Top 6 Headlines
1. Positioning, politics and policy options are ramping up as the mid-July NATO Summit in Lithuania approaches. Re-appointed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized the need to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty, including with F-16 fighter training. UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said NATO should “skip” specific requirements for Ukraine’s membership. US ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith said parties are working toward “an agreement that will reflect where we are and that the Ukrainians will believe and feel is something above and beyond restating Bucharest [which did not set a date for Ukraine’s membership].” According to a spokesman, President Zelensky will not travel to Vilnius “if the leaders… show a deficit of courage – while Ukraine with all its courage, will and strength and high morale – is fighting against Russian aggression.”
2. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) authorized an additional $890 million tranche for budget support for Ukraine. It is part of a general package of $155 billion, but the release of funds relies on Ukrainian reform progress, including macroeconomic stability. The World Bank approved a $1.5 billion loan to Ukraine yesterday as well.
3. 1,376 healthcare facilities have been damaged and other 184 fully destroyed across Ukraine since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine’s Ministry for Health said yesterday. The medical infrastructure of the Kharkiv, Kherson, Donetsk, Mykolaiv, and Kyiv regions suffered the greatest losses. However, the Ministry noted that “as of the end of June 2023, it has already been possible to fully restore 333 healthcare facilities, while another 357 facilities have been partially rebuilt.”
4. Germany sent another military aid package to Ukraine, including an air surveillance radar station, three Biber armored bridge-laying vehicles, a portable demining system, two border guard vehicles and 16 Zetros off-road trucks. The TRML-4D radar station uses an advanced technology to detect, track and classify up to 1,500 air targets at once in the radius of up to 250 km.
5. At the head office of the IOC in Switzerland, President Thomas Bach was confronted by two Ukrainian athletes about Russian participation in the 2024 Paris Games. Olympian 400 meter hurdlers Viktoria Tkachuk and Anna Ryzhykova are believed to have expressed their view that athletes from Russia should be banned in response to not condemning their country’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Bach has formerly said it would be discrimination to exclude Russians and Belarusians just because of their passport.
6. The start of negotiations about Ukraine’s EU membership should start in December of this year, according to Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament. “Ukraine’s efforts on reforms have been extraordinary, even and especially in times of war,” she said. “If the reform criteria have been sufficiently met, we need to respond. And I remain optimistic that this can still be achieved this year.”
Ukraine Summer Offensive Summary
Ukraine claimed to have the “strategic initiative” near Bakhmut with reported gains of up to 1.5 kilometers on the city’s flanks. Ukrainian gains were also claimed at Pryiutne in the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk region boundary zone.
General Developments, including Luhansk, Avdiivka, Marinka etc.
Zone A. TO518 / Mokri Yaly River Axis - boundary of the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions
The General Staff and Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar both said Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations on the administrative border between the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions, including “partial success” along the Rivnopil-Volodyne line (up to 16 km southwest of Velyka Novosilka).
Ukrainian forces made advances near Pryiutne, according to pro-Russian sources.
A video circulated on social media of surrendered Russian soldiers of the 34th brigade of the “Storm” detachment. They became POWs after fierce fighting near Pryiutne where their company of 150 people was left with only 20. They complain about the lack of supply of ammunition, water, food and evacuation of the wounded and dead.
Russian forces counterattacked “without success” near Staromayorsk and Rivnopil, according to pro-Russian sources.
Zone B. Western Zaporizhzhia
Zone C. Bakhmut
Malyar said Ukrainian forces seized the “operational initiative” in the area and reported that Ukrainian forces advanced 1.2 kilometers in the direction of Klishchiivka (7 km southwest of Bakhmut) and 1.5 kilometers in the direction of Kurdyumivka (13 km southwest of Bakhmut).
Ukrainian milbloggers claimed that a Ukrainian assault at Klishchivka was “massively successful” resulting in advancing and winning several trench line positions along a key canal. They cited individual soldier accounts of encircling a Russian airborne infantry company and that company surrendering.
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