Overview:

  • Trump convinces Republican leaders to kill any deal on aid for Ukraine and US border security
  • London will send Storm Shadows to Ukraine if Berlin sends Taurus missiles to UK
  • After more teens wounded by Russian strikes this week, child casualties reached 1,734
  • Hackers attack Russian satellite image provider and FSB internet service, destroying 2 million GB of data
  • AFU regains positions south of Avdiivka, Russians advance north of the city

A Biden win on immigration and aid for Kyiv would be bad news for Trump; Ukraine loses in the end

Some Republican senators who hoped to reach a deal with Democrats on changes to immigration policy in exchange for a $60 billion package to Kyiv are now furious with former president Donald Trump. The likely Republican nominee for president in November pressured his acolytes on Capitol Hill to scrap any deal as it would help President Joe Biden in his re-election campaign.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Foreign Relations Committee member (and 2012 Republican presidential nominee) Mitt Romney (R-UT) were among those flustered by Trump’s behind-the-scenes maneuvers this week. Romney, the most vocal anti-Trump Republican senator, called the self-serving scheme “appalling.”

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The White House on Thursday pleaded with Republican senators not to derail the planned bill and reminded Americans that all pre-approved money for Kyiv has now been spent.

In a social media post on Tuesday, McConnell, whose task is to keep the Senate minority on track with the bipartisan bill, said that both the border and “standing up to Putin’s aggression in Europe” are “urgent priorities.”

On Wednesday, however, McConnell floated a previously discarded proposal that the Senate should de-couple votes on immigration and foreign aid at Trump's urging.

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 19, 2024
Other Topics of Interest

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 19, 2024

Latest from the Institute for the Study of War.

UK and Germany mull over missile swap to send Storm Shadows to Ukraine

London and Berlin have been discussing a possible swap that would allow the UK to send Storm Shadow air-launched cruise missiles to Ukraine if Berlin would send the UK Taurus missiles in return, German business journal Handelsblatt reported Thursday.

The German chancellery declined to comment on the matter, AFP reported, adding that German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said he was not aware of such a plan.

Berlin has thus far balked at sending the Taurus missiles directly to Kyiv, concerned that its 500-km range would allow Ukrainian forces to strike targets well within Russia. The Storm Shadow, by contrast, has a range of about half that distance.

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Britain and France have already been delivering UK  Storm Shadows and identical French-made SCALP missiles to Ukraine. Kyiv has made it clear that its preference is for the longer-range Taurus.

Amid discussions about this in Berlin, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had remarked that the rest of Europe needs to step up its military aid to Ukraine, as Germany, Kyiv’s second-largest sponsor after the US, already has committed half of all EU military aid to Ukraine.

 

Number of child casualties in Russian invasion hits 1,734, Ukraine says

After Wednesday’s Russian air strikes on the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions injured two young teens, the nation’s Prosecutor General’s office released on Thursday the latest figures on child casualties since the beginning of Moscow’s full-scale invasion: 521 children killed and another 1,213 injured.

State news agency Ukrinform noted that the numbers released on the official statement “are not final, as work is ongoing to verify data coming from the zones of hostilities,” including occupied and liberated territories.

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The highest juvenile casualties were reported in the regions of Donetsk (505), Kharkiv (326), Kherson (146), Kyiv (130), Dnipropetrovsk (111), Mykolaiv (101), Zaporizhzhia (100), Chernihiv (72), and Luhansk (67).

Ukrainian hackers hit Russian satellite image database and FSB’s internet provider

Ukrainian hackers recently conducted cyberattacks on Russian intelligence and communications infrastructure, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) quoted Kyiv’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate (HUR) as saying.

The HUR announced on Wednesday that Ukrainian hackers broke into servers of the Russian “Planet” Scientific Research Center of Space Hydrometeorology's Far East branch, destroying a database that received and processed satellite data and contributed to products for more than 50 Russian government agencies, including the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD).

The database allegedly contained two petabytes (two million gigabytes) of data.

The ISW added that “cyber volunteers” also attacked Russian internet provider Akado-telecom, which services the KGB’s successor, the Federal Security Service (FSB), as well as Moscow’s regional governing bodies, Russian state-owned bank Sberbank, and others, causing a large-scale internet failure on Monday and Tuesday.

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Operations: Avdiivka

Russian forces advanced north of Avdiivka and along its southern outskirts, as Ukrainian forces reportedly recently made marginal gains south of the city, ISW analysts reported Thursday.

Geolocated footage published Thursday seems to indicate that Moscow’s troops recently advanced southwest of Stepove (northwest of Avdiivka) and along Sportyvna Street in the southernmost residential area of Avdiivka.

At the same time, a trusted Ukrainian military observer, Kostyantyn Mashovets, reported recent Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) advances of up to 100 meters near the battered remains of the Tsarska Okhota restaurant, which has been hotly contested for months, while Russian sources concurred on Thursday that Kyiv’s soldiers have been counterattacking to regain previously lost positions near the restaurant’s ruins for the previous three days.

Fighting was also reported northwest of the city in Novobakhmutivka and Stepove, and south of Avdiivka near Opytne and Spartak, west of Avdiivka near Sjeverne, and southwest of Avdiivka near Nevelske and Pervomaiske.

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