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Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 531: Russian missile strikes residential area in Donbas, kills seven

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 531: Russian missile strikes residential area in Donbas, kills seven

Russian missile strikes on Pokrovsk city in Donetsk Oblast kill seven. Ukraine advances in south, Russia assaults in east over past week. Ukraine jails metropolitan of Moscow-affiliated Orthodox Church for supporting Russian war. 

Daily overview — Summary report, August 8

Source: War Mapper.

According to information from the General Staff as of 06.00 08.08.2023, supplemented by its [18:00 assessment].

Situation in Ukraine. August 7, 2023. Source: ISW.
Day 531 of the russian full-scale military aggression against Ukraine has begun.
 
During the day of August 7, the enemy launched 7x missile and 42x air strikes, 66x MLRS attacks at the positions of Ukrainian troops and various settlements. Unfortunately, the russian terrorist attacks have killed and wounded civilians, destroyed residential buildings and other infrastructure.
 
The likelihood of missile and air strikes across Ukraine remains high.
 
During the day of August 7, there were 37x combat engagements.
 
Volyn and Polissya axes: no significant changes.
 
Luhansk Battle Map. August 7, 2023. Source: ISW.
 
Sivershchyna and Slobozhanshchyna axes: the enemy fired mortars and artillery at more than 30x settlements, including Mykhal’chyna Sloboda, Hrem’yach, Khrinivka (Chernihiv oblast), Basivka, Stepok, Volfyne, Pavlivka (Sumy oblast), Udy, Okhrimivka, Neskuchne, Bochkove, Ambarne (Kharkiv oblast).
 
Kup’yans’k axis: the Ukrainian troops are standing their ground. They successfully repelled adversary attacks in the vicinities of Syn’kivka, north of Ivanivka (Kharkiv oblast), and south of Novoselivs’ke (Luhansk oblast). The enemy launched air strikes in the vicinities of Kruhlyakivka and Kucherivka (Kharkiv oblast). The invaders fired artillery and mortars at more than 15x settlements, including Dvorichna, Zapadne, Petropavlivka, Podoly, Krasne, and Kup’yans’k-Vuzlovyi (Kharkiv oblast).
 
Donetsk Battle Map. August 7, 2023. Source: ISW.
 
Lyman axis: the settlements of Kuz’myne, Bilohorivka (Luhansk oblast), Tors’ke, Verkhn’okam’yans’ke, Spirne, and Rozdolivka (Donetsk oblast) were shelled with artillery.
 
Bakhmut Battle Map. August 7, 2023. Source: ISW.
 
Bakhmut axis: the adversary attempted offensive operations in the vicinities of Andriivka, Kurdyumivka, and Druzhba (Donetsk oblast), to no success. More than 10x settlements, including Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Ivanivske, Markove, and Chasiv Yar, (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. Keramik, Nevel’s’ke, Novobakhmutivka, Avdiivka, Sjeverne, Tonen’ke, Novokalynove, and Pervomais’ke (Donetsk oblast) came under artillery fire.
 
Mar’inka axis: the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to hold back the russian offensive in the vicinity of Mar’inka. The enemy also launched an air strike there. Krasnohorivka, Oleksandropil’, Hostre, Heorhiivka, Mar’inka, Pobjeda, Novomykhailivka, and Kostyantynivka (Donetsk oblast) were shelled by artillery.
 
Shakhtars’ke axis: the enemy launched an air strike in the vicinity of Odradne (Donetsk oblast). Vodyane, Vuhledar, Prechystivka, Zolota Nyva, Velyka Novosilka, Blahodatne, Storozheve, Staromaiors’ke, and Rivnopil’ (Donetsk oblast) came under artillery fire.
 
Zaporizhzhia Battle Map. August 7, 2023. Source: ISW.
 
Zaporizhzhia axis: the enemy made unsuccessful attempts to regain the lost position in the vicinity of Robotyne (Zaporizhzhia oblast). The adversary launched air strikes in the vicinities of Huliaipilske, Mala Tokmachka, and Orikhiv. The enemy fired artillery at more than 15x settlements, including Novodarivka, Komyshuvakha, Shcherbaky, Orikhiv, P’yatykhatky, (Zaporizhzhia oblast), and Nikopol’ (Dnipropetrovsk oblast).
 
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. August 7, 2023. Source: ISW.
 
Kherson axis: the adversary launched air strikes in the vicinities of Zmiivka, Tomaryne, and Odradokam’yanka (Kherson oblast). More than 15x settlements, including Ol’hivka, Sadove, Prydniprovs’ke, Respublikanets’, Kherson, and Kizomys, 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.
 
During the day of August 7, Ukrainian Air Force launched 9x air strikes on the concentrations of troops, weapons and military equipment of the adversary.
 
Also, the Ukrainian defenders intercepted 1x Ka-52 helicopter and 2x operational-tactical level reconnaissance UAVs of the enemy.
 
During the day of August 7, the Ukrainian missile and artillery troops hit 2x command posts, 3x concentrations of troops, weapons, and military equipment, 5x artillery systems at their firing positions depots, and 2x radar stations of the adversary.
 

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Ukraine advances in the south, Russia assaults in the east over the past week. A Ukrainian defense official says Russians have focused their offensive efforts on the eastern front throughout the past week, while Ukrainian forces were advancing in the country’s south.

Military: Russians attacked Ukrainian troops with chemical munitions in Ukraine’s south.

On 6 August, the Russian troops conducted two strikes with rockets equipped with a poisonous substance, possibly chloropicrin, near Novodanylivka in Ukraine’s south, according to the Commander of the Tavria Operational and Strategic Grouping of Troops, Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, Defense Express reports.

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

British Intelligence Map.
  • On 4 August 2023, President Putin signed into law a measure which will allow Rosgvardia, the Russian National Guard, to be equipped with heavy weaponry.
  • A sprawling organisation of up to 200,000 frontline personnel, Rosgvardia was created in its modern form in 2016 and is led by Putin’s former bodyguard Viktor Zolotov. The decision to strengthen the force follows the abortive Wagner mutiny of June 2023.
  • Despite Zolotov’s claim that his force performed ‘excellently’ during the mutiny, there is no evidence that Rosgvardia carried out any effective action against Wagner: exactly the sort of internal security threat it was designed to repress.

Losses of the Russian army

Losses of the Russian Army. Source: Euromaidan Press.

Humanitarian

Russian missile strikes on Pokrovsk city in Donetsk Oblast kill seven. The death toll from Russian missile strikes on the city of Pokrovsk in Donetsk Oblast on 7 August, has risen to seven, according to Serhii Dobriak, the head of the city’s military administration, as per Suspilne. Earlier, Minister of Internal Affairs Ihor Klymenko said five people were killed and 31 were injured, including employees of the State Emergency Service and police officers as the result of the attack.

Officials: Another 22 Ukrainians released from Russian captivity. On 7 August, 22 Ukrainian prisoners of war, including two officers, returned home from Russian captivity, President’s Office Head Andriy Yermak, wrote on Telegram. The freed soldiers “took part in battles in different areas. There are wounded among the liberated. The oldest of our soldiers is 54 years old, the youngest is 23 years old,” according to him.

Environmental

Official: Russia exports another batch of stolen Ukrainian grain from occupied Mariupol. Russia has exported another batch of stolen Ukrainian grain from the port of occupied Mariupol city to Rostov-on-Don, according to tracking data published by a Mariupol official.

Ukraine jails metropolitan of Moscow-affiliated Orthodox Church for supporting Russian war. A court in Ukraine has sentenced Moscow-affiliated Orthodox Church Metropolitan Іоnaphan to five years in prison after he was found guilty of distributing Russian propaganda materials that called parishioners to seize power and change the borders of Ukraine. In addition, the metropolitan published articles in support of Russian troops and their war crimes on one of the websites of the Orthodox Church.

Support

CNN: US State Secretary Blinken reiterates US’ support for Ukraine during talk with FM. On 7 August, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba about “developments in Ukraine’s counteroffensive efforts, recent conversations about a just and durable peace in Ukraine held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and long-term security arrangements between the two countries,” according to a readout from spokesperson Matt Miller, as reported by CNN.

German lawmakers reach consensus on long-range missile supply, Ukrainian MP says. Head of Ukraine’s delegation at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Yehor Chernev says key parliamentary factions in Germany have “reached a consensus” to supply Ukraine with Taurus cruise missiles with a range of 500 km.

New Developments

 Four unnerving signs for Ukraine as it heads for fall. While Ukraine is fighting for its right to exist and paying the price in blood, Europe has long realized that Ukraine is protecting European values and principles. There can be no security without an independent and sovereign Ukraine. As previously argued, the consequences of a potential Russian victory in Ukraine are devastating for the continent.

Ukraine-linked group claims it hacked Moscow property registration bureau website – RFE/RL. On August 7th, a hacker group associated with Ukraine claimed it had breached the website of Moscow’s municipal property registration bureau, which contained data about real estate and its owners in Moscow and the Moscow Oblast, according to RFE/RL.

Woman detained for plotting Russian attack on Mykolaiv during Zelenskyy’s visit. Ukraine’s Security Service says it has detained a suspected informant of Russian intelligence services who had collected data on the events planned for the country’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to southern Mykolaiv Oblast. The SBU says the detained woman tried to “establish time and list of locations of the Head of State’s tentative itinerary in the region,” which prompted additional security measures during Zelenskyy’s visit in July.

Assessment

  1. On the War

The Institute of Study of War has made the following assessment as of 7 August:

Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on at least two sectors of the front on August 7. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations in the Berdiansk (western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast area) and Melitopol (western Zaporizhzhia Oblast) directions.[1] Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar reported that fighting is ongoing south of Bakhmut and that eastern Ukraine has been the epicenter of hostilities in the past week.[2] Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged in an interview published on August 6 with Argentine news outlet La Nacion that the tempo of counteroffensive operations is slower than expected and stated that patience is necessary in order for Ukraine to win.[3] Zelensky stated that Ukrainian forces are in the offensive phase of operations and continue to hold the initiative.[4]

Russian forces and occupation administrators continue to seek to mitigate the impact of recent Ukrainian strikes on logistics nodes along key Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) connecting occupied Crimea with occupied Kherson Oblast. Ukrainian Southern Operational Command Spokesperson Captain First Rank Nataliya Humenyuk noted that Ukrainian strikes on the Chonhar and Henichesk bridges were intended to specifically target Russian plans and strategies and inhibit the ability of Russian forces to bring supplies and personnel to the front.[5] Humenyuk also emphasized that Russian forces must now route supplies and personnel through Armyansk, directly on the border between Kherson Oblast and Crimea and within 80km of the frontline.[6] Kherson Oblast occupation head Vladimir Saldo reported that his administration has temporarily changed the logistics and vehicle crossing routes between occupied Kherson and Crimea due to damage to the Chonhar Bridge, including the suspension of bus traffic between Simferopol, Crimea and Henichesk, Kherson Oblast.[7] Russian milbloggers notably did not comment on the aftermath of the strikes on August 7, further supporting ISW’s previous assessment that Russian officials may have directed Russian correspondents to not offer commentary on Ukrainian strikes on Russian logistics nodes in Crimea to avoid generating panic within the information space.[8]

Russian opposition media outlet Verstka suggested that the Russian Investigative Committee and its head, Alexander Bastrykin, are directly involved in the forced deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia and the forced placement of Ukrainian children into Russian military training programs.[9] Verstka reported that the Russian Investigative Committee “took patronage” over Ukrainian children living in children‘s homes throughout Russia, and sent its employees to 10 such homes with toys, clothes, and school supplies in order to coerce the children to enter the Russian cadet corps. Verstka reported that Bastrykin personally visited Ukrainian children in Russia and told them that Russian victory depend on the children and that the Russian Investigative Committee is there to support them. Verstka reported that the Investigative Committee previously advertised the cadet corps to Ukrainian children from Donbas and stated that 78 Ukrainian children entered educational institutions, including the cadet corps and academies affiliated with the Investigative Committee, between February 2022 and March 2023. Verstka reported that Bastrykin ordered the cadet corps in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Volgograd to prepare to receive Ukrainian children from occupied Donbas as early as February 25, 2022. Verstka highlighted statements from Ukrainian children who said they felt compelled to participate in the Russian cadet corps due to the educational opportunity. The coercion of Ukrainian children, who are legally unable to consent to their deportations and participation in such military-patriotic re-education programs, is likely part of an ongoing Russian campaign to eradicate the Ukrainian national identity and militarize youth who have been forcibly deported to Russia.

China’s increasing misalignment with Russia on any settlement to end the war in Ukraine was reportedly evident at the talks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 5-6. The Financial Times reported that the Chinese representatives at the meeting were “constructive” and “keen to show that [China] is not Russia.”[10] The Financial Times quoted one European diplomat present at the talks as saying that the “mere presence of China shows Russia is more and more isolated.”[11] The Chinese delegation reportedly indicated its willingness to attend the next meeting of a similar format that will likely also exclude Russia.[12] A Russian insider source alleged that Russia has rejected China’s 12-point peace plan for the war in Ukraine from February 2023 (which the Chinese delegation re-introduced during the talks in Saudi Arabia) and that some Chinese elites are secretly expressing their dissatisfaction with the actions of the Russian leadership regarding a peaceful settlement of the war in Ukraine.[13] These reports from the talks in Saudi Arabia and insider allegations, if true, align with ISW’s previous assessments that China is not fully aligned with Russia on the issue of Ukraine and that Russia and China’s relationship is not a “no limits partnership” as the Kremlin desires.[14]

The Ukrainian delegation at the talks in Saudi Arabia presented a 10-point peace plan that reportedly included calls for global food security, nuclear safety, environmental security, humanitarian aid, and prisoner releases.[15] Ukrainian Presidential Administration Chief of Staff reported that all of the members of BRICS besides Russia – Brazil, India, China, and South Africa – attended the talks.[16] Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova predictably responded to the Ukrainian peace plan, calling it a “meaningless ultimatum, which is aimed at protracting hostilities.”[17] Zakharova thereby repeated a longstanding Russian information operation that absurdly claims that Russia, unlike Ukraine, “has always been and will remain open to a diplomatic solution” to the war in Ukraine.[18]

Ukrainian officials reported that Ukrainian and Russian forces conducted a prisoner-of-war (POW) exchange on August 7. Ukrainian officials reported that 22 Ukrainian soldiers returned to Ukraine and did not state how many Russian POWs returned to Russia.[19] Official Russian sources have not reported on the POW exchange and Russian milbloggers have notably not commented on it either. Russian milbloggers have often criticized the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) when POW exchanges are not carried out on a one-to-one ratio between Ukrainian and Russian personnel.[20]

Key Takeaways:

  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on at least two sectors of the front on August 7.
  • Russian forces and occupation administrators continue to seek to mitigate the impact of recent Ukrainian strikes on logistics nodes along key Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) connecting occupied Crimea with occupied Kherson Oblast.
  • Russian opposition media outlet Verstka suggested that the Russian Investigative Committee and its head, Alexander Bastrykin, are directly involved in the forced deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia and the forced placement of Ukrainian children into Russian military training programs.
  • China’s increasing misalignment with Russia on any settlement to end the war in Ukraine was reportedly evident at the talks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 5-6.
  • The Ukrainian delegation at the talks in Saudi Arabia presented a 10-point peace plan that reportedly included calls for global food security, nuclear safety, environmental security, humanitarian aid, and prisoner releases.
  • Ukrainian officials reported that Ukrainian and Russian forces conducted a prisoner-of-war (POW) exchange on August 7.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, along the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border, and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast on August 7 and made advances in certain areas.
  • The Kremlin continues efforts to portray itself as adequately mobilizing the Russian defense industrial base (DIB) for a protracted war effort.
  • Russian occupation authorities continue to use maternity capital benefits to coerce Ukrainian civilians in occupied territories to accept Russian citizenship and increase social control in occupied areas.
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