· Top 7 Headlines
· President Zelensky’s Message of the Day
· Ukraine Summer Offensive Summary
· Infographic of the Day
1. Ukraine still has “significant” reserves it has yet to commit to its counteroffensive against Russian troops, the top US military officer said. Kyiv’s forces are facing heavily fortified Russian positions that include complex minefields, tank obstacles, barbed wire and trenches, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said when asked if the counteroffensive had stalled. “Right now, [the Ukrainians] are preserving their combat power… and it’s a tough fight,” Milley said. He added that it was “way too early” to judge the offensive a failure.
2. Arresting Vladimir Putin would be a “declaration of war” on Russia, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said as his country considers hosting the Russian leader for a BRICS summit in Johannesburg. Putin has been invited but is the subject of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant – a provision that Pretoria as an ICC member is obliged to implement. The matter is playing out in court where the leading opposition party is trying to force the government’s hand and ensure the Kremlin dictator is held and handed over to the ICC if he steps foot in the country.
3. US President Joe Biden and a senior Vatican envoy met to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine and particularly the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children, the White House said. Ukraine claims that about 20,000 children have been forcibly deported and many illegally adopted out to Russian families and/or put through re-education camps.
4. Britain should have forged a “closer relationship” with Ukraine two decades ago to prevent “any resurgence of Russian imperialism to the West,” a top UK government aide urged at the time, AFP reported. In a confidential July 2001 memo, senior foreign policy adviser Roger Liddle laid out a worst case of “Russian intervention in Ukraine.” The warnings, made to then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, are contained in hundreds of newly released Ukraine-related British government documents covering 2001-2002.
5. The African Union expressed “regret” over Russia's decision to abandon the Black Sea Grain Initiative. “I regret the suspension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative for which the African Union had been an early advocate,” AU Commission chair Moussa Faki Mahamat said. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said the EU would expand overland export routes for Ukrainian grain through “solidarity lanes” through Ukraine’s EU neighbors.
I regret the suspension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative for which the @_AfricanUnion had been an early advocate.I urge parties to resolve any issues to resume the continued safe passage of grains&fertiliser from #Ukraine & #Russia to where it is needed, particularly in Africa.— Moussa Faki Mahamat (@AUC_MoussaFaki) July 18, 2023
6. European, Latin American and Caribbean leaders failed to agree on a statement holding Russia to account for its war on Ukraine. The joint communique issued after the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit expressed “deep concern” about the conflict but contained no mention of Russia. Poland’s Mateusz Morawiecki bluntly argued that countries which had suffered from European colonialism should recognize that Russia is now an imperialist threat. “Here in Europe it’s hard to imagine, but in Latin America, Russia is presented as a peaceful country that has been attacked by NATO,” he said.
7. G20 finance chiefs ended talks in India with disagreement over Russia’s war on Ukraine. The world’s major economies also failed to agree on a joint statement. “Most members strongly condemned the war in Ukraine and stressed that it is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating existing fragilities in the global economy,” a G20 outcome document read. The war was “constraining growth, increasing inflation, disrupting supply chains, heightening energy and food insecurity, and elevating financial stability risks,” it added.
President Zelensky’s Message
Recently, I met with representatives of African media - newspapers, radio, television... from South Africa 🇿🇦, Nigeria 🇳🇬, Kenya 🇰🇪, Uganda 🇺🇬, Ghana 🇬🇭, Benin 🇧🇯, Côte d'Ivoire 🇨🇮. They were not only in Kyiv, but also in Kherson region and Bucha, where they talked to the… pic.twitter.com/XHojkvsCcC— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) July 18, 2023
Ukraine Summer Offensive Summary
Battlefield situation steady; Russian assault near Kupyansk potentially stalling; no more propaganda TV in occupied Tokmak; Russia sends the drones and missiles at Ukraine’s cities; allies continue to step up.
Explosions from Russian drones and missiles were recorded and air defense systems activated in Kyiv, Odesa and Zaporizhzhia overnight.
The practicalities of F-16 training for Ukrainian pilots was one of the main topics of the 14th monthly “Ramstein” Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting, Ukrinform reported. “We heard from the co-leads of the F-16 training coalition, Denmark and the Netherlands. They continue to make progress on a cohesive training plan to help some very eager Ukrainian pilots learn to fly fourth-generation aircraft,” US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said following the meeting.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has proposed allowing foreign military bases in Ukraine through constitutional change, according to Ukrainska Pravda. “It's clear that if necessary, we can find a legal formula not to call the base a base, but a kind of ‘center’ or something else… It's necessary to remove this [Constitutional] restriction, which has lost its relevance.”
The US is preparing a new aid package for Ukraine worth $1.3 billion, Reuters reported. It will have an emphasis on air defense capabilities, including VAMPIRE air defense systems, other counter-drone systems, radars, sensors, and analysis systems.
Lithuania will lead an international coalition and plan to assist Ukraine’s demining efforts, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry announced at the Ramstein meeting.
Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxembourg will send a batch of M113 armored vehicles to Ukraine, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said at the Ramstein meeting.
Operational Aspects in Bakhmut
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said that Ukrainian forces continued to advance on the southern flank of Bakhmut while defending Russian counterattacks on the northern flank.
Operational Aspects in Kupyansk and other areas
Russian and Ukrainian sources noted that Russian forces continued their increased offensive operations in the Kupyansk area (between the northeastern Kharkiv region and the northwestern Luhansk region), according to ISW.
Malyar said that the intensified Russian assault near Kupyansk “is presently without success.” She added that “battles are on-going, but the initiative is now with our side.” Pro-Russian milbloggers said that Russian troops made progress and “Kupyansk is visible through binoculars.”
Another pro-Russian milblogger said that “in the Luhansk direction, the RF Armed Forces tried to push back the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine across the Oskil River in the Masyutivka area [and] they failed.” Masyutivka is about 10 kilometers north of Kupyansk.
Operational Aspects on Boundary of the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions and in Western Zaporizhzhia
The television tower in occupied Tokmak in the western Zaporizhzhia region was destroyed by Ukrainian rockets, reported the exiled Mayor of Melitopol and Russian state media.
Malyar said that “in the directions of Mala Tokmachka-Novopokrovka and Veleka Novosilka-Urozhayne, our troops had successes, including reinforcing obtained positions.”
Infographic of the Day
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