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Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 534: Mandatory evacuation in Kharkiv Oblast

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 534: Mandatory evacuation in Kharkiv Oblast

Russia is trying to seize the initiative in Kupiansk direction; mandatory evacuation begins. Russia attacks the oil depot in Rivne Oblast. Ukraine brings home at least 380 children deported to Russia.

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Daily report day 534 – August 11, 2023

Source: War Mapper.

According to information from the General Staff as of 06.00 11.08.2023, supplemented by its [18:00 assessment].

Situation in Ukraine. August 10, 2023. Source: ISW.

“On August 10, the enemy launched 5 missiles and 61 airstrikes, 70 MLRS attacks at the positions of Ukrainian troops and various settlements. Unfortunately, the Russian terrorist attacks have killed and wounded civilians and destroyed residential buildings and other civilian infrastructure.

The likelihood of missile and airstrikes across Ukraine remains high.

On August 10, there were 34 combat engagements.

  • Volyn and Polissya axes: no significant changes.
Luhansk Battle Map. August 10, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Sivershchyna and Slobozhanshchyna axes: the adversary launched airstrikes in the vicinities of Stepne, Kostyantynivka, Popivka, and Oleksandrivka (Sumy oblast). The adversary fired mortars and artillery at more than 25 settlements, including Klyusy, Yeline, Bleshnya, Karpovychi (Chernihiv oblast), Zarichchya, Popivka, Tymofiivka, Stukalivka (Sumy oblast), Udy, Hur’iv Kozachok, Odnorobivka, Strilecha, Okhrymivka, and Stroivka (Kharkiv oblast).
  • Kupiansk axis: the adversary conducted unsuccessful offensives in the vicinity of Nadiya and south of Novoselivs’ke (Luhansk oblast). The invaders fired artillery and mortars at more than 15 settlements, including Kam’yanka, Ridkodub, Dvorichna, Zapadne, Kindrashivka, Holubivka, Kup’yans’k, and Kyslivka (Kharkiv oblast).
Donetsk Battle Map. August 10, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Lyman axis: the adversary launched airstrikes in the vicinities of Makiivka, Nevs’ke, Bilohorivka (Luhansk oblast), and Novomykhailivka (Donetsk oblast). The settlements of Nevs’ke, Bilohorivka (Luhansk oblast), Tors’ke, Verkhn’okam’yans’ke, Spirne, and Rozdolivka (Donetsk oblast) were shelled with enemy artillery.
Bakhmut Battle Map. August 10, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Bakhmut axis: the adversary conducted unsuccessful offensives in the vicinities of Bohdanivka (Donetsk oblast). More than 15 settlements, including Vasyukivka, Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Markove, Bohdanivka, Chasiv Yar, Predtechyne, and New York (Donetsk oblast), suffered from enemy artillery shelling.
  • Avdiivka axis: under heavy fire from enemy aircraft and artillery, the Ukrainian defenders continue to hold back Russian troops’ advance in the vicinity of Avdiivka (Donetsk oblast). The enemy launched an airstrike in the vicinity of Sjeverne (Donetsk oblast). The invaders fired artillery at more than 10 settlements, including Oleksandropil’, Ocheretyne, Novokalynove, Novoselivka Persha, Avdiivka, and Sjeverne (Donetsk oblast).
  • Marinka axis: the Ukrainian Defence Forces continue to hold back the Russian offensive in the vicinity of the city of Mar’inka (Donetsk oblast). The invaders fired artillery at more than 10 settlements, including Krasnohorivka, Hostre, Heorhiivka, Paraskoviivka, and Novomykhailivka (Donetsk oblast).
  • Shakhtarske axis: the enemy made unsuccessful attempts to regain the lost position in the vicinity of Staromaiors’ke (Donetsk oblast). The invaders launched an airstrike near the settlement. In addition, Vodyane, Vuhledar, Bohoyavlenka, Prechystivka, Zolota Nyva, Velyka Novosilka, and Blahodatne (Donetsk oblast) came under artillery fire.
Zaporizhzhia Battle Map. August 10, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Zaporizhzhia axis: the enemy launched an airstrike in the vicinity of Mala Tokmachka (Zaporizhzhia oblast). The enemy fired artillery at more than 15 settlements, including Ol’hivs’ke, Chervone, Hulyaipole, P’yatykhatky, Kam’yans’ke, Plavni (Zaporizhzhia oblast), and Nikopol’ (Dnipropetrovsk oblast).
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. August 10, 2023. Source: ISW.
  • Kherson axis: the adversary launched an airstrike in the vicinity of Kozats’ke (Kherson oblast). More than 20 settlements came under enemy artillery fire, including Zolota Balka, Respublikanets’, Chervonyi Mayak, Shlyakhove, L’vove, Kozats’ke, Antonivka, Veletens’ke, the city of Kherson (Kherson oblast), Kutsurub, Ochakiv, and Dmytrivka (Mykolaiv oblast).

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.

On August 10, Ukrainian Air Force launched 10 airstrikes on the concentrations of troops, weapons, and military equipment, as well as 2 airstrikes on the anti-aircraft missile systems of the adversary. Also, On August 10, the Ukrainian defenders intercepted 7 Shahed-136 combat UAVs of the adversary.

On August 10, the Ukrainian missile and artillery troops hit 4 artillery systems at their firing positions, 2 concentrations of troops, weapons, and military equipment, 2 electronic warfare stations, and 1 communication centre of the enemy.“

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Russians are trying to seize the initiative in Kupiansk direction, situation is difficult but controlled, Censor.net reports, citing the spokesman of the Eastern Group of Forces, Serhii Cherevaty, with reference to Interfax-Ukraine. “The Kupiansk direction is one of those where the enemy tries to seize the initiative, tries to act aggressively, to break through our defences. However, from all the measures taken, in particular, the commander of the Ground Forces worked in this zone, orders were given, defences were strengthened, and strike equipment was strengthened. Therefore, the situation, although difficult, is controlled. We know the enemy’s units, commanders, we know their intentions, so we act there to thwart the enemy’s intentions, he said.

According to Cherevaty, 559 times during the day, the Russians struck Ukrainian positions with artillery in the Lyman-Kupiansk direction. There were 16 enemy air raids, and 4 attempts to attack the positions of Ukrainian forces. During the repulse of the attacks, 35 occupiers were destroyed, and 110 were wounded. 3 tanks, a D-20 howitzer, an Orlan-10 UAV, 7 cars, 3 field warehouses with ammunition, and three enemy dugouts were destroyed, Cherevaty added.

At the same time, in the direction of Bakhmut, the enemy hit the positions of the Defense Forces of Ukraine 580 times during the day. There were 5 combat clashes, and 3 enemy air raids. During the fighting, 56 occupiers were destroyed in the Bakhmut direction, 104 occupiers were wounded, and 5 were captured, Cherevaty said. He also reported the destruction of three enemy T-72 tanks, an armoured car, 3 IFVs, an amphibious assault vehicle, a D-30 howitzer, three field warehouses with ammunition, a UAV, and 2 Lancet kamikaze drones.” 

A plant in Moscow Oblast that suffered from an explosion participated in the development of a next-generation bomber, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Russian media outlet Agentstvo. “On 9 August, an explosion occurred on the premises of the Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical Plant in the suburbs of Sergiev Posad. A strong blast wave knocked out windows in nearby buildings. As a result of the explosion, 43 people were injured, four buildings were completely destroyed, and another 20 were damaged.

The Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical Plant in Moscow Oblast, where an explosion occurred on 9 August, participated in the development of a next-generation stealth bomber. As evidenced by the public procurement website, the company not only continues to supply optics to Russian security forces, but since 2019 has been involved in the development of the Russian strategic bomber-missile carrier of the new generation, Poslannik (Messenger).” 

State contracts of the plant ceased to be published almost immediately after the start of a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, i.e. in March 2022, but previously concluded contracts are still available. Among them is the implementation of an integral part of the development work on the topic of the cipher: Poslannik-1OEP/L. […] It is reported that the ordering party is the Ekran Scientific Research Institute based in Samara, which is engaged, in particular, in the development of equipment for military aviation. The main executor of the project is the Tupolev Company, while the governmental contractor is the Ministry of Defence of Russia. […]

Poslannik is a long-range bomber, the development of which has been led by Tupolev since 2009 on the order of Russia’s Defence Ministry. The aircraft is designed according to the “flying wing” scheme, and technologies and materials that reduce visibility (stealth technology) will be widely used in its design. It is reported that the bomber will be able to carry existing and prospective strategic cruise missiles, precision bombs, hypersonic weapons and will be equipped with the latest means of communication and electronic warfare.

Russian state-owned media claimed that it would be able to overcome the advanced lines of NATO air defence unnoticed. In 2019, Alexei Krivoruchko, Deputy Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation, stated that Poslannik would enter service by 2027. And it will be able to replace the entire line of long-range military aircraft (Tu-22, Tu-95 and Tu-160) thanks to a large arsenal of high-precision weapons, in particular hypersonic missiles. […]”

On the night of August 10, 2023, the enemy struck with Iranian drones from the northeastern direction, from the Kursk region, the Ukrainian General Staff reports. “The attack lasted from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. In total, the Russian occupiers used 10 attack UAVs of the “Shahed” type.

The forces and means of air defence of the Air Force in cooperation with units of other components of the Defence Forces destroyed 7 enemy drones. Anti-aircraft guided missiles and small arms of direct cover units were used.”

Russians attack oil depot in Rivne Oblast, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Vitalii Koval, Head of Rivne Oblast Military Administration, on Telegram. “Rivne Oblast came under a large-scale drone attack overnight. Unfortunately, an oil depot in Dubno district was destroyed. There were no casualties.”

Fire breaks out at Belarus’ Mazyr refinery, week after Ukraine’s Security Service warning, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Belarus. “A flare fire occurred at the Mazyr Oil Refinery in Belarus. […] Firefighters promptly extinguished the fire. […] The cause of the fire is being established.

On 4 August, the Security Service of Ukraine warned that a subversive intelligence group of Russian military personnel, who are in Belarus under the guise of Wagner fighters, is preparing a provocation at the Mazyr Oil Refinery to draw Belarus into the full-scale war. The Security Service of Ukraine has received intelligence that indicates the Russians are preparing a large-scale provocation “under a false flag.”

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

British Intelligence Map.
  • On 7 August 2023, the Belarussian Ministry of Defence announced that the 6th Separate Guards Mechanised Brigade (6 SGMB) would conduct an exercise in the Grodno area of north-western Belarus, near the Polish and Lithuanian borders.
  • The ministry said that the exercise intended to incorporate lessons learnt by the Russian military in Ukraine. There is a realistic possibility that the Belarussian troops will be joined by a small number of Wagner Group advisors acting in a training role.
  • These specific exercises are highly likely part of the Belarussian military’s routine training cycle. 6 SGMB’s home garrison is in Grodno, and it is unlikely that the formation is currently deployed with the enablers it would need to make it combat-ready. However, Russia is almost certainly keen to promote Belarussian forces as posturing against NATO.
  • Over the last week, the Russian authorities have likely increased their ongoing efforts to disrupt Russian citizens’ access to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Reports suggest many of the most popular VPNs have become unusable in some regions of Russia.
  • VPNs allow users to obfuscate their access to the internet, to maintain privacy and to bypass state-imposed censorship. VPNs are hugely popular in Russia, despite being illegal since 2017. They allow users to access objective international news sources, including about the war in Ukraine.
  • VPNs likely represent the greatest single vulnerability within the Russian state’s attempts at pervasive domestic information control. As well as increased technical disruption, the Russian state has also launched a public information campaign, attempting to scare citizens into avoiding VPNs by claiming they put their personal data at risk.

Losses of the Russian Army

Losses of the Russian Army. Source: Euromaidan Press.

As of Friday 11 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 252780 (+580)
  • Tanks – 4290 (+12)
  • Armoured combat vehicles – 8318 (+15)
  • Artillery systems – 5043 (+15)
  • Multiple rocket launchers –MLRS – 713 (+2)
  • Air defence means – 471 (+2)
  • Aircraft – 315 (+0) 
  • Helicopters – 313 (+0)
  • Automotive technology and fuel tanks – 7511 (+16)
  • Vessels/boats – 18 (+0)
  • UAV operational and tactical level – 4197 (+18)
  • Special equipment – 756 (+10)
  • Mobile SRBM system – 4 (+0)
  • Cruise missiles – 1377 (+0)

Humanitarian

Mandatory evacuation of 37 settlements begins in Kupiansk district, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Kupiansk City Military Administration. “The authorities are starting the mandatory evacuation of 37 settlements in the Kupiansk district in Kharkiv Oblast due to increased Russian attacks. […]

Earlier, Oleh Syniehubov, Head of the Kharkiv Oblast Military Administration, reported that mandatory evacuation may begin due to increased attacks on the Kupiansk district. Syniehubov said that around 11,000 civilians, including 600 children, might be evacuated.”

Temporary corridors have been announced for merchant vessels going to/from the ports of Ukraine, the Ukrainian General Staff reports. “According to the order of the navigation report of the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine No. 6 dated 08.08.2023, new temporary traffic routes of civilian vessels to/from the Black Sea seaports of Ukraine were announced. At the same time, it is reported that there is a military threat and mine danger from the Russian Federation along all routes.

Previously, these routes were already proposed by Ukraine in an appeal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The Council of the International Maritime Organization recognized Ukraine’s right to free commercial navigation, which is guaranteed by international maritime law. The International Maritime Organization called on Russia to comply with international conventions and stop threats to commercial shipping in the Black Sea.

The indicated routes will primarily be used to enable the exit of civilian vessels that have been in the Ukrainian ports of Chornomorsk, Odesa, and Pivdenny since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russia on February 24, 2022. Vessels whose owners/captains officially confirm that they are ready to sail in the current conditions will be allowed to pass through the routes.

We will remind that the last ship with Ukrainian food left the port of Odesa on July 16. After Russia’s withdrawal from the Grain Agreement, the aggressor state attacked the port’s grain infrastructure in order to stop the access of Ukrainian food to world markets. World leaders, including African countries, called on Russia to stop blackmailing with food and not to hinder Ukrainian agricultural exports.”

Ukraine to focus on protecting energy facilities during heating season, Ukrinform reports, citing the press service of the Energy Ministry. “The next heating season […] will be more difficult than the one we have gone through. We expect that Russia’s terror will continue. Therefore, the focus is not only on the repair campaign, but also on the protection of energy facilities, Galushchenko said. […]

In order to ensure the functioning of critical infrastructure amid limited consumption, the minister separately emphasized the need to increase generation within the region, in particular through gas output, noting that this would enable electricity supply for critical infrastructure even in the event of Russian strikes. […]

As reported, on August 10, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal held a meeting with the Minister of Energy and Ukrenergo management to determine priorities for the supply of energy equipment and discuss sources of financing.

Environmental

Kyiv says Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant switched to reserve power line, Reuters, reports. “Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant again lost connection to its last remaining main external power line overnight and was switched to a reserve line, state-owned power generating company Energoatom said on Thursday. Energoatom said Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was on the verge of a blackout as the reserve line had less than half the power capacity of the main power line.

Such a regime is difficult for the reactor plant, its duration is limited by the project’s design and it can result in failure of the main equipment of the energy unit, Energoatom said on Telegram. The Zaporizhzhia plant with its six reactors has been controlled by the Russian military since the early days of Moscow’s invasion in February 2022. […]

Separately, the station’s Russian-installed administration said the Number 4 reactor had been moved from a “hot” to a “cold” shutdown because of signs of a steam leak. One of the six reactors needs to be in “hot shutdown” to produce steam for the plant’s own needs. Plant personnel found signs of leaks in the pipe section of steam generator No. 3, the administration said on Telegram. To meet the steam auxiliary needs of the Zaporizhzhia NPP, the transfer of power unit No. 6 to a ‘hot shutdown’ state is being considered.”

Water leakage at ZNPP unit 4 due to Russian actions, Ukrinform reports, citing Energoatom. “An incident with water leakage from the first circuit to the second circuit occurred at unit 4 of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) due to the criminal actions of the invaders. According to the report, as a result of putting unit 4 of the temporarily seized ZNPP into a “hot” state in violation of the license and Energoatom’s requirements, an incident occurred with a water leak from the first circuit to the second. There was no radiological release into the environment. This happened due to a violation of the integrity of the third steam generator located in the unit’s containment. As a result, the Russians began to transfer ZNPP unit 4 to a cold shutdown state.

At the same time, Energoatom noted that over the next three days, the invaders will transfer ZNPP unit 6 to the hot shutdown state, which is another violation of the license terms and requirements of Energoatom.

Rosatom’s incompetent, illegitimate ‘management’ of ZNPP is consistently putting the seized plant’s units out of commission. This crime of deliberate damage to the equipment of unit 4, which led to the violation of the integrity of three out of five existing physical barriers to the spread of radiation, leakage of potentially radioactive water of the first circuit beyond the established limits, and damage to expensive equipment of the first circuit, will be investigated, Energoatom president Petro Kotin said.

He added that all those involved in the incident, who continue to fulfill Rosatom’s criminal orders and bring the equipment of all ZNPP units to a critical state, will be identified and brought to justice after the plant is liberated.

Kotin also said that the 750 kV high-voltage communication line was repaired and ZNPP was connected to the main power line on August 10 at 19:02. As Energoatom reminded, the 750 kV ZNPP-Dniprovska line, which is the main line for powering ZNPP, was damaged at night on August 10. After that, the plant had to switch to the only available backup line of 330 kV, the disconnection of which threatened to cause a loss of external power supply (blackout).

Energoatom emphasized that “the further occupation of ZNPP by Russia and its illegitimate and unprepared ‘management’, which bears no responsibility for the nuclear and radiation safety of the facility, constantly brings ZNPP closer to disaster. The nuclear and radiation threat can only be stopped by returning control of the plant to its legitimate operator, Energoatom, as soon as possible.”

Mine danger on Odesa coastline has not gone away, but only increased, Ukrinform reports, citing Natalia Humeniuk, the spokesperson for Operational Command South. “There have been many cases of explosion of drifting mines in the sea near Odesa coastline. The mine danger has not gone away. Unfortunately, it only increased. As a result of the flooding caused by the Kakhovka HPP blast, the flow of water brought many ‘dangerous surprises’. Part of what the big water brought is still floating, or lies at the bottom and may have been lifted by storms, Humeniuk explained.

According to her, since the beginning of 2023, 32 mines have exploded in the Black Sea off the coast near Odesa and Mykolaiv regions has been recorded. Currently, river mines have also entered the Black Sea waters. It is very difficult to count the number of such river mines that exploded, but two cases have already been recorded. In other words, they were spotted by observation posts, these are arbitrary explosions of mines, Humeniuk said.”

On captured Ukrainian territories, Russians massively creating torture chambers, Ukrinform reports, citing Deputy Minister of Defense Hanna Maliar. “In the temporarily captured territories of Ukraine, the Russian invaders continue to exploit civilian infrastructure to expand repression against the local population and conceal own crimes. In August, the enemy is seen urgently setting up in Pervomaivka, Kherson region, a new prison based on a local food supply base. The surrounding area is already guarded by personnel of the Russian military police on a permanent basis.

In Tokmak, Zaporizhzhia region, the invaders seized non-residential premises from local entrepreneurs at gunpoint. Now the Russians hold detainees in the said buildings, Maliar noted. In Vasylivka, Zaporizhzhia region, in a college dormitory, the Russians have set up a room where local residents are interrogated, including using torture, the deputy minister of defence emphasized.

As Ukrinform reported earlier, referring to Petro Andriushchenko, the adviser to the Mariupol mayor in exile, more than 10,000 civilians have been arrested in Mariupol, the town temporarily captured by the Russians, and their whereabouts and fate remain unclear.”

Ukraine brings home at least 380 children deported to Russia, Ukrainska Pravda reports, citing Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine’s Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories, in an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. “At least 380 children who were deported to the Russian Federation have been brought back to Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. The exact number of children is “380 or 383”. […]

Iryna Vereshchuk commented on the words of Maria Lvova-Belova, Children’s Rights Commissioner for the President of the Russian Federation, who reported that 700,000 Ukrainian children had been deported to the Russian Federation since 24 February 2022. I’m not sure about 700,000, but it’s definitely more than the information we have. We know that almost 20,000 were taken away, Iryna Vereshchuk said. […]

We demand that Russia provide, first of all, the lists of orphaned children. If they call it rescue and call it evacuation, then we demand the children be brought back from such evacuation, Vereshchuk added.”

Four of Medvedchuk’s henchmen received prison terms for preparing coup d’état, Censor.net reports, citing the press service of the SSU. “Four associates of Putin’s godfather and traitor Viktor Medvedchuk have been sentenced to prison terms for preparing a violent takeover of power in Ukraine. Among them is a Russian citizen, a military intelligence officer by profession, who was in “direct” contact with representatives of the Russian presidential administration and the aggressor country’s special services.

The perpetrators planned to synchronize the coup with the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russia. In this way, they hoped to help the aggressor in the speedy occupation of Ukraine. According to the investigation, they wanted to seize power through controlled NGOs in Kyiv and other regions of our country. It was these pro-Kremlin centers that were supposed to initiate the so-called ‘national assembly’ in the Ukrainian capital. At this ‘forum’, its organizers planned to ‘approve a resolution’ on the ‘removal from power’ of Ukraine’s top military and political leadership’, the statement said.

In case of refusal, they planned to move to a forceful scenario. For this purpose, they formed their own combat wing, to which they tried to attract half a thousand armed men. To find candidates, they used their own connections among supporters of “rucism”. At the same time, the SSU timely exposed the organizers of the crime, documented their subversive activities and detained them at the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion.

Based on the evidence collected, the court found the offenders guilty under Part 1 of Article 109 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (actions aimed at violent change or overthrow of the constitutional order or seizure of state power) and sentenced the Russian to 10 years in prison, the organizer of the crime to 7 years, and his two accomplices to 5 years in prison.”

Support

Ukraine cannot simply “buy air defense”, it is technological weapon that is sold with approval of governments of countries – Air Force, Censor.net reports, citing Air Force spokesman Yurii Ihnat,  with reference to LIGA.net. “The Air Force responded to claims why Ukraine did not buy air defense. According to him, many opinion leaders say that the country did not buy air defense. They are wrong when they say that it was possible to buy an anti-aircraft missile with this money. This is manipulation, you cannot go to a supermarket and buy an anti-aircraft missile or a fighter jet. There are no such supermarkets, these are technological weapons that are sold with the approval of the governments of countries, the spokesman said.

He noted that the command has repeatedly calculated how many air defence systems are needed to cover the entire territory of Ukraine. Dozens and even hundreds are needed, if you put everything together. Germany handed over only two Patriot systems. We need to replace Soviet systems with Western systems, Ihnat concluded.”

Ukraine to receive additional Patriot air defence systems from Germany, Reuters reports. “On Wednesday, Germany announced its decision to ship two more Patriot launchers to Ukraine. […] Ground-based air defence systems such as Raytheon’s Patriot are built to intercept incoming missiles. They are, however, in short supply across NATO since many allies scaled down the number of air defence units after the Cold War.”

German Government is Preparing to Provide Ukraine with Taurus Missiles, European Pravda reports. “The German government may soon decide to supply Ukraine with long-range Taurus missiles capable of hitting targets up to 500 km away. According to information from its own sources reported by German t-online, based on reports from circles within the Social Democratic Party, the German government intends to announce the supply of Taurus missiles to Ukraine in the near future, the publication states.

The Chancellery is currently working on resolving this issue with Germany’s most important ally and Ukraine’s biggest supporter, the United States of America, the article reads. According to information from government party circles, the German Air Force has also ‘greenlighted’ the supply of German Taurus missiles. Last week, the Chancellor’s Office received a presentation from the Federal Ministry of Defence summarising the most important facts about these missiles: their presence in the Bundeswehr, the risks, and the effectiveness of the weaponry.

As the t-online points out, this decision could lead to the supply of American ATACMS missiles. As confirmed by several Social Democrats, a coordinated approach, especially with the United States, is a necessary condition for the Chancellor to agree to new armament systems for Ukraine.

The Biden administration has so far declined to supply ATACMS missiles. However, a change in course in Washington may also be inevitable. According to Politico, President Biden will appeal to the US Congress on Thursday to approve a new arms package for Ukraine. It is unclear whether this package will include the ATACMS missiles that Kyiv has been requesting for several months.

Estonia to Send a Batch of Small Arms and Ammunition to Ukraine, European Pravda reports. “The Estonian government has announced the transfer of 150 units of small arms and ammunition to Ukraine. According to the Defence Ministry of Estonia, as stated by Estonian Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur, it is necessary to support Ukraine against aggression from Russia, which, he believes, should not benefit from aggression.

Estonia has already provided Ukraine with over 400 million euros in military aid, which amounts to more than 1% of its GDP. Previously, Tallinn supplied Kyiv with Javelin anti-tank missiles, howitzers, artillery ammunition, anti-tank mines, anti-tank grenade launchers, mortars, vehicles, communication equipment, field hospitals, medical supplies, personal protective equipment, and dry rations.”

Law on Lend-Lease does not change situation with weapons for Ukraine, Ukrinform reports, citing Ukrlife.TV. “Former Foreign Minister and head of the Center for Russian Studies Volodymyr Ohryzko believes that the law on Lend-Lease, if it is extended, will not change the situation with getting the necessary weapons from the United States due to the absence of a political decision by the American leadership.

Let’s imagine that the Lend-Lease has been signed. But if there is no political decision to give us the weapons we need, it does not change the situation. If it is just a matter of giving us more shells or tanks, then it does not solve the key issue – getting the means that we desperately need today, because there is no political decision, and with or without the Lend-Lease, the situation will not change, Ohryzko said. […]

As reported, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova said in late July that Ukrainian diplomats are now working very actively to extend the Lend-Lease law in the United States. On May 9, 2022, US President Joe Biden approved S. 3522, the Ukraine Lend-Lease and Democracy Protection Act of 2022, which allows for the activation of the US fast-track assistance program for Ukraine.”

White House turns to Congress for additional funding for Ukraine, Ukrinform reports. “The text of the appeal was published on Thursday on the White House website. […] Previous supplemental appropriations for direct military aid, economic and humanitarian assistance, and other support have been committed or nearly committed.  The Administration is requesting supplemental security, economic, and humanitarian assistance funding that would support Ukraine, as well as countries and vulnerable populations worldwide impacted by Russia’s unprovoked and brutal invasion of Ukraine, the letter notes.

The request includes more than $13 billion in security assistance, $8.5 billion in economic and humanitarian support for Ukraine through State Department and USAID funds, as well as $2.3 billion from Treasury so that Ukraine does not have to rely on bonded financing from China or other sources.

In this context, it is also emphasized that the United States aims to support the global opposition to Russia’s war, as well as to provide a credible alternative to China’s coercive lending and infrastructure projects for developing countries. To this end, the White House is also asking Congress to allocate $3.3 billion to support World Bank programs, as well as provide loans to implement IMF programs. Additionally, the Administration is requesting $200 million to counter the destabilizing activities of Vagner and other Russian Malign Actors in African countries, which includes funding to bolster African countries’ democratic institutions and security, the letter added.”

US to continue international discussions of arms supplies to Ukraine – Pentagon, Ukrinform reports, citing General Patrick Ryder, the spokesman for the US Department of Defense. “The United States will continue to discuss with Ukraine, as well as allies and partners, what the Ukrainian Armed Forces need immediately and will require in the future, as well as how to secure those supplies.

In terms of the kind of capabilities that Ukraine will need going forward, that will be a continuing discussion with Ukrainians and with our allies and partners as far as funding goes, noted the spokesman. He also recalled that after the revision of the Pentagon’s expenses, an additional $6.2 billion was released to support Ukraine. According to Ryder, this money will remain available even beyond the end of fiscal year 2023 (September 30 – ed.).

Ryder emphasized that the US administration remains confident that it’ll be able to continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

New developments

  1. US State Department on possibility of meeting between Zelenskyy and Putin: First of all, it will be decided by Kyiv, Censor.net reports, citing State Department spokesman Matthew Miller, with reference to the EP. “Decisions regarding any meeting between the presidents of Ukraine and the Russian Federation must be made by Zelenskyy. We have made it clear that when it comes to determining the future of Ukraine, it is primarily Kyiv that decides here, and this applies to any potential negotiations, Miller said. […]But the obstacle has always been and remains the fact that Putin did not abandon his imperialist goals, his belief that Ukraine, according to him, is not a real country, and did not withdraw his troops beyond its borders, the spokesman concluded.”
  2. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister: Talks with Russia Possible After Its Troops Leave Ukraine, But Not with Putin, European Pravda reports. “We can engage in negotiations with Russia after the withdrawal of their troops from our lands, but not with Putin. This goal can be achieved through a mix of war and diplomacy. Our generals are handling the first. Their task is to encourage the Russians to retreat and convince them that it’s better to talk than to fight, said Dmytro Kuleba [Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs] in an interview with Italian Corriere della Sera. Kuleba further pointed out that negotiations with Putin are impossible because he has committed too many crimes.”
  3. Finnish Foreign Minister: Important to Not Put Any Pressure on Ukraine from Any Side, European Pravda reports, citing Yle. “The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Elina Valtonen, believes that Ukraine should determine the conditions for peace on its own without external pressure. […] Especially now, it is very important to not put any pressure on Ukraine from any side, the minister said. She reminds that Ukraine is a sovereign state recognised worldwide, with the right to territorial integrity and self-defence. According to the same logic, Ukraine will be able to determine when it will be ready for peace negotiations or perhaps for peace, Valtonen says.
  4. Berlin doing everything to prevent war escalation, Ukrinform reports, citing German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “Germany pursues a responsible policy in providing military aid to Ukraine and ensures that the war remains the one between Ukraine and Russia. With all the decisions we make, we prevent escalation, the war between Russia and NATO; we make sure that the war remains the one between Russia and Ukraine. But we support Ukraine, which is defending itself, said Scholz. He emphasized that Germany pursues a very responsible policy.”
  5. Kremlin aide rewrites Russian history for a society at war, Reuters reports. “Kremlin aide Vladimir Medinsky has published four history textbooks for 16- to 18-year-old schoolchildren giving a completely revised interpretation of the fall of the Soviet Union, the Putin era and the causes of the Ukraine war. The books, which enter schools next month, reflect Putin’s historical view: pride at the achievements of the superpower Soviet Union, indignation at the humiliations of the Soviet collapse, and acclaim for the “rebirth” of Russia under the former KGB spy’s rule which began on the last day of 1999. […] The West became fixated with destabilising the situation inside Russia, the book, a copy of which Reuters has reviewed, says on page 393. The aim was not even hidden: to dismember Russia and to get control over its resources. […] Russia’s youth, according to the book’s narrative, must understand the tragedy of the Soviet collapse, the perfidy of the West and the need to sacrifice themselves for the greatness of the Russian motherland. […] This is propaganda – it’s not a textbook, Mikhail Kopitsa, a Russian history teacher who left Russia after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, told Reuters of the book. He now teaches at a school in Montenegro.”
  6. Office of Poland’s President believes that hottest phase of dispute with Ukraine is behind, European Pravda reports. “Paweł Szrot, the Head of the Office of the President of Poland, has stated that the hottest phase of the dispute between Poland and Ukraine is now in the past. Paweł Szrot shared in an interview with Polskie Radio that the head of the presidential Office of International Policy, Minister Marcin Przydacz, received a personal invitation from the Ukrainian side for negotiations in Saudi Arabia, which took place over the weekend. According to him, this indicates an improvement in relations.”

Assessment

  1. On the War

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Thursday 10 August:

(quote) Russian forces continued offensive operations northeast of Kupiansk and reportedly advanced on August 10. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks north of Synkivka (8km northeast of Kupiansk) and near Ivanivka (20km southeast of Kupiansk). Ukrainian Eastern Group of Forces Spokesperson Colonel Serhiy Cherevaty stated that Russian forces are trying to seize the initiative in the Kupiansk direction and that Ukrainian forces have significantly strengthened defenses in the area in recent days. The Russian MoD claimed that assault detachments of the Russian Western Grouping of Forces improved their tactical situation along the front line during offensive operations in the Kupiansk direction. Russian Western Grouping of Forces Spokesperson Sergey Zybinsky claimed that Russian elements of the 6th Combined Arms Army (Western Military District) captured five Ukrainian strongholds near Vilshana (14km northeast of Kupiansk). Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces seized the initiative in the Kupiansk direction and are conducting offensive operations near Synkivka, Vilshana, and Lyman Pershi (11km northeast of Kupiansk). A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces advanced to positions 7km away from Kupiansk in the Synkivka area and are also advancing in the direction of Kamianka (33km northeast of Kupiansk) and Dvorichna (16km northeast of Kupiansk). Other Russian milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces withdrew from unspecified positions in the Synkivka area and that Russian forces are advancing after Ukrainian forces retreated towards Kupiansk. Another Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces advanced towards Masyutivka (13km northeast of Kupiansk) between August 8 and 9 and that they hold positions within 4km of the R-79 (Kupiansk to Dvorichna) highway. The milblogger speculated that Russian forces are attempting to capture positions along the Synkivka-Petropavlivka-Kucherivka line (up to 7km east of Kupiansk) and plan to interdict Ukrainian ground lines of communications (GLOCs) along the R-79 highway to threaten Ukrainian forces in Kupiansk. ISW has not yet observed visual evidence of Russian forces making these recent advances in the Kupiansk direction and currently assesses that the closest Russian positions to Kupiansk are roughly 10km northeast of the settlement.

Ukrainian officials announced mandatory evacuations for civilians in 53 settlements in Kupiansk Raion, Kharkiv Oblast on August 9 due to intensified Russian shelling and aviation strikes against settlements near the frontline. Russian forces hold positions northeast of Kupiansk well within artillery range, and the intensification of Russian offensive operations in the area significantly increases the risk to civilians in Kupiansk and surrounding settlements. The evacuations in Kupiansk Raion do not necessarily indicate that Ukrainian forces expect Russian forces to make significant advances in the area, however.

Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted unsuccessful counterattacks northeast of Kupiansk on August 10. The Russian MoD claimed that Russian forces repelled Ukrainian assaults near Synkivka and the Mankivka tract (around 15km east of Kupiansk).

Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line on August 10 and advanced south of Kreminna. Geolocated footage published on August 9 indicates that Russian forces advanced south of Kreminna. A Russian source claimed that Russian forces broke through Ukrainian first lines of defense near Kreminna, but did not specify the nature or location of the breakthrough. A Russian milblogger amplified footage on August 8 purporting to show Russian forces breaking through Ukrainian defensive lines in the Serebryanske forest area south of Kreminna. The milblogger claimed that Russian forces advanced up to 2km into Ukrainian defenses and captured an unspecified number of Ukrainian strongholds and tactically significant heights, although ISW has not observed visual confirmation of these claims. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful assaults near Nadiya (15km west of Svatove) and south of Novoselivske (15km northwest of Svatove).

Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued ground attacks along the Svatove-Kreminna line but did not advance. The Russian MoD claimed that Russian forces repelled Ukrainian assaults near Novoselivkse, Luhansk Oblast, and Terny (16km northwest of Kreminna) and Bilohorivka (33km south of Kreminna) in Donetsk Oblast.

Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and made no confirmed or claimed advances on August 10. Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted unsuccessful attacks south of Bakhmut near Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut) and Andriivka (10km southwest of Bakhmut) and that the intensity of combat remains high in these areas. A Russian source claimed that Ukrainian forces continued attacks near Berkhivka (6km northwest of Bakhmut) on August 9.

Russian forces continued offensive operations near Bakhmut and reportedly made marginal advances on August 10. Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces conducted counterattacks against Ukrainian forces near Klishchiivka and Andriivka and pushed Ukrainian forces from unspecified positions near Klishchiivka. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive actions northeast of Druzhba (18km southwest of Bakhmut), on the outskirts of Klishchiivka, and near Bohdanivka (5km northwest of Bakhmut.

Russian forces continued attacks on the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line and did not make any claimed or confirmed advances on August 10. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful ground attacks near Avdiivka, Sieverne (6km west of Avdiivka), Novokalynove (11km northwest of Avdiivka), Pobieda (5km southwest of Donetsk City), Marinka (just southwest of Donetsk City), and Novomykhailivka (10km south of Marinka). Russian sources also reported Russian ground attacks in these areas.

Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted limited ground attacks on the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line and did not advance on August 10. The Russian MoD claimed that Russian forces repelled Ukrainian ground attacks near Novomykhailivka.[58]

Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations in the western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area and advanced on August 10. Geolocated footage published on August 10 suggests that Ukrainian forces crossed the Mokri Yaly River and advanced eastward into the southwestern outskirts of Urozhaine (9km south of Velyka Novosilka). The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in the Berdiansk direction and achieved partial success south and southeast of Staromayorske (9km south of Velyka Novosilka) and in the direction of Urozhaine. Some Russian milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces attacked near Urozhaine and tried to gain a foothold near the settlement on August 9. The Russian “Vostok” Battalion, which is defending the area, claimed that Ukrainian forces advanced closer to Urozhaine on the evening of August 9. […] Russian milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces also attacked Pryyutne (16km southwest of Velyka Novosilka) on August 10.

Russian forces conducted offensive operations in the western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area and did not advance on August 10. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces unsuccessfully attempted to regain lost positions near Staromayorske.

Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast on August 10 and reportedly advanced. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in the direction of Melitopol (western Zaporizhzhia Oblast). A Russian milblogger claimed on August 9 that Ukrainian forces advanced into Russian defenses near Robotyne (10km south of Orikhiv) and Novopokrovka (16km southeast of Orikhiv). A Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully attacked near Robotyne on the night of August 9, and another Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted limited ground attacks near Robotyne on August 10. Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully attacked in the direction of Verbove (18km southeast of Orikhiv) on August 10. A Russian media aggregator claimed on August 9 that positional battle continued near Pyatykhatky (25km southwest of Orikhiv) and Robotyne, and a Russian milblogger claimed on August 10 that Ukrainian forces attempted to conduct limited ground attacks near Pyatykhatky and Zherebyanky (26km southwest of Orikhiv).

Russian forces conducted offensive operations in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast and did not advance on August 10. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations south of Novodanylivka (6km south of Orikhiv). Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces unsuccessfully counterattacked east of Robotyne on August 9. […]

Russian sources continued to discuss the recent Ukrainian incursion near Kozachi Laheri in the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast. A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian thermobaric artillery units struck near Kozachi Laheri on August 9 and speculated that this suggested that some Ukrainian forces are still on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast. Another Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces did not attempt to cross the Dnipro River on August 10.

Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted unsuccessful drone strikes on occupied Crimea. Russian sources, including the Russian MoD, claimed that Russian forces downed 11 to 12 Ukrainian drones near Sevastopol, Cape Tarkhankut (115km northwest of Sevastopol), Yevpatoria (67km north of Sevastopol), and Saky (59km north of Sevastopol). Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian drones targeted the Novofedorivka airfield near Saky.

The Wagner Group continues to maintain a presence at facilities in Belarus and the status of its rumored withdrawal to Russia remains unclear. Satellite imagery collected on August 9 shows a significant number of vehicles at the Wagner camp in Tsel, Asipovichy, Belarus, and may even indicate that more vehicles have arrived at the base between August 1 and August 9. Ukrainian sources continue to report about expanding Wagner activity in Brest Oblast, and a Wagner-affiliated source posted footage on August 10 showing that Wagner instructors continue to train Belarusian military personnel. The Wagner-affiliated source amplified a denial from an alleged Wagner fighter wherein the fighter stated that the speculations are “fantasies,” although he acknowledged that many Wagner fighters themselves often do not learn about their deployments until the last moment. ISW has not observed counter-indicators that would refute recent speculation from August 8 that Wagner bussed 500 to 600 personnel from Belarus to Krasnodar Krai and Voronezh and Rostov oblasts, however. Russian sources speculated that Wagner forces plan to conduct the second stage of their alleged withdrawal from Belarus on August 13 but that a small group of Wagner instructors would remain in Belarus to train Belarusian forces.

Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin has yet to comment on these speculations either directly or through intermediary sources as he has done previously, suggesting that Prigozhin may not be entirely at liberty to comment on the future of Wagner. Prigozhin was last publicly seen on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Economic Humanitarian Forum in St. Petersburg on July 27 and most recently commented on Wagner‘s future in an audio recording published on July 30, during which he asserted that Wagner fighters who did not sign contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) would arrive in Belarus by August 5. ISW previously assessed that the speculation about Wagner’s withdrawal from Belarus suggested that the Kremlin may be reneging on elements of the agreement brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that brought Wagner’s June 24 rebellion to an end. Kremlin-affiliated sources renewed attacks against Prigozhin in early August, and the speculation itself may be a part of an information operation aimed at degrading Prigozhin’s position with Wagner fighters or at some other objective.

Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front and advanced in the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area on August 10. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in the Bakhmut, Berdiansk (Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area), and Melitopol (western Zaporizhzhia Oblast) directions. Geolocated footage published on August 10 suggests that Ukrainian forces crossed the Mokri Yaly River and advanced eastward into the southwestern outskirts of Urozhaine (9km south of Velyka Novosilka) in the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces achieved partial successes in the direction of Urozhaine and south and southeast of Staromayroske (9km south of Velyka Novosilka).

A Russian milblogger accused Russian military personnel of fabricating or embellishing claims of Russian forces destroying Ukrainian vehicles in Ukraine. The milblogger claimed on August 7 that the ”Soviet system of military service” encourages Russian servicemen to report false successes on their missions to please their commanders and claimed that commanders and peers actively discourage Russian military personnel from writing honest, but “dull” and negative reports. The milblogger suggested that Russian soldiers have filmed Russian helicopters and artillery firing on the same, previously damaged Western-provided armored fighting vehicle from different angles and on different days and reported them as separate kills at least three times. The milblogger claimed that everyone in the Russian military knows that servicemen do this and that the Russian military leadership has no intention of stopping servicemen from making false or embellished reports. Russian milbloggers have previously accused Russian attack helicopters of striking already destroyed Ukrainian military equipment and suggested that the Russian MoD may be using these repeated hits to inflate Ukrainian losses. The Kremlin has previously used wildly inflated Ukrainian armored vehicle losses to portray Russian defensive operations as extremely effective. […]

The Kremlin is likely attempting to crypto-nationalize Russian internet giant Yandex to strengthen control over the Russian information space in preparation for the 2024 Russian presidential election. Yandex has likely been trying to balance between the Kremlin and its foreign governing bodies but now appears to be losing the battle to the Kremlin. The Kremlin appears to be forcing Yandex to sell or distance itself from international subsidiaries, including rideshare service Yango Israel, in order to comply with strict Russian data disclosure laws requiring Yandex to supply all user data – not just data of users in Russia – to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). The Russian government has previously fined Yandex for failing to comply with this law despite Yandex’s statements that it is unable to provide the requested data. The Russian government also previously fined Yandex CEO Artem Savinovsky for Yandex’s failure to comply with Russian censorship laws, possibly trying to compel Yandex into complying with Russian censorship laws not just in Russia but globally to undermine its global operations and userbase. Yandex officials have previously stated that Yandex aims to follow the laws within each country it operates and have rebuked Russian datamining efforts by claiming it only provides user data to governments of users in that specific country. […] Yandex founder and former CEO Arkady Volozh publicly decried the invasion of Ukraine on August 10, and some Russian insider sources speculated that Volozh’s statement was a “white flag” showing that he had accepted that the Kremlin would likely go forward with its speculated formal nationalization effort. Reuters reported that its sources within Yandex fear a “brain drain” if the Kremlin nationalizes Yandex, as many Yandex employees left Russia following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. […]

The possible transfer of Yandex to affiliates of Russian First Deputy Presidential Chief of Staff Sergey Kiriyenko suggests that Putin seeks to reward Kiriyenko for his personal loyalty, particularly following the June 24 Wagner Group rebellion. Russian opposition outlet Meduza previously suggested that Kovalchuk, Kudrin, and Kiriyenko collaborated to propose a deal for investors to purchase Yandex on behalf of Kovalchuk. Kiriyenko and Kovalchuk previously backed Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin; while their current connection to Prigozhin is unclear, Kiriyenko has continued to publicly posture himself as a firm Putin loyalist following the June 24 rebellion. Putin may be rewarding Kiriyenko to further secure Kiriyenko’s loyalty headed into the 2024 presidential elections, particularly as Kiriyenko has served as the Kremlin’s point person for affairs and elections in occupied Ukraine. […]

Key Takeaways:

  • The Wagner Group continues to maintain a presence at facilities in Belarus and the status of its rumored withdrawal to Russia remains unclear.
  • Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin has yet to comment on these speculations either directly or through intermediary sources as he has done previously, suggesting that Prigozhin may not be entirely at liberty to comment on the future of Wagner.
  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front and advanced in the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area on August 10.
  • A Russian milblogger accused Russian military personnel of fabricating or embellishing claims of Russian forces destroying Ukrainian vehicles in Ukraine.
  • Russian forces conducted another series of missile and drone strikes in Ukraine overnight on August 9-10.
  • The Kremlin is likely attempting to crypto-nationalize Russian internet giant Yandex to strengthen control over the Russian information space in preparation for the 2024 Russian presidential election.
  • The possible transfer of Yandex to affiliates of Russian First Deputy Presidential Chief of Staff Sergey Kiriyenko suggests that Putin seeks to reward Kiriyenko for his personal loyalty, particularly following the June 24 Wagner Group rebellion.
  • Affiliates of arrested former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer and ardent ultranationalist Igor Girkin continue to explicitly attack the Kremlin on August 10.
  • Russian forces conducted offensive operations along the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, near Bakhmut, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line, the western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast on August 10 and made some advances.
  • Russian officials continue to highlight the claimed success of the Russian defense industrial base (DIB).
  • A Ukrainian military official reported that Russian forces are co-opting civilian infrastructure for the repression of local populations in the occupied territories. (unquote)

Ukraine legally strikes on territory of Russian Federation. It is necessary to attack more military objects, – British General Mayall, Censor.net reports, citing Liga.net. “Former Deputy Chief of Defense Staff of Great Britain Simon Mayall said that Ukraine is legally resisting by attacking the territory of Russia. In his opinion, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is doing the right thing by not using Western weapons for strikes on the territory of the Russian Federation.

One of the things that Ukraine is very good at is not using the military equipment given to it by Western countries outside its borders. Zelenskyy is aware of the expansion of the war, the loss of moral superiority, and makes the support of the West a little more ambivalent, the general said. Commenting on the strikes on Russian territory, he said that the Ukrainians are legally resisting, but they need to attack more military facilities.” 

Russia says that two drones were shot down outside the Moscow city limits, The New York Times reports. “Russian officials said Ukraine targeted Moscow with two drones early Thursday, the sixth reported attack this month on the capital and the surrounding region, as the unmanned strikes deep inside Russia’s borders appear to take place more frequently. Both drones were shot down outside Moscow’s city limits, one about 15 miles from the Kremlin and the other about 60 miles away, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on the Telegram messaging app. There were no injuries or damage, according to the ministry, a claim that could not be independently verified. Moscow’s mayor, Sergey Sobyanin, said the attack took place around 4 a.m. Ukrainian officials did not immediately comment on the attack, as has been their practice on attacks inside Russia. […]

The drone attacks on Moscow began in May and their pace has recently picked up, as Kyiv’s counteroffensive against Russian troops in Ukraine east and south has ground on. After two attacks in May and one in June, there were four attacks reported in July with mixed results, all of which Russian officials blamed on Ukraine. With Thursday’s attack, the Moscow capital region has been targeted half a dozen times 10 days into August. As the attacks have increased, Ukrainian officials have made clear that the war’s devastation would not be limited to Ukrainian soil.

While not commenting on specific attacks, Yuri Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, said Russia is struggling to counter the threat posed by new, more advanced drones. You see, even the ‘unparalleled’ Russian air defense cannot cope with what flies in there, he said in an appearance on national television when asked about attacks inside Russia. […]

Last month, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine emphasized the importance of what he called the “Ukrainian drone army,” saying its role in the war would grow. There will be more good news involving Ukrainian drones. And this is crucial, he said, without specifically addressing attacks inside Russia.

The New York Times has also documented in a visual investigation that some of Ukraine’s homegrown drone fleet have been used in the recent attacks inside Russia. The number of drones deployed in attacks in Russia pales in comparison with the numbers Moscow has used to attack Ukraine, killing civilians, and destroying homes and infrastructure. The attacks on Moscow, some of which have hit central parts of the city, have caused relatively minor damage.”

Kremlin bosses keep private armies for future self-defence, Ukrinform reports, citing Andrii Yusov, the spokesman for the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine. “Office holders in various “Kremlin towers” maintain certain elements of their own private armies, primarily for future self-defences. He noted that the current leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, currently has great autonomy – both political and military.

We’re not seeing those teams of Kadyrov’s men on the front lines. At present, they either act as units preventing retreat of regular troops, used in purge operations, or reserved for future conflict resolution and protection of the Kadyrov regime in the territories they control. And the same applies to many other bosses in the ‘Kremlin towers’ or service personnel, who maintain certain elements of their own private armies, primarily for future self-defence, Yusov emphasized.

As reported, the adviser to the head of the Ukrainian President’s Office, Mykhailo Podoliak, believes that Ukraine’s successes at the front will be a catalyst for the next crisis in the Russian Federation.”

  1. Consequences and what to do?

Every 100 000 refugees reduce Ukraine’s GDP by $1B, Ukraine Business News reports. “Considering that Ukraine’s pre-war, 2021 GDP was almost $200B, the forced emigration of every 100,000 Ukrainians due to the Russian invasion has caused a decrease in Ukraine’s annual GDP by about $1B, writes the WSJ. As the publication notes, as a result of the full-scale invasion, nearly eight million people left Ukraine, and most of them hoped that this emigration would be short-lived. However, according to the UN, about 6.2 million Ukrainians remain abroad, indicating that only about 1.8 million have returned to their Motherland.

It is also reported that a survey conducted by the UN International Organization for Migration in May-June 2023 showed that about a million Ukrainians who had been abroad returned to their place of origin for a visit or permanent residence. Another 353,000 people returned from abroad but remain displaced within Ukraine.”

Poll says 17% of displaced Ukrainians not planning to return to country, Ukrinform reports, citing Olha Aivazovska, political programs coordinator at the OPORA Civic Network, who spoke on the air of the Ukrinform: Evening Stream show. “Nearly 17 percent of Ukrainian citizens who fled the country due to Russian aggression have already decided not to go back to Ukraine after the war ends. We ran a survey in eight countries. Seven countries, plus Poland separately.

Some 55% of citizens live the same lifestyle as they had in Ukraine. That is, their economic and financial situation has not improved. In Ukraine, they lived no worse than they do now in Europe. Some 22% lived better in Ukraine than they live now abroad. And only 17% significantly improved their financial situation. And about 17% plan to stay there, even after the end of the war. They have already made up their mind, said Aivazovska.

According to the expert, there are currently about 33 million citizens remaining Ukraine, while nearly 1.5 million Ukrainians live in the territories temporarily beyond Ukraine’s government control. As Ukrinform reported earlier, the absolute majority of displaced Ukrainians abroad and internally displaced persons plan or hope to return home.”

Hans Petter Midttun:Germany pursues a responsible policy in providing military aid to Ukraine and ensures that the war remains the one between Ukraine and Russia. With all the decisions we make, we prevent escalation, the war between Russia and NATO; we make sure that the war remains the one between Russia and Ukraine. Germany pursues a very responsible policy,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said.

His words have been echoed by most Heads of States across “Old NATO” (those who do not remember occupation and oppression). They would, however, not find much support in Eastern Europe among the countries that became NATO member states after 1997.

“New NATO” – and I am consciously using the Old and New to illustrate one of the lines of discord within the Alliance – has long argued for NATO to step up and act according to its 2010 Strategic Concept commitment.

In my humble opinion, there is nothing responsible about the “Old NATO’s” policy towards Ukraine and Russia.

Firstly, the policy is based on the Russian-induced fear of escalation and the result of more than a decade of Hybrid War. The main battlespace of the Hybrid War occurs inside the cognitive spaces of populations and key decision- and policymakers. It aims to confuse and manipulate. Using disinformation, cyber-attacks, blackmail, provocations, fabrications, military deceptions, and other active measures, it creates a virtual reality that prompts its victims into making the political decisions Russia wants without suspecting (or acknowledging) they are being manipulated.

The battle inside the cognitive space is ongoing, clouding the fact that the main aim of the campaign is to ensure that the West does not commit military forces in support of Ukraine. Struggling to defeat Ukraine, it recognises that it would face defeat if NATO or a coalition of the willing were to join Ukraine’s fight for its sovereignty.

The policy has turned peace into a conflict and a full-scale war. Lack of investment in security and defence, ignorance, appeasement, and fear have led to war in Europe. That policy is anything but responsible.

Secondly, the statement is based on false assertions. In March 2022 I stressed that NATO is already a part of the war.

Five months before the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the European Parliament assessed Russia to be a long-term threat to European security. It stated that “the current Russian regime is threatening peace and security in Europe by [the] aggressive behaviour in its foreign policy, including but not limited to: large-scale military exercises and military build-ups; the illegal and violent occupation and annexation of Crimea; the violation of the territorial integrity and the destabilisation of Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova; support for frozen conflicts and its failure to respect ceasefire agreements in Georgia and Ukraine; alleged acts of terrorism on the territory of EU Member States such as Czechia; cyberattacks and attacks on sensitive infrastructure in the EU Member States; violations of international law; election interference; and violations of the sea and air space of countries in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea regions.”

The European Parliament further stressed that Russia is implementing strategies of hybrid warfare against the EU and its Member States while underlining “that these acts are of a particularly destabilising and dangerous nature as they blur the lines between war and peace, destabilise democracies and sow doubt in the minds of target populations.”

NATO, in contrast, has never acknowledged that Russia is waging a Hybrid War against its member states knowing that if it did, it would have to act upon its aggressions. Instead, it has conceded to the fact that the Euro-Atlantic area is not at peace. It does not acknowledge the presence of a Hybrid War but recognises that Russia is using hybrid tactics and means.

The Russian Federation is the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. It seeks to establish spheres of influence and direct control through coercion, subversion, aggression and annexation. It uses conventional, cyber and hybrid means against us and our partners.”

The assessment follows the Russian demands from 17 December 2021 that NATO halts any further enlargement, bar Ukraine from ever joining and pull back forces and weaponry from eastern European countries that joined the alliance after the Cold War ended.

Nearly everything Russia has said or done since 2007 has been linked to NATO. Its treat assessments name the US and NATO as its primary antagonists. The current 2014 Military Doctrine characterizes NATO as an external danger to Russia. Its wars against Georgia and Ukraine were triggered by their EU and NATO aspirations. Its demand for a sphere of interest – which includes all NATO members in Eastern Europe – infringes on NATO’s area of responsibility. Russia accuses the US, NATO and the EU of waging an information war, economic war, war of proxy and total war against Russia. Their sanctions are portrayed as an act of aggression.

Equally important, the hybrid war strategy Russia has been employing against Ukraine is identical to the one it has been using against the West in the same period.

The war in Ukraine is, after all, a direct consequence of Russia’s bizarre view on NATO and its “so-called eastward expansion”, while the reality is that its neighbours have sought NATO protection in fear over Russia’s imperialistic nature and ambitions to expand westward.

I have previously argued that while the Russian security concerns are based on a lie, its threats are real.

Russia’s war against Ukraine is only a part of its broader confrontation with the West. Failing to acknowledge the threat, failing to inform the population, failing to re-establish deterrence, failing to mobilise the defence industry, and failing to confront, stop and force Russia to withdraw is highly irresponsible.

The present security situation is defined by the following realities: Europe has been subject to a Russian hybrid war aiming to destabilise it from within for years already. NATO has been told to withdraw its forces and weapons from parts of its area of responsibility. The alliance has been designated as an existential threat. It has been threatened with WW3 and the use of nuclear weapons. A full-scale war in Europe has been triggered by the absurd idea that Ukraine as a NATO member is an existential threat to Russia.

Additionally, by introducing comprehensive and far-reaching measures to stop Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Alliance is (from a Russian perspective) already engaged in economic or political warfare. Delivering Javelins, Stinger, Starstreak, M777 Howitzers, Brimstone, Harpoons, HIMARS, M270, HARM, IRIS-T, NASAMS Main Battle Tanks, SAMP-T, GLSDB, JDAM-ER, Marder infantry fighting vehicles, Patriot, Storm Shadow and SCALP – along with intelligence and real-time air and maritime situation awareness – to Ukraine strengthens the Russian perception of NATO being a part of the war.

I would further argue that NATO already is a part of the war, not by its choosing but as a result of Russia’s aggressive foreign policy. The alliance cannot avoid being engaged in an international conflict that is all about NATO.

NATO sees Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine and disregard for international law pose a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security that will have geostrategic consequences.

Russia has never declared war on Ukraine. Or on NATO. Or on the EU. But all are exposed to the same Hybrid War. Only, the Hybrid War in Ukraine has seen both a vertical and horizontal escalation, shifting its main effort from non-military to military means.

The policy that “Old NATO” sees as responsible is nothing but highly cynical, leaving Ukraine alone to defend European security and stability without the tools needed to face a militarily superior enemy.

The so-called “responsible” Western foreign policy and security and defence policy are seen as signs of weakness by Russia. The Alliance is facing huge structural challenges because of three decades of underfinancing, streamlining and downsizing of its force and command structure. The US and European defence industries are incapable of meeting the member states short- and medium-term requirements as their stockpiles are running low.

NATO’s attempt to build a “Maginot line” along its eastern borders will fail if Russia succeeds in Ukraine. The fact is that NATO desperately needs Ukraine to stop autocracy from once again taking hold over a greater part of Europe.

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