Assessment of the Russian Offensive Campaign, July 7

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July 7, 5:45 p.m. ET

Click on here to view the ISW’s interactive map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This map is updated daily alongside the static maps present in this report.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov announced on July 7 that Russian forces in Ukraine were taking a break to rest and regain their combat capabilities, confirming the ISW’s assessment that forces Russians had begun an operational pause.[1] Konashenkov did not specify the expected duration of the operational pause of the Russian forces. As ISW has previously assessed, Russian forces have not ceased active hostilities during this operational pause and are unlikely to do so.[2] Russian forces continued to conduct limited ground offensives and air, artillery and missile strikes on all axes on 7 July.[3] Russian forces will likely continue to limit themselves to small-scale offensive actions as they rebuild their forces and set the conditions for a larger offensive in the weeks or months to come.

Key points to remember

  • The Russian Defense Ministry announced that Russian forces were on an operational pause to rest and replenish.
  • Russian forces continued their efforts to advance towards Sloviansk from southeast of Izyum and could establish conditions to advance from southeast of Barvinkove, either towards Sloviansk or Kramatorsk.
  • Russian forces made marginal gains southeast of Siversk and continued offensive operations west of the Lysychansk region.
  • Russian forces continued their offensive operations south and east of Bakhmut.
  • Russian forces carried out a limited and unsuccessful attack north of the city of Kharkiv.
  • Ukrainian partisans likely continue to target Russian-controlled railways around Melitopol.
  • Russian oblasts continue to create their own ad hoc volunteer units to compensate for personnel losses in Ukraine.

We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because these activities are well covered by Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we assess and plan. We will continue to assess and report on the effects of these criminal activities on the Ukrainian army and population and more specifically on the fighting in Ukrainian urban areas. We strongly condemn these Russian violations of the law of armed conflict, the Geneva Conventions and humanity, even if we do not describe them in these reports.

  • Main Effort – Eastern Ukraine (composed of one subordinate effort and three supporting efforts);
  • Subordinate Main Effort – Encirclement of Ukrainian troops in the cauldron between Izyum and Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts
  • Support Effort 1—City of Kharkiv
  • Support Effort 2—South Axis
  • Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts
  • Activities in Russian-occupied areas

Main Effort – Eastern Ukraine

Subordinate Main Effort – South Kharkiv, Donetsk, Lugansk Oblasts (Russian objective: surround Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine and capture all of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, territory claimed by Russian proxies in Donbass)

Russian forces continued offensive operations near the Kharkiv-Donetsk Oblast border towards Sloviansk on 7 July. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces had carried out an unsuccessful assault on Bohorodychne, about 20 km northwest of Sloviansk.[4] Russian forces also shelled several settlements northwest of Sloviansk, including Sulyhivka, Adamivka, Krasnopillya, Mazanivka, Dibrovne and Dolyna.[5] Russian forces also conducted limited artillery strikes south of Barvinkove and fired at Nikopol and Novopavlivka.[6] These strikes may suggest that Russian forces are seeking to bypass Barvinkove from the east and are heading either towards the E40 Izyum-Slovyansk highway to advance southeast towards Slovyansk, or southeast from Barvinkove towards Kramatorsk. Russian forces could set the conditions for a possible assault on Kramatorsk, which would run parallel to the advances towards Sloviansk. Russian forces launched a missile strike directly on Kramatorsk on July 7.[7]

Russian forces continued their efforts to advance west towards Siversk from the Lysychansk region and made marginal gains near the Lugansk-Donetsk Oblast border on 7 July. Geotagged combat footage from July 7 confirmed that Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) forces entered the eastern outskirts of Spirne, about 10 km southwest of Siversk.[8] Luhansk Oblast chief Serhiy Haidai reported that Russian and Ukrainian troops continued to fight around Verkhnokamyanka, about 15 km directly east of Siversk.[9] Russian forces also tried unsuccessfully to advance towards Hryhorivka (10 km northeast of Siversk) and Verkhnomayanske (5 km directly east of Siversk).[10] Russian forces shelled several settlements south and east of Siversk to continue setting the conditions for further advances west of the Luhansk Oblast border.[11]

Russian forces continued their offensive operations south and east of Bakhmut on 7 July. The Ukrainian General Staff said Russian forces tried to improve their tactical positions at Vershyna, 12 km southeast of Bakhmut.[12] Russian Telegram channel Rybar further claimed that Russian troops were fighting in Pokrovske, directly east of Bakhmut, and preparing for attacks on Ukrainian positions in Novoluhanske and the Vuhledar power plant, 20 km to the south. -east of Bakhmut.[13] Russian forces reportedly shelled settlements east and south of Bakhmut to further set conditions for advances towards the town.[14]

Russian forces made no confirmed ground attacks in the Avdiivka-Donetsk region and fired on Ukrainian positions along the line of contact on 7 July.[15]

Support Effort #1—City of Kharkiv (Russian objective: defend the ground lines of communication (GLOC) to Izyum and prevent Ukrainian forces from reaching the Russian border)

Russian forces attempted a limited ground assault north of the city of Kharkiv on 7 July. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled a Russian offensive in the direction of Sosnivka, 8 km from the international border.[16] Russian forces have also focused on holding their positions and repelling Ukrainian counterattacks.[17] Russian forces shelled Slatyne, Mala Danylivka, Ruski Tyshky, Vesele, Kutuzivka and the city of Kharkiv.[18]

Support Effort #2—South Axis (Russian objective: defend Kherson and Zaporizhia oblasts against Ukrainian counter-attacks)

Russian forces attempted limited ground assaults to retake lost positions in Kherson Oblast on 7 July. Ukrainian forces reportedly repelled platoon-sized and smaller Russian reconnaissance operations in force at Dobryanka, Myrolyubivka and Potemkyne along the T2207 highway in northern Kherson Oblast in July. 6 and 7.[19] Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command also reported that Russian forces launched 12 Kalibr high-precision cruise missiles at the city of Mykolaiv and Ochakiv in Mykolaiv Oblast from positions in Kherson Oblast. occupied, likely targeting Ukrainian maritime infrastructure in both cities.[20] Ukrainian jets and air defense forces engaged a Russian Su-35 fighter jet as it launched missiles over Odessa Oblast, successfully intercepting the missile and forcing the plane to withdraw.[21] Russian forces continued to hold their positions and conduct artillery strikes along the entire southern axis to constrain Ukrainian counteroffensives.[22]

Ukrainian partisans in and around occupied Melitopol, Zaporizhia Oblast are increasingly targeting Russian railway lines. The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported that Ukrainian partisans blew up a railway bridge about 25 km north of Melitopol between Novobohdanivka and Troitske on July 7, likely further hampering Russian resupply efforts from Crimea to the frontline of Zaporizhia Oblast.[23] Ukrainian partisans had previously blown up a railway bridge near occupied Lyubimivka between Melitopol and Tokmak on July 3 and derailed a Russian armored train carrying ammunition near Melitopol on July 2.[24] The reported increase in activity confirms the ISW’s earlier assessment that a Ukrainian partisan campaign is targeting Russian rail lines near Melitopol.[25]

Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts (Russian objective: to extend combat power without general mobilization)

Russian sources have confirmed that the Russian military leadership continues to create ad hoc volunteer battalions for deployment in Ukraine. Russian Telegram Channel Voennyi Osvedomitel’ reported that Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod Oblast is in the process of forming its own volunteer tank battalion as part of an ongoing trend by Russian oblasts to create so-called “nominal” and volunteer-based units for service in Ukraine .[26] Voennyi Osvedomitel’ said that the Union of Russian Veterans of Afghanistan is registering volunteers for the Nizhny Novgorod tank battalion, and the campaign has been officially confirmed by the press service of the Western Military District, which is in line with the assessment previous SIE statement that the Russian authorities are forming ad hoc composite units to compensate for continued personnel losses in Ukraine.[27]

Activity in Russian-occupied areas (Russian objective: to consolidate administrative control of the occupied areas; to define the conditions for a possible annexation to the Russian Federation or another future political arrangement chosen by Moscow)

The Russian occupation authorities continued to face difficulties in the effective economic integration of the occupied areas of Ukraine. Russian Telegram channel Rybar reported that farmers in occupied Kherson Oblast are facing logistical, supply and economic problems related to integrating into the Russian market, a sign that Russian authorities have yet to draw up economic programs. to integrate Ukrainian agricultural production into the Russian economy. .[28] Rybar claimed that waiting times in border areas made it virtually impossible to import perishable goods into Russia from Kherson Oblast and devalued products exported from Kherson in the Russian market.[29] According to the Ukrainian Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security, more than 22 million tons of grain remain stuck in Ukrainian warehouses due to the Russian invasion.[30] Taken together, these reports suggest that Russia is failing to establish effective export practices and economic processes for Ukrainian assets, to the detriment of the livelihoods of residents of occupied areas.

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