·      Top 5 Headlines

·      President Zelensky’s Message of the Day

·      Ukraine Summer Offensive Summary

Top Headlines

1.    The NATO Summit in Lithuania yesterday adopted a package of three elements concerning Ukraine’s membership of NATO. They are: a) support program for Ukraine to make transition from Soviet to NATO standards in military training and doctrines; b) a new Ukraine-NATO Council, where Ukraine and NATO members will "meet as equals" (which will hold its first meeting today), and; c) the waiver of a Membership Action Plan. The final Summit communique said “we will be in a position to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the alliance when allies agree and conditions are met.” The conditions remain unspecified.

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2.    “Unprecedented and absurd” is what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a blast of NATO leaders for their joint Summit communique on Ukraine’s prospective membership. He decried the lack of a concrete timeline by saying “it seems there is no readiness either to invite Ukraine to NATO nor to make it a member of the Alliance... For Russia, this means motivation to continue its terror. Uncertainty is weakness.”

3.    Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he was disappointed with the NATO Summit’s decision on Ukraine’s membership. Kuleba said that NATO should not keep Ukraine in limbo on its membership timeline, but admitted the Vilnius summit decisions have made Kyiv’s pathway to NATO membership shorter.

Putin Signs Decree to Seize US Assets in Russia Amid Sanctions Standoff
Other Topics of Interest

Putin Signs Decree to Seize US Assets in Russia Amid Sanctions Standoff

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the West froze approximately $300 billion in Russian financial assets, primarily from its central bank reserves.

4.    An 11-nation coalition will start training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets in August in Denmark, officials said at the summit.  The Netherlands and Denmark reaffirmed an initial plan to spearhead the training of the pilots. Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said he hoped to see pilots ready to fly in six months. His Dutch counterpart Kajsa Ollongren said allies would establish a centre to train pilots in Romania over the longer term. No country has yet pledged to provide F-16s to Ukraine.

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5.    The EU's foreign policy body, the European External Action Service (EEAS), has a draft plan to provide Ukraine with “security obligations” for constant military support and cooperation, according to Politico. Proposals of the EU foreign ministry range from "sustainable" arms supply, continuing military exercises, sharing intelligence, establishing ties between Ukrainian and European defense companies, and creating a "special" fund for long-term military support for Ukraine. Under this fund, the EU will spend four billion euros by 2024 to help Ukraine with weapons, and over time, purchase "more sophisticated and costly weapons systems", such as missiles and fighter jets.

President Zelensky’s Message

Ukraine Summer Offensive Summary

Snapshot

“New positions” for Ukrainians southwest and north Bakhmut; Storm Shadows hit Russian command posts – and commanders; Russian gain near Lyman brings Shoigu out of his bunker.

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General Developments

Ukrainian air defense systems were activated around Kyiv early this morning. Fifteen kamikaze drones were launched by Russia, 11 of which were shot down.

Russian forces attempted to strike Odesa’s ports on the first day of the NATO Summit and ahead of the July 17th expiry of the Black Sea Grain Deal.

A Kremlin-affiliated milblogger noted that Ukrainian forces have been systematically targeting Russian-occupied infrastructure in Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions – specifically recreation centers that Russian forces use as headquarters and command posts. Explosions yesterday sounded in the occupied cities of Skadovsk (Kherson region) and Tokmak (Zaporizhzhia region), according to occupation officials.

At the NATO Summit, French President Emmanuel Macron announced France will transfer long-range missiles to Ukraine. Macron did not mention the name of the weapon, but it is most likely to be the SCALP missile – which is equivalent to the UK’s Storm Shadow.

The UK announced a new $65 million package of military assistance for Ukraine, including Challenger 2 ammunition and some 70 infantry fighting vehicles.

NYT reported that the White House is currently considering providing Ukraine with long-range ATACMs missiles.

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German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius confirmed the German government's refusal to supply Ukraine with Taurus long-range cruise missiles. However, Germany will provide Ukraine with two Patriot systems, 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles, 25 Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks, and five Bergepanzer 2 armored recovery vehicles over an unspecified time period

Russia yesterday conducted 54 airstrikes and 38 MLRS assaults, and Ukraine conducted 14 airstrikes, according to the General Staff.

28 UAVs (drones) deployed yesterday by Russia against Ukrainian positions and population settlements were destroyed, according to the General Staff.

Russian shelled more than 70 Ukrainian population settlements across Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson and Mykolaiv regions (which is effectively along the length of the 1,000-kilometer frontline), according to General Staff. 

Operational Aspects in Bakhmut

In a confirmation of recent Ukrainian statements, pro-Russian sources said that Ukrainian forces have occupied “new positions” on the southwest flank of Bakhmut around Klishchiivka.

Pro-Russian sources said: “Ukrainian troops managed to penetrate into the defense of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation from Rozdolivka for one and a half kilometers.” Rozdolivka is about 5 kilometers north of Bakhmut.

Operational Aspects in Luhansk, Avdiivka, Maryinka, Kherson, and other areas

According to local Ukrainian military officials, Russian forces shelled a humanitarian aid headquarters and residential areas in the city of Kherson, injuring at least five people, including an eight-year-old child. A civilian woman was killed in an attack with “Grad” rockets on the village of Sofiivka.

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Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu alleged that Russian forces advanced 1.5 kilometres near the town of Lyman in Donetsk region. "Russian units launched a counterattack, advancing 1.5 kilometres along two kilometres of the front," Shoigu said on Russian state television.

 About this area, pro-Russian sources said “the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation advanced in the Novoselivsky area… to a depth of up to a kilometer, along the front and occupied a section of the Kupyansk-Kreminna highway.”

Russian forces are conducting offensive operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line and made territorial gains, according to ISW.

Russian forces launched assaults on Ukrainian positions on the Donetsk City-Avdiivka frontline, according to ISW.

Operational Aspects on Boundary of Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions and in Western Zaporizhzhia

Ukrainian authorities reported that the Duna hotel in occupied Berdyansk, which houses the local Russian military command, was subjected to a missile strike. According to ISW, the Ukrainian Storm Shadow missile strike reportedly killed Deputy Commander of the Russian Southern Military District (SMD) Lieutenant General Oleg Tsokov at the command post of the 58th Combined Arms Army (CAA).

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Pro-Russian sources said Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations near Zherebyanky and Robotyne in the western part of Zaporizhzhia, and near Pryyutne and Staromaiorske in the boundary area.

ISW said that Ukrainian forces continued operations south of Orikhiv and that geolocated footage shows Ukrainian advances northeast of Robotyne.

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