Războiul din Ucraina. Update 15 August 2022

ISW

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces attempted several limited ground assaults northwest of Slovyansk.
  • Russian forces conducted multiple offensive operations east and southeast of Siversk and northeast and southeast of Bakhmut.
  • Russian forces continued conducting offensive operations northwest, west, and southwest of Donetsk City.
  • Russian forces conducted a limited ground assault north of Kharkiv City.
  • Russian and Ukrainian forces continued to trade accusations of shelling the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant.

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 attempted limited ground attacks northwest of Slovyansk on August 15. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces withdrew following unsuccessful assaults in the Mazanivka direction (24km northwest of Slovyansk) and the Dolyna direction (20km northwest of Slovyansk).[8] Russian forces also failed in their attempts to dislodge Ukrainian forces with concentrated artillery fire in Krasnopillya and Mazanivka (both about 24km northwest of Slovyansk), Hrushuvakha (30km west of Izyum), and Asiivka (45km northwest of Izyum).[9] Russian artillery also continued routine shelling and strikes on Slovyansk, northwest of Izyum, and along the Kharkiv-Donetsk Oblast border, including near Zalyman, Bohorodychne, Brazhkivka, and Virnopillya.[10]

Russian forces conducted multiple offensive operations east and southeast of Siversk on August 15. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian attempts to advance toward settlements east and southeast of Siversk were all unsuccessful.[11] Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov claimed that Chechen “Akhmat” special forces (SPETSNAZ) gained unspecified strategically important grounds around Siversk, confirming that Chechen units are still operating on the Siversk-Lysychansk axis.[12] Russian aviation operated near Spirne and Pryshyb.[13] Russian media additionally shared footage of Russians using loitering munitions to strike Ukrainian positions near Siversk.[14] Russian forces continued routine shelling of the Siversk area on August 15.[15]

Russian forces continued ground attacks northeast and southeast of Bakhmut on August 15, and made limited territorial gains. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces withdrew to their original positions after conducting unsuccessful offensives in the directions of Soledar (10km northeast of Bakhmut), Kodema (20km southeast of Bakhmut), and Vershyna (15km southeast of Bakhmut).[16] Geolocated footage showed that unspecified Russian Cossack units advanced to the Knauf Gips Donbas gypsum factory southeast of Soledar, and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) Ambassador to Russia Rodion Miroshnik claimed that Russian forces are “clearing out” Soledar.[17] Proxy officials have claimed control over the Knauf factory since August 5, and it is likely that they are exaggerating the extent of Russian advances in Soledar.[18] The Ukrainian General Staff also stated that Russian forces intensified reconnaissance in the Bakhmut direction and conducted airstrikes near Soledar and Yakolivka (16km northeast of Bakhmut).[19] Russian forces also continued shelling settlements in the Bakhmut direction, including the city itself.[20]

Russian forces continued to conduct offensive operations around Avdiivka on August 15. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces retreated after launching unsuccessful offensive operations to improve tactical positions around Pisky, Pervomaiske, Nevelske, and Staromykhailivka, all situated southwest of Avdiivka.[21] Russian Telegram channels claimed that the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) 100th Brigade pushed Ukrainian forces towards Pervomaiske using infantry assault groups and MLRS support, but geolocated footage shows that both Ukrainian and Russian forces are engaged in heavy artillery combat around Avdiivka.[22]

Russian forces launched ground assaults in an effort to break Ukrainian defenses southwest of Donetsk City on August 15. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces unsuccessfully launched assaults in the directions of Novomykhaylivka, Volodymyrivka, Pavlivka, and Vodyane, all situated southwest of Donetsk City and near the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border. DNR Deputy Information Minister Daniil Bezsonov claimed that Russian forces have broken Ukrainian defenses around Vuhledar (about 50km southwest of Donetsk City) but did not provide concrete details of the advance.[23] Russian forces likely intensified their attacks in the area in an effort to gain control over the T0524 highway to Donetsk City.[24] The DNR claimed that the DNR 107th Battalion is advancing in Mariinka, approximately 22km west of Donetsk City.[25] Russian forces continued to target Ukrainian-held territories west of Donetsk City using airstrikes and tank, tube, and rocket artillery.[26]

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 limited offensive operations along the Kharkiv City axis on August 15. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces from Kozacha Lopan again unsuccessfully attempted to break Ukrainian lines of defense near Udy.[27] Russian sources have claimed control of Udy since August 13 but have yet to produce evidence of any reported gains.[28] Russian forces also targeted settlements approximately 40 km north, east, and southeast of Kharkiv City with airstrikes.[29] Russian forces continued to target Kharkiv City and surrounding settlements with unspecified missiles and tube, tank, and rocket artillery.[30]

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

Russian and Ukrainian forces again exchanged accusations of shelling the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) in Enerhodar, Zaporizhia Oblast on August 15. Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces fired Western-provided M777 rounds at Enerhodar, but provided no evidence for these claims.[31] Russian sources also rejected the August 14 international call for Russian forces to leave the territory of the Zaporizhzhia NPP and doubled down on accusing Ukrainian forces of shelling the NPP and Western states of overinvolvement and misplaced blame.[32] Russian forces shelled Nikopol and Marhanets (across the Dnipro River from Enerhodar) with MLRS systems.[33]

Russian forces did not conduct any reported ground assaults on the Southern Axis on August 15 but continued shelling across the entire southern front line.[34] Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported that Russian forces on the Southern Axis have not changed their troop composition or position as of August 15.[35] Kherson Oblast Military Administration Head Serhiy Khlan stated on August 15 that Ukrainian strikes on the bridges leading to upper Kherson Oblast have rendered the bridges inoperable to heavy equipment.[36] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted airstrikes on Andriivka, Bilohirka, and Lozove near the Ukrainian bridgehead over the Inhulets River in northwestern Kherson Oblast, and near Myrne and Blahodatne, northwest of Kherson City.[37] Russian forces also conducted airstrikes on Shcherbaky on the T0812 highway, and Charivne south of Tavriiske, Zaporizhia Oblast.[38] Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command also reported that Russian forces launched missiles from S-300 air defense systems on educational and civilian infrastructure in Mykolaiv City.[39] Russian forces continued shelling along the line of contact.[40]

BBC

The Wagner group of Russian mercenaries, which has been linked to war crimes, was believed to be operating out of a secret headquarters in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine. But reports claim a picture posted on the Telegram social media site by a pro-Kremlin journalist may have been the clue Ukrainian forces needed to locate the military base and target it on Monday.

The Guardian

  • Zelenskiy dismissed or reshuffled the security service heads of four regional departments. According to the decrees published on the president’s website, Serhiy Zayats was dismissed from the post of head of the SBU main directorate in the Kyiv region. Yuriy Boreichuk was dismissed from the post of head of the SBU main directorate in the Ternopil region. Artem Bondarenko was moved from the post of head of the SBU main directorate in the Lviv region, to head of the SBU main directorate in Kyiv and its region.
  • Russia’s defence minister and the UN chief discussed the security situation at the plant by phone on Monday, the Russian defence ministry announced. Russia earlier said it would facilitate an IAEA mission to the plant amid warnings from the UN’s nuclear agency of a nuclear disaster unless fighting stops.
  • However, a senior Russian diplomat said that any such IAEA mission could not pass through the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and through the frontline as it was too dangerous, according to Russian news agencies. The UN says it has the logistics and security capacity to support a visit by experts.

CNN

  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu held a phone call with UN Secretary General António Guterres on Monday, when the two discussed conditions for safe operation of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, according to the statement published by the Russian defense ministry. According to the statement, Shoigu and Guterres also spoke on the functioning of the „fact-finding mission” regarding the attack on a pre-trial detention center in Olenivka. They also discussed UN initiatives to simplify conditions for export of Russian food products and fertilizers. 
  • Russian presence in south complicated by Ukrainian attacks on supply lines, officials say: Ukrainian officials have said that Russia’s presence in the southern Kherson region and parts of Zaporizhzhia is becoming more tenuous as supply lines are targeted daily by Ukrainian long-range systems, many of them supplied by Western allies. Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of occupied Melitopol, said that the destruction of a railway bridge south-west of the city at the weekend had further complicated Russian resupply routes.
  • Spike in Russian attacks in Kharkiv region: Russian forces have increased shelling in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine, bombarding Ukrainian units trying to challenge their supply lines running into Donetsk, according to Ukraine’s military. Ukrainian officials on Monday reported rocket and artillery attacks against the Chuhuiv district south of the city of Kharkiv. Oleh Synyehubov, head of the Kharkiv region military administration, said five people were injured in the shelling, which saw at least 10 missiles fired from the Russian city of Belgorod.

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