· Top Five Headlines
· President Zelensky’s Message of the Day
· Ukraine Summer Offensive Summary
· Infographic of the Day
1. Europe’s largest nuclear power plant has been planted with anti-personnel mines, according to the UN’s atomic watchdog. On July 23, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts “saw some mines located in a buffer zone between the site’s internal and external perimeter barriers,” agency chief Rafael Grossi yesterday said. The devices were in “restricted areas” that operating plant personnel cannot access, Grossi said, adding the IAEA’s initial assessment was that any detonation “should not affect the site's nuclear safety and security systems.” At the same time, Russian occupational authorities at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) have put the plant’s power unit into a hot shutdown state, which creates risks to nuclear and radiation safety, Ukrainian officials said. ZNPP has been occupied by Russian forces since March 2022. Last week, Ukrainian military intelligence officials raised the alarm of a pending ‘false flag’ operation and staged accident at the site.
2. Ukrainian defense sources claimed responsibility for the drone attack on Moscow in exclusive comments to Kyiv Post. In Moscow, police cordoned off streets near the defense ministry where a drone crashed, while the second shattered glass walls of an office building. In Crimea, annexed by Russia in 2014, Moscow-installed governor Sergei Aksyonov said an ammunition depot had also been hit in by drones. Meanwhile, in Ukraine’s Odesa region, officials reported a four-hour Russian drone attack on port infrastructure on the Danube River. As a result of Russian airstrikes on Odesa on July 23, 61 buildings and 146 residential buildings were damaged. In the historic center of Odesa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and 28 historical buildings were also damaged.
3. Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis warned that security in the Black Sea was at risk after Russia hit Ukrainian port infrastructure on the Danube River at the border with the NATO member. The Danube delta region is being used as an export route for Ukrainian grain. US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told journalists in Washington that “we will defend every inch of NATO territory [and we] made that clear [to] the Romanian Foreign Minister today.” Russia last week pulled out of a key deal which had allowed the safe export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea. Since then, Russia has targeted grain supplies and infrastructure vital to exports, as well as cultural sites in Odesa. Lithuania yesterday wrote to EU members to say that it can ship Ukrainian grain from its ports.
4. Against the background of threats from the self-proclaimed President of Belarus and Russia’s dictator, as well as the stationing of Wagner troops there, Poland is creating a separate sapper battalion that will be stationed near the Belarusian-Polish border, announced its Minister of Defense, Mariusz Blaszczak.
President Zelensky’s Message
I held a meeting on the European Union and our integration. This year we are to start negotiations on membership. 🇺🇦 is fully prepared for this - we are doing what is necessary on our part. And we are doing everything possible to ensure that the 🇪🇺 is also fully prepared. Exactly… pic.twitter.com/aDlwbiMe9W— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) July 24, 2023
Infographic of the Day
Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar reported that, over the past week, Ukrainian forces have advanced gradually on the southern flank of Bakhmut and in the Berdyansk (western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhzhia regional border area) and Melitopol (western Zaporizhzhia Oblast) directions.
Ukraine has taken back about half of the land that Russia initially seized in the full-scale invasion, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told CNN that the Ukrainian offensive is behind schedule but is going according to plan. He also said it is a mistake to think that “every counteroffensive should be quick.” He listed several reasons why the counteroffensive might be slower than expected: ammunition, artillery shells and artillery systems. “It’s a question of air defense. It’s a question that we have a very long battlefield line also. And we have against us a big quantity of enemies. So, it’s war – it’s not a computer game,” Reznikov said.
Russia imported more than $100 million worth of drones from China in 2023, which is 30 times more than Ukraine, according to a Politico investigation. In addition, Russian imports of Chinese ceramics, a component used in body armor, increased by 69 percent, more than $225 million.
Spain dispatched a further package of military aid to Ukraine including 4 Leopard 2A4s (in addition to 6 Leopard 2s already delivered); 10 M-113 armored vehicles; 10 trucks for the Navy; a multipurpose armored vehicle; 3 civil ambulances; a BMR armored ambulance; and an armored civilian ambulance.
Agreement has been reached between Poland and Germany regarding the maintenance of German-made tanks. “We welcome the fact that now Ukraine’s Leopard 2A4 tanks can be also repaired in Poland,” Germany’s Defense Ministry said.
The Ukrainian military killed Russian Colonel Yevgeny Vashunin, who commanded the Leningrad Regiment, according to a Russian media outlet.
Russia is putting a “renewed emphasis on military induction for children,” Britain’s Defence Ministry said.
Operational Aspects in Bakhmut
A total of 35 square kilometers of land area has been “liberated from Russian invaders in the Bakhmut direction”, including four in the last week, according to Malyar on Telegram.
Pro-Russian milbloggers said there were “fierce ongoing battles near Klishchiivka.”
Operational Aspects in Donetsk, Crimea and other areas
The Russian military has fired cluster munitions on a local reservoir and park in the city of Kostiantynivka in Donetsk Oblast, killing a child and injuring at least six other civilians, according toPavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk Oblast Military Administration, on .
Pro-Russian milbloggers commented on the strikes against Crimean positions: “The intensification of attacks on the Crimea with various types of weapons, together with the intensified counter-battery struggle along the front in the Zaporizhzhia direction, confirms the preparation for a new phase of the offensive. The Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) are implementing last year’ scenario, trying to knock out as many artillery and military supply points in the deep rear as possible… The goal is extremely simple – to create favorable conditions for breaking through the defense.”
Operational Aspects on Boundary of the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions and in Western Zaporizhzhia
Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted limited ground attacks in the western Donetsk region south of Velyka Novosilka and advanced south of Orikhiv in the western Zaporizhzhia region, according to ISW.
“Over the past week, following the offensive actions, the de-occupied area in the south has expanded by 12.7 square kilometers. In general, a total of 192.1 square kilometers were liberated in the south,” Malyar said.
Ukrainian forces “succeeded and advanced into the enemy's depths at a distance of 350 meters to 1.4 kilometers” in the western Zaporizhzhia region, according to spokespersons for Ukraine’s southern forces. They also noted “that fierce fighting for Staromaiorske is ongoing.”
Pro-Russian milbloggers said Russian forces “tried to recapture the lost positions north of Pryyutne from the Armed Forces of Ukraine with no success.”
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter