statistics mark an increase in exaggerating Ukrainian losses.

Russian military bloggers similarly proclaimed Ukraine’s counteroffensive is stalling after alleged heavy armor losses. However, exaggerating Ukrainian failures violates reported Kremlin guidance to not understate counteroffensive threats.

The amplified framing of Ukrainian counteractions as futile indicates the Kremlin aims to depict itself as effectively managing the war for domestic audiences, according to the Institute for the Study of War.

Yesterday, the ISW reported that Ukraine’s attack on Robotyne marks a turning point in Ukraine’s counteroffensive.

The false narrative of Ukraine’s counteroffensive being a failure is being parroted by Hungary. 

Other takeaways from the ISW report:

  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on July 27 and made gains in some areas, although Ukrainian forces appear not to have continued significant mechanized assaults south of Orikhiv in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • A US official expressed caution about assessing that the July 26 uptick in Ukrainian counteroffensive operations in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast is part of the Ukrainian main effort, tempering July 26 statements to the contrary.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin used the Russia–Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum in St. Petersburg on July 27 to continue efforts to posture Russia as a more attractive ally to African partner states than the collective West.
  • Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin was also present in St. Petersburg on July 27 and took the opportunity to informally meet with an unknown number of African leaders, suggesting that the Wagner Group intends to remain a significant player in Africa.
  • Prigozhin additionally used the backdrop of the Russia-Africa summit to position Wagner as a viable anti-Western partner for post-coup Niger.
  • The Kremlin reportedly distributed a manual to Russian state media on framing the anniversary of the Baptism of Rus on July 28, likely as part of continued information operations and propaganda narratives to advance Russian military objectives.
  • Russia conducted another strike on Ukrainian port infrastructure in Odesa Oblast and rear areas of Ukraine overnight on July 26–27.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, in Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, and in the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area on July 27 and did not make any confirmed advances.
  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on July 27 and have advanced south of Bakhmut, in the Zaporizhzhia-Donetsk Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • The Russian State Duma approved measures on July 27 aimed at clarifying confusion surrounding the recently updated laws regarding conscripts and reservists.
  • Russian authorities are discriminating against Ukrainian refugees in Belgorod Oblast, Russia.

Counteroffensive advancing slowly but Ukraine will succeed – experts at Aspen Forum

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