Războiul din Ucraina. Update 20 Iulie

ISW

Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine

Subordinate Main Effort—Southern Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk Oblasts (Russian objective: Encircle Ukrainian forces in Eastern Ukraine and capture the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)

Russian forces resumed localized ground attacks northwest of Slovyansk along the Kharkiv-Donetsk Oblast border on July 20. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian troops repelled a Russian attack on Bohorodychne, about 20km northwest of Slovyansk.[9] This is the first confirmed ground attack along the Kharkiv-Donetsk Oblast border since July 15.[10] Russian forces also continued to fire on the settlements of Dolyna, Krasnopillya, and Adamivka, all northwest of Slovyansk near the E40 highway.[11] Donetsk Oblast Head Pavlo Kyrylenko noted that Russian forces have intensified direct shelling of Slovyansk, likely in advance of attempts to move directly on the city along the E40.[12]

Russian forces continued limited ground assaults east of Siversk on July 20. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that Ukrainian troops pushed back Russian troops near Hryhorivka (northeast of Siversk) and Spirne (southeast of Siversk).[13] The Russian grouping in this area is likely still severely degraded by recent operations to complete the capture of the Luhansk Oblast administrative borders and is therefore only making slow and grinding progress towards Siversk.

Russian forces made incremental progress northeast of Bakhmut along the T1302 highway on July 20. The Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) Territorial Defense Force claimed that joint DNR and Russian troops took control of Berestove, about 25km northeast of Bakhmut.[14] The DNR Territorial Defense Force suggested that DNR troops will use the capture of Berestove to move southwest along the T1302 towards Soledar and eventually Bakhmut.[15] Russian forces also continued to fight south of Bakhmut around Vershyna and Novoluhanske, including near the Vuhledar Power Plant.[16] Russian forces are likely setting conditions for three directions of advance on Bakhmut- from the southwest of the Berestove-Soledar line; west from Pokrovske; and north from Novoluhanske and the territory of the Vuhledar Power Plant.[17] Russian troops continued to conduct air and artillery strikes around Bakhmut along these three lines of advance.[18]

Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks around Donetsk City and near the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border on July 20. The Ukrainian General Staff noted the Russian forces conducted two failed reconnaissance-in-force attempts in Novoselivka Druha, just northeast of Avdiivka near the H20 highway that runs from Avdiivka to Kostyantynivka.[19] Russian forces reportedly also unsuccessfully attempted to advance towards Mykilsky and Novomykhailivka—both southwest of Donetsk City about 60km from the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia Oblast border.[20]

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

Russian forces attempted a limited ground offensive north of Kharkiv City on July 20. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled a Russian ground assault towards Pytomnyk, 10km north of Kharkiv City.[21] Russian forces continued shelling Kharkiv City and the surrounding settlements, including Pytomnyk, Prudyanka, Petrivka, and Tsyrkuny.[22]

Supporting Effort #2—Southern Axis (Russian objective: Defend Kherson and Zaporizhia Oblasts against Ukrainian counterattacks)

Ukrainian forces struck the Antonivskyi Bridge over the Dnipro River east of Kherson City for the second day in a row on July 20.[23] Head of the Russian-backed Kherson Occupation Administration Vladimir Saldo announced that the bridge is closed to freight traffic for repairs but that it remains open to passenger vehicles.[24] Ukrainian Kherson Oblast Military Administration Adviser Serhiy Khlan stated that the Ukrainian strikes on the Antonivskyi Bridge have made it impossible for Russian forces to transport heavy equipment across the bridge.[25]

Russian forces continued strikes along the line of contact but made no confirmed ground assaults on the Southern Axis on July 20. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported that Russian forces fired 20 missiles from S-300 anti-air systems in Kherson Oblast at unspecified ground targets overnight on July 19-20.[26] Russian forces conducted air and missile strikes on Murakhivka and Novohryhorivka, Mykolaiv Oblast, and on the Pidyommyy Bridge in Zatoka, Odesa Oblast.[27]

Ukrainian partisans attacked Russian occupation personnel at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in occupied Enerhodar, Zaporizhia Oblast on July 19. The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported that the partisan attack injured nine Russian occupation personnel and killed an unspecified number.[28] Russian-backed Zaporizhia Oblast occupation administration head Vladimir Rogov claimed that Ukrainian “terrorists,” likely referring to partisans, attacked the Zaporizhzhia NPP with kamikaze UAVs, which are highly accurate and unlikely to have risked damage to the Zaporizhzhia NPP nuclear reactors.[29] If true, a UAV attack would be the most sophisticated Ukrainian partisan attack ISW has observed to date. Geolocated footage shows shrapnel but no other evidence of damage 300 meters from the Zaporizhia NPP reactors, but this footage could have been staged to incite panic and further occupation authorities’ anti-Ukrainian propaganda.[30]

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