Headlines

1.     President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the latest $1.3 billion military aid package from the US. It includes greater air defense capability for Ukraine, such as NASAMs missile systems. (The officially released list of support is below.) The US announcement came as Ukrainian Presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolyak warned that Ukraine’s counteroffensive “will be quite difficult, long and will take quite a lot of time.” According to CNN, the US is likely to soon provide a further $400 million package that will include more ammunition for NASAMS, Patriot missile defense systems and HIMARS rocket launchers.

2.     Russia announced that grain cargo ships travelling to Ukraine through the Black Sea will be considered potential military targets, following its abandonment of the Black Sea grain deal and its destruction of Odesa port grain facilities. President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of deliberately targeting grain export infrastructure and putting vulnerable countries at risk. Kyiv urged other countries in the Black Sea region to intervene to assure the safe passage of cargo ships.

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3.     Ukraine’s military needs up to 300 additional infantry fighting vehicles and from 60 to 80 F-16 fighter jets to ramp up its offensive in the south and east of the country, a senior official told AFP Wednesday. “Of course, we need additional armored vehicles -- two to three hundred tanks first of all,” Mykhailo Podolyak told AFP journalists in Kyiv, adding: “We need 60 to 80 F-16 planes in order to close the skies well, especially in the area near the front.”

In Show of Support, Starmer Invites Zelensky to Attend Cabinet Meeting
Other Topics of Interest

In Show of Support, Starmer Invites Zelensky to Attend Cabinet Meeting

Starmer is expected to tell Zelensky that Britain will do more in the coming months to dent Russia’s “war machine”, including agreeing a new defense export support treaty.

4.     221 Ukrainian civilians have been killed and another 450 have been injured by landmines and other explosive objects since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, according to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine. 664 objects of Ukrainian cultural heritage have been damaged in Ukraine since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy posted on Telegram.

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5.     Poland will close its border with Ukraine to grain products after September 15, if the European Commission’s current moratorium on importing Ukrainian grain expires, according to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. “I want to make it clear on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Poland that we will not open this border. Either the European Commission will agree to develop regulations extending this ban jointly, or we will do it ourselves.”

6.     In a direct personal humiliation, Vladimir Putin will not attend a BRICS nations summit in South Africa next month, Pretoria said. The Kremlin dictator is the target of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant, and South Africa, as an ICC member, would be expected to arrest him if he were to travel there. “By mutual agreement, President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation will not attend the summit,” Vincent Magwenya, a spokesperson for President Cyril Ramaphosa, said. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will represent Russia, Magwenya said.

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7.     Russia is planning to run a “false flag” provocation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in late July, according to Ukraine’s military intelligence agency. On its Telegram channel, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry for Defense predicted that as part of staging an accident at the plant, an “assault” is planned involving false “volunteer armed units of Ukraine”, as well as “mock shelling” of the station.

8.     Preparations for a summit to discuss Crimea’s liberated future are on-going, President Volodymyr Zelensky indicated. “We are already actively preparing for international events scheduled for August and September. In particular today, I held a large meeting on the preparation of the Crimea Platform Summit at the level of state leaders and parliamentary level,” Zelensky said.

9.     Three dozen members of the European Parliament called for modern F-16 fighter aircraft to be urgently sent to Ukraine. “Providing Ukraine with these advanced aircraft will significantly enhance its air defense, ensure better citizens’ protection and deter further aggression,” they said in a joint letter. Ukrainian pilots are purportedly to begin their F-16 training in August.

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10.    Gymnasts from Russia and Belarus will be allowed to take part in competitions as neutrals, following a decision by the Federation of International Gymnastics (FIG). It said gymnasts “must strictly comply with the requirements of neutrality.” FIG also confirmed “its firm condemnation of the senseless invasion of Ukraine by Russia and its commitment to impose severe punishments on anyone in the international gymnastics community who is involved in war or supports war.”

President Zelensky’s Message

Infographic of the Day

Ukraine Summer Offensive Summary

Snapshot

Russia continued to pound Ukraine’s Black Sea cities from the air; Ukraine’s full-court press in the south and east continued.

General Developments

Russian forces launched an extensive missile and drone attack against port and grain infrastructure in southern Ukraine to further emphasize Russia’s objections to the renewal of the Black Sea grain deal and hinder Ukraine’s ability to export grain, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar outlined the battlefield situation as follows: “The initiative is on our side. The enemy's task is to stop our advance. And they put a lot of effort into it. Our enemy is strong. Therefore, our troops have to move in extremely difficult conditions. In addition, it is necessary to create certain conditions for further promotion. And. it takes time. Remember the liberation of Kherson – it was also took more than one day.”

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Operational Aspects in Bakhmut

Malyar said “on the southern flank around Bakhmut today, like all previous days, there was an advance of our troops. Fighting continued today on the northern flank. The enemy is trying to regain lost positions. Our fighters have to deal with dense mines and intense enemy fire.”

Russian milbloggers confirmed Ukrainian assaults and attempts on the southern flanks around Klischiivka and its heights. One wrote: “To the south of Bakhmut, the most difficult battles are going on in the Klischiivka area, where the enemy is throwing more and more reinforcements, trying to hold on to the adjacent landings and the fortified area on the heights.”

Geolocated footage published on July 19 indicates Ukrainian forces made gains near Andriivka (10 km southwest of Bakhmut), ISW reported.

Operational Aspects in Kupyansk, Mykolayiv, Odesa and other areas

Malyar said “the enemy’s offensive in the Kupyansk direction is currently unsuccessful. The battles continue, but the initiative is already on our side.”

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However, Russia’s Defense Minister said in an unconfirmed statement: “Over the last day, the advance of Russian units amounted to more than a kilometer in depth and up to two kilometers along the front. The advancing units captured the Molchaniv railway station in the Kharkiv region.”

Russian forces conducted an aerial assault on Mykolayiv, another Black Sea port city, last night. Local authorities said it was in the center of the city, that some nine people were injured and that there were deaths.

There was a series of “powerful explosions” early this morning in Odesa – which would be the third straight night of Russian aerial assaults on the city.

Following explosions last night, the cultural center building of occupied Mariupol was on fire, according to exiled local officials.

The Ukrainian Crimean-based “Atesh” partisan group conducted another successful attack on a Russian military convoy in occupied Kherson Oblast on July 14, according to ISW.

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

Malyar said Ukrainian forces “are launching offensive actions in the Berdyansk and Melitopol directions. In the areas of Mala Tokmachka-Novopokrovka and Velika Novosilka-Urozhayne, our defenders were successful, and they are taking hold at the achieved objectives.”

Pro-Russian milbloggers said that Ukrainian forces had “successful” actions near Staromaiorske along the Velika Novosilka axis.

Ukrainian southern forces spokesperson Major Valerii Shershen stated that Ukrainian forces advanced more than a kilometer in an unspecified area of the Melitopol direction.

Pro-Russian milbloggers said that Ukrainian forces continued probing activities around Luhove, Vasylivka and Robotyne in western Zaporizhzhia.

One pro-Russian source offered these comments from an apparent Russian soldier on this section of the front: “The enemy has become more active. They are scurrying back and forth. Artillery is working. Unfortunately, they are working according to our positions. They know the dots. A lot of drones of the Armed Forces of Ukraine fly by.”

Another pro-Russian source wrote: “On the southern sector of the front, the situation is still tense. Enemy maneuver groups, supported by armored vehicles, are trying to push through the defenses of the RF Armed Forces.”

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