Snapshot

Russia again pounded Ukraine’s Black Sea cities from the air, hindering grain export to hundreds of millions; Ukraine’s full-court press in the south and east continued.

Analysis

General Developments

For the third successive night, Russian forces launched extensive missile and drone attacks against port and grain infrastructure in southern Ukraine. Nine were injured in Mykolayiv; four in Odesa. Experts believe this is to further emphasize Russia’s objections to the renewal of the Black Sea grain deal and hinder Ukraine’s ability to export grain relied on by hundreds of millions of people, 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 also took more than one day.”

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Russia conducted 78 airstrikes and 69 MLRS rocket attacks against Ukrainian settlements and positions. Ukraine conducted seven airstrikes.

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.”

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 17, 2024
Other Topics of Interest

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 17, 2024

Latest from the Institute for the Study of War.

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.”

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

Ninety Ukrainian population settlements were shelled by Russian artillery along the entire length of the front line, including eight administrative regions (“oblasts”).

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.”

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. Four people were reported injured thus far by Ukrainian military spokespeople.

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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.

The Sumy region continued to be heavily shelled and was also hit with a Shahed attack.

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 Velyka 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, Vasilivka and Robotyne in western Zaporizhzhia.

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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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