July 6, 2023

Sitrep for Jul. 5-6, 2023 (as of 08:00 a.m.)

Strikes on Ukrainian and Russian Territory

On the night of Jul. 6, Russian forces hit Lviv reportedly with 3M-54 Kalibr cruise missiles. The strikes on critical infrastructure facilities caused power and mobile communications failures. Moreover, missiles or their fragments hit residential buildings, as a result of which five people were killed, and 32 more were injured. The rubble is still being cleared in search of survivors.

Additional information emerged about the AFU missile attack on Makiivka, Donetsk region, on Jul. 4, including photos of rockets scattered near the impact site and a video filmed with a drone showing ammunition boxes lying in the yard of the unfinished Monolit residential complex. Together with the video showing an explosion with secondary detonation that was released yesterday, all these data conclusively prove that the AFU were actually targeting a RuAF ammunition depot, and not a nearby hospital, as pro-Russian sources claim. Let us recall that it is extremely dangerous to locate ammunition depots and any other military facilities near civilian infrastructure.

Photos and videos showing the aftermath of the strike on the Petrovskyi district of Donetsk on Jul. 4, also appeared. One of the videos shows the body of a woman killed in a store, and based on another one it can be clearly established that the strike came from the north, where Ukrainian positions are located.

There were suggestions that the Russian strike on the town of Pervomaiskyi, Kharkiv region targeted a funeral procession in honor of a soldier of the Ukrainian Kraken unit. However, given the fact that the procession passed 800 meters from the impact site, this version seems unlikely to us.

The town of Valuyki, Belgorod region, came under fire on the morning of Jul. 5. As reported by local authorities, the strike resulted in one woman wounded in the chest by a fragment, and at least eight single-family houses and a power transmission line damaged. We frequently spotted military vehicles near this town but there has been no report on any damaged military facilities.

Frontline Situation Update

VGTRK [All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company] war correspondent Alexander Sladkov announced on Jul. 5 that Klishchiivka, Bakhmut direction, had come under the AFU control. However, a number of other pro-Russian Telegram channels claimed that this had not happened yet, although the situation for Russian forces there was quite difficult. On the evening of the same day, Sladkov retracted his post, explaining that he was misinformed by the source, which he used to consider reliable.

Combat activities are still ongoing around Klishchiivka and Kurdiumivka, which is evidenced, in particular, by videos showing counter-battery fire: the GeoConfirmed project has published a map of strikes on Russian artillery positions along the entire frontline over the last month.

Dry and hot weather has settled at the frontline, which is good, as there is no mud to make vehicles stuck. However, such weather requires intensive deliveries of drinking water for fighters, as well as regular maintenance of vehicles that can overheat.

On Jul. 4, head of the United press center of the Tavriskiy direction of Ukrainian Defense Forces Oleksiy Dmitrashkovskyi alleged that in the Bakhmut direction, Russian forces may have used chemical weapons based on lewisite, a substance referred to as the "Dew of Death" in military circles. Symptoms of lewisite poisoning reportedly include nausea, vomiting, and unconsciousness. It's important to note that in 2017, Russia claimed to have destroyed all its reserves of the substance. While it's impossible to verify this claim, there's currently no concrete evidence to suggest the use of lewisite. Additionally, the listed symptoms could be indicative of heatstroke or sunstroke.

Dmitry Kuznetsov, State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] member and Head of the Coordinating Headquarters for Assistance to Mobilized Soldiers and Their Families, has stated that the soldiers on the frontline have grown critically fatigued after several months of continued service. Despite promises, not all personnel are granted leaves, and often the only chance for some respite is to be sent to rear areas in the occupied Ukrainian territories. In his blog, Alexander Sladkov also talks about leaves, rotation, and replenishment.

Police officers from the Moscow region received training in urban combat tactics, machine gun shooting, fragmentation grenade throwing, and tactical medicine. It remains unclear under what circumstances such skills might be required (these would have been insufficient to quell Prigozhin’s [owner of the Wagner Group] armed rebellion).

Russian units are experiencing a shortage of ammunition. It is worth reminding that as early as April 2023, Alexander Sladkov, commenting on the events in Marinka, referred to the situation as a "shell diet." Various war correspondents, including Yury Kotenok, Anastasia Kashevarova , and Sladkov himself, are once again reporting on the lack of ammunition in the Russian forces.

Photographs of Yevgeny Prigozhin's mansion where searches took place have been published. The interiors of the mansion are far from austere. Based on one of the photos, the Fontanka media outlet found out that Prigozhin was awarded the title of Hero of Russia on June 20, 2022. Photographs from Prigozhin's private archive have also been published, showing him in various guises.

An obituary for Aleksey Smirnov, a senior lieutenant of the 1st Department of the 5th Service, Special Operations Forces of the Special Operations Center, Federal Security Service (FSB), in military unit No. 01355 (based in Kubinka), who was killed on Jul. 2, 2023, has appeared.

It has been reported that a conscript soldier named Yaroslav Koltso was killed in the Bryansk region on the border with Ukraine. He was drafted on Nov. 29, 2022, and in May, he was sent to the Bryansk region, where he was killed on Jun. 29, possibly as a result of enemy sniper fire. Since it is considered de jure that he died during regular military service in a "peaceful zone," his relatives are not entitled to any special compensation.

A video has emerged showing the use of the US M58 MICLIC remote-controlled mine-clearing system in the Bakhmut direction firing a linear charge which falls to the ground and detonates, creating a passage in a minefield (similar to the Soviet UR-77 Meteorit system).

In an interview with the Financial Times, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov acknowledged that Russian electronic warfare systems can suppress GPS-guided precision munitions, such as Excalibur guided artillery shells or GMLRS rockets.

The pro-Russian Telegram channel Fighterbomber [associated with the Russian Air and Space Force] has released a video showing the launch of two FAB-500M62 air-dropped bombs, upgraded with the UMPK [Universal Gliding and Correction Module], from a Sukhoi Su-34 fighter-bomber. These modules have proven to be successful in converting inexpensive unguided air-dropped bombs into precision-guided and effective munitions. However, we have not seen any conclusive evidence of Ukrainian forces using similar JDAM kits of US origin, so it remains uncertain how effective they are.

It is speculated that since these modules rely on the GLONASS system for guidance, Ukrainian electronic warfare systems may affect the accuracy of UMPK-guided air-dropped bombs.

Bloomberg, citing sources in European intelligence, reports that allegedly due to the Wagner Group's deployment to Belarus, Russia will send more Chechen soldiers and convicts to the frontline. The article also suggests that Chechen military personnel have been relatively inactive in previous months. It should be noted that when referring to "Chechens," they likely mean "Kadyrovtsy" [nominally National Guard and Police units loyal to Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov], as volunteer units like Akhmat have demonstrated their capabilities on par with other volunteer units.

Olga Romanova, Executive Director of the Rus’ Sidyashchaya [Russia Behind Bars] civil rights movement, revealed in one of her interviews that the information about the Russian MoD’s consistent failure to pay promised salaries has already disseminated among penal colonies, and convicts are very reluctant to sign contracts. Moreover, there is no certainty that the Ministry of Defense grants pardons as Yevgeny Prigozhin did.

Chief of the Defence Staff of the United Kingdom Admiral Antony Radakin stated during parliamentary hearings in the UK that Russia has already lost half of its combat capability in the war in Ukraine. The Russian MoD has released a response publication denying everything stated by the admiral and calling it "a lie of cosmic scales." It is challenging for us to assess the exact proportion of combat capability lost by the RuAF, but we agree that the current situation in the Russian Army is significantly worse than even a month after the beginning of the full-scale invasion [after the failure of the Kyiv offensive]. We see outdated equipment and a shortage of ammunition, also the majority of combat-ready units have sustained heavy losses, with poorly trained and unmotivated mobilized soldiers replacing professional ones. Commanders are not responsive to on-the-ground observations and recklessly send soldiers into attacks without proper supply.