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Russia restricts milbloggers from reporting Ukrainian attack on crucial bridge – ISW

Usually, Russian milbloggers discuss all attacks, Ukrainian and Russian. But they are staying mum about a recent Ukrainian strike on the Chonhar bridge, a crucial transport hub for the Russian occupation troops.
Results of an attack on the Chonhar road bridge linking Ukraine’s Kherson Oblast and Crimea on 22 July. Photo: Reuters
Russia restricts milbloggers from reporting Ukrainian attack on crucial bridge – ISW

The lack of Russian milblogger reaction to a Ukrainian strike on the Chonhar bridge, a highway between occupied Crimea and occupied Kherson Oblast, may represent a Kremlin influence on milbloggers’ covering topics, ISW reports.

On 29 July, the Ukrainian Army made a successful strike on the Chonhar bridge, a crucial transport hub for the Russian occupation troops. After the recent explosion on the Kerch bridge, Chonhar became a major hub on Russia’s alternative route to occupied Crimea.

ISW has not observed any Russian milblogger discussion about the Ukrainian strike. They also did not promote Kherson Oblast occupation administration head Vladimir Saldo’s claim that Russian forces intercepted 12 Ukrainian Strom Shadow cruise missiles targeting the bridge.

According to ISW, Russian milbloggers usually comment on successful and allegedly unsuccessful Ukrainian strikes on Russian logistics. They responded to a Ukrainian strike on the Chonhar bridge on 22 June with widespread outrage and concern. As per ISW, it is highly unlikely that Russian milbloggers would voluntarily ignore a successful or unsuccessful Ukrainian strike on the bridge on 29 July.

ISW has also previously assessed that select Russian milbloggers may be shaping their coverage of the war in Ukraine in ways more favorable to Kremlin narratives out of fear of Kremlin punishment. It is more likely that a specific Kremlin directive not to cover disruptions to the critical ground line of communication (GLOC) caused this lack of reporting, ISW reports.

According to the ISW’s report on 30 July, during a press conference at the Russia-Africa Summit, Putin accused Ukraine of launching a large-scale offensive so that Russia can not discuss a ceasefire while its troops are defending against Ukrainian attacks.

Russian officials have previously weaponized the mention of negotiations in order to accuse Ukraine of being the party unwilling to enter into negotiations discussions. As per ISW’s report, Putin is likely using discussions of the Ukrainian counteroffensive to undermine reports of Ukrainian battlefield successes and accuse Ukraine of a continued lack of interest in a potential negotiations process.

Russian forces have been conducting their own attacks in Luhansk and around Donetsk City almost continuously since before the Ukrainian counter-offensive began, moreover, a fact that Putin did not mention, ISW reports.

Other takeaways from the ISW report:

  • Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front and made claimed advances in some areas. Ukrainian military sources reported that Ukrainian forces are achieving small successes on the southern flank of Bakhmut and are gradually advancing in the Berdiansk (western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast area) and Melitopol (in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast) directions.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations southwest and northwest of Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, and made claimed gains in this direction.
  • Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in western Donetsk Oblast and western Zaporizhzhia Oblast and claimed marginal advances.
  • A Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces had advanced northeast of Robotyne (10km south of Orikhiv) in the Verbove direction (17km southeast of Orikhiv), Zaporizhzhia Oblast, in the past week.
  • Russia expands combat power without conducting general mobilization. A milblogger also says Russia is offering up to $760/month to local students to assemble Shahed drones at a plant in Tatarstan. Students must reportedly undergo tests and sign non-disclosure agreements to qualify for drone assembly work.

Read also:

  • Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 523: A drone attack on Moscow

  • Kremlin attempts to portray Ukrainian counteroffensive as failure, overstating Ukrainian losses – ISW

  • Wagner Group likely returned heavy equipment to Russian army – UK intel

  • Ukraine reports strike on Chonhar bridge, connecting Crimea with southern Ukraine

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