According to ISW, “Russian forces likely are engaging in offensive operations in this area of the front in an effort to exploit Ukrainian operational focus on other sectors of the front and draw Ukrainian reserves away from critical areas of the theater, namely the Bakhmut and western Donetsk, and western Zaporizhzhia regions, where Ukrainian forces are pursuing counteroffensive operations.”
Operational Aspects in the Kharkiv/Luhansk regional border area
Russian troops have gone on the offensive near Kupyansk in the Kharkiv region, said Oleksandr Syrsky, the chief commander of Ukraine’s ground forces. He described the situation as “difficult” and designed to draw Ukraine’s efforts away from Bakhmut, where Ukraine is achieving some successes.
The General Staff update officially said that “in the Kupyansk sector, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are on the defensive.”
About 100,000 Russian troops and 900 tanks have been massed in the Kupyansk theater, according to Serhiy Cherevaty, spokesman for Ukraine’s eastern forces.
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar posted on Telegram that: “As soon as we seize the operational initiative and start moving forward, the enemy immediately activates in additional directions to distract and drag our forces there… It’s predictable.”
Pro-Russian milbloggers said the following: “So far, the RF Armed Forces do not have any global breakthroughs [in Kupyansk], but this pressure has already borne fruit, depriving the enemy of some of the reserves that were supposed to take part in the offensive in the Zaporizhzhia direction, and also creating a medium-term threat to Kupyansk.”
Around 9,300 Ukrainian civilians have died since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, UN Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo said at the UN Security Council meeting.
Russia has now lost 100 helicopters during its full-scale invasion, according to the independent intelligence organization Oryx, which confirms equipment losses via video and foot evidence and geolocation.
Traffic was partially re-opened on the damaged Kerch Bridge in the “reverse” direction and using alternating lanes, according to Russia’s Vice Premier. He also said one part of the bridge is fully destroyed and cannot be easily restored.
A damaged section of the Crimean Bridge can be seen in new low-resolution satellite imagery. pic.twitter.com/RgELIjtNq9— Brady Africk (@bradyafr) July 17, 2023
Russian milbloggers provided travelers with route alternatives to the jammed Kerch bridge, including this advice: “In Melitopol, in the city center, you can have a delicious lunch and withdraw money.”
Explosions were recorded overnight in Odesa in a possible Russian missile attack on its port. Kharkiv and Mykolayiv also experienced explosions in the early hours this morning.
Ukrainian milbloggers reported Ukrainian missile strikes, potentially using Storm Shadow missiles, at a large Russian ammo dump in occupied Luhansk, and at logistical centers in occupied Mariupol and Berdyansk.
Fighting continued around the Antonivsky Bridge over the Dnipro River near Kherson. Russian milbloggers described Ukrainian forces as “bringing up manpower by speed boats” and “the situation is quite tense.”
According to a General Staff report, the Russian Federation launched 54 missile strikes from S-300 air defense systems, carried out 34 air strikes and launched more than 40 MLRS attacks on Ukrainian settlements and positions. Ukraine launched five air strikes.
Some 90 Ukrainian population settlements were hit by Russian artillery shelling, according to the General Staff.
Operational Aspects in Bakhmut
For the latest on Bakhmut, including Ukraine’s recent offensive gains and consolidations there, check out this report by Kyiv Post.
Operational Aspects on Boundary of the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions and in Western Zaporizhzhia
Ukrainian forces also continued counteroffensive operations south of Velyka Novosilka in the regional border area, and near Orikhiv in the western Zaporizhzhia region, ISW reported.
Russian milbloggers said that “near Orikhiv, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are transferring manpower to the approaches to Robotyne, preparing for a new offensive.”
Russian milbloggers, who recently visited this section of the front, cited “a large deficit of all types of resources,” e.g., supply and logistics difficulties for Russian forces.
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