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Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 532: Biden greenlights Ukrainian pilots training on F-16

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 532: Biden greenlights Ukrainian pilots training on F-16

Ukraine takes the initiative on the Bakhmut front. Some settlements of Kharkiv region prepare for mandatory evacuation of children – Vice PM. Biden greenlights Ukrainian pilots training on F-16.

We are continuing our series of Patron Talks, exclusive to Euromaidan Press patrons. This time, our speaker is Mykola Bielieskov, Research Fellow at National Institute for Strategic Studies under UA President/senior analyst at Come back Alive. 

 

Daily report day 532 – August 9, 2022

Source: War Mapper.

Situation

According to information from the General Staff as of 06.00 09.08.2023, supplemented by its [18:00 assessment].

Situation in Ukraine. August 8, 2023. Source: ISW.

“On August 8, the enemy launched 4 missiles and 53 airstrikes, launched 86 MLRS attacks on Ukrainian cities and Ukrainian Armed Forces. As a result of the Russian terrorist attacks, unfortunately, there are dead and wounded civilians, and houses and other civilian infrastructure were destroyed.

The threat of missile and air strikes remains high across Ukraine.

30 combat clashes took place throughout the day.

  • Volyn’ and Polissya axes: the operational situation has not changed significantly.
Luhansk Battle Map. August 8, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Sivershchyna and Slobozhanshchyna axes: the enemy carried out airstrikes in the areas of Gremyachka and Leonivka, Chernihiv region. He carried out mortar and artillery shelling of more than 30 settlements, including Volodymyrivka, Senkivka, Yasna Polyana, Gremyach of Chernihiv region; Znob-Novgorodske, Seredyna Buda, Bunyakyne, Volfine, Velika Pysarivka of the Sumy region and Strelecha, Pylna, Gatyshche, Budarky, Bologivka in the Kharkiv region.
  • Kupiansk axis: our soldiers are firmly holding the defence and repelling enemy attacks in the Sinkivka district of the Kharkiv region. The enemy carried out airstrikes in the areas of Synkivka, Kotlyarivka of the Kharkiv region and Novoselivskyi of the Luhansk region. More than 10 settlements, including Dvorichna, Kucherivka, Kupiansk, Kislivka, and Berestov of the Kharkiv region, were hit by enemy artillery and mortar fire.
Donetsk Battle Map. August 8, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Lyman axis: the enemy carried out airstrikes in the areas of Bilogorivka, Luhansk region, and Terni, Serebryanka, Spirny, Vesely, and Donetsk region. The settlements of Bilogorivka in the Luhansk region and Torske, Verkhnyokamianske, Spirne, and Rozdolivka in the Donetsk region were hit by enemy artillery fire.
Bakhmut Battle Map. August 8, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Bakhmut axis: our soldiers are firmly holding the defence, and successfully repulsed enemy attacks on the outskirts of Klishchiivka and in the Zaytsevo region of Donetsk region. The enemy carried out airstrikes in the populated areas of Kramatorsk, Markove, Klishchiivka, Severnye and New York of the Donetsk region. More than 15 settlements, including Chasiv Yar, Predtechine, Bila Gora, Severnye and New York of the Donetsk region, were affected by enemy artillery shelling.
  • Avdiivka axis: under heavy fire from the enemy’s aircraft and artillery, our defenders successfully repelled attacks by Russian troops in the Novokalynov, Avdiivka and Severna regions of the Donetsk region. The enemy carried out airstrikes in the Severnoy and Pervomaisky districts of the Donetsk region. Avdiivka, Tonenka, Solovyove, Pervomaiske, and Karlivka of the Donetsk region were hit by artillery fire.
  • Marinka axis: defence forces continue to hold back the advance of Russian troops in the Mariinka and Novomykhailivka regions of the Donetsk region. The enemy launched an airstrike in the Krasnohorivka region of the Donetsk region. Krasnohorivka, Gostre, Mariinka and Novomykhailivka of the Donetsk region were hit by artillery fire.
  • Shakhtarske axis: the enemy made unsuccessful attempts to restore the lost position in the Staromayorsky area of the Donetsk region. He carried out airstrikes in the areas of Vremivka, Blagodatne, and Staromayorske settlements of the Donetsk region. Vodyane, Vugledar, Prechistivka, Zolota Niva, Blagodatne, Staromayorske of the Donetsk region and Levadne of the Zaporizhzhia region were subjected to artillery fire.
Zaporizhzhia Battle Map. August 8, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Zaporizhzhia axis: the enemy carried out airstrikes in the districts of Novodanilivka and Robotiny of the Zaporizhzhia region. More than 15 settlements, including Rivnopil, Novodarivka, Olgivske, Pyatikhatky, Lobkovo, Kamyanaske of the Zaporizhzhia region, and Nikopol of the Dnipropetrovsk region, were hit by artillery fire.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. August 8, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Kherson axis: The enemy carried out airstrikes in the Olhivka district of the Kherson region. More than 10 settlements were hit by enemy artillery fire, including Mykhailivka, Zmiivka, Olhivka, Mykilske, Veletenske of the Kherson region and the city of Kherson, as well as Kutsurub, Ochakiv of the Mykolaiv region.

At the same time, the Défense Forces of Ukraine continue to conduct an offensive operation in the Melitopol and Berdiansk directions, are entrenched at the reached boundaries, and carry out counter-battery countermeasures.

Against the background of successful combat operations of the Défense Forces of Ukraine, the number of casualties in units of the Russian occupation forces has increased significantly. In particular, the number of wounded and dead servicemen of the Russian occupying forces in the Swativsk-Kreminsk direction increased sharply. In order to organize the evacuation of the wounded to Russia, medical workers of the special purpose unit 442 of the district military clinical hospital of the Ministry of Défense of the Russian Federation arrived in the city of Svatove, Luhansk region. In particular, in the period from August 1 to 7, about 500 occupiers with gunshot wounds of various degrees of severity were sent from the above-mentioned direction to the Belgorod hospital. At the same time, to hide the real number of their losses at the front, the dead Russian occupiers are sent to Rostov-on-Don.

[russia continues the illegal integration of the temporarily captured territories of Ukraine into its socio-political space. Thus, in Stulneve in the Zaporizhzhia Oblast, the occupiers began preparations before the so-called “elections” in the captured territories on September 10, the only voting day in Russia. The arrival of representatives from the “United Russia” party is expected to create groups of agitators and informers from among local collaborators.]

Over the past day, the Ukrainian Air Force conducted struck 10 areas where the enemy’s personnel, weapons and military equipment are concentrated.

During the day, Ukrainian missile and artillery units hit 2 control points, 5 artillery pieces in firing positions, an ammunition depot, and 2 radio-electronic warfare stations of the enemy.“

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Hottest spots in Kupiansk direction, Ukraine’s Forces continue offensive, Ukrinform reports, citing Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Hanna Maliar. “If we measure the intensity of the fighting, the hottest spot is in the Kupiansk direction. Indeed, the enemy is pulling up forces there, and we record that they are pulling up forces from the Avdiivka direction, where they have been unable to advance for more than a year. And not only to Kupiansk, they are also pulling up forces to Bakhmut. Why? Because we are on the offensive there, and they cannot withstand this advance and have to fortify themselves, Maliar informed. […] I can assure you that we are also taking appropriate measures to resist the enemy and prevent them from advancing along the offensive line. […]

According to her, the Défense Forces are demonstrating their success in the Bakhmut direction and are also advancing in the south. There are certain advances in the south, and there, too, the enemy’s potential is being destroyed in large numbers, and the enemy is resisting: they are mining, reinforcing key dominant heights with concrete and engineering fortifications. But nevertheless, the destruction of their defence potential leads to the fact that we are moving, Maliar added.

As Ukrinform reported, on August 8, the spokesman for the Eastern Group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Serhii Cherevatyi said that Ukrainian soldiers retain the initiative in the Bakhmut direction, despite the fact that the enemy is putting up strong resistance.”

Ukraine’s Armed Forces take initiative on Bakhmut front: Russian communication hub destroyed and 65 occupiers killed, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesman for the Eastern Group of Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. “The Ukrainian military retains the initiative despite the Russians’ strong resistance, namely the operation of heavy artillery on the Bakhmut front. Our defence forces continue holding the initiative on the Bakhmut front. The enemy desperately resists, including using all types of artillery, from mortars to multiple launcher rocket systems.

The enemy struck our positions 508 times during that day, launched 6 air raids, and 16 combat clashes took place, during which 65 occupiers were killed, 120 were wounded, and 3 were taken prisoner; an enemy tank, a Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer, a Msta- B howitzer, an ammunition storage point and 5 trucks were destroyed.

Also, symbolically (8 August is the Day of Ukrainian Communications and Cybersecurity Forces), an enemy communications hub was destroyed. Cherevatyi says that Ukrainian artillerymen, with the quality and meticulousness of their tasks, overshadow the quantitative superiority of Russian artillery weapons.”

Ukraine’s Army has been depleting enemy’s potential for past weeks, Ukrinform reports, citing Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Maliar. “Over the past week, more than 300 units of enemy equipment were destroyed in the east and south, and in addition, ammunition depots, command and control points, and manpower clusters were hit. That is, our military forces are engaging the enemy in a really powerful manner, said Maliar. According to the official, another great achievement of Ukraine’s Defense Forces is the lack of enemy advance despite intensified shelling. […]

According to Maliar, it takes patience and understanding that the war between strong adversaries cannot be short. A powerful duel is now underway.

All these weeks that you and I have been observing are not just a duel, it can be referred to as an act of attrition. Our Armed Forces are destroying the enemy’s offensive and defensive potential, that is, to make it more difficult for them to both attack and defend. And another important aspect is that we need to exhaust the enemy […], Maliar emphasized.”

In Tauria direction, Armed Forces of Ukraine entered first line of defense of occupiers – “Tauria” troop group, Censor.net reports, citing the Deputy Commander of the Tauria Operational and Strategic Group of Troops for Strategic Communications Serhiy Kuzmin and RBC-Ukraine. “We have already reached the first line of the occupiers. It is very difficult, but our military are pushing through it, we are moving forward. This movement is somewhat slowed down by minefields and our lack of aviation, Kuzmin said.

We remind you that Ukrainian defenders are also advancing hundreds of metres in the Melitopol sector.” 

Russians are trying to increase reserves in conditions of complicated logistics, number of shelling “constantly decreases” due to lack of shells, – OC “South”, Censor.net reports, citing the spokeswoman of the OC “South” Natalia Humeniuk. “The situation remains really difficult because the enemy is trying to raise forces and reserves in conditions of complicated and slowed-down logistics. This is understandable, we are working on this in their deep rear, she said. The fact that the Russian invaders have enough shells can be seen from the number of shelling, which is constantly decreasing.

We hope to continue working in the same mode. Over the past 2 days, the Southern Défense Forces have destroyed 100 invaders, 2 boats on which the SRG tried to manoeuvre among the islands, as well as a mortar, a “TOR” M2 air defence system, and an enemy armoured vehicle. An “Orlan” UAV was successfully grounded.”

Russian secret services try to penetrate operation planning electronic system of Ukraine’s army, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing press service of the Security Service of Ukraine. “As a result of complex measures, the SSU uncovered and blocked the illegal actions of Russian hackers who tried to penetrate Ukrainian military networks and organise intelligence gathering. The SSU’s prompt response prevented Russian secret services from gaining access to sensitive information on the actions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the location and movement of the Defence Forces, their technical support, etc.

The defensive cyber operation was conducted in cooperation with the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Illia Vitiuk, Head of the SSU Cyber Security Department, said that the hacker group Sandworm controlled by Russian military intelligence is responsible for the cyberattacks.

As a result of the investigation, SSU cyber specialists found that the Russians relied on the Ukrainian tablets seized on the battlefield to spread the viruses. They planned to use the accesses and programs available on these devices to penetrate the system. It is reported that the Security Service has detected almost a dozen Russian spyware programs that were designed to obtain information from the system.”

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

British Intelligence Map.
  • On 4 August 2023, the Russian merchant tanker (MT) Sig was attacked and disabled near the Kerch Strait, apparently by an Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV). This came a day after a similar attack on the Olenegorsky Gornyak landing ship, and two days after an apparently foiled attack on Russian patrol boats while they were likely escorting the Russian merchant vessel (MV) Sparta IV.
  • Although civilian-flagged, MT Sig and MV Sparta IV have long been contracted to ship fuel and military supplies between Russia and Syria. Since 28 February 2022, Russian military ships have not been able to pass through the Bosphorus, leaving Russian military forces in Syria and the Mediterranean heavily dependent upon Sig, Sparta IV, and a handful of other civilian vessels.
  • The attacks show that USV operations are increasingly a major component of modern naval warfare and can be turned against the weakest links of Russia’s sea supply lanes.
  • 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.
  • With Zolotov previously suggesting that heavy equipment should include artillery and attack helicopters, the move suggests that the Kremlin is doubling down on resourcing Rosgvardia as one of the key organisations to ensure regime security.

Losses of the Russian Army

Losses of the Russian Army. Source: Euromaidan Press.

As of Wednesday 9 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 251620 (+820)
  • Tanks – 4262 (+8)
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 8290 (+12)
  • Artillery systems – 5013 (+17)
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 711 (+2)
  • Air defence means – 469 (+1)
  • Aircraft – 315 (+0) 
  • Helicopters – 312 (+0)
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 7479 (+19)
  • Vessels/boats – 18 (+0)
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 4175 (+17)
  • Special equipment – 742 (+5)
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0)
  • Cruise missiles – 1377 (+0)

North Korea is preparing to send weapons and ammunition to Russia, – spokesman of Ministry of Unification of South Korea Koo Byoung-sam, Censor.net reports, citing the spokesman of the South Korean Ministry of Unification Affairs, Koo Byoung-sam and Yonhap. “The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, visited large weapons factories that produce shells for large-calibre artillery and rocket launchers. One of the purposes of such an inspection could be preparation for the export of weapons and ammunition to the Russian Federation for the war against Ukraine.

Last week, he said, Kim inspected key North Korean weapons factories, including those that produce projectiles for rocket launchers and engines for strategic cruise missiles. The latest inspections apparently had several goals – to showcase the country’s achievements in the defence sector, to respond to joint military exercises between Seoul and Washington, and to reach arms exports, Koo said.

He noted that during the trip, the leader of the D​PRK used the expression “economic work of national defense”, which may indicate the intention to export ammunition. Such a statement by North Korea is very unprecedented. If it means exporting weapons, then the North has publicly declared its intention to violate UN Security Council resolutions banning its nuclear and weapons programs, Koo summarized.

Seoul does not rule out that North Korea may seek to strengthen military cooperation with the Russian Federation. Thus, one of the two high-ranking guests at a military parade in Pyongyang on July 27 was Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, for whom Kim gave a tour of North Korea’s weapons display, including new attack and spy drones and intercontinental ballistic missiles.” 

Russia Pulls Thousands of Soviet-Era Military Vehicles From Major Storage Facility, The Moscow Times reports. “Russia’s largest known military equipment storage facility has been stripped of nearly half of the Soviet-era tanks and armoured vehicles that were stored on its grounds before Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, The Moscow Times’ Russian service reported, analysing satellite imagery of the storage site. The Vagzhanovo military equipment depot — located outside the republic of Buryatia’s capital of Ulan-Ude in eastern Siberia — is just one of nearly two dozen such sites identified by The Moscow Times’ Russian service using open-source data and it covers an area of over 10 square kilometers. 

Satellite imagery dated five months before Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine shows that around 3,840 Soviet-era tanks and armored vehicles were stored outside Vagzhanovo, according to the outlet. But over a year later in November 2022, around 2,600 of the military vehicles remained at the site — a decrease of just over 40% of the total amount observed before the war. […]

At the same time, around half of the tanks at the facility were missing turrets, suggesting that those which have been removed over the past year may have been sent to be refurbished with new parts and equipment, as Moscow has increasingly resorted to sending aging tanks to the battlefield to compensate for its staggering equipment losses.

According to the Dutch OSINT project Oryx, Russia had by May 31 lost over 2,000 tanks out of the 3,000 combat-ready vehicles of its original reserve when it invaded Ukraine last year. 

Meanwhile, according to media reports, Russia is reimporting parts for tanks and missiles previously sold to India and Myanmar, potentially to improve older weapons and equipment destined for use in Ukraine. The reimported equipment includes thousands of sighting telescopes and cameras for installation in tanks, which analysts say could be used to modernize Russia’s old T-72 tanks currently sitting in storage.”

Humanitarian

Some settlements of Kharkiv region prepare for mandatory evacuation of children – Vice PM, Ukrinform reports, citing Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories Iryna Vereshchuk. “A new region is being prepared – Kharkiv region is preparing for compulsory evacuation, including from some settlements – in a forced way for children, Vereshchuk said.

When asked to specify the number of settlements in question, the official replied: I would like to wait, because the decision must first be made by the Kharkiv Regional Defense Council, and yesterday we had a conversation with Oleh Syniehubov, the head of the Regional Defense Council, and he informed us that such a decision will be made, given our offensive actions. The enemy is responding, and we need to be ready. We must do everything to ensure that civilians do not suffer. […]

As Ukrinform reported, in March 2023, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a mechanism for the forced evacuation of children from active hostilities.”

After attacking Ukraine wheat exports, Russia faces own shipping challenge, Reuters reports. “Russia’s lack of ships and Western grain traders’ shrinking appetite for business with Moscow are adding to rising costs of moving Russian wheat, at a time when the war in Ukraine has spilled perilously close to vital Black Sea supply routes. President Vladimir Putin promised to replace Ukrainian grain with Russian shipments to Africa after Moscow in July ended an arrangement that gave Ukraine’s food cargo safe passage in the Black Sea, imposing a de-facto blockade on its neighbour and attacking storage facilities, in an escalation of the war. Ukraine’s response, sea-drone attacks on a Russian oil tanker and a warship at its Novorossiysk naval base, next door to a major grain and oil port, has added to these new dangers for transport in the Black Sea. […]

Even though agriculture exports are not subject to direct European and US sanctions imposed after Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Moscow says restrictions placed on banking and Russian individuals are “hidden sanctions” on the food trade. The financial and security risks associated with trading with Russia – compounded by the Black Sea corridor collapse – are driving up costs of freight for Moscow and pushing it toward older and smaller vessels run by less established shipping operators, Reuters reporting based on conversations with 10 marine insurers, traders and shipping companies showed.

The situation is raising doubts about whether Russia can keep up a record pace of exports and if not resolved could push global wheat prices higher, the sources said. Already, prior to the expiry of the deal, grain carriers and commodity houses had reduced exposure to Russia.

Global commodity houses are no longer helping Russia with the mechanics of trading its grain. Cargill, Louis Dreyfus and Viterra stopped such work on July 1, adding more pressure on Moscow to handle all aspects of grain deals including transport.

Cargill has said it would continue to ship grain from Russia’s ports. It declined further comment. Dreyfus, Viterra and ADM declined to comment, while another major international group, Bunge, did not respond to a request for comment. It is not going to be easy for them (Russia), said one industry executive with knowledge of grains exports.

Last year, Russia exported a record volume of wheat on ships chartered from international companies and traders. While exports remain strong, in the past few months it has had to source more of its own freight, increasingly relying on a “shadow fleet” of older vessels typically operated by companies based in Türkiye and China, three shipping industry sources said. […] Most of what is coming out is dealt with by Russian traders using (shadow) fleet ships, which international traders would not touch.

In a sign of Russia’s growing hunt for vessels, its requests for charters doubled to 257 in July compared with the same month last year, according to data from maritime platform Shipfix that collates from hundreds of market participants. The data does not show how many of the requests were fulfilled, or which ship operators were involved. The requests for ships were up 40% from June, and are likely to climb further as the export season gathers pace. […]

Without the Black Sea corridor in place, both Russia and Ukraine warned in July that ships destined for each others ports could be treated as legitimate military targets, which three marine insurance source said was a further blow to Western companies’ risk appetite. Insurance for ships heading to Russia’s Black Sea ports currently costs tens of thousands of dollars in additional premiums daily, the three sources said, with rates ticking higher following Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s other waterways through the Danube in recent days and Kyiv’s response. […]

Russia’s Black Sea terminals handle about 70% of the country’s grain exports. They include the Novorossiisk and Taman ports.”

The energy facilities’ repair campaign goes according to plan, Ukrinform reports, citing Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. “The situation in the energy sector. According to the Ministry of Energy, the repair campaign goes according to plan. Nuclear units. Five nuclear units with a capacity of 4.4 GW have been repaired. Four more units with a capacity of 3.4 GW are under repair,

According to him, 24 power units have been repaired and are being repaired. This is 62% of the total and the capacity amounts to 4.3 GW. Seventy percent of thermal power plants have been repaired, another 30% are currently under repair. Thirty-two hydraulic units, or 68% of the capacity, have been repaired and are under repair. And this is a capacity of almost 1.8 GW.

On the part of Ukrenergo, we have almost 80% completion of works on the repair of trunk networks. In particular, high-voltage substations have already been restored to the pre-war level, the Head of Government added.

As reported, Ukraine needs $3.4 billion to prepare for the next heating season, this sum includes both the restoration of generation and the purchase of necessary resources.”

Environmental

Area of mined territory of Ukraine is comparable to area of Uruguay, – Zelensky, Censor.net reports, citing President Zelensky in an interview with Latin American media. “Ukraine seeks to convey to the countries of Latin America the understanding of Russian crimes against Ukraine and hopes for their support in overcoming aggression. We are asking, first of all, for weapons from other countries. But not all of them can do this due to their domestic legislation or lack of weapons. However, humanitarian aid, aid in demining, drinking water supply systems, energy assistance, political and informational support – this is something that other countries, including Latin American countries, can help, Zelensky said. […]

Ukraine has mined territories with an area of 200,000 square kilometres. For example, the area of Uruguay is about 200,000 square kilometres as well. Therefore, the people of Uruguay should understand that it is as if their entire country is mined. What is this? War? No, this is not war, this is terrorism […]. That is, the first thing to understand is the situation in Ukraine and to imagine the extent of the consequences of Russian aggression, he said.

The second example given by Zelensky is the blowing up of the Kakhovskaya HPP. There is no drinking water in five regions. This is a social explosion. And now imagine again that the territory of a country like Uruguay remains without drinking water.[…] These are the consequences of the Russian war. That’s why it’s not a conflict and not even just a war. It’s a terrible terror. They clearly understand that in order to demine such an area, it takes a decade, he stressed.”

In cooling pond of ZNPP, slight decrease in water level was recorded, – “Energoatom”, Censor.net reports, citing “Energoatom“. “As of 09:00 a.m. on August 8, a slight decrease in the water level in the cooling pond is recorded. It currently stands at 16.22m. The water level in the “hot” channel of the Zaporizhzhia TPP, from where the ZNPP pond is fed if necessary, is 17 m 10 cm. In the “cold” channel, it is 10 m 82 cm, the report says. Note that on August 1, the water level in the cooling pond was 16.30 m.

Energoatom assures that despite the Russian occupiers undermining the Kakhovka HPP dam, the situation remains stable and under control.”

Number of wounded in Pokrovsk rises to 88, 7 killed, early reports show no one under rubble, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Ministry of Internal AffairsState Emergency Service and Pavlo Kyrylenko, Head of Donetsk Oblast Military Administration. “Russian missile strike on residential buildings in the centre of Pokrovsk […]. Among the dead is the deputy head of the State Emergency Service in Donetsk Oblast, and among the injured are police officers, rescue workers and a child.

As of 07:00, the number of wounded in the missile attack on Pokrovsk has increased to 88, seven people have been killed, and preliminary information indicates that there are no people under the rubble.”

Russian Defence Ministry’s claim about striking Ukrainian command centre in Pokrovsk is false, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “The day after Russia’s deadly missile strike on Pokrovsk in Donetsk Oblast, which killed at least 7 civilians and left another 88 injured, and which damaged a hotel and a high-rise apartment building, the Russian Ministry of Defence claimed that it struck an area near “Krasnoarmeysk” (what Pokrovsk was called in the USSR), destroying a “key Khortytsia group of Ukrainian forces command centre”.

Serhii Cherevatyi, spokesman for the Skhid (East) Group of Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, told Ukrainska Pravda [that] of course this claim by Russia’s deceitful propaganda has no basis in reality. This is the third or fourth time they [claim to] destroy this command centre. Russian terrorists continue waging a war on civilians. The ‘destroyed’ group of Khortytsia forces will continue retaliating against the enemy attacks.”

State Bureau of Investigation already investigating more than 100 cases of abuse of authority by military enlistment officers, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing SBI on Telegram. “The Ukrainian State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) has opened 112 proceedings against officials from territorial recruitment and social support centres since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and 15 charges have already been filed in court.

Motives for the ‘popular’ offences by military enlistment office officials are their own profit, for the sake of which they ignore both their conscience and responsibility for the fate of the country. The SBI recalled that about 10 military enlistment officers have been exposed in the past few weeks alone […]

The SBI emphasised that they are strengthening the fight against crimes at military enlistment offices and warned that any schemes would be exposed, and the perpetrators brought to justice. Checking the activity and lifestyle of employees of the territorial recruitment and social support centres is currently ongoing. All violations will receive a principled and uncompromising assessment in accordance with the Criminal Code, the bureau assures.”

Ministry of Defense spent about UAH 27 billion on weapons that were not received – ACAC, Censor.net reports, citing ZN.ua journalist Yuriy Nikolov. “It turned out that the Ministry of Defence had paid 27 billion for weapons, but instead of weapons, they got n###. Reznikov says that you know, we were not preparing for the war, there were no shells or armour in the warehouses, and on 24 February we rushed to buy everything, and all sorts of crooks promised us, we gave them 100% of the prepayment, and they took us and cheated us, nits, the journalist writes. At the same time, he won’t admit what share of these 27 billion was actually under the February-March 2022 contracts, even if you shoot him, he says.

The Anti-Corruption Action Centre writes about the situation in more detail. The response to the Anti-Corruption Action Centre’s (AntAC) request and information from sources indicate that the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine’s overdue receivables for the purchase of weapons amount to about UAH 27 billion.

At the same time, information about specific overdue contracts is hidden. However, the US Department of Defence, for example, publishes daily reports on contracts for the purchase of weapons for its troops. These reports are available here.

The presence of overdue receivables means that the Ministry of Defence has transferred money to companies, but has not received the goods (here, weapons) within the timeframe stipulated by the contracts.” 

Support

Biden greenlights Ukrainian pilots training on F-16 jets, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Sabrina Singh, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary, during a press briefing. “US President Joe Biden has authorised the training of Ukrainian military personnel on American F-16 fighter jets. The Pentagon stressed that Denmark and the Netherlands remain at the helm of the training program.”

West in no hurry with F-16s for Ukraine because it fears Russia – former top NATO general, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Voice of America. “Philip Breedlove, former Supreme Commander of the NATO Allied Forces in Europe, believes that preparations for the exercises of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets are slowing down because some countries are afraid to provoke Russia. The retired American general says many countries are now ready to start training Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16s. Preliminary plans were developed, but the main slowdown in this process is taking place inside the United States, he said.

There is restraint regarding quick action due to fears that Mr. Putin may cause certain important events. As I have said many times, the situation with the F-16s is just the case, Breedlove said. He added that in terms of providing Ukraine with fighter jets, the Russian policy of intimidating the West showed considerable effectiveness. Mr. Putin’s ground forces are failing him on the battlefield. But Putin’s war of intimidation, his war to deter the West, is a resounding success. And this is what he works hard [on]. This intimidation led to deterrence and slowed down things like sending the F-16s, added the former Commander of NATO Forces in Europe.”

F-16 and ATACMS are needed to destroy Russian targets in occupied Crimea, – Air Force, Censor.net reports, citing Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ihnat, with reference to Radio Liberty.To effectively destroy targets in the temporarily occupied Crimea, Ukraine needs F-16 fighters, as well as long-range ATACMS missiles. We need an aircraft, of course. Well, cruise missiles are cruise missiles. There are also operational-tactical complexes, such as ATACMS, which can hit objects along a ballistic trajectory on the territory, in particular, occupied Crimea. Today, we see the attention focused on to the maritime region, to the Black Sea, from where the occupiers also strike with TU-22M3 aircraft, strike from ships with Kalibr missiles and strike from the Bastion coastal missile complex with Onyx missiles, he said.

Ignat explained that Ukrainian air defence cannot shoot down Russian Onyx missiles. For this reason, it is necessary to destroy the very carriers of these missiles. It is still possible to fight with such missiles as Kalibr with air defence means, but with Onyx and Kh-22, you need either special means, or destroy, in fact, the carriers themselves, the sources of the missiles, which are released. This applies to the same “Bastion” – it is easier to destroy the complex itself on the land territory of Crimea with the help of the same ATACMS or other means. It is irrational to fight with missiles, especially since it is very difficult to shoot them down, he added.”

US to announce new US$200 million military aid package for Ukraine, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Reuters with reference to US officials. “President Joe Biden’s administration is set to announce US$200 million in new military aid to Ukraine as early as Tuesday, 8 August. Reuters noted that the Biden administration is beginning to distribute US$6.2 billion in funds discovered after a Pentagon accounting error overestimated the cost of billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine.

In May 2023, the Pentagon announced that it had mistakenly determined a higher-than-warranted value for US military aid when employees used “replacement value” instead of “depreciated value” to calculate the billions of dollars’ worth of ammunition, missiles and other equipment sent to Ukraine.

Ukraine needs weaponry that can be shipped from US stocks in a matter of days or weeks so it can keep up its fight to repel Russia’s invasion – the accounting error worked to Kyiv’s benefit because more equipment can be sent. Beginning to use these discovered funds is significant because they represent the last of the previously congressionally authorised $25.5 billion worth of Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) the administration can utilise to ship weapons from US stocks in the event of an emergency, the US officials said. US officials added that Washington is currently working on a supplemental budget request to continue assisting Kyiv.

The announcement expected on Tuesday of US$200 million will be the first tranche of the US$6.2 billion previously allocated under the US Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA). This package will include, among other things, mine-clearance equipment, TOW and AT4 anti-tank weapons, ammunition for Patriot anti-aircraft missile systems, guided multiple-launch rocket systems (GMLRS), Javelin anti-tank missiles and other equipment.”

Unnamed Country Buys 50 Leopard 1 Tanks from Belgium for Ukraine, European Pravda reports, citing the Belgian publication Business AM. “The first Leopard 1 tanks were shipped from Belgian territory to Ukraine on Monday morning. These 50 tanks were completely decommissioned from the Belgian army’s arsenal several years ago. The military leadership decided to remove all heavy tracked vehicles from service and replace them with lighter armoured wheeled machines under the pressure of additional cost savings. […]

Belgium sold the tanks to the OIP Systems company for only 15,000 euros each, effectively treating them as scrap metal. The army lacked hangars to store the decommissioned equipment, so they sold it at dumping prices. Nevertheless, the unnamed country decided to purchase the Leopard 1 tanks. After thorough reconstruction, the first machines are already on their way to Ukraine across Germany and Italy. They will be equipped with new armament systems along the way.”

Ukraine has quadrupled the production of Stugna anti-tank missile systems since the beginning of 2023, OBOZREVATEL reports, citing Minister of Strategic Industries Oleksandr Kamyshyn. “In July, we produced four times more Stugna than in January. And we are continuing to increase production. No matter how much we produce now, it will not be enough,” Kamyshyn said. According to him, Stugna is superior to the US Javelin ATGM in all technical parameters.

He noted that the Javelin is a very good weapon, but Ukraine wants to increase production of its own product and in the future fight for our product to be adequately represented in foreign markets. Kamyshyn also added that Ukraine’s defence industry is growing rapidly, in particular as a result of civilian enterprises reorienting to defence production. […]

It should be noted that the Stugna-P ATGM developed by the Ukrainian Design Bureau was adopted by the Ukrainian army in 2011. The Stugna-P is supplied in two missile calibres – 130 and 152 mm. With the increase in calibre, both the range of the missile – more than 5 km – and the armour penetration increase. To fire at night, the system is equipped with a thermal imager – the range is limited to 3 km. Stugna-P proved its effectiveness after the start of the full-scale invasion. Ukrainian soldiers used this system to destroy enemy helicopters and armoured vehicles.”

20,000 Ukrainian recruits trained as part of Operation Interflex, Ukrinform reports, citing the Ukrainian General Staff. “As many as 20,000 Ukrainian recruits have already undergone basic training as part of the British-led multinational Operation Interflex. Operation Interflex is giving Ukrainian recruits the skillsets needed to be a survivable and lethal force on the frontline against Russian aggression. […]

The best instructors from the United Kingdom, Australia, Denmark, Canada, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Ukraine have been committed to this operation at several locations across the UK.”

New developments

  1. Ukraine will mirror Russian attacks in Black Sea, Reuters reports. “President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video published on Tuesday that Ukraine would fight back against Russia in the Black Sea to ensure its waters were not blockaded and it could import and export grain and other goods. The comments, published on the president’s website, come days after Ukrainian maritime drones packed with explosives damaged a Russian warship near a major Russian port and struck a Russian tanker. If Russia continues to dominate the Black Sea, outside its territory, blockading or firing at us again, launching missiles at our ports, Ukraine will do the same. This is a just defence of our opportunities, of any corridor, Zelenskyy said. We don’t have that many ships. But they should clearly understand that by the end of the war, they will have zero ships, zero. He called on Russia to stop firing missiles and drones at Ukrainian ports and to allow trade to take place, in comments made at a briefing with reporters from Latin American countries.
  2. Chinese Foreign Minister talks to his Russian counterpart after Beijing participates in peace formula meeting, Ukrainska Pravda reports. “Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has had a telephone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after Beijing’s representative attended a meeting in Saudi Arabia on the Ukrainian peace formula. In a conversation with Lavrov, the Chinese senior diplomat noted “new progress” in strategic coordination and practical cooperation with Moscow after the Chinese leader’s last trip to Moscow in March 2023. Facts prove that China and Russia are loyal, reliable friends and strong partners. […] As for Ukraine, the senior diplomat said China will maintain an independent and impartial position and plans to advocate for peace talks and a political solution actively. Lavrov reportedly said Moscow agrees with China’s position on the “political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis [war – ed.]” and welcomes China’s constructive role.”
  3. What Happens behind the Scenes of Negotiations on ‘Peace Plan’ for Ukraine, European Pravda reports. “The major breakthrough is the participation of China. Even though Andrii Yermak, leads the Ukrainian delegation at the advisers’ meetings, claimed that only the Ukrainian peace plan was discussed in Jeddah. The key player at the Saudi meeting, China, came with its own peace plan, presented back in February. Western sources assert that China does not intend to abandon its plan. The Chinese plan for Ukraine is unacceptable, as it includes points that practically freeze the conflict, advantageous to Russia. It also involves ending Western security support for Ukraine and lifting sanctions against Russia. In short, this plan is incompatible with the Ukrainian plan. Implementing both simultaneously is impossible. China is well aware of this. There are reasons to believe that Beijing did not take Ukraine’s side. It diversified its interests. Nevertheless, this is significant as well.”
  4. Russia criticises ‘unacceptable’ Western pressure on Iran over nuclear deal, Reuters reports. “Russia on Tuesday aligned itself with its ally Iran in rejecting Western attempts to maintain curbs on Iran despite the collapse of a 2015 deal intended to restrain Tehran’s nuclear program in return for relief from sanctions. […] Then-US president Donald Trump quit the deal known as the JCPOA in 2018, leaving economic sanctions in place, and Iran’s relations with the West have been deteriorating ever since, as it has accelerated its nuclear programme. But Russia, which signed the deal alongside the US, China, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union, has been deepening ties with Iran since its invasion of Ukraine. […] Sources told Reuters in June that European diplomats had informed Iran they planned to join the US in retaining sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile programme that are set to expire in October under the nuclear deal. They gave three reasons: Russia’s use of Iranian drones against Ukraine; the possibility that Iran might transfer ballistic missiles to Russia; and depriving Iran of the benefits of the nuclear deal, which it violated after the US withdrew.”
  5. Türkiye revealed next steps to restore “grain deal” disrupted by Russia, European Pravda reports. “The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Türkiye, Hakan Fidan, stated that Türkiye will seek to revive the “grain initiative” that Russia had disrupted. According to Anadolu, the main priority for Ankara, as the Turkish foreign minister mentioned, is to preserve calm in the Black Sea region and block attempts to jeopardise it. We will continue our contacts with all parties for the revival of the Black Sea grain initiative, which affects every household in the world, said Fidan, stressing that Türkiye is the only actor that can do this. Earlier reports suggested that the expected visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Türkiye might take place in late August.
  6. UK widens sanctions against Russia to limit its access to military equipment, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing UK government press release. “James Cleverly, the UK Secretary for Foreign Affairs, announced new landmark sanctions aimed at diminishing Russia’s access to purchasing military equipment. The sanctions will target 22 individuals and legal entities outside of Russia that support Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, as well as three Russian firms that import electronics “vital to Russia’s military equipment used on the battlefield. […] The investigation of the Russian non-governmental project Verstka claims that sanctioned goods worth hundreds of billions of dollars continue to enter the Russian Federation. On 23 June, the Council of the European Union approved the 11th package of sanctions against Russia, primarily to strengthen the previously imposed restrictions and combat Russia’s ability to circumvent sanctions via third countries.”
  7. Belarus and Russia launch new intimidation campaign via migrants influx – Poland, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing AFP. “Maciej Wąsik, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Poland, said on Monday that Russia and Belarus were organising another campaign of an influx of migrants travelling to the European Union through the Polish border in order to destabilise the region. Wąsik said that although the situation is “not as chaotic as it was two years ago”, it is still worrying. […] This year alone, 19,000 migrants tried to enter Poland from Belarus, 4,000 of them in June alone, while in 2022 there were 16,000.”
  8. Polish Ministry of Defense agreed to send additional troops to border with Belarus, Censor.net reports, citing Wprost. “Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak agreed to send additional forces to the border with Belarus following a request from the country’s Border Guard Service. As Blaschak noted, the situation on the border with Belarus remains “dynamic”, so he ordered to send additional forces to protect it.”
  9. NATO sees no threat to allies from Wagner Group in Belarus, Ukrinform reports. “NATO has been closely monitoring all military operations in Belarus, seeing no direct or indirect threat to its member states posed by Russia’s Wagner Group. NATO spokeswoman Oana Longescu said this in a comment to PAP, Ukrinform reports.”

Assessment

  1. On the War

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Tuesday 8 August:

(quote) Russian forces continued offensive operations near Kupiansk and reportedly advanced on August 8. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces unsuccessfully attacked near Synkivka (8km northeast of Kupiansk) and north of Ivanivka (20km east of Kupiansk). Multiple Russian sources, including the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD), claimed that elements of the 6th Combined Arms Army (Western Military District), Vilshana (15km northeast of Kupiansk), and a Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces took positions on the landings south of Vilshana and Pervomaiske (24km east of Kupiansk). Russian sources claimed that Russian assault groups pushed Ukrainian forces past Lyman Pershyi (12km northeast of Kupiansk) and out of positions along the Lyman Pershyi-Pervomaiske line. A Russian milblogger also claimed that Russian forces attempted to break through Ukrainian defenses east and northeast of Kupiansk. Russian sources claimed that the goal of Russian offensive operations in the Kupiansk direction is to draw Ukrainian forces from other sectors of the front to the Kupiansk area and suggested that the wider operational goal is to distract Ukrainian troops as opposed to gaining substantial territory. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar reported that Russian forces have suffered heavy losses in the Kupiansk direction over the last week.

Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations near Kupiansk but did not advance on August 8. The Russian MoD claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted unsuccessful attacks near Synkivka. Russian Western Grouping of Forces Spokesperson Sergey Zybinsky claimed that Ukrainian forces are trying to regain lost positions in the Kupiansk direction and that Ukrainian forces conducted five unsuccessful counterattacks against Russian forces near Synkivka, Mankivka (17km east of Kupiansk), and the Usa forest (likely between Synkivka and Lyman Pershyi).

Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line and did not advance on August 8. The Ukrainian General Staff and Ukrainian Luhansk Oblast Head Artem Lysohor reported that Russian forces unsuccessfully attacked Ukrainian forces south of Novoselivske (14km northwest of Svatove). A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces have begun consolidating positions in Novoselivske. The milblogger also claimed that Russian forces attacked near Bilohorivka (12km south of Kreminna) and Torske (14km west of Kreminna), but did not specify an outcome. Another Russian milblogger claimed that a TOS-1A thermobaric artillery crew from the Russian 1st Guards Tank Army (Western Military District) is conducting offensive operations near Stelmakhivka.

Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line and reportedly made limited advances on August 8. A Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces advanced towards Karmazynivka (13km southwest of Svatove) but that Russian forces still control the heights near the settlement. Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully attacked Russian forces near the Raihorodka-Karmazynivka line. The Russian MoD claimed that Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully attacked Russian forces near Novoselivske, Novoyehorivka (15km southwest of Svatove), Zhytlivka (2km northwest of Kreminna), and Terny (16km west of Kreminna). Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully attacked near the Serebryanske forest area (10km southwest of Kreminna), Torske, and Yampolivka (17km west of Kreminna).

A Ukrainian reserve officer who has previously reported accurately on Russian force dispositions reported on August 8 that according to satellite imagery, Russian authorities have recently based 12 to 16 Russian helicopters at the Luhansk International Airport. The officer reported that these helicopters are outside the range of Ukrainian HIMARS […]. The officer asserted that the disabling of the helicopters would compel Russian forces to vacate the airport, which would slow Russian logistics and response times.

Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted offensive operations near Bakhmut on August 8, but did not make any confirmed or claimed advances. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that elements of the Southern Grouping of Forces repelled Ukrainian attacks near Bakhmut, Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut), and Zaitseve (20km south of Bakhmut). Russian milbloggers claimed that elements of the 72nd Motorized Rifle Brigade (3rd Army Corps) repelled Ukrainian attacks near Andriivka (10km southwest of Bakhmut), that Chechen “Akhmat” spetsnaz and other Russian forces repelled Ukrainian attacks near Klishchiivka, and that Russian forces repelled Ukrainian attacks near Berkhivka (6km northwest of Bakhmut). A Russian milblogger claimed on August 7 that elements of the 200th Motorized Rifle Brigade (14th Army Corps, Northern Fleet) repelled a Ukrainian attack near Berkhivka.

Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks near Bakhmut on August 8 and made claimed advances. A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces counterattacked near Klishchiivka and pushed Ukrainian forces out of several unspecified positions. Another Russian milblogger claimed that Klishchiivka is fully under Russian control. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful operations near Klishchiivka, Andriivka, Kurdyumivka (12km southwest of Bakhmut), and Druzhba (18km southwest of Bakhmut).

Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks along the Avdiivka–Donetsk City line on August 8 and made limited advances. Geolocated footage published on August 7 shows that Russian forces made limited advances near Krasnohorivka (on the western outskirts of Donetsk City). The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks near Avdiivka, Sieverne (6km west of Avdiivka), and Marinka. A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces unsuccessfully attacked Krasnohorivka. […]

Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted limited ground attacks in western Donetsk Oblast on August 8 and did not advance. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that elements of the Russian Eastern Grouping of Forces repelled Ukrainian attacks near Mykilske (27km southwest of Donetsk City near Vuhledar).

Ukrainian forces continued ground attacks along the western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area on August 8 and did not make any claimed or confirmed advances. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in the Berdiansk direction. The Russian MoD and Russian Eastern Grouping of Forces Spokesperson Oleg Chekhov claimed that elements of the Russian Eastern Grouping of Forces repelled several Ukrainian attacks near Urozhaine (9km south of Velyka Novosilka). Several Russian sources, including “Vostok“ Battalion Commander Alexander Khodakovsky who is reportedly defending in the area, claimed that Ukrainian forces crossed the Mokri Yali River and unsuccessfully attacked the northern outskirts of Urozhaine on the morning of August 8.

Russian forces conducted a limited ground attack along the eastern Donetsk–western Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area on August 8 and did not advance. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations near Staromayorkse (9km south of Velyka Novosilka).

Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast on August 8 and did not make any claimed or confirmed advances. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in the Melitopol direction. A Kremlin-affiliated milblogger claimed that Russian forces repelled a Ukrainian infantry attack along the Robotyne-Verbove line (up to 18km southeast of Orikhiv) on the night of August 7–8. Several Russian milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces with armored vehicles and tank support unsuccessfully attacked Russian positions on the northern outskirts of Robotyne (12km south of Orikhiv) on the morning of August 8. The Kremlin-affiliated milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces managed to occupy the northern outskirts of the settlement in the morning but that Russian forces pushed Ukrainian forces out of those positions later in the day.

Russian forces continued offensive operations in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast on August 8 and did not advance. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations near Robotyne. […]

Russian and Ukrainian forces continued routine artillery fire in Kherson Oblast on August 8. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces struck settlements along the west (right) bank of Kherson Oblast, including Kherson City. Ukrainian Southern Operational Command Spokesperson Captain First Rank Nataliya Humenyuk reported that Ukrainian forces destroyed two Russian sabotage groups attempting to maneuver between unspecified islands in Kherson Oblast on boats. A Kremlin-affiliated milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces continue to use artillery fire on the (east) left bank on the Dnipro River to cover the actions of Ukrainian reconnaissance boats.

Ukrainian forces appear to have conducted a limited raid across the Dnipro River and landed on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast, although it remains unclear whether Ukrainian troops have established an enduring presence on the east bank. Several Russian milbloggers reported on August 8 that Ukrainian forces landed up to seven boats, each carrying around six to seven people, on the east bank of the Dnipro near the settlement of Kozachi Laheri, broke through Russian defensive lines, and advanced up to 800 meters deep. A Russian milblogger noted that the Russian command recently redeployed a “prepared grouping” of Russian airborne (VDV) personnel from the Kozachi Lopan area to Zaporizhzhia Oblast and replaced them with mobilized fighters from an unspecified unit, thereby weakening Russian defensive power in this area. Kherson Oblast occupation head Vladimir Saldo downplayed reports of the Ukrainian landing and claimed that Russian artillery fire repelled the Ukrainian boats and that there are no Ukrainian troops near Kozachi Lopan. However, the majority of prominent Russian milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces managed to utilize tactical surprise and land on the east bank before engaging Russian forces in small arms exchanges, and Saldo was likely purposefully trying to refute claims of Ukrainian presence in this area to avoid creating panic in the already-delicate Russian information space. Hotspots on available NASA Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) data from the past 24 hours in this area appear to confirm that there was significant combat, likely preceded or accompanied by artillery fire. By the end of the day on August 8, many Russian sources had updated their claims to report that Russian forces retain control over Kozachi Laheri, having pushed Ukrainian forces back to the shoreline, and that small arms skirmishes are occurring in shoreline areas near Kozachi Laheri and other east bank settlements.

ISW will continue to offer a conservative assessment of the situation on the east bank of Kherson Oblast until or unless ISW observes visual confirmation of an enduring Ukrainian presence near Kozachi Lopan or other east bank settlements. ISW has not yet observed visual evidence to suggest that there are a substantial number of Ukrainian personnel or the deployment of Ukrainian vehicles near Kozachi Laheri, and the current pattern of Russian reporting is more consistent with a limited cross-river raid than a wider Ukrainian operation. Ukrainian officials have not commented on operations in this area as of this writing. […]

Key Takeaways:

  • Ukrainian forces appear to have conducted a limited raid across the Dnipro River and landed on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast, although it remains unclear whether Ukrainian troops have established an enduring presence on the east bank.
  • ISW will continue to offer a conservative assessment of the situation on the east bank of Kherson Oblast until or unless ISW observes visual confirmation of an enduring Ukrainian presence near Kozachi Lopan or other east bank settlements.
  • Talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese Communist Party Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi following China’s participation in the peace talks in Saudi Arabia suggest that China is increasingly diverging with Russia on proposed settlements to end the war.
  • Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin is using the recent coup in Niger and Wagner’s continued presence in Africa to maintain relevance in the Russian information space.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka–Donetsk City line, in the eastern Donetsk-western Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area, and in western Donetsk Oblast on August 8 and made advances in certain areas.
  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on at least two sectors of the front on August 8 and made advances near Svatove.
  • Russia continues to draw from its stock of Soviet-era equipment to compensate for equipment losses in Ukraine.
  • Russian occupation authorities are preparing for regional elections in occupied areas.“ (unquote)

Western allies receive increasingly ‘sobering’ updates on Ukraine’s counteroffensive: ‘This is the most difficult time of the war’, CNN reports. “Weeks into Ukraine’s highly anticipated counteroffensive, Western officials describe increasingly “sobering” assessments about Ukrainian forces’ ability to retake significant territory, four senior US and western officials briefed on the latest intelligence told CNN. They’re still going to see, for the next couple of weeks, if there is a chance of making some progress. But for them to really make progress that would change the balance of this conflict, I think, it’s extremely, highly unlikely, a senior western diplomat told CNN.

Our briefings are sobering. We’re reminded of the challenges they face, said Rep. Mike Quigley, an Illinois Democrat who recently returned from meetings in Europe with US commanders training Ukrainian armored forces. This is the most difficult time of the war. The primary challenge for Ukrainian forces is the continued difficulty of breaking through Russia’s multi-layered defensive lines in the eastern and southern parts of the country, which are marked by tens of thousands of mines and vast networks of trenches. Ukrainian forces have incurred staggering losses there, leading Ukrainian commanders to hold back some units to regroup and reduce casualties.

Russians have a number of defensive lines and they [Ukrainian forces] haven’t really gone through the first line, said a senior Western diplomat. Even if they would keep on fighting for the next several weeks, if they haven’t been able to make more breakthroughs throughout these last seven, eight weeks, what is the likelihood that they will suddenly, with more depleted forces, make them? Because the conditions are so hard.

A senior US official said the US recognizes the difficulties Ukrainian forces are facing, though retains hope for renewed progress. We all recognize this is going harder and slower than anyone would like – including the Ukrainians – but we still believe there’s time and space for them to be able make progress, this official said. Multiple officials said the approach of fall, when weather and fighting conditions are expected to worsen, gives Ukrainian forces a limited window to push forward.

In addition, Western officials say the slow progress has exposed the difficulty of transforming Ukrainian forces into combined mechanized fighting units, sometimes with as few as eight weeks of training on western-supplied tanks and other new weapons systems. The lack of progress on the ground is one reason Ukrainian forces have been striking more often inside Russian territory to try and show Russian vulnerability, said a senior US military official.

Ukraine’s armed forces chief, Gen. Valerii Zaluzhnyi, told US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley that Ukrainian forces are step by step creating conditions for advancing. Zaluzhnyi added that he had told Milley that Ukraine’s defenses were steadfast. Our soldiers are doing their best. The enemy is conducting active assault actions in a number of directions, but is not succeeding, Zaluzhnyi told Milley, according to a read out issued by the Ukrainian government.

Talking about the situation in the south, where Ukrainian forces have struggled to gain ground, Zaluzhnyi said, Heavy fighting continues, Ukrainian troops step by step continue to create conditions for advancing. The initiative is on our side. These latest assessments represent a marked change from the optimism at the start of the counteroffensive. These officials say those expectations were “unrealistic” and are now contributing to pressure on Ukraine from some in the West to begin peace negotiations, including considering the possibility of territorial concessions. “Putin is waiting for this. He can sacrifice bodies and buy time,” Quigley said.

Some officials fear the widening gap between expectations and results will spark a “blame game” among Ukrainian officials and their western supporters, which may create divisions within the alliance which has remained largely intact nearly two years into the war. “The problem, of course, here is the prospect of the blame game that the Ukrainians would then blame it on us,” said a senior western diplomat.

Last month at the Aspen Security Forum, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pointed to the slow arrival of more advanced weapons systems from the West as reason for Ukrainian forces’ slow progress so far. We did plan to start [the counteroffensive] in spring, but we didn’t, Zelensky said. Because frankly, we have not enough munitions, and armaments, and not enough properly trained brigades. I mean properly trained in these weapons.”

Ukraine must be ready for escalation of Russian strikes this fall, Ukrinform reports, citing Yuriy Ihnat, the spokesman for the Air Force. “The Russian Federation has already used up a large part of the missile arsenal it has accumulated, but Ukraine still must be ready for another escalation this fall and, in order to repel aggression, the country needs more air defence systems and missiles from its allies.

Regarding the upcoming autumn period, indeed, an escalation is possible, but at the same time we remember that Russia used up last autumn and winter the huge arsenal of missiles that it had been accumulating for quite a long time. Therefore, of course, we should expect an escalation, but it is possible that there’ll be fewer of such missile strikes, such barrages as we saw back then. But at the same time, we need more weapons because we have also exhausted them, too, as a serious resource has been used up. Therefore, we expect new systems and new, additional missiles to come from our allies. I mean anti-aircraft guided missiles, said the Air Force spokesman.

Ihnat also noted that Russia will compensate for the lack of missiles by increasing the number of drone strikes. There are fewer missiles and more drones. […] They are a much cheaper type of munitions, for which they are setting up production on their territory […]. We are talking about Shaheds and other UAVs. […] UAVs are not an easy target, the spokesperson noted, adding that Ukraine needs to build countermeasures against them.”

  1. Consequences and what to do?

Traders from EU have started storing gas in Ukrainian storage facilities, – Reuters, Censor.net reports, citing Reuters, quoting three traders and company representatives. “Despite the risks associated with the war, European traders consider it expedient to store gas not only in storage facilities on the territory of the EU, but also in Ukrainian ones. Following the outbreak of full-scale war, the EU is seeking to store large volumes of gas to compensate for reduced supplies from Russia. The block is expected to reach its goal of filling its storage 90% by November 1.

Traders believe that in addition to storing gas directly in the EU, it is also advisable to use Ukrainian storage facilities to take advantage of lower prices now. […] The Czech group EPH noted that the decision to use Ukrainian storage facilities is also a sign of trust in the country. EP Commodities transports natural gas to Ukraine and uses Ukrainian gas storage facilities. We believe in the reliability of Ukraine’s gas transportation and storage systems, which have proven themselves even in such an extremely difficult environment, said the chairman of the board of EP Commodities EPH Myroslav Hasko, but did not specify the volumes gas.

According to the GIE transparency platform, gas storage facilities in the EU countries were 87% full on August 7. JSC “Naftogaz of Ukraine” stated that foreign clients can use more than 10 billion cubic meters of the country’s storages with a volume of about 30 billion cubic meters, mainly in the west of the country, that is, further from the front line. Slovak state-owned SPP, which supplies gas to most of the Slovak market, partly with Russian gas, said it was considering using Ukrainian storage facilities as Slovakian storage facilities are already 90% full.

Other European traders point to risks associated with the likelihood of Russian strikes. The situation could also worsen if Russia stops pumping the gas it still transports to the West through Ukrainian pipelines.” 

Hans Petter Midttun: Western allies receive increasingly ‘sobering’ updates on Ukraine’s counteroffensive, CNN reports. Since the Ukrainian counteroffensive started on 4 June, the media has repeatedly reported on slow progress and failing expectations. As fall is approaching, the window for a decisive breakthrough is closing in. Ukraine’s ability to liberate the temporarily occupied territories is being questioned as the inflow of Western weapons continues to slow down and Ukrainian forces continue to suffer losses for lack of Air Support and Air Defence while attacking well-prepared defensive positions protected by high-density minefields, artillery, MLRS, anti-tank weapons, mechanised reserves, and Air Power.

The expectation of increased Western pressure for Ukraine to engage in negotiations seems to be on the rise.

Some officials fear the widening gap between expectations and results will spark a “blame gameamong Ukrainian officials and their Western supporters, which may create divisions within the alliance which has remained largely intact nearly two years into the war. “The problem, of course, here is the prospect of the blame game that the Ukrainians would then blame it on us,” said a senior Western diplomat.

The term is inflammatory and meant to shift the focus from the facts on the ground and introduce the idea that it’s unfair to criticise the West for doing something (while failing to do what is needed).

The reality is that the West denied Ukraine arms for eight years, thereby undermining its desperate efforts to rebuild its Armed Forces. Western fear of an “escalation” stopped the supply of lethal aid, denying Ukraine the opportunity to re-establish deterrence.

Western strategy unintentionally supported Russia’s preparations for war at a time when resolute actions could have prevented the full-scale war.

The US and Europe only started delivering arms weeks before the Russian assault. While Javelins were the first lethal aid to be delivered in the spring of 2018, it was first delivered en mass along with Stinger in February, followed by Starstreak in March, M777 Howitzers in April, Brimstone and Harpoons in May, HIMARS and M270s in June, HARM in July, IRIS-T in October, NASAMS in November, a pledge for Patriot in December, a pledge for Main Battle Tanks and SAMP-T air defence missile systems in January 2022, Leopard 2 and a pledge for Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB) in February, Joint Direct Attack Munition-Extended Range precision-guided bombs (JDAM-ER) and Marder infantry fighting vehicles in March, Patriot in April, Storm Shadow cruise missiles in May, and lastly, the SCALP/Storm Shadow missile in July.

The US pledged 31 M1 Abrams tanks on 25 January. They are expected to arrive on the battlefield next month, just before weather and cross-country mobility deteriorates. It should be noted that the US deployed some 2,024 (3,113 in theatre) M1 Abrams against the Iraqis in Desert Storm.

I’m biased, but I think the M1 tank’s the best tank in the world … I do think the M1 tank, when it is delivered, will make a difference,” Milley, the top US general, said after a meeting of Ukraine’s allies at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. But I would also caution there’s no silver bullet in war.”

F-16 and ATACMS have not yet been pledged, despite Russia having long relocated its combat aircraft, attack helicopters, land-based missile systems and navy outside the range of most of the weapon systems made available to Ukraine. Its nationally produced UAVs and Uncrewed Surface Vessels (USV) are the only exceptions to the “rule”.

Ukraine is being denied the opportunity to use Western weapons to strike the very targets that are killing civilians and destroying its critical infrastructure because they are operating from Russian territory.

The slow and incremental inflow of weapons should be criticised because it has shaped the battlefield in Ukraine’s disfavour. In February, NATO’s Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, stressed that:

It is clear that we are in a race of logistics. Key capabilities like ammunition, fuel and spare parts must reach Ukraine before Russia can seize the initiative on the battlefield. Speed will save lives.” 

The West succeeded in denying Russia the initiative on the ground but has failed to deny it the strategic initiative. Russia continues to escalate the war; its termination of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the resulting “hunger game” is but one example. More important, the slow and incremental inflow of weapons and ammunition allowed Russia to establish well-prepared, fortified defensive positions reducing Ukraine’s ability to achieve a decisive breakthrough.

Western “speed” has saved lives, but still failed to save most.

That said, a “blame game” between Ukraine and its international partners makes no sense. It only serves to support Russia’s everlasting efforts to undermine Western support for Ukraine.

More crucially, the slow and incremental support is not a result of bad will. As I argued in the article “Why isn’t the West equipping Ukraine to win the war?”, it is a result of flawed institutional thinking, ignorance, the Hybrid War and the consequential, fear. It is, however, also a result of the Heads of States need for public support and their strategic deliberations.

The deliberations include risk assessments resulting from very limited national stockpiles of weapons and ammunition, the Defence Industries’ short-term inability to ramp up production, and not least, existing critical vulnerabilities within their Armed Forces. Because of three decades of lack of investment in security and defence, most NATO member states have found themselves unable to sustain a protracted war.

The slow and incremental defence support is primarily a consequence of Western failure to invest in security and defence.

Officials should fear a “blame game”. Not from Ukraine, but from their own population. The shortcomings NATO is facing after decades of underbudgeting, streamlining and downsizing have put Europe in peril as Ukraine is heroically protecting our shared values and principles.

Having failed to preserve peace, the Heads of States should, however, also fear the judgement of history.

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