dispatches
July 10

Sitrep for July 8-10, 2024 (as of 9 a.m. UTC+3)

Frontline Situation Update

In the Pokrovsk direction, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Russian Armed Forces have captured the village of Yasnobrodivka in the Donetsk region, finally taking control over the territory between the villages of Yasnobrodivka, Umanske and Netailove. According to DeepState, Yasnobrodivka has been contested since mid-June. Judging by the map, it is a rather small village, likely uninhabited for a long time. It still seems strange to us that it took such a long time for the Russian Army to capture this territory.

As we reported earlier, after capturing the village of Novooleksandrivka, Russian forces, while strengthening the flanks of the Ocheretyne salient, slowed down their advance. However, already on the night of July 9, DeepState reported a RuAF advance towards Vozdvyzhenka and the highway connecting the towns of Pokrovsk and Kostiantynivka.

Reports continue to appear about the arrival of Western ammunition to Ukrainian units. The "Kholodnyi Yar" 93rd Separate Mechanized Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine spoke with journalist James Rushton, stating that before the ammunition arrived, the shell ratio between them and Russia was 1 to 10, whereas now it is 8 to 10: "The 93rd’s artillery batteries, who recently had to fire as few as 1 shell to every 10 the Russians fired, are now receiving significant shipments of shells." According to them, the military personnel ratio is currently not in favor of the AFU, being 1 to 8. We do not know how they reached this number, and it is possible that this ratio is only true for the direction in which this brigade is operating. However, the fact remains that the shortage of personnel is the second most important problem of the AFU, with the first being ammunition supply.

We also see minor advances by Russian forces in the Toretsk direction. In the Kupiansk direction, the RuAF advanced near the village of Pischane in recent days, aiming to reach the Oskil River and complicate the supply lines of Ukrainian forces on its left bank. The relative Russian progress, despite a severe shortage of armored vehicles, is due to the offensive being carried out by small infantry groups with virtually no fire support, resulting in enormous military personnel losses. Various studies assessing Russian losses (Meduza and Mediazona) have reported a significant increase in recent months: in 2023, an average of about 120 soldiers were killed a day, whereas now it is closer to 200 to 250 a day. It is expected that losses for the entire year of 2024 will be greater than in 2023, which were already higher than in 2022. Additionally, Russian progress is facilitated by a shortage of Ukrainian personnel. We expect that new brigades formed during the mobilization in May will soon complete their training, and in the coming months, the frontline situation for the AFU will gradually begin to improve. The RuAF have already passed the peak of their capabilities and are now trying to advance as much as possible as it will likely be more difficult next year.

We do not consider the offensives in the Kharkiv region and in the Toretsk direction to be large-scale; in terms of troop numbers, they are not comparable to the battle for Avdiivka. Furthermore, we do not expect any large-scale Russian offensives in the near future. If the RuAF were to redeploy and concentrate their forces in one direction, weakening others, they could make significant advances. However, as we have repeatedly observed over the past 2.5 years, the Russian military leadership prefers to distribute forces across many directions along the entire frontline. This approach may be due to each direction's commander aiming to report even minor advances on their section of the frontline, rather than assisting other directions.

Governor of the Kharkiv region Oleh Syniehubov reported that on July 7 in the village of Tsyrkuny, a vehicle hit a TM-62P anti-tank mine, resulting in the deaths of six people: two men aged 44 and 53, a 64-year-old woman, a 5-year-old boy, a two-month-old girl and their 25-year-old mother.

The village is located along a route where Russian forces are attempting to advance towards the village of Lyptsi. The TM-62P anti-tank mine could have been placed on a dirt road either by Ukrainian forces in anticipation of a Russian advance or by a Russian sabotage and reconnaissance group to disrupt Ukrainian supply lines. It appears that authorities did not properly inform locals about which roads were safe to travel on. Restricting civilian movement in this area would have been a better course of action, as. vehicles in such proximity to the frontline are at risk of being hit by MLRS, mortar fire or drone attacks.

Ukrainian and Russian Strikes

As a result of a large-scale missile attack on the cities of Kyiv and Kryvyi Rih, as well as other Ukrainian settlements on July 8, 43 people were killed and almost 200 were injured. Like many analytical teams, we published an analysis of the Russian missile strike on the Okhmatdyt hospital in Kyiv, which resulted in two deaths and 32 injuries.

At the same time, the Russian side and pro-Kremlin commentators on social networks have been publishing numerous alternative explanations for the incident, without attempting to present convincing evidence. One goal of this disinformation campaign is to overwhelm journalists and investigators, forcing them to parse through misinformation and issue retractions in response to audience queries. Another goal is to convince those who do not wish to delve deeply into the issue that "it is not cut and dried" and "we’ll never know the truth."

Russian authorities continue to insist on the version of a Ukrainian air defense missile strike. This narrative was voiced by Vasily Nebenzya, Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations, at a UN meeting dedicated to this missile attack.

This version is completely refuted by the video of the missile impact, which is of sufficiently good quality to clearly show an external turbofan engine—something not found on interceptor missiles. Moreover, the sound of the engine is entirely different from the sound of solid-fuel engines of air defense missiles.

The missile itself was independently identified as a Russian Kh-101 by many researchers from the video, while Bellingcat also identified the fragments found at the impact site.

According to the official version from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the hospital was hit by an AIM-120 missile from a NASAMS air defense system. However, this version is easily disproven. The AIM-120 missile has a warhead weighing only 18 kg—less than that of a Shahed drone—and is incapable of causing such extensive destruction.

The base version of the Kh-101 missile has a warhead weighing more than 400 kg, and recent reports indicate that two such warheads are placed in its body. However, even a single warhead is more than enough to partially destroy the hospital’s toxicology department.

In our report, we suggested that the attack could have been either a deliberate strike on the hospital or an error in the programming of the flight path of the missile, the first being a war crime and the second criminal negligence. In such a case, Russia is obligated to investigate this incident and hold those responsible accountable. Another possible reason could be a technical malfunction of the missile itself, leading to its deviation from its intended course—in such a case as well, Russia is obligated to conduct a full investigation. Refusal to carry out such investigations would constitute a separate offense.

Additionally, another hospital was hit that day—the Adonis maternity hospital. Available dashcam footage from a passing car captures the moment of impact, but its quality is insufficient to identify the missile. This strike resulted in the deaths of five doctors and two patients. The nearby Isida maternity hospital was also affected, but fortunately, there were no casualties.

The international community has already responded to the missile attacks, with US President Joe Biden and Dutch Defense Minister Ruben Brekelmans expressing their support for Ukraine. Announcements of additional supplies of air defense systems and missiles can be expected to follow. Hopefully, the West will expedite the delivery of F-16 fighter aircraft, which are also capable of intercepting Russian missiles targeting Ukraine.

Satellite images have surfaced showing the aftermath of a fire at an ammunition storage facility in the Voronezh region following a UAV strike on the night of July 7. The facility has been largely destroyed, with the roofs of the concrete hangars now gone and smaller buildings completely demolished. It is worth noting that fires at ammunition storage facilities are typically not extinguished as approaching them is considered too dangerous.

According to Bloomberg, citing sources, Saudi Arabian officials warned G7 finance ministers that the kingdom would sell off its European bonds should the $300 billion worth of Russian assets currently frozen in Western financial institutions be confiscated. The Financial Times had already discussed the potential for such repercussions in December 2023 and May 2024.

Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, head of the Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Protection Troops of the RuAF, claimed that an underground lab producing chemical weapons was allegedly discovered near Avdiivka. The photo evidence he presented showed a typical industrial chemical laboratory, consistent with an industrial site such as the Avdiivka Coke Plant. The photos showed no sign of the specialized equipment or safety measures required for handling chemical weapons. This mirrors a previous occurrence when the Russian MoD attempted to showcase an alleged chemical weapons lab found in Syria at the "Syrian Breakthrough" exhibition in Moscow’s Patriot Park. Expert analysis later revealed that the equipment shown was unsuitable for producing sarin.

As a new measure to recruit volunteer fighters, the Yelabuga Municipal District Council in Tatarstan [Russia's constituent republic] proposes to pay 50,000 rubles [$570] to anyone who "brings" someone willing to sign a contract.

Regional sign-up bonus payments for concluding a contract with the Ministry of Defense continue to grow. In Russia’s constituent Republic of Dagestan, the amount has grown five-fold, from 100,000 [$1,144] to 500,000 [$5,720] rubles. However, this amount still looks quite modest in comparison to other regions. In three Russian regions, Krasnodar, Karachay-Cherkessia and Tatarstan, the regional payment exceeds one million rubles ($11,400). It can be assumed that those willing to sign a contract will do so not in Dagestan but in a more lucrative region, which will hardly improve the statistics in Dagestan.

Moscow's Meshchansky District Court has arrested Russian citizen Georgy Pirogov on charges of high treason. Details of the case are unknown. According to relatives, Pirogov left Russia after the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and settled in Georgia, where he worked as an industrial climber. He disappeared on July 6 while on a business trip to Uzbekistan, and his car was found in the city of Nukus. Court record with Pirogov’s name briefly appeared on the Moscow court's website on July 8 but was soon hidden by court staff.

According to the OVD-Info independent human rights project, in June 2024, 15 individuals, three of them minors, were convicted in Russia for setting fire to railway relay cabinets. All those over 18 years of age were sentenced to prison terms exceeding 10 years, although most defendants had not knowingly committed acts of sabotage to disrupt the war but fell victim to fraud.