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Overview

  • Zelensky nominates Crimean Tatar as new Minister of Defense
  • Suspected FSB building in Russia struck by Ukrainian drone
  • Watch Russian ship detonated in the Black Sea by Turkish-made UAV
  • Ukrainian forces continue southward march from Bakhmut
  • AFU forces may be getting better at navigating minefields
  • Power vacuum left in Kherson by departing Russian VBV forces

Zelensky nominates Crimean Tatar as new Minister of Defense

President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday announced the departure of Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, calling for “new approaches” to the war 20 months into Russia’s full-scale invasion.

“Oleksiy Reznikov has been through more than 550 days of full-scale war,” Zelensky said in his daily evening address. “I believe that the ministry needs new approaches and other formats of interaction with both the military and society at large.”

He nominated Rustem Umerov, a Crimean Tatar who has been head of the State Property Fund since last year, to replace Reznikov. The nomination is subject to approval by Ukraine’s parliament.

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In exclusive comments to Kyiv Post on Monday morning, Reznikov said he plans to continue working for the Armed Forces of Ukraine now that he has been replaced.

Speaking of his time as defense minister, he added: “This page of my life's book is already written. It's time to turn over and write new pages."

Ukrainian drone hits suspected Russian FSB building

Reuters reported that a Ukrainian drone struck a non-military building on Sunday, causing a blaze that Russian firefighters quickly put out. There were no reported casualties in the explosion in the city of Kurchatov, near Kursk, not far from the Ukrainian border.

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The governor of the Kursk region, Roman Starovoit in his Telegram post did not say which building was hit, but unnamed sources claimed that it belonged to the Russian FSB, the successor to the Soviet KGB.

Medium-range drone destroys Russian ship in Black Sea

A Turkish-made drone destroyed an unspecified Russian ship in the Black Sea on Sunday. In this social media post, the UAV is identified as a Bayraktar TB2, made for the Turkish Armed Forces and in use by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU).

Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Defense on Sunday has taken credit for downing other drones over the Black Sea. “Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were destroyed in the air over the Black Sea near the Crimean Peninsula and over the territory of the Kursk region by air defense systems on duty,” the Russian Defense Ministry wrote on Telegram.

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Watch the Russian ship explode here:

Defense forces continue to make advances southward from Bakhmut

The AFU General Staff reported via Ukrinform that Ukrainian defense forces continue to push southward on the Bakhmut axis, destroying Russian assets and killing troops. Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrsky, Commander of the Ground Forces, posted a video showing the 22nd Separate Mechanized Brigade on a mission, involving a BM-21 Grad MLRS.

In this campaign, in all, Ukraine’s missile and artillery forces struck six clusters of Russian troops and weapons, 12 artillery systems in firing positions, 2 ammunition depots, 2 control points, and an anti-aircraft missile system, Syrsky said.

Here is the AFU Ground Forces’ video:

Finding paths through Russian minefields

Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces Spokesperson Oleksandr Shtupun said on Sunday that minefields near the next series of Russian defensive positions are less dense than the initial defensive layer that Ukrainian forces had encountered. He noted that Ukrainian forces are deploying more vehicles in these areas and maneuvering more equipment and troops towards the next Russian position, but they acknowledged that minefields will still present a significant threat.

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General Oleksandr Tarnavsky said that Ukrainian forces spent more time on mine clearing than they expected to at the beginning of the counteroffensive, and that consistent Russian artillery and aviation fire forced Ukrainian infantry to conduct mine clearing only at night.

With a better understanding of the location of minefields and how to remove them, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Ukrainian forces may now be better positioned to maneuver more freely in the rear positions of the breached Russian defensive layer. The ISW noted that Tarnavsky’s description of the Russian minefields may pertain only to the immediate Robotyne area, and that Ukrainian forces may encounter heavily dense minefields going forward.

Operations – Kherson

The ISW reported that “generally reliable Russian military bloggers” have consistently claimed over the past few days that Ukrainian forces maintain positions on the left bank of the Dnipro River, northwest of Pidstepne and in the Antonivka Bridge area. One milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces have been able to transfer supplies and personnel to positions on the left bank during the past week. Another reported that mobilized personnel and volunteers are better defending the Kherson direction after certain units of the Russian Airborne Forces (VDV) departed for the Zaporizhzhia region.

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