Război în Ucraina. Update 17 August 2022

ISW

Key Takeaways

  • Russian military leadership is falsely claiming that recent attacks on Russian military objects in Crimea are terrorist attacks to deflect calls to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
  • Russian forces attempted several unsuccessful assaults near the Kharkiv-Donetsk Oblast border in tactically challenging forest areas.
  • Russian forces continued to unsuccessfully attack settlements southeast of Siversk.
  • Russian forces launched several assaults northeast and south of Bakhmut, and are likely attempting to improve tactical positions near Horlivka.
  • Russian forces made limited gains northwest of Donetsk City and near the Zaporizhia-Donetsk Oblast administrative border.
  • Russian forces are likely preparing to defend their ground lines of communication (GLOCs) in the Melitopol-Tokmak-Berdyansk triangle by mining settlements on the eastern Zaporizhia Oblast frontline.
  • Russian federal subjects are continuing to form new volunteer units and advertise contract service while facing recruitment challenges.
  • Russian occupation authorities are struggling to increase control measures in occupied territories amidst increased partisan activity.

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 ground attacks northwest of Slovyansk near the Kharkiv-Donetsk Oblast border on August 17. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces attempted to advance near Bohorodychne, about 20km northwest of Slovyansk.[6] The Ukrainian General Staff also noted that Russian forces attempted advances in the vicinity of Mazanikva (22km northwest of Slovyansk) and Novo Dymytrivka (35km northwest of Slovyansk).[7] Russian milbloggers previously indicated that fighting on the Mazanivka-Bohorodychne line, which roughly runs along the Kharkiv-Donetsk Oblast border, has been complicated by the densely forested terrain.[8] Russian forces in this area are likely to continue positional battles within tactically challenging forest areas in order to hold ground against Ukrainian counterattacks. Russian forces additionally continued artillery strikes along the Izyum-Slovyansk line and struck Ukrainian positions and civilian infrastructure in and around Slovyansk and Kramatorsk.[9]

Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks south of Siversk on August 17. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that Russian troops attempted to advance towards Vesele, about 23km southeast of Siversk.[10] Russian troops also reportedly conducted a ground attack near Spirne, about 20km southeast of Siversk.[11] Russian forces continued air and artillery strikes in the vicinity of Siversk.[12]

Russian forces conducted a series of ground attacks northeast and south of Bakhmut on August 17. Ukrainian and Russian sources reported that Russian forces are fighting in the Soledar-Bakhmutske area (10km northeast of Bakhmut).[13] Units of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) 6th Cossack Regiment continued attempts to consolidate control of the Knauf Gips Donbas gypsum factory on the outskirts of Soledar along the T1302 highway in order to advance southwestward on Bakhmut.[14] The Ukrainian General Staff also reported that Russian troops conducted ground assaults in Bilohorivka, about 18km northeast of Bakhmut along the T1302 highway.[15] Russian operations to the northeast of Bakhmut are likely focused on securing control of this segment of the T1302 in order to drive directly on Bakhmut.

Russian forces conducted ground assaults south of Bakhmut in order to improve their tactical positions in this area.[16] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian troops stopped Russian ground attacks near Mayorsk, Zalizne, and Shumy, which all lie about 25km southwest of Bakhmut on the outskirts of Horlivka.[17] Russian forces are likely conducting limited ground attacks southwest of Bakhmut in order to gain access to the T0513 highway via the T0516 roadway, which runs westward through Horlivka. Russian forces additionally continued fighting near Kodema and Zaitseve, within 15km and 7km south of Bakhmut, respectively.[18]

Russian forces made marginal gains during ground attacks northwest of Donetsk City on August 17. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian troops had “partial success” in the direction of Optyne, about 6km northwest of the outskirts of Donetsk City.[19] Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) troops reportedly attempted to advance on Nevelske (15km west of Donetsk City) under cover of artillery fire.[20] Russian forces continued to conduct artillery strikes along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City frontline to support efforts to push west of this area.[21]

Russian forces secured incremental gains near the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border southwest of Donetsk City on August 17. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces had “partial success” in the direction of Novomykhailivka, about 25km southwest of Donetsk City.[22] Russian forces reportedly conducted a ground attack around Vuhledar (45km southwest of Donetsk City), likely in order to bypass the settlement and gain direct access to the local road that runs between Vuhledar and Marinka, which is on the southwestern outskirts of Donetsk City.[23] 

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 ground attacks on the Kharkiv City axis on August 17. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces retreated following an attempt to break Ukrainian defensive lines in the direction of Lebyazhe and Bazaliivka, both about 40km southeast of Kharkiv City and further south than prior Russian offensives around Kharkiv City.[24] Ukrainian General Staff reports have not mentioned fighting in these directions in several weeks. Russian forces also conducted remote mining in the Lebyazhne district.[25] The decision to remotely mine Lebyazhne likely aims to disrupt Ukrainian use of the settlement as a base from which to fight Russian forces further east. A Russian outlet Readovka also claimed that Russian forces took control of Stohnii and Baranivka, both less than 10km from the Ukraine-Russia border.[26] Russian forces conducted airstrikes east and south of Kharkiv City, near Staryi Saltiv and Mospanove.[27] Russian forces launched five missiles at Kharkiv City and continued heavy shelling of settlements surrounding Kharkiv City.[28]

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

Russian forces are likely setting conditions to defend their ground lines of communication (GLOCs) between the Tokmak-Melitopol-Berdyansk area, prioritizing their positions in western Zaporizhia Oblast over those on the Zaporizhia-Donetsk Oblast border. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces mined Inzhenerne and Ukrainske, both approximately 40km northeast of Tomak and on the T0815 highway to Polohy.[29] The T0815 supports Russian GLOCs from Polohy to Berdyansk and connects to the T0401 highway between Polohy-Tokmak-Melitopol. Russian mining in the northernmost occupied segment of the T0815 indicates that Russian forces are establishing defenses to protect vital GLOCs to Melitopol – a key logistics hub connecting Russian holdings in southern Donetsk, Zaporizhia, and Kherson Oblasts – and logistics routes along the Sea of Azov coastline. Russian forces need access to these routes to maintain operations in eastern Kherson Oblast and retain a direct road connection between Rostov-on-Don and occupied southern Ukrainian territories. Russian forces are unlikely to attack from the direction of Ukrainske and Inzhenerne in the near future given their reported mining of those villages.

Russian forces continued to conduct small-scale assaults in northwestern Kherson Oblast on August 17. Ukrainian military officials reported that Russian forces unsuccessfully conducted a platoon-size assault and a reconnaissance-in-force operation near the Ukrainian bridgehead over the Inhulets River.[30] Russian forces continued to use aviation to strike Ukrainian positions northwest of Kherson City and near the bridgehead, and fired artillery at 27 unspecified settlements along the Kherson Oblast border with Mykolaiv and Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts.[31] Satellite imagery shows barge movement on the Dnipro River near Kherson City and locals reportedly stated that Russian forces are working on the barges at a Kherson City shipyard.[32] Russian forces may be attempting to repair and use barges to transport equipment across the Dnipro River, although it is unclear whether the barges the Russians are using will be able to support the transit of heavy equipment across the Dnipro River or whether Ukrainian forces can damage or destroy them once they are in actual use.

Russian forces struck Mykolaiv City and a coastal settlement in Odesa Oblast on August 16 and August 17. The Ukrainian Southern Military Command reported that Russian forces struck Mykolaiv City with S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems.[33] Social media footage showed that Russian missiles hit the Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University, and Russian Telegram channels reposted images of minor damage to the pedestrian side of the Varvarivskyy Bridge in western Mykolaiv City.[34] Russian Tu-22M3 aircraft struck recreational and residential infrastructure in the coastal town of Zatoka, along the railway and road connection to Romania, with Kh-22 missiles.[35]

Ukrainian local officials reported that Russian forces fired tube artillery at Nikopol and 40 rockets from Grad MLRS at Chervonohryhorivka (northeast of Nikopol). Russian Telegram channels claimed that Ukrainian forces shelled near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, but the available social media footage only recorded the sound of an explosion in an unspecified area reportedly near Enerhodar.[36]

Ukrainian forces continued to strike Russian strongholds and ammunition warehouses in northwestern and northern Kherson Oblast on August 17.[37] Ukrainian officials also reported that partisans conducted an improvised explosive device (IED) attack near one of the Russian military occupation administration commandant offices in Melitopol.[38]

Al Jazeera

  • A Russian attack on a residential area of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, on Wednesday evening killed at least six people and injured 16, the Ukrainian Emergencies Service said.
  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said a block of flats had been “totally destroyed” in the attack, which he said “had no justification and shows the powerlessness of the aggressor”.
  • Ukrainian forces killed 29 “occupiers” in the south of the country and destroyed artillery, armoured vehicles and a military supply depot, the south district of the Operational Command of the Ukrainian armed forces said.
  • Ukrainian technicians at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant hit by shelling work under the barrels of Russian guns and face huge pressure, but they are staying on to make sure there is no Chornobyl-style disaster, Reuters news agency quoted one of them as saying.

The Guardian

Russia has warned it may shut down the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant if Ukraine continues to shell the facility – a claim Kyiv has denied. Russia’s head of the radioactive, chemical and biological defence force said the building’s back-up support systems had been damaged in strikes. In the event of an accident, Igor Kirillov added, radioactive material would cover Poland, Germany and Slovenia. Both Russia and Ukraine have accused one another of orchestrating attacks on the plant and both have rebuffed each other’s accusations.

Russia has denied its forces had heavy weapons deployed at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, accusing Ukraine of stoking the fire ahead of a UN visit to the region. Kyiv was preparing a “provocation” during secretary general António Guterres’ stop that would see Moscow “accused of creating a man-made disaster at the plane,” its defence ministry said. “Russian troops have no heavy weapons either on the territory of the station or in the areas around it. There are only guard units,” a statement read. The ministry claimed Ukraine was deploying forces in the area and planned to launch artillery strikes on the plant from the city of Nikopol on Friday, coinciding with Guterres’s visit to Odessa. “The claim for the consequences [of the strikes] will be placed on the Russian armed forces,” the statement said.

  • There has been another reported attack on Ukraine’s second-largest city of Kharkiv early this morning. According to local media outlets, at least one person has been killed and 18 others were injured in the attack. The strike follows yesterday’s attack on Kharkiv which killed at least seven people and wounded 16 others. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said a block of flats was “totally destroyed … We will not forgive, we will take revenge.”
  • Russia’s war on Ukraine has reached a ‘strategic deadlock’ a senior presidential adviser has said. “Russian forces have achieved only minimal advances, and in some cases we have advanced, since last month,” Oleksiy Arestovych said in a video. “What we are seeing is a ‘strategic deadlock.’”
  • A senior Ukrainian presidential advisor has urged Ukrainians to stop “cancelling” Russians and called for them to instead encourage Russians to “switch to our side”. Oleksiy Arestovych penned a lengthy Telegram post on Wednesday, hitting out at fellow citizens for letting their emotions get the better of them and “turning on the cancellation to the fullest”.

CNN

Ukraine has repelled assaults by Russian forces across the front lines in the eastern Donetsk region, the military’s General Staff said on Thursday.

“[Russia] led an offensive in the Mykolaivka-Vyimka direction, was unsuccessful, withdrew,” the General Staff said of Moscow’s push toward the key city of Kramatorsk.

The bulk of the fighting had been concentrated around the town of Bakhmut, which has remained under heavy Russian artillery fire, it said.

„The occupiers launched an offensive in the directions of Volodymyrivka–Soledar, Pokrovske–Bakhmutske, Pokrovske–Bakhmut, Klynove–Bakhmut, Semihiria–Zaitseve, Semihiria–Kodema and Holmivskyi–Zaitseve,” the General Staff said. „The invaders did not achieve any positive results in any of the offensive directions and withdrew with losses.”

Russian forces also had limited success west of Donetsk city, near Avdiivka, it added.

Southern front: Russian forces maintained a defensive posture in the south of Ukraine, specifically around Kherson region, the General Staff said.

Surse ruse

  • În direcția Zaporojie, Forțele Armate Ruse au atacat poziții ucrainene din vecinătatea Orekhov.
  • Ca urmare a distrugerii depozitului de muniții al Brigăzii 95 de asalt aeropurtat din regiunea SLAVYANSK a Republicii Populare Donețk cu arme de înaltă precizie, peste trei mii de obuze de artilerie de 122 mm, mine, precum și peste 30 naţionaliştii au fost distruşi.
  • În total, de la începutul operațiunii militare speciale, 267 avioane, 148 elicoptere, 1.747 vehicule aeriene fără pilot, 365 sisteme de rachete antiaeriene, 4.334 de tancuri și alte vehicule de luptă blindate, 799 de vehicule de luptă cu lansatoare de rachete multiple, 3.310 piese de artilerie de câmp și mortare și 4.922 de vehicule militare speciale
  • Doi semnalizatori de artilerie ai trupelor ucrainene au fost reținuți la Energodar, ambii lucrând la centrala nucleară, a declarat Ministerul Afacerilor Interne regionale
  • au fost primite rapoarte conform cărora Forțele Armate ale RF au stabilit controlul asupra satelor de graniță Stognii și Baranovka, încă nu există o confirmare a acestei informații.

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