Războiul din Ucraina. Update 30 Iulie

ISW

Russian forces are likely prioritizing offensive operations toward Bakhmut and around Donetsk City at the expense of efforts to take Siversk and Slovyansk. Russian commanders are likely seeking to exploit recent gains in the Novoluhanske area to pressure Bakhmut from the east. Their efforts around Donetsk City likely aim to push Ukrainian forces out of artillery range of the city. They may also be intending to gain as much ground in Donetsk Oblast as possible before planned referenda in September. Russian offensive operations are very unlikely to take Bakhmut, which is large and well-defended, or to make dramatic gains west of Donetsk City even if they manage to take the towns of Avdiivka and Pisky that have held out against their pressure since the original Russian invasion in 2014. Fighting in these areas will likely intensify, however, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is calling on residents to evacuate.[1]

Neither Russia nor Ukraine produced new evidence regarding the cause or responsibility for the deaths of Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) at the Olenivka prison in occupied Donetsk Oblast. Russian officials raised the death toll of the event to 50 and released a list of deceased POWs.[2] Ukrainian officials stated that they are unable to verify the list at this time and called for an international investigation.[3] Maxar has provided post-strike imagery of the damage. ISW is unable to confirm the nature or cause of the incident, although it remains more likely that Russian forces were responsible.

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Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces conducted ground assaults around Bakhmut and the environs of Donetsk City as well as southwest of Izyum. One assault east of Bakhmut made limited gains.
  • Russian forces did not conduct ground assaults near Siversk again, suggesting that they are deprioritizing operations in that area.
  • Satellite imagery showed Russian reinforcements concentrated near the Ukrainian border on the ground line of communication (GLOC) leading toward Izyum.
  • Ukrainian forces disrupted a Russian ground assault in Kherson Oblast with preemptive artillery strikes.
  • Ukrainian officials claim that damage to the railway bridge across the Dnipro near Kherson renders Russian forces unable to resupply their positions on the west bank of the river by rail.

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 offensive operations southwest of Izyum and began accumulating military equipment in Belgorod Oblast, just east of the Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Izyum. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces unsuccessfully launched assaults on Brazhivka and Dmytrivka, approximately 16 and 18km southwest of Izyum respectively, on July 30.[4] Geolocated footage also showed Ukrainian forces striking an advancing Russian tank in Brazhivka with an anti-tank guided missile on an unspecified date.[5] Geolocated satellite imagery showed a Russian military buildup between June 19 and July 28 in Urazovo, Belgorod Oblast, 12km east of the international border.[6] Russian forces may be increasing military equipment in the area to support westward advances from Izyum, as the buildup is only 55km northeast of Russian GLOCs in Kupyansk that connect to both Izyum and settlements south of Kharkiv City. Russian forces have recently launched several localized attacks northwest of the current Izyum-Slovyansk line, and ground assaults southwest of the line alongside military buildup may support a westward offensive operation.[7]

Russian forces did not launch ground assaults northwest of Slovyansk or conduct offensive operations around Siverk on July 30, likely prioritizing frontal assaults around Bakhmut instead. Russian forces continued to shell Krasnopillya, Dolyna, Adamivka, and Mazanivka northwest of Slovyansk, and damaged the bus station building in Slovyansk.[8] Russian forces also fired artillery at Kramatorsk, Siversk, and settlements around Siversk.[9] The Ukrainian Joint Forces Operation (JFO) reported that Ukrainian forces liberated an unnamed settlement in the Donetsk Oblast direction (the Ukrainian operational direction that refers to Luhansk and Donetsk Oblast.)[10]

Russian forces made limited gains southeast of Bakhmut and launched a series of unsuccessful assaults south and northeast of the city on July 30. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces secured positions on the outskirts of Semihirya (approximately 15km southeast of Bakhmut) after launching an attack from three directions.[11] Russian forces reportedly attempted unsuccessfully to advance west to Travneve from Dolomytne, both settlements approximately 10km northeast of Horlivka.[12] Ukrainian forces also reportedly stopped Russian advances towards Vershyna and Pokrovske, southeast and northeast of Bakhmut, respectively.[13] The Ukrainian General Staff noted that Russian forces are attempting to set conditions for offensive operations in the directions of Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and west of Donetsk City.[14]

Russian forces launched unsuccessful ground attacks northeast and southwest of Avdiivka, and southwest of Donetsk City on July 30. Ukrainian forces reportedly repelled Russian assaults on Krasnohorivka, Avdiivka, and Pisky, likely in an effort to envelop Ukrainian fortifications in Avdiivka from the northeast and southwest.[15] Russian forces also conducted unsuccessful offensive operations in Mariinka and Pavlivka, approximately 22km and 50km southwest of Donetsk City, respectively.[16]

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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 did not conduct offensive operations around Kharkiv City on July 30 but continued to shell settlements northwest, northeast, and southeast of the city.[17] Kharkiv Oblast Administration Head Oleg Synegubov reported that Russian forces launched five S-300 missiles at two Kharkiv City districts.[18]

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

Ukrainian forces reportedly preempted a Russian ground assault in northwestern Kherson Oblast on July 30. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian artillery fire stopped Russian forces from launching an assault from occupied Brunskyne on Bilohirka, both located on the western bank of the Inhulets River in northwestern Kherson Oblast.[19] Russian forces also launched airstrikes near Novohryhorivka and Andriivka, both near the Kherson-Mykolaiv Oblast border.[20] Russian forces continued to shell Mykolaiv and Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts with tube and rocket artillery on July 30. Dnipropetrovsk Oblast authorities reported that Russian forces fired 40 Grad Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) rockets at Nikopol, on the western Dnipro River bank.[21] Mykolaiv Oblast officials also reported that Russian forces struck Mykolaiv City with Smerch MLRS.[22]

Russian forces continued efforts to restore logistics and establish defensive positions south of the line of contact amidst continuous Ukrainian strikes on Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) and ammunition depots.[23] Social media footage showed Russian concrete fortifications along the Tyahynka-Nova-Khakovka road, likely part of an effort to create defensive positions along the R47 highway to Kherson City and defend on the western Dnipro River bank.[24] Ukrainian officials and satellite imagery confirmed additional damage to a key railroad bridge, just 8km east of the damaged Antonivsky Road Bridge near Kherson City.[25] Kherson Oblast Administration Advisor Serhiy Khlan stated that the damages to the railroad bridge fully precludes Russian military equipment transfers via rail to northern Kherson Oblast.[26] Khlan also noted that eye witnesses saw another strike reportedly on a Russian ammunition depot in Nova Kakhovka on July 30.[27] The Ukrainian Southern Operational Command confirmed that Ukrainian forces destroyed the command post of the 34th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade in Bruskynske on July 29.[28] Ukrainian forces also struck a Russian military truck and vehicles parked outside a building in Enerhodar, which Russian occupation officials claimed were part of a humanitarian convoy.[29]

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