Active combat operations continue, although without significant advances on either side. Numerous reports have recently emerged indicating the involvement of the Russian Airborne Forces in battles along the Svatove-Kreminna direction.
Ukrainian forces have made the most progress south of Bakhmut, around the villages of Klishchiivka, Andriivka and Kurdiumivka. Not too long ago, a group of mobilized soldiers recorded a series of videos from that very section of the front. In their addresses, they complained about having been unexpectedly deployed on the frontline without adequate support or supplies, rather than their initial destination of Popasna. Should the Armed Forces of Ukraine succeed in liberating Klishchiivka, Andriivka and Kurdiumivka, Russian forces would most likely be forced to retreat eastwards towards the railway. In that event, Ukraine’s next move might be to cut off the road going from Bakhmut to Horlivka.
Fighting continues on the South Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia axes. There were videos filmed in the Vuhledar direction showing servicemen of the 72nd Separate Mechanized Brigade of the AFU with blue armbands storming enemy positions. It is still unclear how relevant these videos are.
On the night of Jul. 10, as a result of a strike with air-dropped bombs on an Invincibility Point [heating, power supply and humanitarian aid distribution center] in Orikhiv, Zaporizhzhia region, four people were killed, and 13 more were injured. Rubble is still being cleared in search of survivors.
A missile hitting a sawmill in the town of Bytosh, Rostov region, was caught on camera on Jul. 9. It was identified as an S-200 surface-to-air missile that was supposedly modified to hit ground targets. This was probably the most distance ever covered by a Ukrainian missile, as the sawmill is around 170 km [106 miles] away from the Ukrainian border. Only UAVs had previously reached that deep into Russian territory.
Last week, we reported on Storm Z unit fighters who had refused to go back to the frontline and were asking to be provided with supplies and ammunition. On Jul. 9, reports emerged that armed individuals had come for them, beaten them, and taken them to an undisclosed location. After that, one of the fighters managed to report that they were to be sent to the frontline with no munitions or uniforms. Over the last weekend, numerous reports emerged about similar incidents with refuseniks coerced at gunpoint into boarding buses and trucks and being transported to unknown locations.
Video featuring Chief of the General Staff of the RuAF General Valery Gerasimov listening to a report on the destruction of AFU missiles on Jul. 9 has been released (indicating that the video is recent). The fact that he will not be removed from his post was expected: the position of Chief of the General Staff implies the highest level of trust (due to his access to the nuclear briefcase). We believe that neither Russia’s Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu nor Valery Gerasimov will be dismissed in the near future.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey and discussed the issue of Ukraine's accession to NATO. During the subsequent press conference, Erdogan stated that Ukraine had earned the right to be a NATO member and that Turkey would assist Ukraine in "getting back on its feet" after the war.
From Turkey, President Zelenskyy came back in the company of the Azov Regiment commanders, PoWs who had earlier been exchanged for Viktor Medvedchuk [pro-Kremlin Ukrainian politician, oligarch and a personal friend of Putin] and then interned in Turkey where they were supposed to stay until the end of the war (details of their legal status are unknown). One of the commanders, Denys Prokopenko (call sign Redis) said they were all going back to the frontline in the near future. It cannot be ruled out that these developments might put an end to the "grain deal."
In response to journalists’ questions on why it was decided to provide Ukraine with cluster munitions President Biden said, "We’ve run out of ammunition."
Ukraine’s Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov has issued a statement indicating that Ukraine will not use cluster munitions on Russian territory or in Ukrainian cities, but only against concentrations of Russian troops.
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Minister of Defense of Spain have warned against the transfer of cluster munitions to Ukraine (these countries have ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions).
As we mentioned in the previous sitrep, when discussing the danger of cluster munitions, it is necessary to assess not only the number of casualties resulting from their indiscriminate use but also the number of civilians affected by the contamination of areas with unexploded submunitions. We assume that the use of landmines (both anti-personnel and anti-tank) by both sides presents a significantly greater problem.
Germany has sent a new military aid package to Ukraine. It includes the following:
- 2 Biber (Beaver) armored bridge-laying vehicles;
- 1 bridge for the Biber (Beaver) bridge-laying vehicle;
- 1 Dachs (Badger) armored engineer vehicle;
- 3 radio jammers;
- 2 anti-drone sensors and jammers;
- 6 8x8 HX81 truck tractor trains and 3 semi-trailers.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Poland has sent to Ukraine a previously unannounced batch of Mil Mi-24 attack helicopters.
500 days have passed since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. So far, there are no signs that Russia is running out of military vehicles. Even though relatively old vehicles are being withdrawn from storage and restored, it will likely be sufficient to hold defensive positions. At the same time, Ukraine's allies are supplying weapons and ammunition with great delays.
The summit of NAFO (North Atlantic Fella Organization)—an internet movement that was created after Russia's invasion of Ukraine to counter Russian propaganda online—took place in Vilnius. However, over time this community has increasingly engaged in trolling that does not help Ukraine in the war. During the summit, in particular, a toy shark was placed on the stage as a mockery of the death of a Russian tourist in Egypt who was falsely accused of having a pro-war stance, mistaken for another social media user.