Război în Ucraina. Update 21 Iulie


Key Takeaways

  • The current Russian operational tempo is not markedly different from the pace of Russian offensive operations during the official Russian operational pause, and Russian forces are unlikely to be able to take significant ground in the coming weeks.
  • Russia has likely used as much as 55-60% of its high-precision weaponry reserve.
  • Russian forces continued limited ground attacks to the east of Siversk and south of Bakhmut.
  • Russian forces conducted an unsuccessful ground attack north of Kharkiv City.
  • Russian forces conducted a limited ground attack in Kherson Oblast.
  • Russian forces may be storing equipment in Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant facilities to protect it against Ukrainian strikes.
  • Russia’s Murmansk Oblast is reportedly forming a volunteer battalion.

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 conducted artillery strikes to the southeast of Izyum toward Slovyansk and to the southwest of Izyum toward Barvinkove but did not make any confirmed ground attacks in the direction of Slovyansk on July 21.[6] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces shelled Dolyna, Bohorodychne, and Adamivka, northwest of Slovyansk, as well as various settlements in the vicinity of Barvinkove.[7] Russian Telegram channel Readovka noted that Russian efforts to advance toward Slovyansk are likely continually stymied by the challenging hilly and forested terrain surrounding the city and claimed that Ukrainian forces maintain control of the dominant heights around Slovyansk, especially to the south near Kramatorsk and to the east in Raihorodok.[8] Readovka’s assessment of Russian positions relative to terrain in this area is consistent with ISW’s control of terrain assessment.  

Russian forces continued limited and unsuccessful ground attacks east of Siversk on July 21. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that Russian forces failed to advance from the Lysychansk Oil Refinery in Verkhnokamyanka in the direction of Ivano-Darivka, about 5 km southeast of Siversk.[9] Russian troops also conducted air and artillery strikes on Siversk and Ukrainian positions in the surrounding settlements of Serebryanka, Spirne, and Hryhorivka.[10] Russian Telegram channel Readovka noted that—similar to the situation in Slovyansk—Russian forces around Siversk have not yet captured the dominant heights surrounding the city, which leaves them vulnerable to continued Ukrainian artillery fire from fortified positions.[11]

Russian forces continued limited ground attacks south of Bakhmut on July 21. The Ukrainian General Staff reported unsuccessful Russian assaults along the Klynove-Vershyna line, about 10 km southeast of Bakhmut.[12] Russian troops also continued to fight further south of Bakhmut in Novoluhanske and near the Vuhledar Power Plant.[13] Russian forces will likely attempt to push west on Bakhmut from positions on the eastern parts of Pokrovske and continued to shell Bakhmut and surrounding settlements.[14]

Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line of contact on July 21. Russian milblogger Yuri Kotyenok claimed that Russian forces are fighting near Novoselivka Druha, Kamyanka, and Novobakhmutivka in order to push toward Avdiivka.[15] The Ukrainian General Staff reported Russian strikes around the Donetsk City area and toward the Zaporizhia Oblast border.[16]

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 conducted a limited and unsuccessful ground attack north of Kharkiv City on July 21.[17] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces unsuccessfully attempted to advance in the Velyki Prokhody-Pytomnyk direction.[18] Russian forces also intensified artillery strikes on Kharkiv City on July 21, striking exclusively civilian infrastructure in an unspecified district of the city.[19] Russian forces continued launching tube and rocket artillery at Kharkiv City and settlements to the north, northeast, and southeast and launched airstrikes on Verkhnii Saltiv and Rtyshchivka.[20]

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

Russian forces conducted a limited ground offensive in Kherson Oblast but otherwise focused on maintaining defensive positions on the Southern Axis on July 21. Ukrainian sources reported that Russian forces attempted a failed platoon-sized ground assault near Andriivka and toward Lozove, Kherson Oblast, indicating that Ukrainian forces retain a bridgehead on the Inhulets River.[21] Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported that Russian forces struck industrial areas, energy infrastructure, and humanitarian trucks in Mykolaiv City with seven S-300 anti-air missiles.[22] Russian forces shelled the Nikopol area of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast with Grad multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), likely from positions in Enerhodar, Zaporizhia Oblast.[23] Ukrainian forces destroyed six Russian ammunition depots and a command post in the Kherson, Beryslav, and Kakhova areas of Kherson Oblast.[24] Russian forces continued shelling along the entire line of contact.[25]

Russian forces may be storing heavy military equipment in the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Enerhodar to protect it from Ukrainian strikes. Ukrainian state energy enterprise Energoatom reported that Russian forces demanded access to the engine rooms of reactors 1, 2, and 3 on July 20 and transferred 14 pieces of heavy military equipment and ammunition to the engine room of reactor 2 on July 21.[26] Energoatom reported that the Russian equipment is placed closed to highly combustible materials and makes the engine room inaccessible to emergency services in case of a fire. Energoatom warned that the detonation of the Russian ammunition at the Zaporizhzhia NPP would cause a disaster on the same scale as the Chernobyl disaster.[27] Odesa Military Administration Spokesman Serhiy Bratchuk stated that Ukrainian forces destroyed a Russian military position in occupied Enerhodar, Zaporizhia Oblast, on July 21.[28]


Kharkiv & Chuhuiv direction

  • Russian troops are stepping up the attacks in Kharkiv Oblast. They attacked Ukrainian positions at Pytomnyk in an attempt to gain new ground alongside the highway M-20. The attack was repelled.

Bakhmut Front

  • The enemy focuses primarily on capturing Vuhlehirsk powerplant, but have no success. Given the amount of attacks on the power plant recently, it’s safe to assume that Ukrainian troops abandoned Luhanske settlement to avoid potential encirclement.
  • Russian forces continue to probe Ukrainian defense lines in the vicinity of Vershyna and Novoluhanske.

Slovyansk direction

  • The enemy, again, tried to gain full control over Bohorodychne settlement. Ukrainian defenders, stationed on the highround nearby, repelled the assault without much trouble.
  • Russian troops advanced closer to Hryhorivka, but the settlement remains in Ukrainian hands.
  • The enemy led an attack towards Ivano-Darivka from the direction of the nearby oil refinery. The attack was repulsed.
  • Spirne is continuing to change hands. Ukrainian forces seem to have built a solid fortified position nearby, and Russian troops are unable to hold the settlement for an at least a day.

Donetsk Oblast

  • Ukrainian forces repelled a Russian attack towards Mykilske, indicating that Ukrainian forces might have regained full control over the town.
  • Several Ukrainian sources reported that Ukrainian troops re-entered Solodke and liberated the settlement.
  • Ukrainian forces repelled yet another attack on Novomykhailivka. Russian troops are unable to advance in this particular area for at least a month now.
  • Ukrainian defenders repelled a Russian attack on Novoselivka Druha, north of Avdiivka.

Kherson Front

We have finally some report from Kherson Front. Ukrainian troops repelled a Russian attempt to regain lost positions near Andriivka. The attack was led from the direction of Sukhyi Stavok.

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