Overview:

  • Rockets kill two rescue workers in Zaporizhzhia region after earlier strike kills one
  • Early-morning Russian attacks killed a woman and demolished building in Donetsk
  • Forces trade gains in western Zaporizhzhia
  • President’s chief-of-staff says Ukraine has regained half of territory seized by Russians
  • Fake news circulates of NATO supposedly telling Ukraine to surrender land

Three killed in Russian strikes in Zaporizhzhia, including rescuers who later arrived on scene

Ukrainian officials said that three people were killed by multiple air strikes in the same civilian area of the Zaporizhzhia region on Wednesday, AFP reported.

The first Russian volley of three rockets hit an unspecified town in the region, killing at least one civilian and injuring seven others. “The blast wave and shrapnel damaged houses, two cars and buildings,” said regional governor Yuriy Malashko.

Rescuers were there “in a matter of minutes,” Interior Minister Klymenko later posted on social media. “Then the occupiers struck again. As a result of the enemy shelling, unfortunately, two employees of the State Emergency Service were killed,” he said.

The slain first responders were 31 and 34 years old, Klymenko said.

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“The priority focus is on ways to better protect Ukraine and all of our people from inhuman Russian monsters.” – President Zelensky

Shelling kills woman in Donetsk region, another civilian missing

Meanwhile, Russian strikes killed a woman earlier in the Donetsk town of Selydove. A Russian air strike leveled the apartment building where she lived in the early hours of Wednesday. Another inhabitant was presumed under the rubble, as rescue workers scrambled to find survivors.

 

Operations: Zaporizhzhia region

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that Ukrainian forces made advances in the western part of the Zaporizhzhia region on Wednesday. A “prominent Russian milblogger” asserted that the Kremlin’s troops “are already counterattacking to recapture those positions.”  Another such blogger claimed that “the nature of the fighting west of Robotyne is largely direct infantry contact,” the ISW analysts wrote.

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 24, 2024
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ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 24, 2024

Latest from the Institute for the Study of War.

Meanwhile, boots-on-the-ground sources across the board reported that bad weather continues to be a hindrance.

Russian troops also reportedly made advances in western Zaporizhzhia on Wednesday, apparently advancing 700 meters into a forest area near Robotyne and to the outskirts of Pyatykhatky, 27 kilometers (17 miles) northwest of Robotyne.

Yermak says Ukraine has regained half of land once occupied by Russia

Under intense pressure from Western partners to show results from Ukraine’s counteroffensive, the office of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, said on Wednesday that “the Ukrainian army has already regained about 50 percent of the previously occupied territories.”

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Earlier this week, Yermak was part of a delegation to Washington where he met with the US Secretary of State, the White House National Security Advisor, and a number of senators from both sides of the aisle, fielding questions about the progress of the counteroffensive and what Kyiv needed to win.

Among the senators with whom the Kyiv delegation met were: Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), Mike Bennett (D-Colorado), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).

By all accounts, any proposal for future funding to Kyiv will have a much easier time passing the US Senate than the House of Representatives, where a group of mostly junior, right-wing politicians have made the issue of Ukraine aid a roadblock to seamless governing in order to show their loyalty to former president Donald Trump.

During his visit, Yermak even faced some cynicism from pro-Trump media outlet Fox News:

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No, NATO is not asking Ukraine to surrender land, as viral “bogus” story contends

A video making the rounds on social media, in which a right-wing shock-blogger with about a million YouTube subscribers “reported” that NATO members are asking Zelensky to surrender Russian-occupied land in exchange for membership in the Alliance, has been debunked, the AP reported Wednesday.

The YouTube personality wrote, promoting the video, “It’s over folks… As Zelensky goes into full dictator mode, indefinitely suspending all elections, NBC News is reporting that US and European officials are calling on Zelensky to end the war and negotiate a peace, which is going to require him to give up 20 percent of Ukraine that has now been officially annexed into Russia.”

The NBC News article in question did not, in fact, report any such position by NATO.

Normally, fictional propaganda by fringe, reactionary bloggers would not be much cause for international concern, but the AP found it to be so widely shared that it fact-checked the story with NATO:

“This is a bogus claim,” the organization stressed in an emailed reply to The Associated Press this week. “NATO’s position on this matter has been clear and consistent throughout.”

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