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Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 528: Ukrainian drones attack Crimea

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 528: Ukrainian drones attack Crimea

Ukrainian drones attack Crimea, damage a Russian landing ship in the Black sea. IAEA: No explosives found on Zaporizhzhia reactor roofs after month-long wait. US names key component of peace formula for Ukraine.

Morning report day 528 – August 5

Situation in Ukraine. August 4, 2023. Source: ISW.

According to information from the General Staff as of 06.00 05.08.2023, supplemented by its [18:00 assessment].

“On August 4, the enemy launched 1 missile and 50 airstrikes, 86 MLRS attacks. Unfortunately, the Russian terrorist attacks have killed and wounded civilians and destroyed residential buildings and other civilian infrastructure.

The likelihood of further missile and airstrikes across Ukraine remains very high.

On August 4, there were 36 combat engagements.

  • Volyn and Polissya axes: no significant changes.
Situation in Ukraine. August 4, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Sivershchyna and Slobozhanshchyna axes: the enemy launched airstrikes in the vicinities of Volfyne and Kostyantynivka (Sumy oblast). The adversary fired mortars and artillery at more than 25 settlements, including Khrinivka, Bleshnya, Yanzhulivka (Chernihiv oblast), Kozache, Boyaro-Lezhachi, Kindrativka (Sumy oblast), Kozacha-Lopan’, Mala Vovcha, Ambarne, and Bolohivka (Kharkiv oblast).
  • Kupiansk axis: the adversary launched airstrikes in the vicinity of Shyikivka (Kharkiv oblast). More than 10 settlements came under artillery and mortar fire, including Putnykove, Fyholivka, Podoly, and Kyslivka (Kharkiv oblast).
Donetsk Battle Map. August 4, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Lyman axis: the enemy launched airstrikes in the vicinities of Hryhorivka and Serebryanka (Donetsk oblast). More than 10 settlements, including Nevske, Bilohorivka (Luhansk oblast), Tors’ke, Verkhn’okam’yans’ke, Berestove, and Rozdolivka (Donetsk oblast), were shelled with artillery.
Bakhmut Battle Map. August 4, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Bakhmut axis: the Ukrainian defence forces are holding back the enemy in the vicinities of Klishchiivka and Kurdyumivka. The enemy launched airstrikes in the vicinities of Markove, Klishchiivka, Bila Hora, and New York. More than 15 settlements, including Predtechyne, Bila Hora, Pivnichne, and New York (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 15 settlements, including Oleksandropil’, Novobakhmutivka, Novokalynove, Sjeverne, and Nevel’s’ke (Donetsk oblast).
  • Marinka axis: the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to hold back the Russian offensive in the vicinities of Marinka, Staromykhailivka, and Krasnohorivka. The enemy launched airstrikes near Krasnohorivka. The invaders shelled more than 10 settlements, including Krasnohorivka, Hostre, Mar’inka, Pobjeda, Novomykhailivka, Paraskoviivka, and Katerynivka (Donetsk oblast).
  • Shakhtarske axis: the enemy made an unsuccessful attempt to regain the lost ground in the vicinity of Blahodatne. Russian forces launched airstrikes near Staromaiors’ke. Blahodatne, Vuhledar, Bohoyavlenka, Prechystivka, Zolota Nyva, Velyka Novosilka (Donetsk oblast), Staromaiors’ke, and Levadne (Zaporizhzhia oblast) came under artillery fire.
Zaporizhzhia Battle Map. August 4, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Zaporizhzhia axis: the adversary conducted unsuccessful offensive operations near Novopokrovka. The invaders launched airstrikes in the vicinities of Mala Tokmachka, Orikhiv, and Novodanylivka (Zaporizhzhia oblast). The adversary focuses its main efforts on preventing further advance of Ukrainian troops. The enemy fired artillery at more than 15 settlements, including Ol’hivs’ke, Bilohir’ya, Mala Tokmachka, Novodarivka, Mali Shcherbaky, and Kam’yans’ke (Zaporizhzhia oblast).
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. August 4, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Kherson axis: the adversary launched airstrikes near Odradokam’yanka and Dachi. More than 25 settlements, including Chervonyi Mayak, Antonivka, Dniprovs’ke, Stanislav, and Kherson (Kherson oblast), came under enemy artillery fire.

At the same time, the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to conduct the offensive operation on Melitopol’ and Berdyans’k axes, consolidating their positions, and conducting counter-battery fire.

The adversary continues to use civilian educational institutions in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine for its own purposes. In particular, it was found that about 100 Russian servicemen were deployed on the territory of a school in Mykhailivka (Zaporizhzhia oblast).

[The enemy continues to hide his losses. Mobile crematoria are actively used for this purpose. In particular, it is known that one of these crematoria is currently operating 24/7 in the northeastern part of the occupied Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, while the bodies of the dead occupants are transported by trucks. In addition, local residents complain about the constant corpse stench in the city, especially at night.]

On August 4, Ukrainian Air Force launched 9 airstrikes on the concentrations of troops, weapons, and military equipment of the adversary. Also, the Ukrainian defenders intercepted 2 Shahed-136 combat UAVs of the adversary.

On August 4, the Ukrainian missile and artillery troops hit 9 artillery systems at their firing positions, and 2 concentrations of troops, weapons, and military equipment of the enemy.“

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Special operation in Novorossiysk: Ukrainian drone damages Russian landing ship, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Explosions occurred in the Russian city of Novorossiysk on the night of 3-4 August, and the Russian Defence Ministry has reported an attack by two USVs. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has conducted a special operation in Novorossiysk Bay, Russia, and an uncrewed surface vessel (USV) has damaged the Olenegorskiy Gornyak large landing ship. The video shows a SBU USV loaded with 450 kilograms of TNT attacking an enemy ship with about 100 crew members on board.”

Sources in the Security Service noted that the special operation was carried out together with the Ukrainian Navy. As a result of the attack, the Olenegorskiy Gornyak now has a big hole in its hull and is currently unable to carry out its combat missions. Therefore, all the Russians’ statements about the so-called repelled attack are fake, the source stressed.”

Blasts in Crimea, officials report Ukraine drone attack, Reuters reports. “Explosions were heard near the bridge linking Russian-occupied Crimea to the Russian mainland early on Saturday, Russian-appointed officials reported, saying the blasts were linked to a Ukrainian drone attack on a Russian tanker. Russia’s sea rescue service in the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk said tugboats were dispatched to help the tanker, which was damaged and unable to operate on its own.

We can say that the tanker is damaged in the (Kerch) strait, only on the south side,” Russia’s Tass news agency quoted the rescue centre as saying. They will deal with it now on whether to take it under tow or not. It is standing at anchor for the moment. The machine room suffered some damage, not too badly.”

Drones attacked occupied Crimea, explosions are reported in Feodosia, reports. “Temporarily occupied Crimea was attacked by drones. The network reports a hit on an oil depot. The occupation “authorities” traditionally report on the work of air defence.”

Russians focus efforts mostly on Kupiansk sector, Ukrinform reports, citing Ukrainian Defense Deputy Minister Hanna Maliar. “Most of their forces are now concentrated in the Kupiansk direction. And, by the way, one of the objectives they have set is to recapture the territories that we liberated last autumn. For them, it is now important, both in terms of morale and in military terms, Maliar told. In her words, Russians are redeploying huge forces to the Bakhmut direction.

There, you remember we always spoke of advancing on the flanks around Bakhmut, because it was important for us to capture the commanding heights. On the southern flank, we are slowly but consistently and confidently moving forward. As for the northern flank, the enemy is launching attacks there and making attempts to recapture the heights that we have established control over, and very fierce battles are raging now, Maliar noted.”

Ukrainian forces partially break through Russia’s first line of defence in south, Ukrinform reports, citing Ukrainian Defense Deputy Minister Hanna Maliar. “Speaking of the south, our forces continue to persistently carry out offensive actions there despite the enemy’s very strong resistance. Firstly, this refers to continuous artillery attacks and, secondly, mining efforts. But, our troops in the south have already broken through the first line of defence in some places and moved to the so-called intermediate line, Maliar told.

In her words, at the intermediate line, Russians set up concrete engineering fortifications within their main heights, which is complicating the movement of Ukrainian forces. Both in the south and in the east, Russians are bringing up personnel reserves, mainly professional military units, such as air assault units.

According to Maliar, Russia is focusing efforts on the east as the epicenter of hostilities. Fierce battles are raging in the Marinka and Avdiivka direction. The situation is changing there on a daily basis but, most importantly, Ukraine’s Defense Forces do now allow the enemy to advance, Maliar stressed.”

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

British Intelligence Map.
  • During the night of 3-4 August 2023, the Russian Navy landing ship Olenegorsky Gornyak almost certainly suffered serious damage after being struck while near the Black Sea Fleet’s (BSF) Novorossiysk base.
  • Images of the vessel listing at 30-40 degrees suggest that several watertight compartments were breached, or that the crew’s damage control efforts were ineffectual.
  • Routinely assigned to Russia’s Northern Fleet, the vessel has augmented the BSF since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has often ferried military and civilian traffic between Russia and occupied Crimea when the Kerch Bridge has been disrupted due to attacks.
  • The 3600 tonnes, 113 metre long Olenegorsky Gornyak represents the largest Russian naval vessel seriously damaged or destroyed since the sinking of the cruiser Moskva on 13 April 2022. This is a significant blow to the BSF, which previously relocated most of its units to Novorossiysk due to the high threat to Sevastopol.
  • In the last two weeks, Russia has conducted several waves of strikes against Ukrainian ports on the Danube River using Iranian-produced one-way attack uncrewed aerial vehicles (OWA UAVs). It is highly likely attempting to coerce international shipping into stopping trading via the ports.
  • OWA UAVs have struck targets as close as 200 metres from the Romanian border, suggesting that Russia has evolved its risk appetite for conducting strikes near NATO territory.
  • There is a realistic possibility that Russia is using OWA UAVs to strike this area in the belief they are less likely to risk escalation than cruise missiles: Russia likely considers them as acceptably accurate, and they have much smaller warheads than cruise missiles.

Losses of the Russian Army

Losses of the Russian Army. Source: Euromaidan Press.

As of Saturday 5 August, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the invasion to the present day:

  • Personnel – about 249110 (+620)
  • Tanks – 4232 (+4)
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 8251 (+2)
  • Artillery systems – 4943 (+32)
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 704 (+0)
  • Air defence means – 466 (+0)
  • Aircraft – 315 (+0)
  • Helicopters – 311 (+0)
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 7422 (+30)
  • Vessels/boats – 18 (+0)
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 4116 (+12)
  • Special equipment – 730 (+6)
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0)
  • Cruise missiles – 1347 (+0)

Russia launched at least 1,961 Shahed drones across Ukraine to date, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Zelenskyy on Telegram. “To this date, terrorists have already used at least 1,961 Shahed drones across Ukraine, and a significant number of them have been shot down. Unfortunately, not all of them. We are working to shoot down more: to bring down the maximum amount. We are working to have more air defence systems.”

Ukraine downs Russian drones at average rate of 75%, Ukrinform reports, citing Yuriy Ihnat, the spokesman for the Air Force Command. “The rate varies: sometimes it’s 100%, sometimes it’s below 50%, unfortunately, because different regions are attacked. We have approximately a 75% rate, if we count in general. During the period of attacks on our critical infrastructure in fall and winter alone, about 750 kamikaze drones and the same number of cruise missiles were shot down, said Ihnat. He noted that all elements of Ukraine’s Défense Forces are involved in the process because it is more rational to shoot down the Shahed with cheap and accessible capabilities, involving mobile fire groups, small arms, anti-aircraft guns, etc.

Ihnat also noted that Russian propaganda often resorts to manipulative statements about the supposedly greater security ensured for the Ukrainian capital and the corresponding “insecurity” of other regions in order to sow domestic tensions among Ukrainians. At the same time, he noted that the most critical infrastructure does need more protection.

Wherever we see more strikes we will deploy more anti-aircraft weapons — that’s logical, the spokesman said. According to him, Ukraine is currently lacking the required number of air defence systems, so more mobile fire groups must be deployed across country. We lack medium- and long-range anti-aircraft missile systems, that’s why we have to cover the weak spots where there are fewer anti-aircraft defence capabilities today through increasing the number of mobile fire groups, Ihnat explained.”

Russia spends record US$6,3 billion on army in just six months, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Reuters. “Russia has spent RUB 600 billion [roughly US$6,3 billion] on defence over the first half of 2023 alone, which is 12% more than planned. Russia’s budget has reportedly envisaged 14.97 trillion rubles (or US$157,5 billion) for the whole year, with 5.59 trillion rubles [roughly US$58,8 billion] already spent.

The media outlet cited a Russian government document saying that Russia has doubled its target defence spending in 2023 to more than US$100 billion, a third of all public expenditures. The report notes that Russia spent a minimum of 13.9% and a maximum of 23% of its budget on defence from 2011 to 2022. The document says Russia has spent 57.4% of its new annual defence budget so far.”

More than $150 billion is in reserve funds of Russian Federation, from which it finances war against Ukraine, – Defence Intelligence, reports, citing Ukrinform, with reference to Andrii Yusov, the representative of the Defence Intelligence. “The reserve funds of the Russian Federation, from which it finances the war against Ukraine, have more than $150 billion. Actually, it is from these reserves that Russia finances the war: it maintains the army, manufactures and purchases weapons, Yusov said. According to him, Russia’s resources are not unlimited, war is very expensive, so the process of systemic crisis in the Russian Federation is irreversible. And it’s only a matter of time.

In addition to reserves, the Russian Federation receives income thanks to oil exports. Russian exports at the beginning of the year amounted to 8.3 million barrels of oil per day – the highest level since April 2020, according to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The largest buyer was China (43% of Russian crude oil exports), followed by India (36%), the EU (8%), and Türkiye (3%).

However, after the upper price limit for the purchase of Russian oil was established in December last year, according to the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation, revenues from the oil and gas industry decreased by 52% in 4 months of this year compared to January – April 2022.”


Russian Federation will try to attack energy system of Ukraine again in fall, we are preparing for this – Defence Intelligence, reports, citing Vadym Skibitsky, a representative of the Defence Intelligence, in an interview with Civilmedia. “Ukraine is preparing for possible repeated attacks by the Russian Federation on energy in the fall and winter. It is obvious that Russia will again try to destroy our energy system in the fall and winter to deprive Ukrainians of light and heat, demoralize our society, and cause a new wave of forced emigration, he said.

According to Skibitskyi, the enemy is currently carrying out appropriate reconnaissance measures to determine the priority objects of the energy system of Ukraine. We know about these plans of the enemy and already in the summer, we are preparing for winter.”

More than 75 countries demand to stop using hunger as weapon, – Reuters, reports, citing Reuters, with reference to LigaBusinessInform.More than 75 countries “pledge to take action to end the use of food as a weapon of war and the threat of civilian starvation as a tactic of warfare. As the agency reports with reference to high-ranking US officials, dozens of countries are ready to support the communique prepared by the US mission for the UN Security Council.

According to reports, the communique will be announced by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at the Security Council meeting regarding threats to global food security. Blinken will also announce the US allocation of about $362 million to eliminate the causes of threats to food security and increase resilience for ten of the world’s most vulnerable countries.

The communiqué does not mention countries that pose threats to global food security, but the US, the EU and other states publicly accuse Russia of using food as a weapon of war. We do not seek to turn this into a showdown with Russia or any other country… No matter how abhorrent we and the rest of the world consider Moscow’s actions, we must recognize that this challenge is broader than the actions of one country, said one of the high-ranking sources Reuters.”

We couldn’t care less about what agreements Russia withdraws from, we will send vessels – Ukraine’s National Security Council chief, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Ukrainske Radio. “Oleksii Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council (NSDC) of Ukraine, said that Ukraine will continue to do everything in its power to provide the world with food despite the threats coming from the Russian Federation. […] Danilov emphasised that there was no “agreement” with Russia, there were agreements with the UN, which is directly responsible for certain processes in connection with the UN Charter, and there were certain agreements with Türkiye, which also has access to the Black Sea.

We couldn’t care less what [agreements – ed.] Russia withdrew from because we had no relations with them on this matter. We will do what we think is necessary, we will move ships with grain where we think it is necessary, and we will not ask anyone’s permission.

The fact that a terrorist country is currently terrorising not just our country but also the whole world is more a question to the world itself: to what extent will they tolerate these atrocities committed by the Russian Federation? Whether it is flying into the territory of Poland, a NATO country, together with the Belarusians or attacking the ports of Izmail, which are actually on the border of Romania (also a NATO member-state). It’s hard to say when they [the international community – ed.] will lose patience, but we’ll definitely do everything in our power to make our food available to the world.”

Russian reports of attacks on Novorossiysk port, Russia send wheat prices soaring – Bloomberg, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Bloomberg. “The Russian Defence Ministry’s report of an attack on the Russian Novorossiysk naval base has promptly pushed up wheat prices, which had fallen to their two-month minimum earlier, given that Russia is currently supplying record volumes of wheat to global markets, increasing supplies. […]

Bloomberg says wheat prices fell by almost 10% this weekand on Thursday, 3 August, were the lowest in nearly two months. Meanwhile, Russia is currently supplying record volumes of wheat to global markets, increasing its supplies.

The agency also notes that wheat futures have become increasingly volatile after Russia attacked Ukrainian sea and river ports immediately after withdrawing from an agreement authorising the supply of Ukrainian crops through the Black Sea.”


IAEA: No explosives found on Zaporizhzhia reactor roofs after month-long wait, Reuters reports. “The UN nuclear watchdog has been granted access to areas of the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine a month after requesting it, and has found no explosives, it said in a statement on Friday. On July 4, Russia and Ukraine accused each other of planning to stage an attack on Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant, where the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly warned of potential catastrophe from nearby military clashes.

A small IAEA team based at the plant sought to verify the accusations. It issued updates in the following weeks to say that it had found no signs of explosives in the areas it had been able to visit, except mines outside the perimeter that appeared to pose no danger to the plant’s safety. (IAEA) experts have observed no mines or explosives on the rooftops of Unit 3 and Unit 4 reactor buildings and the turbine halls … after having been given access yesterday afternoon, the IAEA said.

The IAEA said on July 5 that access to the roofs of the two units and parts of the turbine halls was essential. Ukraine’s armed forces had said the day before that operational data showed explosive devices had been placed on those two roofs. Following repeated requests, the team had unimpeded access to the rooftops of the two reactor units and could also clearly view the rooftops of the turbine halls. The team will continue its requests to visit the roofs of the other 4 units, Friday’s statement said.”

As of August 04, 2023, since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 499 children were killed, and more than 1090 children have been injured. Due to the active hostilities in affected regions, there is no possibility to inspect the areas of shelling and destruction, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General reports.

Hans Petter Middtun: The number of civilians killed are far higher than the official, verified data. As many as 150-200,00 Ukrainians might have been killed by Russia. Mariupol morgues alone have documented 87,000 people killed during the Russian siege of the Ukrainian seaside city. A database of unidentified killed people is kept in the Novoazov Prosecutor’s Office containing additional 26,750 entries.


To see war end ASAP, Ukraine needs long-range missile systems, aircraft, Ukrinform reports, citing Security and foreign policy analyst and commentator Jessica Berlin. “Western politicians who want to put an end to the Russo-Ukrainian war as soon as possible should understand that there is only one way to move forward, which is to provide more military aid to Kyiv.

If the war needed to end as soon as possible in the eyes of Western capitals, then the way forward is clear. Send more help. Full stop. If you want this war to be over ASAP, give Ukraine the long-range missile systems, the ammunition, and the air support capacity (the jets that you need), she stressed.

According to the analyst, the West asks Ukraine’s Armed Forces to carry out a to conduct a counteroffensive across thousand-plus kilometres of heavily mined entrenched defensive front without air superiority. This is something that no NATO military would ever even consider. It’s madness, really, from a military strategic perspective if you’re a NATO military planner. But this is precisely what NATO is expecting of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. So anybody who is complaining that the offensive going too slowly, the answer is clear. We need to send more help more quickly – demining equipment, long-range missiles, and air support capacity, Berlin said.”

Bulgarian government approved decision to transfer 100 armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine, reports, citing “European Pravda”. “The Bulgarian government approved the draft agreement between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria and the Ministry of Défense of Ukraine on the provision of a batch of armoured personnel carriers. […]

The decision of the Bulgarian government provides that the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the country, Kalin Stoyanov, is authorized to conduct negotiations with the Ukrainian side on the conclusion of the agreement, “subject to its further ratification.”

In addition, the agreement on the transfer of armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine will be temporarily applied from the date of signing until its entry into force. This means that the transfer itself can begin even before the ratification of the agreement in the Bulgarian parliament.”

Germany provides another military assistance package to Ukraine, Ukrinform reports, citing a statement made by the German Federal Government. “The new military assistance package includes two Zuzana 2 self-propelled howitzers (as part of the project jointly financed with Denmark and Norway), two WISENT 1 mine clearing tanks (four were handed over before), 11 mine ploughs for T-72, and nine border protection vehicles (168 were delivered before).

Additionally, Ukraine receives three VECTOR reconnaissance drones (81 were sent before), five mobile antenna mast systems (42 were handed over before), and five SurveilSPIRE mobile reconnaissance systems.

Germany is also preparing to send to Ukraine forty MARDER infantry fighting vehicles (20 are already in service on the battlefield in Ukraine), six Bergepanzer 2 armoured recovery vehicles, seven mobile, remote controlled and protected mine clearing systems, and 18,000 man-portable anti-tank weapons.”

Ukrainian pilots to leave for Europe in late summer to train to fly F-16s, Ukrinform reports, citing Yurii Ihnat, spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force Command at a briefing at the Ukraine-Ukrinform Media Center. “We expect our pilots to be sent to European countries for serious training at the end of summer. Therefore, it is necessary to understand that the training will not be that quick, but it won’t be long-lasting as the Russians hope. I think our pilots will master the F-16 training program as quickly as they mastered the Patriot system. The only thing is that it’s important the entire jets coalition joins – all the countries that have training bases, simulators, instructors, training planes -because we need as many people as possible to go through the training program as quickly as possible, Ihnat said.

He noted that Ukrainian pilots needed not only to learn how to fly the F-16 but also how to use dozens of types of its weapons. Ihnat recalled that the United States, after evaluating Ukrainian pilots, concluded that their retraining would take about four months. At the same time, only in practice will it be clear which of the pilots will be trained and how much time will be needed for their training, he added.

At the same time, according to Ihnat, Ukraine desperately needs to strengthen its air defenses before it receives fighter jets. They must be strengthened, especially ahead of the winter period and given that the Russians may want to carry out certain provocations. Therefore, there are no options – we need to strengthen air defenses, Ihnat said.”

“Politics of Hyenas and Jackals”: Polish Top Diplomats Engage in Dispute over Ukraine, European Pravda reports. “There are states that are strong like lions, there are states that are cunning like foxes, and there are states like hyenas and jackals. We are pursuing a politics of hyenas and jackals, said the former head of Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs [Jacek Czaputowicz] during an interview on Polsat News. He emphasised that when he visited Ukraine, all Ukrainians he met expressed gratitude towards the Poles. The country is bleeding, and Poland demands invoices at this time, Czaputowicz added.

Rau’s statement expressed the strongest disagreement with Czaputowicz’s remarks. He emphasised that such statements fundamentally contradict the facts and the spirit of Poland’s diplomatic service, which has united generations of Polish diplomats. He stressed that loyalty is a virtue of a free person, and faithfulness to society and the state is the duty of every citizen, especially a high-ranking civil servant, according to the statement issued by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Another former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Witold Waszczykowski, who is now a Member of the European Parliament for the “Law and Justice” party, also joined the disagreement. […] Waszczykowski, speaking on TVN 24, remarked that when it comes to Polish politics, we have our own interests that need to be pursued. We cannot pursue a policy towards Ukraine that goes against or harms our own interests. Ukrainians do not understand this. They do not understand that even if they join the Union, they will be subject to restrictions, limits, quotas for years… Therefore, Ukrainians need to be taught about this Europe, to explain to them how business and competition work if they want to join the EU,” said Waszczykowski.”

New developments

  1. Russia doubles 2023 defence spending plan as war costs soar, Reuters reports. “Russia has doubled its 2023 defence spending target to more than $100 billion – a third of all public expenditure – a government document reviewed by Reuters showed, as the costs of the war in Ukraine spiral and place growing strain on Moscow’s finances. […] They show that in the first half of 2023 alone, Russia spent 12%, or 600 billion roubles, more on defence than the 4.98 trillion roubles ($54 billion) it had originally targeted for 2023. Defence spending in the first six months of 2023 amounted to 5.59 trillion roubles, 37.3% of a total 14.97 trillion roubles spent in the period, the document showed. Russia’s budget plan envisages 17.1% of total funds spent on National Defence.”
  2. US names key component of peace formula for Ukraine, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing John Kirby, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council in the White House to the Voice of America. “The US considers promoting the peace formula suggested by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to be the goal of the summit in Saudi Arabia that is to be held on 5-6 August. Kirby stated that the key component of the Ukrainian peace formula is the respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty because “President Zelenskyy’s whole formula really hinges on that idea, on the principal idea in the [UN] charter. And that’s something that every nation – except Russia, of course – can sign up to,– Kirby stressed, adding that a continuation of a process to socialise the peace formula that President Zelenskyy has put forward is what will happen at the summit in Jeddah.”
  3. China confirmed participation in peace summit regarding Ukraine in Saudi Arabia, reports, citing RBC-Ukraine, referring to Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China. “At the invitation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Li Hui, Special Representative of the Government of China for Eurasia, will visit Jeddah to attend a meeting on the Ukrainian issue. China is ready to cooperate with the international community to continue to play a constructive role in finding a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said. As a reminder, a summit on peace in Ukraine will take place in Saudi Arabia on 5-6 August. Russia was not invited to the summit.
  4. Latvia to Ask Thousands of Russian Citizens to Leave the Country, European Pravda reports. “Latvia’s Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (PMLP) will send letters in September to six thousand Russian citizens, requesting them to leave the country. According to LSM, Ingmārs Līdaka, the Chairman of the Seimas Commission on Citizenship, Migration, and Social Cohesion, stated that this concerns those who haven’t even attempted to pass the examination for obtaining the status of a permanent EU resident. Roughly 5,000 to 6,000, according to my estimates. These are people who have shown no desire – neither to take the exam nor obtain a temporary residence permit. These are the silent ones. If we look at the law as it currently stands, PMLP must send a notice to leave the country within three months, said Līdaka.”
  5. “Every member of UN must say to Moscow: enough!”, reports, citing Ukrinform. “”Every member of this Council (UN Security Council. – Ed.), every member of the UN must say to Moscow: enough! Enough of using the Black Sea for blackmail, enough of treating the most vulnerable peoples in the world as a lever of pressure, enough of justifying a reckless war!”, [US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken] emphasized. He recalled that Russia tried to justify its withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative by claiming that international sanctions supposedly limited the export of its agricultural products. In fact, after withdrawing from the initiative, the Russian Federation exported more grain at higher prices than ever before, he noted. And what was Russia’s response to the suffering and indignation of the world? Bombing of Ukrainian granaries, mining entrances to ports, threats to attack any ship in the Black Sea, regardless of its flag, regardless of its cargo, said Blinken. He once again emphasized that it is necessary to make joint efforts to force Russia to stop its reckless policy.”
  6. Putin signs law on barring ‘unfriendly’ foreigners from owning stakes in Russian firms – RIA, Reuters reports. “Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law allowing for foreign investors from “unfriendly” countries to be barred from holding stakes in major Russian companies and banks, state news agency RIA said on Friday. […] Under the law, the rights of foreign investors from unfriendly countries – meaning those that have imposed sanctions on Russia over its war in Ukraine – could be suspended, and their shares distributed proportionally among Russian owners. Russia has moved increasingly in recent months to take control of the assets of Western companies in retaliation for the seizure of Russian-owned assets abroad.”


  1. On the War

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Friday 4 August:

Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove line but did not advance on August 4. The Russian MoD claimed that Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully attacked Russian forces near Novoselivske (14km northwest of Svatove) and Novovodyane (15km south of Svatove). A Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully attacked Russian forces in the direction of Karmazynivka (13km southwest of Svatove) on August 3.

Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove line on August 4 and reportedly advanced. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar reported that Russian forces have intensified offensive operations in the Kupiansk, Lyman, and Svatove directions and that Ukrainian forces have repelled all Russian attacks in these areas. A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces advanced near Novoselivske along the N-26 (Svatove-Kupiansk) highway. A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces continue to advance north of Kupiansk and towards the Oskil River, which runs west of Svatove, on August 3. The Russian MoD claimed that Russian assault detachments of the Western Grouping of Forces conducted offensive operations in the Kupiansk direction on August 4. A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces conducted offensive operations in the forest area near Novoselivske and that Russian assault detachments broke through Ukrainian defensive lines north of the settlement on August 3.

Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations near Kreminna but did not advance on August 4. A Russian military official claimed that Russian forces repelled Ukrainian attacks near the Serebryanske forest area (10km southwest of Kreminna). The Russian MoD claimed that Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully attacked Russian forces near Bilohorivka (12km southwest of Kreminna), Spirne (25km south of Kreminna), and Vesele (30km southwest of Kreminna) and that Russian elements of the Central Grouping of Forces repelled Ukrainian attacks near Kreminna.

Russian forces conducted offensive operations near Kreminna on August 4 and reportedly advanced. A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces advanced and reached the eastern outskirts of Bilohorivka, Luhansk Oblast, and the Russian MoD claimed that Russian forces took more advantageous positions near the settlement. A Russian news aggregator claimed that Russian forces conducted offensive operations south and southeast of Dibrova (5km southwest of Kreminna) on August 3. Another milblogger claimed that Russian forces conducted offensive operations in forest areas near Kreminna and advanced in the forested area south of Dibrova on August 3.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited the forward command post of the Russian Central Grouping of Forces in the Lyman direction on August 4. Shoigu met with Central Military District (CMD) Commander Lieutenant General Andrey Mordvichev, who also commands the Central Grouping of Forces. Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Mordvichev for his successes in Ukraine during a press conference on July 29, likely referring to recent unverified Russian claims of extensive Russian advances southwest of Svatove. Shoigu likely visited the forward command post to portray himself as an involved manager of the Russian war effort in Ukraine. The recent public promotions of Mordvichev as a successful commander may indicate that the CMD commander has a greater portion of the Russian military leadership’s favor than other military district commanders.

Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations around Bakhmut but have not made confirmed territorial gains as of August 4. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar stated that Ukrainian forces are continuing to advance on Bakhmut’s southern flank through dense Russian artillery fire and mining. Russian milbloggers claimed that the situation on the Bakhmut frontline did not change as of August 4 and that fighting is ongoing near Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut) and the Berkhivka reservoir (6km northwest of Bakhmut). One Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces advance by 20 meters per day near Klishchivka during constant assaults and that the southern part of the settlement is under Ukrainian control. Another Russian milblogger claimed that small Ukrainian groups hold positions on the outskirts of Klishchiivka and are not attacking Russian positions in the area. The milblogger claimed that Russian forces repelled minor Ukrainian attacks on the frontline near Kurdyumivka (12km southwest of Bakhmut) and that Russian forces maintain their control over Andriivka (10km southwest of Bakhmut). A Russian source also claimed that the situation in Bakhmut is “more dangerous than it seems” for Russian forces due to Ukrainian strategies and advances on Bakhmut’s northern and southern flanks.

Russian forces continued to counterattack but did not seize new or previously lost positions around Bakhmut on August 4. Maliar stated that Russian forces are unsuccessfully counterattacking Ukrainian positions on Bakhmut’s northern flank in hopes of regaining lost positions in the area. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces restrained Russian forces from advancing south and southeast of Ivanivske (5km southwest of Bakhmut), and near Klishchiivka and Kurdyumivka. A Kremlin-affiliated milblogger claimed that Russian forces counterattacked near Kurdyumivka, Andriivka, and Klishchiivka. Another Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces maintained their previously occupied positions northwest and southwest of Bakhmut. A milblogger claimed that artillery and drone elements of the 150th Motorized Rifle Division (8th Guards Combined Arms Army, Southern Military District) targeted Ukrainian forces as part of the battles near Bakhmut. ISW has previously observed elements of the 150th Motorized Rifle Division largely operating on the Donetsk City line, but it is not clear if some elements deployed to or are operating in the Bakhmut direction.

Russian forces continued to unsuccessfully attack Ukrainian positions on the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line but have not advanced as of August 4. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks north and southeast of Avdiivka, southeast of Pervomaiske (10km west of Avdiivka), and near Marinka (22km southwest of Donetsk City).

A Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted limited ground attacks in western Donetsk Oblast on August 4 and did not advance. The milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces attacked Russian positions near Mykilske (27km southwest of Donetsk City) but that Russian forces held their positions.

Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations along the administrative border between Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk oblasts on August 4 but did not make any confirmed gains. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continue offensive operations in the Berdiansk (Zaporizhzhia-Donetsk Oblast border area) direction. Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted unsuccessful assaults near Urozhaine (9km south of Velyka Novosilka). A Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces are not present in Staromayorske (9km south of Velyka Novosilka), although another milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces advanced further into the settlement on August 3. A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian units near Staromayorske retreated to a fortified area near Staromlynivka (15km south of Velyka Novosilka) due to Ukrainian counteroffensive operations. Russian sources reported that Ukrainian forces are consistently targeting Russian rear areas along the administrative border between Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk oblasts, and a Russian milblogger added that Ukrainian artillery and MLRS fire is complicating Russian logistics in the area.

Russian forces conducted limited unsuccessful counterattacks in the Zaporizhzhia-Donetsk Oblast border area on August 4. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful attempts to regain lost positions west of Staromayorske, east of Urozhaine, and in the direction of Blahodatne (4km south of Velyka Novosilka). The Russian MoD claimed that elements of the Russian Eastern Grouping of Forces continued offensive operations near Staromayorske and improved their tactical positions in the area. A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces are conducting rotations in the Zaporizhzhia-Donetsk Oblast border area, although Russian forces are likely conducting a tactical rotation in place with another unit of the same formation rather than rotating fresh units into the area due to the lack of Russian reserves.

Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast on August 4 but did not make any confirmed gains. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continue offensive operations in the Melitopol (western Zaporizhzhia Oblast) direction. The Russian MoD claimed that Russian forces repelled a Ukrainian assault near Robotyne (12km south of Orikhiv). Russian milbloggers described Ukrainian offensive activity near Robotyne as limited and claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted assaults without armored vehicle support. Russian sources noted that the tempo of Ukrainian counteroffensive operations in the Orikhiv direction continued to decline for the third day in a row. One milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces advanced east of Robotyne in the direction of Verbove (18km southeast of Orikhiv) on August 3, although ISW has not observed visual confirmation of this claim.

Russian forces counterattacked in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast on August 4 but did not advance. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful assaults near Novopokrovka (13km southeast of Orikhiv).

Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued to target rear Russian areas in Zaporizhzhia Oblast on August 4. Zaporizhzhia Oblast occupation officials claimed that Russian air defenses shot down up to five Ukrainian drones near Berdiansk. […]

Ukrainian forces conducted a series of aerial and naval drone strikes against Russian logistics and port infrastructure in occupied Crimea and Krasnodar Krai (a key Russian naval base) on the night of August 3 to 4. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Russian air defenses and electronic warfare units downed up to 13 Ukrainian drones targeting Crimea. Geolocated footage published on August 4 shows Ukrainian drones striking areas near an oil depot in Feodosia, Crimea, although it is unclear whether the drone strikes damaged Russian targets. Geolocated footage published on August 3 and 4 shows Russian forces firing on Ukrainian naval drones near a Russian naval base in Novorossiysk, Krasnodar Krai, and one of the naval drones striking the Russian Olenegorsky Gornyak Ropucha-class landing ship. The Russian MoD stated that Russian naval artillery fire destroyed two Ukrainian naval drones near the base in Novorossisyk. Geolocated footage posted later on August 4 shows the Olenegorsky Gornyak listing and a Russian support vessel towing the landing ship to the Novorossisyk port. Geolocated footage does not indicate the full extent of the damage to the Olenegorsky Gornyak, and Russian sources claimed that the damage was not critical and that the ship would be operational after an unspecified time of repair. […]

Russian milbloggers characteristically lambasted the Russian MoD for lying about the naval drone strikes and called on the Russian military to escalate activities in the Black Sea. Russian milbloggers criticized the Russian MoD for originally claiming that the Russian forces had intercepted all drone strikes instead of admitting that the strikes damaged the Olenegorsky Gornyak landing ship. Russian milbloggers criticized the MoD for previously lying about destroying the Ukrainian drone assembly facilities and claimed that Russian forces must cut Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea in order to prevent naval drone attacks from civilian ships. A Russian news aggregator claimed that Russia needs to create a full-fledged monitoring system for the Black Sea to detect Ukrainian boats, as other tactics like striking Ukrainian port infrastructure have not prevented attacks in the sea. Some Russian milbloggers argued that the Russian MoD lacks a cohesive information policy, which creates conditions for public outcry in the Russian information space after every Russian military failure.

Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on August 4. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in the Berdiansk (Zaporizhzhia-Donetsk Oblast border area) and Melitopol (western Zaporizhzhia Oblast) directions. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar stated that Ukrainian forces continue to advance on the southern flank of Bakhmut. Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Spokesperson Vadym Skibitskyi stated that the most important elements of the Ukrainian counteroffensive are unexpectedness and accuracy, not speed. Skibitskyi noted that Ukrainian actions are aimed at cutting off Russian supply routes, destroying Russian stores of weapons and military equipment, and winning counterbattery battles. […]

The Kremlin continues to express its unwillingness to return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative in the absence of extensive concessions from the West. The Kremlin released a joint statement on August 4 following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s July 28 meeting with African leaders regarding their newly formally named African Peace Initiative. The document stated that the African leaders called for concrete steps to remove obstacles to the export of Russian grain and fertilizers, and the release and delivery of 200,000 tons of Russian fertilizer stuck in European ports to African countries. These calls suggest that the African leaders support Russia’s conditions for revitalizing the Black Sea Grain Initiative. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated on August 4 that the United States would continue to do “whatever is necessary” to ensure that Russia can freely export food on the global market if Russia would be willing to revive the Black Sea Grain Initiative and allow Ukraine to export grain safely through the Black Sea. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov responded to Blinken’s statement by claiming that as soon as the United States fulfills Russia’s conditions, “the deal will immediately be resumed.” These statements give no clear indication that Russia intends to rejoin the Black Sea Grain Initiative and seeks to coerce the West to end limitations on its own exports. […]

Key Takeaways:

  • Ukrainian forces conducted a series of aerial and naval drone strikes against Russian logistics and port infrastructure in occupied Crimea and Krasnodar Krai (a key Russian naval base) on the night of August 3 to 4.
  • Russian milbloggers characteristically lambasted the Russian MoD for lying about the naval drone strikes and called on the Russian military to escalate activities in the Black Sea.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on August 4.
  • The Kremlin continues to express its unwillingness to return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative in the absence of extensive concessions from the West. […]
  • Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on August 4.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, in the Zaporizhzhia-Donetsk Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast on August 4 and made advances in certain areas.
  • A prominent Russian milblogger claimed that China’s “temporary” export restrictions on drones may severely impact the ability of Russian volunteers to supply drones to Russian servicemen fighting in Ukraine.
  • Russian authorities are continuing to deport Ukrainian children to Russia under the guise of summer camps.“ 

Western intelligence agencies are alarmed by US presidential election. Putin will try to drag out war until then. This is his plan – CNN, reports, citing CNN, with reference to LigaBusinessInform. “Russian President Vladimir Putin will seek to continue a full-scale war against Ukraine until the end of 2024, hoping that the possible election of Donald Trump as US president will lead to a halt in US aid to Ukraine. This is the opinion of high-ranking officials of the USA and Europe interviewed by the CNN channel.

Next year’s US presidential election remains a key factor that top officials in Western national security, intelligence, and diplomatic services say will influence Putin’s decision on Ukraine. One US official said they had “no doubt” that Putin was “trying to hang on” until the 2024 US election. Another intelligence source said that “this is kind of the elephant in the room” for Ukraine, the US, and Europe.

Putin knows that Trump will help him. As [know] both the Ukrainians and our European partners. Therefore, although we have not seen anything very clear about this, I believe that everyone thinks so, he noted. A third CNN interviewee, a European diplomat, said that, in their opinion, trying to drag out the war before the US election is exactly Putin’s plan.

Interlocutors believe that Putin may see the victory of Trump or another candidate from the Republican Party as a chance that the United States will withdraw or reduce its support for Ukraine. According to them, the Kremlin’s attention to the American elections makes it even more important for Washington to maintain long-term support for Ukraine – a commitment that the administration of US President Joe Biden continues to repeat.

In August 2023, that is, 15 months before the election, Trump is the absolute favorite for the Republican nomination. He claims that he can end the war in 24 hours, and his far-right MAGA party wing is categorically against continuing to support official Kyiv. The former US ambassador to Poland, Daniel Fried, believes that the 2024 elections “complicate everything” because the Russians think they have a light at the end of the tunnel. This prompts Putin to think that they can ‘wait out’ the Americans, because Ukraine’s political support will be undermined if Trump wins,” he said.

William Taylor, the US ambassador to Kyiv, believes that the Ukrainians want to win or do something that will change the dynamics [on the battlefield] by the end of this year, and clarifies: There are many reasons for this rush; for example, the fact that they are dying every day, but the US presidential election is one of them.”

Defence Forces: Counteroffensive in South slowed down by heavy mining and lack of aircraft, reports, citing the deputy commander of the Tavria group, Serhiy Kuzmin, on the air of the Radio Liberty project “Lyberty Live”. “In Tauride sector, enemy is clinging to every meter, and counteroffensive is complicated by lack of aviation and dense mining. 

There are very dense mined areas, this is one of the factors. There are also a lot of rashist units in this area, they are clinging to every meter, trying to hold on, but they are failing. Again, we do not have enough aviation to be able to move faster, but we do not have enough aircraft. We don’t have enough air defense systems, and the artillery shelling by the Russian-backed militants has increased in these areas. This also affects the movement and speed of advance, he said.”

Analysts predict under what conditions Ukrainian counter-offensive will be successful, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Karolina Hird and Kateryna Stepanenko, analysts at the Institute for the Study of War, together with Frederick Kagan, an expert at the American Enterprise Institute, for TIME magazine. “American analysts have named three options for the development of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, the most successful of which are steady pressure, interdiction campaign and the creation of gaps in Russian defensive lines. The article says that the situation in Ukraine remains favourable for Kyiv, despite the limited progress made in the counteroffensive.

American analysts pointed out the options for the development of the Defence Forces’ counteroffensive under which it will be successful. Firstly, the current Ukrainian mechanised breakthrough could be successful, and the Ukrainians could exploit it to penetrate deep enough to break part or all of the Russian defence lines. Secondly, Russian troops, already suffering from serious morale and other systemic problems, could break under pressure and begin a controlled or uncontrolled withdrawal. Thirdly, a steady pressure and interdiction campaign, supported by a large-scale effort such as the one currently underway, could create gaps in Russian defensive lines that Ukrainian forces could exploit first at local level and then for deeper incursion.

The experts consider the first and second options possible, but relatively unlikely. The third is the most likely path to Ukraine’s success. It will be slower and more gradual than the other two, and slower than Western supporters of Ukraine want and expect. And it depends on Western aid to provide Ukraine with a steady supply of equipment, likely for many months, so that Ukraine can maintain its pressure until Russian forces have gaps in their lines that Ukrainians can exploit.

The slow pace of the counteroffensive that Ukraine used until 26 July is designed to minimise Ukrainian casualties. It is also not aimed at exhausting the Russians, but rather at steadily pushing them out of their prepared defensive positions so that the Ukrainians can take advantage of this to make operationally significant gains. It is still a war of manoeuvre, not a war of attrition, just at a slower pace. That is why it requires patience, but it can be successful, as the experts said. With this approach, Ukrainians have achieved success on both Kherson and Kharkiv fronts.

The article reads that Ukraine retains the initiative and uses many advantages. However, its counteroffensive may fail, as the Russians may be more resilient than they seem to be. Another reason for possible failure is that the West may not be able to provide Ukraine with the necessary equipment and support in time.

The grounds for confidence in the possibility of significant Ukrainian success are closely linked to a number of problems typical for the Russian army. In particular, Russian troops are stretched thin, and their supply lines are suffering as a result.

The defining characteristic of this phase of the war is that the Russians must defend a ground line of communication consisting of a road and a rail line that runs from Rostov-on-Don at the northeastern edge of the Sea of Azov to Crimea. Vast quantities of food, fuel, ammunition, personnel, and other supplies are required by the tens of thousands of Russian troops in southern Ukraine and must travel along this road and rail line. This is very favourable for Ukraine, the experts believe. If the Ukrainians can reach the Sea of Azov anywhere and hold their positions, they will cut off ground lines of communication. The Russians will thus have to hold it completely.

In other words, the Ukrainians need only to win and hold one sector to make virtually all of the territory held by Russia to the west of their advance unusable for defence. The Russians, on the other hand, need to win everywhere and always. The Ukrainians do not even need to reach the shore of the Sea of Azov.

On the one hand, the ground line of communication does not cover the coast along the entire perimeter, and so in some places, it is closer to the current front than to the coastline. If the Ukrainians are able to advance within artillery range of the line of communication (about 25 kilometres), they could begin to shell it intensively in a way that would severely worsen the Russians’ ability to continue to use it. Thus, the Ukrainians could choose any sector of the line or exploit any gap that opens up anywhere along the line to break through in a way that would most likely destroy the Russian defences to the west of the breakthrough.”

Ukraine’s defence forces use fresh reserves for breakthrough in south – WР, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing The Washington Post. “Ukraine’s Defence Forces have deployed the 10th Operational Corps reserves to advance in the vicinity of the village of Robotyne in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. The Washington Post said fighting in southeastern Ukraine this week was intense as Kyiv continued a large-scale campaign to liberate territories with a new injection of troops trained and equipped in the West. However, there are no signs of a major breakthrough yet.

The Washington Post added that Russia’s main defence line, a phalanx of trenches, tripwires, anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, is still ahead of the Ukrainian troops, who aim to advance south and cut off the Russian land bridge to Crimea, which is a key military supply route. The Washington Post wrote that Ukrainian troops have begun to gradually advance to this line, changing their approach, which involved small troop movements on foot, to a more powerful influx of forces from the reserves of the 10th Ukrainian Corps using tanks and armoured combat vehicles.

This last week of fighting has been important because they decided to commit their second echelon of forces in a greater way, the Washington Post said, citing Rob Lee, a military analyst who has just returned from a visit to Ukraine’s front lines and saw the Ukraine’s Armed Forces offensive himself. It’s not yet clear if Russia has suffered enough losses to create the conditions for a breakthrough. We’re waiting and seeing at this point.

The report said heavy fighting continues around the village of Robotyne, territory previously held by Russian troops and located less than 2.5 km from the Kremlin’s main defence line. Some people believe the battle around Robotyne is the nearest and most realistic way for Ukraine to break through the Russian defence line, while officials characterise it as having great strategic value.”

Estonian Intelligence: Russia unable to break through front, resorts to drone and missile strikes to exhaust Ukraine, European Pravda reports. “According to the Estonian Defence Forces’ intelligence center, the Russian occupation army is unable to achieve a decisive breakthrough in the Ukrainian defenсe on the frontlines. As reported by ERR, citing Estonian intelligence updates, due to their inability to break through the Ukrainian defenсe, Russia is attempting to exhaust Ukraine’s economy and population through drone and missile strikes.

The intelligence report stated that over the past week, Russian forces mainly launched attacks along the lines of Kupiansk-Svatove-Kremenna, in the area of Bakhmut, and along the Donetsk-Avdiivka axis. However, the Russian forces have achieved only minimal success. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have achieved limited success in the area around Bakhmut and in the south, near Orikhiv in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, and Velyka Novosilka in Donetsk Oblast.

In addition, Ukrainian forces continue to target important logistical targets of the Russians to disrupt the supply of front-line units.”

Russia prepares terrorist attack in Belarus through Wagnerites to fully drag it into war – Ukraine’s Security Service, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing SSU. “The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) says the Russians are preparing a false flag provocation to draw Belarus into direct hostilities against Ukraine. Intelligence reports suggest that a provocation involving a terrorist attack is planned at the Mazyr Oil Refinery in Gomel Oblast, bordering Ukraine. The planning is being carried out by a sabotage and reconnaissance group (SRG) of Russian military and intelligence officers deployed to Belarus under the guise of Wagnerites.

This Russian SRG is supposed to commit a provocation at the refinery, pretending to be ‘Ukrainian saboteurs’. The Russian Federation plans to blame Ukraine for the crime in order to try once again to drag Minsk into a full-scale war against our nation. The SSU obtained information on the planned terrorist attack in Belarus from several sources. Specifically, from the testimony of a Russian Armed Forces serviceman captured by Ukrainian defenders on the Zaporizhzhia front.

The SSU says it found information in the Russian captive’s mobile phone concerning a ‘special mission’ at the Mazyr Oil Refinery. The SSU cyber specialists found deleted communication with other executors, pictures of the facility, and some information about the operation in his phone, the report said.”

  1. Consequences and what to do?

Hans Petter Midttun: Today’s assessment will be published as a separate article. A teaser:

The next 6-8 months might prove to be critical.

The impact of the slow and incremental Western defence support has been thoroughly covered by many experts during the last 17 months. Four aspects, however, will have an increasing impact on the further development of the war.

Firstly, the introduction of F-16 into the Ukrainian Air Force will bring long-term relief but short-term pain.

Secondly, an already struggling Ukrainian Air Defence network might stumble and fall as Ukraine awaits the F-16s.

Thirdly, the temporary decrease in Ukrainian Air Power happens in conjunction with a reduced inflow of Western weapons and ammunition.

Lastly, Russia’s termination of the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) marks an escalation of the war. While Russia’s “war on food” has a tremendous impact on the more than 345 million people who face high levels of food insecurity in 2023, it has also huge impact on both Ukraine and the West.

It is, therefore, time to refocus attention from the situation on the battlefield on land to the broader strategic situation.

A reduced inflow of weapons and ammunition, combined with a temporary reduction of Air Power and increasing problems in upholding Air Control for lack of Ground Based Air Defence, will have an impact on the battlefield.

Equally crucial, it will have a huge impact on Russian appraisal of the strategic environment.

Russia’s attempts to occupy Ukraine by military power failed before it even started. This should, however, not be translated into a strategic defeat. Russia is, after all, conducting a hybrid – not a conventional – war. Seen in this context, its outlook is not all bad.

The West, therefore, urgently needs to reconsider its stand on military intervention.

If Ukrainian Air Defence shows signs of collapsing, a coalition of the willing needs to be ready to intervene (and do what it should have done 530 days ago).”

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