July 5, 2023

Sitrep for Jul. 4-5, 2023 (as of 08:00 a.m.)

Frontline Situation Update

Judging by a video showing Russian artillery strikes on Ukrainian positions, geolocated not far from Robotyne on the Zaporizhzhia axis we can conclude that Ukrainian forces continue to advance towards Tokmak.

On the Kherson axis, Russian aircraft hit the supposed AFU bridgehead on the left bank of the Dnipro. Due to the activity of Ukrainian forces in this area, the RuAF have experienced an acute shortage of watercraft, since boats are not supposed to be used by motorized rifle units. Russian servicemen are addressing both authorities and volunteers, asking for boats (we have already cited an appeal from the RuAF Coast Guard company commander).

We still do not expect a large-scale offensive by the AFU on the left bank of the Dnipro, since the supply problem persists.

Strikes on Ukrainian Territory

The Strategic Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has reported a strike on an ammunition depot in Makiivka, Donetsk region, on the night of Jul. 5. Video footage reveals a massive explosion, although it is difficult to determine whether there were secondary detonations following the initial strike (another video, published sometime later, does show evidence of secondary detonations). Pro-Russian authorities reported that the strike resulted in one person killed and thirty-six injured (updated data suggest the number of casualties has since risen to forty-one).

On Jul. 4, a strike on Donetsk’s Petrovskyi district resulted in two people killed and three injured.

On the same day, the town of Pervomaiskyi, Kharkiv region, was hit by a Russian Iskander ballistic missile (according to the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine). At the time of recording the video sitrep, reports indicated that forty-three people, including twelve children, had been injured. We have managed to geolocate photographs of the strike site, but were unable to identify anything resembling a military target in that area. Consequently, the intended target of the strike remains unclear at this time.

Two people were killed and six others injured as a result of the attack on Kherson on Jul. 4.

A day of mourning has been declared in Sumy following the Jul. 3 attack, which claimed the lives of three people and left twenty-one others wounded.

The Russian authorities have opened movement across the Chonhar bridge. An OSINT researcher examined the impact sites of the Storm Shadow missiles and concluded that the AFU are not targeting Crimea, possibly because they haven’t got the green light for this. However, it is more likely that the AFU currently has higher-priority targets outside of Crimea, which is located quite far from the frontline.

In connection with the long traffic jam on the Crimean Bridge, Putin has ordered to explore the idea of redirecting the Crimea-bound flow of tourists through the occupied Ukrainian territories, which are under AFU fire control.

Yevgeny Prigozhin [owner of the Wagner Group] has got back the billions of rubles (unlawfully cashed out), hundreds of thousands of dollars, and gold ingots that were seized in a raid, while there has been no reports on what happened to the bricks of white powder. Furthermore, the Rostov-on-Don authorities will not seek to recover 90 million rubles [$1,021,200] in damages (damaged roads and equipment) caused by the Wagner Group. As a reminder, millions of rubles were recovered in court from Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation after their rallies for allegedly trampled lawns.

Deputy Chairman of Russia's Security Council Dmitry Medvedev has stated that more than 185 thousand people joined the Russian Armed Forces, including 109 thousand in reserve, since the beginning of 2023, according to Russia’s Ministry of Defense; it is claimed that contract soldiers recruitment rate has increased to 1400 people a day.

We do not think this information is trustworthy, since it is not confirmed by any objective evidence. When we prepare our mobilization summaries we pay attention to information from Russian regions concerning volunteer fighters sent to the frontline. For example, recently, the Vladimir region has been sending an average of 30 people a week. Such a method of calculation is not very precise but if we extrapolate the data, we will not come close to the figures quoted earlier.

Also, we have not seen any evidence of such large numbers of recruits arriving at field camps; we have not seen any new tents, no new military equipment or convoys of buses bringing soldiers from airports. This was exactly the approach we used to identify the movement of Russian forces towards the Ukrainian border in 2021 and spot the formation of the so-called 3rd Army Corps and volunteer units in 2022. The only new field camp that has appeared is in Belarus; it is allegedly intended for Wagner Group mercenaries, although it could also be used for Russian mobilized and contract soldiers. Yet, the camp capacity is only about 8,000 people.

In honor of the Independence Day of the United States and as a token of gratitude for the assistance provided by Americans, Ukraine’s Air Force Commander Mykola Oleshchuk has released a photo collage showcasing bombs equipped with JDAM kits under the wings of a Ukrainian aircraft (top and bottom photos in the left column, with an AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missile between them). We had not previously seen any conclusive evidence of their deployment.

In March 2023, we described MT-LB armored multi-purpose AFVs with naval anti-aircraft turrets used by the RuAF. Recently, photos of a similar 2M-3 naval gun turret installed by the AFU in the back of a truck have emerged.

A video has emerged showing the movement of a trainload of T-54/55 tanks in the Voronezh region. We have been monitoring it for some time, and by this time, the tanks have already been unloaded in Crimea.

Last week, we reported on RuAF artillery rounds being repaired in Iran. Photos of such projectiles with a 2S3 Akatsiya 152mm self-propelled gun crew have appeared. One of the projectiles is signed “for Bucha” which was the call sign of the recently killed signaler of the unit.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has designated the Wagner Group as a terrorist organization. And since in one of his recent speeches Putin stated that it was fully funded by the Russian state, it appears that Russia turns out to be a state sponsor of terrorism.

The Netherlands announced a new humanitarian aid package for Ukraine worth €118 million. This includes €58 million for rebuilding infrastructure, reconstructing houses and replenishing drinking water supplies, €25 million for medicine and mobile clinics, €10 million for emergency aid for victims of the destruction of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant, and €875 thousand to support Ukrainian human rights activists.

Photos of pressed briquettes with the uniforms of killed and wounded Russian servicemen have appeared. Some commenters try to pass off these briquettes as the bodies of soldiers and their fragments, but in fact they are just their blood-stained uniforms.