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Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 525: Ukraine boosts drone production

The Rubaka drone has a range of 500km, and the 10th model of FPV drones has been presented to the Ukrainian army. Russian attacks destroy 40k tons of grain bound for Africa, China, Israel.
Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 525: Ukraine boosts drone production

Daily overview — Summary report, August 2, 2023

According to information from the General Staff as of 06.00 02.08.2023, supplemented by its [18:00 assessment].

Volyn and Polissya axes: no significant changes.

Sivershchyna and Slobozhanshchyna axes: the adversary launched an air strike in the vicinity of Sopych (Sumy oblast) and fired mortars and artillery at more than 25 settlements. In particular, these include Zaliznyi Mist, Halahanivka (Chernihiv oblast), Shpyl’, Yunakivka, Atyns’ke, Basivka, Rozhkovychi (Sumy oblast), Udy, Kozacha Lopan’, Petropavlivka, Nesterne, and Stroivka (Kharkiv oblast).

Kup’yans’k axis: the adversary shelled Topoli, Kam’yanka, Fyholivka, Dvorichna, Zapadne, Kup’yans’k, and Kyslivka (Kharkiv oblast) with artillery and mortars.

Lyman axis: the settlements of Nevs’ke, Bilohorivka (Luhansk oblast), Tors’ke, Verkhn’okam’yans’ke, Spirne, and Rozdolivka (Donetsk) were shelled with artillery.

Bakhmut axis: the enemy made unsuccessful attempts to regain the lost ground north and west of Klishchiivka (Donetsk oblast). More than 15 settlements, including Bohdanivka, Chasiv Yar, Oleksandro-Shul’tyne, Ivanivske, and Bila Hora (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 Avdiivka. The invaders fired artillery at more than 10 settlements, including Avdiivka, Pervomais’ke, Karlivka, Nevel’s’ke, and Novobakhmutivka (Donetsk oblast).

Mar’inka axis: the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to hold back the russian offensive in the vicinity of the city of Mar’inka. The adversary launched an air strike near Krasnohorivka. The invaders shelled more than 15 settlements, including Krasnohorivka, Zoryane, Mar’inka, Pobjeda, and Hostre (Donetsk oblast).

Shakhtars’ke axis: the adversary launched air strikes in the vicinities of Blahodatne and Staromaiors’ke (Donetsk oblast). The enemy made unsuccessful attempts to regain lost ground east of Staromaiors’ke. The invaders fired artillery at more than 15 settlements, including Vuhledar, Vodyane, Blahodatne, and Zolota Nyva (Donetsk oblast).

Zaporizhzhia axes: the adversary focuses its main efforts on preventing further advance of Ukrainian troops. The enemy launched an air strike in the vicinity of Orikhiv (Zaporizhzhia oblast). The enemy fired artillery at more than 15 settlements, including Novodarivka, Bilohirya, Orikhiv, and Kam’yans’ke (Zaporizhzhia oblast).

Kherson axis: the enemy fired artillery at more than 10 settlements, including Sadove, Tokarivka, Kozats’ke, Antonivka, Mykhailivka, and the city of Kherson.

Military Updates

Ukraine’s General Staff: Russia attempts to regain lost ground on southern front. Over the past 24 hours, Russian forces have conducted unsuccessful counterattacks on the recently liberated town of Staromaiorske on the border of the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts in eastern Ukraine, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported in its daily frontline update on 2 August 2023.

Russia’s Defense Ministry: Russian ship attacked by Ukrainian naval drone in Black Sea. Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed that Ukraine tried to attack a Russian warship escorting civilian maritime transport in the Black Sea with a naval kamikaze drone, TASS, a Russian news agency, reported, citing Russian Defense Ministry spox Igor Konashenkov. According to Konashenkov, a Ukrainian naval drone that attacked the Russian ship in the southwestern part of the Black Sea was destroyed.

Ukraine boosts its domestic drone production. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry handed over the 10th model of FPV drone to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Defense Minister of Ukraine, Oleksii Reznikov, announced on Facebook. The latest drone model has “convincing specifications” and a new production scale, according to Oleksii Reznikov. On 2 August, the relevant commission at the Department of Military Technical Policy, Armaments and Military Equipment Development of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine completed the necessary procedures to put a new model of drones in service of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, Oleksii Reznikov said.

Ukraine starts production of 500 km range drones.  Rubaka is a unique kamikaze drone in its design with an inertial guidance system and is intended to strike predetermined targets.

Russians suffer heavy equipment losses in battle for Staromaiorske [photos]. Footage of destroyed Russian armored equipment of various types appeared after Ukrainian forces liberated Staromaiorske village in Donetsk Oblast on 27 July. Mysiagin Telegram channel published photos showing one destroyed Russian T-80BV, one destroyed Russian MT-LBVM/K, one destroyed MT-LB, one damaged BMD-2 and three destroyed BMP-2.

Frontline report: Ukrainian HIMARS strikes hit five Russian camps on Dzharylhach island, inflicting heavy losses. Ukrainian forces hit five Russian camps on Dzharylhach island with HIMARS missiles, destroying about 200 Russian troops.

Ukraine forces disrupt Russian logistics in the south. Natalia Humeniuk, Chief of the Unified Coordination Press Center of the Southern Defense Forces, reported that the Russian occupiers are experiencing a severe shortage of munitions, despite still conducting 50-60 daily bombardments.

Team of Ukrainian snipers eliminated 524 Russian soldiers in 6 months. A group of highly skilled Ukrainian snipers, consisting of 20 soldiers, known as “the Ghosts of Bakhmut,” eliminated 524 Russian soldiers over the past six months, BBC reports.

In 2023 Ukraine increased ammunition production tenfold, but this is not enough — Minister. Ukraine’s defense sector has increased ammunition production tenfold in the first seven months of 2023 compared to the entire 2022. However, this is not enough, said Ukraine’s Minister of Strategic Industries, Oleksandr Kamyshin, cited by the press service of the ministry.

Three drones attacked Moscow, damaging one of the business towers where Russian ministries have offices. On the night of 1 August, three drones attacked Moscow. One of them hit the Moscow City business center, reportedly after being suppressed by Russian electronic warfare, Russian media and Telegram channels reported.

US provides $1.25 billion budget grant to Ukraine. The US government has provided a $1.25 billion grant to Ukraine’s state budget through the World Bank’s Multi-Donor Trust Fund. This brings the 2023 direct US budget support to $8.45 billion. 

Frontline report: Ukraine successfully implemented a tactic that helped penetrate Russian defense by 5 km in Robotyne in the south. Ukraine, using a well-considered tactic, penetrated Russian occupiers by 5 km and developed a significant bridgehead between Robotyne and Verbove, Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
 

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

Over the last two months, Russia has likely started forming up major new formations to add depth to its ground forces. These include the 25th Combined Arms Army.

Since its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has mainly deployed mobilised reservists to back-fill established formations, or as part of territorial defence infantry regiments.

It has rarely established new, all-arms organisations such as combined arms armies which are designed to be a self-sufficient force.

An exception to this was the 3rd Army Corps created in summer 2022, which has generally performed poorly.

Russia will likely deploy any new formation as a reserve force in Ukraine. However, in the longer term, Russia aspires to strengthen its forces facing NATO.

Without a major new wave of mandatory mobilisation, Russia is unlikely to find enough new troops to resource even one new army.

Losses of the Russian army

  • Personnel – about 247230 (+540) persons were liquidated
  • Tanks – 4217 (+1)
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 8213 (+8)
  • Artillery systems – 4866 (+27)
  • Multiple rocket launchers – MLRS – 700 (+1)
  • Air defence means – 463 (+1)
  • Aircraft – 315 (+0)
  • Helicopters – 311 (+0)
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 4042 (+15)
  • Cruise missiles – 1347 (+0)
  • Vessels/boats – 18 (+0)
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 7349 (+25)
  • Special equipment – 718 (+0)

Humanitarian

Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office reveals number of civilian casualties caused by Russian army, Over 10,000 civilians were killed by the Russian army since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, the head of the War Crimes Department in Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office, Yurii Belousov, said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine. According to Yurii Belousov, the War Crimes Department in Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office has identified 10,749 civilians killed, including 499 kids, and 15,599 wounded, including 1,900 children.

Russian night drone attack: port, industrial infrastructure damaged in Odesa Oblast.  On the night of 2 August, Russian forces attacked Ukrainian cities with Shahed drones. Ukrainian air defense downed 23 drones; several hit port, industrial infrastructure in Odesa Oblast.

Employee of National Agency for Corruption Prevention killed in war. Yuliya Shevchenko, an employee of the National Agency for Corruption Prevention, has been killed in the war on July 31. During the initial months of the full-scale invasion, Yuliya joined the military and served as the deputy commander responsible for morale and psychological support, according to her comrades.

750 medical institutions restored after Russian bombardments.  Over 750 medical institutions in Ukraine have been either fully or partially restored, according to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. He made this announcement during a government meeting on Tuesday, Interfax reports. The majority of the restorations have taken place in Mykolayiv, Dnipro, Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Chernihiv oblasts.

Russians shelled Kherson hospital, killing a doctor. Russian troops once again shelled one of the clinics in the Ukrainian city of Kherson on 1 August 2023, killing a doctor and injuring a nurse.

Russia admits deporting 700k Ukrainian kids. “Proof for ICC” says Ukraine. Russia makes orphans of children and then abducts them, a policy representing genocide in Ukraine, ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets responds to Russia’s admission it “evacuated” 700,000 Ukrainian chidren.

Unauthorized Russian companies pay Russian soldiers to fight in Ukraine – Investigation. Russian oligarchs’ companies that are not under sanctions fictitiously employ Russia soldiers and pay them for fighting in Ukraine.

Intel: Russia forcibly conscripts up to 60,000 in occupied Ukraine.  Assessing civilians in occupied areas are seen as expendable, a Ukrainian intel official said Russian forces violently mobilized up to 60,000 to send untrained to the frontlines.

Environmental

Russia’s drone attack destroys 40,000 tons of Ukrainian grain bound for Africa, China, and Israel. Ukraine’s infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov emphasized that Ukrainian grain exports are an inalienable part of global food security and cannot be replaced by any other country in the coming years.

Latvian government: exporting Ukrainian agro via Baltic Sea possible, though challenging.  Exporting Ukrainian agricultural products via the Baltic Sea may be challenging, but it is feasible, according to Latvia’s Minister of Agriculture, Didzis Smits. The task involves logistical issues, but utilizing Latvian ports for this purpose is possible, considering the port capacity. However, technical solutions are being explored to efficiently transfer goods between trains.

Ukraine secures access to Croatian ports for grain exports. Ukraine has reached an agreement with Croatia to use its ports for grain exports following Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative. 

Support

Putin and Erdoğan agree on the Russian President’s visit to Türkiye. The Russian and Turkish Presidents held a phone call, discussing Putin’s visit to Türkiye. Erdoğan also emphasized the importance of restarting the deal to prevent global food shortages.

G7 ambassadors outline reforms for Ukraine’s post-war recovery. To facilitate Western investment, Ukraine must increase transparency and accountability, G7 ambassadors said during a meeting with Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Denys Shmyhal, to discuss the next steps after the June 2023 Ukraine Recovery Conference.

A new online tool allows you to check in a second whether a company left Russia. The Ukrainian Kyiv School of Economics has created an online tool to check whether a particular company has left Russia. It has a database of more than 7,500 companies and brands, which was created with the help of artificial intelligence. A user can simply scan a barcode of an item or type the name of the company they want to check.

The US has struck deals with Bulgaria and South Korea to supply the crucial 155-mm shells to Ukraine — FT. Ukraine uses 155mm caliber shells for hundreds of western-supplied howitzers deployed all over the frontline. While Ukraine already has several hundred Western artillery units, they became nearly as important as the old Soviet artillery systems in the Ukrainian army.

New developments

Bloomberg: US banks profit from ruble trading amid sanctions and Russian market exodus. According to Vali Analytics, the total revenue of the world’s 100 largest banks from the Russian national currency ruble trading in 2022 amounted to $6 billion, three times higher than in the previous year. Before the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, ruble trading amounted to $1.5 billion in 2018, $1.8 billion in 2019, $2.1 billion in 2020, and $2 billion in 2021, Bloomberg reported, citing Vali Analytics.

Pentagon sends military aid to Moldova to bolster defense capabilities. The US sent new military aid to Moldova to enhance its defense capabilities amid concerns over threats from Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.

Belarus helicopters violate Polish airspace. On August 1, 2023, two Belarusian helicopters violated Polish airspace while conducting training near the border. The helicopters crossed the border at a very low altitude near the Białowieża region, making it difficult for radar systems to detect the intrusion.

Ukraine removes Soviet emblem from Motherland-Mother monument in Kyiv [photos]

Iceland suspends its embassy in Moscow over “current conditions.’ Commercial, cultural, and political relations with Russia are currently at their lowest level. Therefore, it is no longer justified to keep the Icelandic embassy in Moscow open,” the foreign minister said.

Assessment

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of 1 August:

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) accused Ukraine of attempting to attack two Black Sea Fleet patrol boats with unmanned semi-submersibles on August 1. The Russian MoD initially claimed that Ukraine launched three unmanned boats at the “Sergey Kotov” and “Vasily Bykov” Project 22160 large patrol ships in the southwestern part of the Black Sea, about 340km southwest of Sevastopol.[1] The Russian MoD later clarified that the patrol ships were escorting Russian civilian transport ships en route to the Bosphorus Strait via the Black Sea and claimed that the patrol ships detected and destroyed all three semi-submersibles.[2] Russian authorities may be amplifying claims of Ukrainian attacks to frame Ukraine as irresponsibly threatening civilian ships in the Black Sea, thereby setting conditions to further escalate naval activity and consolidate control in the Black Sea, though there is no indication that Ukrainian attacks on Russian military targets have threatened civilian vessels.[3] Geolocated images posted on July 31 show the installation of anti-naval drone barriers in Sevastopol Bay, likely as part of the overall Russian effort to increase naval and defensive posturing in the Black Sea.[4]

Ukrainian actors likely conducted another drone strike on Moscow City in the early hours of August 1. Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin claimed that Russian air defense downed several drones flying towards Moscow, and geolocated footage shows that one drone struck the 21st floor of the IQ-Kvartal Tower in central Moscow City.[5] Russian media reported that the target of the strike was the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, located on the IQ-Kvartal Tower’s 21st floor.[6] Russian sources claimed that drones previously struck the IQ-Kvartal Tower on the night of July 29 to 30.[7] Social media footage from August 1 additionally shows a drone flying over Moscow suburbs in the Odintsovo district.[8] Several sources suggested that the drones were Ukrainian-made.[9] One Russian commentator accused Sobyanin of neglecting to secure Moscow against such continued drone attacks.[10] Russian authorities will likely struggle to balance the need to quell domestic concern over continuing drone attacks deep within the Russian rear with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s continued refusal to fully mobilize Russian society for the war and its corresponding consequences.

The Russian MoD continues to posture Russian Chief of the General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov as an effective and involved overall theater commander in Ukraine. The Russian MoD posted footage of Gerasimov on August 1 reportedly inspecting a forward command post in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast and receiving a briefing on Ukrainian operations and Russian defenses in the area.[11] This footage is one of Gerasimov’s first public appearances since Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin’s June 24 rebellion and indicates that the MoD continues to publicize Gerasimov’s role as theater commander.[12] Some Russian sources previously claimed that rumored deputy theater commander Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky replaced Gerasimov as overall theater commander in Ukraine following Wagner’s rebellion, but ISW was unable to verify these rumors and assessed that Gerasimov will likely nominally retain his position in the Russian military.[13] The MoD’s footage notably portrays Gerasimov as the architect of Russian defensive operations in one sector of the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south, a role that the Russian information space previously attributed to both former deputy commander of the joint grouping of forces in Ukraine Army General Sergei Surovikin and former 58th Combined Arms Army (Southern Military District) Commander Major General Ivan Popov prior to their likely dismissals on June 28 and July 15, respectively, for challenging Gerasimov and the traditional MoD hierarchy.[14]

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko may have signaled his intent to use the Wagner Group to create a foundation for an unspecified Belarusian “contract army.” Lukashenko stated on August 1 that he seeks to retain the Wagner Group within the Belarusian Armed Forces by using experienced Wagner fighters to “more actively create a contract army.”[15] Lukashenko did not provide details on the “contract army’s” organizational structure, planned end strength, or formation timeline, but noted that the Wagner Group currently includes over 30,000 fighters.[16]

Belarus currently does not have a “contract army” or a structure resembling a “contract army,” which in this context likely refers to the Russian term of “kontraktniki,” professional volunteer soldiers rather than conscripts. The Belarusian military does not field any formations above the brigade level and Belarus’ main combat units are six separate brigades (three mechanized, two airborne, and one spetsnaz) primarily staffed by 18-month conscripts and some contract servicemen.[17] The creation of a “contract army” would likely require the creation of a new formation or a significant reorganization of Belarus’ existing brigades and an overhaul of Belarusian training to create a force of long-serving professional soldiers, as Russia previously (and unsuccessfully) attempted to do in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Then-Belarusian Defense Minister Andrei Ravkov previously stated in 2016 that Belarus should not and does not plan to transition away from the traditional staff and cadre system to have a fully contract army.[18]

Two Belarusian helicopters reportedly violated Polish airspace on August 1. Polish officials reported that two Belarusian helicopters entered Polish airspace on August 1 and that Poland will increase its troop presence at the Polish-Belarusian border in response.[19] Lukashenko also dismissed the Polish government for overreacting to news that the Wagner Group deployed a 100-person element closer to the Belarusian-Polish border and claimed that Wagner forces are in Grodno and Brest, rather than near the international border.[20] ISW continues to assess that Wagner forces in Belarus pose no military threat to Poland (or Ukraine, for that matter) until and unless they are re-equipped with mechanized equipment.

Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front and reportedly advanced near Bakhmut on August 1. Ukrainian officials reported that Ukrainian forces continued gradually advancing near Bakhmut, and a Russian source claimed that Ukrainian forces captured an unspecified height south of Bakhmut near Klishchiivka.[21] Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar reported on August 1 that in the past week, Ukrainian forces captured two square kilometers of territory in the Bakhmut direction and 12 square kilometers in southern Ukraine.[22] Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted unsuccessful attacks against Russian forces along the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area near Staromayorske and Urozhaine and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast near Robotyne.[23] The UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) reported that the Russian 58th Combined Arms Army (Southern Military District) in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast likely struggles with severe fatigue and that elements of the 5th Combined Arms Army (Eastern Military District) south of Velyka Novosilka likely face a high level of pressure to defend the area and feel that the Russian military command should rotate them from the front line.[24] The UK MoD also reported that Russian commanders in southern Ukraine largely struggle with artillery ammunition shortages, a lack of reserves, and challenges with securing the flanks of defending units.

Russian companies not under Western sanctions continue to recruit volunteers to fight in the war in Ukraine. Russian opposition outlet Vazhnye Istorii reported that unsanctioned Russian companies Rusal, Novatek, PIK, and Mospromstroy that are affiliated with Russian oligarchs, including Oleg Deripaska, Leonid Mikhelson, Sergei Gordeev, and Mikhail Gutseriev, recruit Russian volunteers to fight in the war in Ukraine.[25] Vazhnye Istorii reported that both the Russian MoD and Russian “military industrial complex companies” pay recruits’ salaries, who then serve in the 200th Motorized Rifle Brigade (14th Army Corps, Northern Fleet) and the “Sokol” Volunteer Battalion of the 108th Air Assault Regiment (7th Guards Mountain Air Assault Division).[26] ISW and Vazhnye Istorii previously reported that Russian state-owned companies such as Gazprom, Russian Railways, and Roscosmos have contributed to recruitment efforts.[27] Gazprom and Russian Railways are under Western sanctions, however.[28]

Iran is pursuing the construction of drone factories in Belarus and Russia, which will help Russia acquire Iranian drones more readily and provide Iran with numerous economic and military benefits. Iranian Armed Forces General Staff Chief Major General Mohammad Bagheri called for greater defense industry cooperation between Iran and Belarus during a meeting with Belarusian Defense Minister Lieutenant General Viktor Khrenin in Tehran on August 1.[29] Iranian Defense and Armed Forces Logistics Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani signed a military cooperation agreement with Khrenin on July 31.[30] CTP assessed that Ashtiani and Khrenin may have discussed establishing Shahed kamikaze drone factories in Belarus to support the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[31] Ukraine claimed in May 2023 that Iranian engineers are exploring how to convert factories in Gomel, Belarus into drone production facilities.[32] The Biden administration revealed in June that Iran is helping Russia build a drone manufacturing factory in Yelabuga, Tatarstan, Russia.[33] Iran opened an Ababil-2 drone factory in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in May 2022. Bagheri notably attended the opening ceremony of this factory.[34] The production of Iranian drones in Belarus and Russia will benefit both Russia and Iran:

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