Northeast – Kharkiv Area of Operations

  • No significant changes to the situation across the region. The Russian Federation Armed Forces (RFAF) remain focussed on preventing the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) from further advances towards the Russian border.
  • Dementiivka, as highlighted in previous reporting, continues to be centre of hostilities in the region. On 19 July 22, the UAF successfully destroyed an RFAF T80 main battle tank. However, RFAF are reported to have made incremental advances towards the urban settlement in the last 72-hours. Fighting is ongoing.
  • Air, artillery, and rocket bombardment activities have continued across Kharkiv city and its surrounding environs. According to Russian social media sources, the RFAF targeted a facility which had accommodated United Kingdom (UK) military instructors, in Kyivskyi district.

Video showing the UAF destroying an RFAF T80 main battle tank, near Dementiivka. Source: @Osinttechnical

East – Donbas Area of Operations (assessed RFAF Main Effort)

  • Following the cessation of the RFAF’s operational pause, offensive operations resumed along the Izyum front, focused on Slovyansk and Kramatorsk; and to the east near Siversk and Bakhmut.
  • RFAF continue to shell UAF positions to the south-west of Izyum, especially in Raihorodok, Dolyna, and Bohorodychne – which remains contested territory, despite continuing RFAF pressure in the last 7-days.
  • Reporting also suggests, as at 18 July 22, that the RFAF are preparing the ground for offensive operations towards Barvinkove, a key objective on the approach to Slovyansk.
  • To the east of Siversk, UAF continue to repel RFAF assaults near Spirne, 10km to the southeast of this objective. Bilohorivka was reported to be under full RFAF control on 19 July 22.
  • RFAF-proxy officials have claimed that their forces have ‘fires control’ over Siversk; however, the UAF are also reported to be conducting small-scale counteroffensives to stymie the RFAF advance.
  • Near Bakhmut, the UAF repelled RFAF assaults near Semyhiria and Vuhlekirsk – including an several attempted seizures of the powerplant.

Video reported to show damage to residential properties following RFAF shelling in Slovyansk. Source: @madstrekoza

South – Kherson and Black Sea Coast Area of Operations

  • The line of contact remained static across the last 7-days, with no notable territorial changes on either side. The RFAF remain defensively orientated to protect its ground forces from further UAF counteroffensives, whilst conducting bombardment activities along the Kherson/Mykolaiv border to disrupt Ukrainian supply lines.
  • The RFAF continue to repurpose S-300 missiles to attack ground targets in Mykolaiv city. Notably on 19 July 22, up to 12 missiles were reported to have been launched in this attack. Other strikes were also reported on 16 and 17 July 22.
  • The UAF continue to target RFAF ammunition depots, with success reported in Lazurne, south of Kherson city on 17 July 22. The UAF also successfully struck an RFAF military establishment near Beryslav, situated near Nova Kakhovka. The UAF have also struck the Antonivskyi bridge multiple times, a key RFAF supply route, and as at 20 Jul 22 this bridge was closed to vehicle traffic.
  • RFAF conducted several missile strikes in Odessa on 18 July 22, from the Black Sea. Targets included UAF logistics bases and the Zatoka Bridge. Residential areas were also reported to have been struck in villages to the north of the city.

Video showing strike on RFAF ammunition depot in Lazurne, on 17 July 22. Source: @ukraine_world

Image showing damage to RFAF military base in Beryslav, following UAF strike. Source: @mhmck


  • Vladimir Putin visited Tehran during this reporting period, where he met with the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Al Khamenei, and President, Ebrahim Raisi. During his visit, Putin also met with Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ukraine-related agenda items included the grain blockade, where Turkey is taking a mediatory role in finding a solution to this issue.
  • The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) intelligence update on 18 July 22 reported that the Wagner Group, the Russia-backed private military company, has lowered its recruitment standards, enlisting convicts and formerly blacklisted individuals. According to reporting, limited training is offered to new recruits and the MoD assess that this will have a negative impact on the operational effectiveness of the group in support of RFAF activities. Separate media reporting also suggests that the group are resorting to using billboards, and social media to recruit new members.
  • The RFAF continued to carry out precision missile strikes across central Ukraine, notably in Vinnytsia on 14 July 22, resulting in over 20 civilians being killed. This incident was denounced by local and international leaders. However, Russia claimed that its cruise missile strike targeted a building used by the UAF to meet foreign arms suppliers.
  • On 17 July 22, President Zelenskyy removed the head of the Ukrainian domestic intelligence services (SBU), Ivan Bavankov, and the country’s prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova, following allegations of treason and collaboration within their respective organisations. Zelenskyy said in his statement that more than 60 employees across both organisations remain in occupied territory and are working against the Ukrainian state, claiming this activity raised questions over the integrity of their respective leaderships.

So What?

  • The RFAF operational pause was significantly shorter than previous iterations, likely because the RFAF want to build on its momentum which it has gained in Luhansk region and prevent the UAF from solidifying their defences in Siversk, across to Slovyansk, Bakhmut and Kramatorsk. However, despite Russian messaging that its forces should seek to intensify activities across multiple fronts, this is unlikely to manifest in the medium term. As highlighted in previous reports, combat power remains a critical RFAF vulnerability. This has been amplified by reports of Wagner Group seeking to recruit new personnel, even from within state prisons. There is also the domestic drive – short of full mobilisation – to establish volunteer battalions from across Russia. Operationally, this means that the RFAF are likely to concentrate efforts on Siversk, acting as a precursor to a concentrated assault on Slovyansk and the UAF’s key supply routes into Bakhmut.
  • Putin’s visit to Tehran was a public demonstration that despite NATO’s attempts to isolate Russia, it retains strong geopolitical alliances. However, as reports last week of Russia seeking to acquire Iranian UAVs show, having to rely on Iran is arguably indicative of a nation becoming increasingly isolated – sentiment which has been shared by United States officials. Yet, it is not clear how much Iran will want to become entrenched in the Ukraine conflict, nor is it evident on what Iran will seek to receive in return for its public support of Russia’s invasion. There are limited signs at present that this is the commencement of a strategic partnership which will yield an immediate benefit to Russia and its military activities.

What Next?

Over the next 7-days there is likely to be a steady increase in RFAF offensive activity to the east of Siversk, with ground assaults to continue along urban settlements. Spirne will remain the RFAF immediate objective in the next 72-hours, where hostilities have been a prominent feature in battle reporting over the last reporting period. Similarly, ground assaults are likely to be observed to the south-west and south-east of Izyum, with the RFAF focus being on preparations for a frontal assault on Slovyansk. However, as UAF defences have demonstrated in the last few weeks, advances along this front are expected to be slow. This activity will be supported by continued bombardment of UAF positions along the line of contact, with RFAF recce forces sent to probe UAF defences.

On the South Axis, the situation is likely to remain unchanged. The UAF will continue to conduct localised offensive activity to the north-west of Kherson, whilst the RFAF reinforces its defensive positions and continues to deploy artillery, and other rocket and missile systems (including S-300) to fix the UAF and disrupt supply lines back towards Mykolaiv. UAF deployment of HIMARs systems is expected to continue, with further strikes expected against RFAF command and control nodes, logistics, and ammunition stores.

Ukrainian forces firing a salvo of rockets toward Russian positions near Sievierodonetsk. Ivor Prickett for The New York Times