·      Top 5 Headlines

·      President Zelensky’s Message of the Day

·      Ukraine Summer Offensive Summary

Headlines

1.     Greece will train Ukrainian F-16 pilots and support the reconstruction of Odesa, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced during the former’s visit to Athens. Once a staunch Russian ally, Greece has been a strong supporter of Ukraine since Russia’s invasion and provided humanitarian aid and weapons including infantry fighting vehicles, assault rifles, grenade launchers and ammunition. Greece has also signed the “G7 declaration” through which countries will provide bilateral, long-term security guarantees to Ukraine.

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2.     Ships with Ukrainian grain will continue to sail through the new NATO-backed Black Sea transport lane, said Defense Minister Oleksi Reznikov at an Odesa media conference with his Bulgarian counterpart. According to Reznikov, the Russian fleet is not within the zone of 100 nautical miles (185 km) from the Ukrainian coast. The Bulgarian Minister said that some 100 ships had accessed the route in the preceding 48 hours. Since Russia abandoned the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Ukrainian grain exports have in fact increased by about 10 percent this “marketing year” compared to the same period last year.

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 15, 2024
Other Topics of Interest

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 15, 2024

Latest from the Institute for the Study of War.

3.     Employees of Russian ministries located in the “Moscow City” business center have been told to work remotely on Aug. 24, Ukraine’s Independence Day. “Ukrainian national holidays have become red days in the Russian officials’ calendar,” a distributed message said. The report comes as drones struck Moscow last night.

4.     Ukraine has no plans to introduce electricity restrictions on consumers this winter, its Energy Minister said. Herman Halushchenko told journalists that “the power system will be ready for winter and that there are all the necessary resources to pass the heating winter season without power outages.” Halushchenko did not rule out the possibility of Russian attacks on the grid, but said “last winter, we learned a lot.”

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5.     The future location of Ukraine’s National Military Memorial Cemetery was changed for the third time following a further decision by the Cabinet of Ministers. Previously, it was planned to be installed on Lysa Hora, and then in Bykivnia, but the two sites encountered both community opposition and operational challenges. Now, the aim is to construct a new cemetery in the village of Hatne, Fastiv district, Kyiv region by mid-2025.

President Zelensky’s Message

Ukraine Summer Offensive Summary

Snapshot

The Ukrainian roll may be on at Robotyne with reports of “tactically significant” territorial gains, breakthroughs and retreating Russians.

Operational Aspects - Southern Front

Ukrainian forces made “tactically significant gains” in and east of Robotyne in the western Zaporizhzhia region on August 20-21 while continuing counteroffensive operations on the Donetsk-Zaporizhzhia regional border area, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

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On the situation around Robotyne, ISW further said that geolocated footage published on August 20 and August 21 indicates that Ukrainian forces reached the central part of Robotyne (10 kilometers south of Orikhiv) and broke through some Russian defenses south of Mala Tokmachka (8 kilometers southeast of Orikhiv).

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar reported that Ukrainian forces (AFU) succeeded in the direction southeast of Robotyne and south of Mala Tokmachka.

Pro-Russian milblogger and notorious propagandist War Gonzo said that “the Armed Forces of Ukraine, with the support of artillery, attacked between the villages of Robotyne and Verbove. There is a promotion. Part of the forward defense lines of the RF Armed Forces is now under the control of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”

Ukrainian milblogger Deep State offered the following about Robotyne: “Heavy fighting continues near Robotyne and in the village itself. ‘Katsaps’ [derogatory term for Russian men with stereotype goat-like beards – ed.] gradually leave the village and try to regroup outside the village. However, Robotyne still needs to be cleared and held because the enemy has reserves on the way.”

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Operational Aspects - Northern Front

Russia is attacking near Kupyansk because it hopes that Ukraine will withdraw its forces from the south, Defense Minister Oleksi Reznikov told a media conference in Odesa. “The only thing I can say is that [the Russians] are trying to attack there in order to reduce the capacity of the Ukrainian defense forces in our own chosen direction of counteroffensive.

"It is their hope that we will withdraw forces from the south and react accordingly. But at the same time, in the east, we continue to successfully move around Bakhmut. There is an operation to encircle Bakhmut...” Reznikov said.

Maliar reported that the situation in the Kupyansk sector is “difficult.”

Ukraine’s state rescue service (DSNS) posted: “Mandatory evacuation continues in the Kupyansk district. We want people to be safe... Police, local authorities and volunteers have already evacuated almost 600 people, including 153 children.”

Pro-Russian milblogger Rybar said: “Despite the premature victorious reports of individual media, most of the locality continues to be in the gray zone.”

According to Ilya Yevlash, the head of the press service of the Eastern Group of the AFU, Russia has more than 45,000 soldiers, more than half a thousand tanks, many armored combat vehicles, more than 30 artillery systems located in the northern theater.

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However, ISW reported that Ukrainian forces have advanced near Kreminna.

Other Operational Aspects

Russia’s Ministry of Defense of Russia claimed it destroyed two Ukrainian drones near Moscow, two over the Black Sea, and that two drones were allegedly suppressed by electronic warfare devices in the Bryansk region. Air traffic at Moscow’s Vnukovo, Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo airports was briefly halted.

Russian milbloggers also reported Ukrainian drones at Belgorod and Kaluga regions, including at an airfield.

Following the Danish/Dutch decision to provide Ukraine with potentially 61 F-16s, the spokesperson of Ukraine’s Air Force, Yuriy Ihnat, said Ukraine needs approximately 100 more modern aircraft to protect its airspace. According to Ihnat, around 130 of the multi-role fighters is optimal for Ukraine.

The destruction of at least one Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bomber at a Novgorod military airfield is a direct consequence of the war started by Moscow against Ukraine, said a senior representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense (HUR). “It was this bomber that bombarded Ukraine with Kh-22 and Kh-32 missiles, which are difficult for our air defense system to cope with. The TU-22M3 is worth several tens of millions of dollars. Russia will no longer be able to recover this loss - the plane burned to the ground,” Andriy Yusov said.

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Russian attacks in the Kherson region killed at least two people and injured three others, its governor, Oleksandr Prokudin, said.

The 0600 daily update of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that over the past 24 hours Russian forces undertook two missile strikes, 43 air strikes, and 45 attacks from MLRS rocket systems. The Ukrainian Air Force undertook six airstrikes against Russian positions.

The General Staff reported that over the past 24 hours Russian forces shelled some 135 Ukrainian settlements with artillery and/or mortar fire. There was particularly heavy fire against communities to the rear of Ukrainian positions in western Zaporizhzhia region.

Operational Aspects – Eastern Front

ISW reported that Ukrainian forces have advanced near Bakhmut.

Maliar said that Ukrainian forces recaptured three square kilometers around Bakhmut over the past week and 43 square kilometers in total since Wagner Group forces captured Bakhmut in May 2023, according to ISW.

General Developments

Bulgaria will transfer its Soviet-style armored vehicles to Ukraine from this fall, said its Defense Minister at a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart. This will amount to around 100 units. 

An agreement was reached with Swedish authorities to produce CV90 combat vehicles in Ukraine, President Zelensky announced.

Russian milbloggers continue to indicate that Russian forces lack equipment and suffer from low morale along the entire frontline, according to ISW.

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