Northeast – Kharkiv Area of Operations

  • No significant changes to the situation across the region. The Russian Federation Armed Forces (RFAF) remain focused on preventing the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) from making ground towards the international border and sought to fix UAF elements to prevent the reinforcement of other axes.
  • Dementiivka has continued to be the focal point of the RFAF advance south along the M-20 highway, although it appears defences have been formidable and RFAF is yet to break. RFAF have attacked from the northwest, out of the village of Tsupivka. Fighting is ongoing but sporadic and broken up by shelling without subsequent assault – likely as shaping activity prior to another ground assault.
  • Air, artillery and rocket bombardment activities have continued across Kharkiv city and its surrounding environs, this has caused significant damage to civilian infrastructure.

Video showing the UAF casualty evacuation and fighting near Dementiivka. Source: @Gerashchenko_en

Images of destruction caused by RFAF bombardment in Kharkiv Oblast. Source: @Ukraine_SID

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

  • There has been little notable increase in offensive activity by the RFAF following the conclusion of the ‘operational pause’.
  • Ukrainian forces repelled another Russian attack in the vicinity of Bohorodychne to the north of Slovyansk. RFAF are likely seeking to break into the area defence north of the city along the M-03 highway; however, the terrain favours the defenders, with a series of water obstacles and canalised areas along the approach. This may force a number of contested obstacle-crossings – which have not been particularly successful for the RFAF over the course of this conflict.
  • Natural obstacles (river and streams) have effectively closed the northeast approach to Slovyansk, with a likely UAF defensive position covering the MSR near Raihorodok.
  • To the east of Siversk, RFAF have continued to shell and assault the settlements of Verkhnokamyanske and Ivano-Darivka, attacking from Bilohorivka and Berestove respectively. The RFAF had to effectively destroy Berestove with Indirect Fires (IDF) to force a UAF withdrawal over the weekend. The UAF reportedly repelled these advances.
  • Further south in the Donbas, to the southeast of Bakhmut, RFAF have reportedly captured Vuhlehirsk power plant after a controlled withdrawal by UAF to avoid becoming isolated and captured/destroyed. Novoluhanske, to the southwest on the west bank of the Luhan River, has also been captured following a UAF withdrawal. The remaining Ukrainian defenders have likely fallen back to (or through) Semyhirja. It is assessed that Semyhirja will be the next RFAF immediate objective.
  • East of Bakhmut, RFAF are still trying to break through UAF defensive positions in Pokrovske to open up an eastern axis into Bakhmut town itself. There is no reporting to indicate a Russian breakthrough; however, the RFAF are likely making incremental gains.

Video reported to show a possible Wagner Group member in Vuhlerhirsk Power Plant. Source: @UnerkanntW

Video purportedly made by a pro-Russian soldier (possibly Wagner Group or LPR Military) of the destruction in Berestove. Source: @Haruspexut

South – Kherson and Black Sea Coast Area of Operations

  • The Forward Edge of the Battle Area (FEBA) has not changed throughout Zhaporizhia Oblast, from west of Donetsk across to the eastern bank of the Dnipro River. The Ukrainian General Staff have reported sporadic shelling along the front, reportedly conducting fires against the towns of Pisky, Vremivka, Krasnohorivka, Maryinka, Karlivka, Opytne, Vuhledar, Huliaipole and Kamyanske.
  • West of the Dnipro, the most significant fighting has occurred near Bilohirka and Andriivka, where the UAF have established bridgeheads on the eastern bank of the Inhulets river. It is likely that the RFAF are counterattacking to force the UAF back before the bridgehead can be reinforced.
  • The Ukrainian General Staff have continued to urge the Ukrainian population not to report details of UAF offensive activity in Kherson Oblast to maintain operational security, therefore reporting is tightly controlled by the UAF and may not represent a truly accurate picture of the current situation on the ground.
  • The UAF have repeatedly struck the Antonivsky Bridges which link Kherson city with RFAF supply lines from Crimea across the Dnipro River. As of 27 July, both the road and rail bridges had been damaged to the point they are unusable. It is likely the RFAF will seek to affect repairs immediately to continue the reinforcement and resupply of Kherson. The other major crossing of the Dnipro in the Area of Operations is the hydroelectric dam at Nova Kakhovka, which is under RFAF control.

Video reportedly showing damage on the Antonivsky road bridge near Kherson from UAF strikes overnight on 26 July. Source: @KyivIndependent

Reported image of a poster made by Ukrainian resistance in Kherson. Source: @Vamelina


  • On 22 July 22, Turkey, the United Nations (UN) and Ukraine signed a deal, negotiated with Russia, to allow the export of grain from three Ukrainian-controlled ports in the south of the country, known as the ‘Istanbul Initiative’. Full details of the treaty and its implementation are yet to be released; however, in principle, the UN and Turkey will oversee the loading of grain in Ukraine and ensure that no weapons/illegal items are smuggled aboard. The Ukrainian Navy will then escort the vessels through safe lanes in the minefield, before handing monitoring duties over again to Turkey/UN as the ships transit the Black Sea south to the Bosphorus Strait.
  • On 23/24/25 July 22, the RFAF repeatedly struck targets in Odessa Oblast, reportedly using air and sea-launched missiles fired from the Black Sea. Strikes hit the ports of Odessa and Chornomorsk fewer than 24 hours after the provisional agreement was made. Russia claims the strikes against Odessa port destroyed a naval vessel and a warehouse being used to store Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Ukraine denies these claims.
  • Over the last week, Russia has also conducted deep-strikes against targets in Kropyvnytskyi district (Kirovohrad Oblast), Lyubymivka village (Dnipropetrovsk Oblast) and Korosten (Zhytomyr Oblast). These strikes are likely part of the ongoing Russian campaign to target assessed military movements and resupply areas.
  • The Ukrainian High Command has stated that Belarusian Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have been operating within Ukrainian airspace over Volyn Oblast, ostensibly as part of their ongoing Command and Control Exercise. Regional media reported the drones were shot down.

Image reportedly showing a missile strike at Odessa Port on Sat 23 July 22. Source: @Archer83Able

Video footage reportedly showing the destruction in Zatoka, south of Odessa, following a Russian missile strike. Source: @GeoConfirmed

Images reportedly showing the destruction caused by UAF shooting down two Belarusian drones over Volyn Oblast. Source: @MotolkoHelp

So What?

  • It is highly likely that both the UAF and RFAF will strive to make territorial gains which can then be consolidated during the assessed operational pause that is highly likely to occur over winter.
  • It is highly likely that offensive activity in Donetsk Oblast remains the Main Effort of the Russian high command – likely to the detriment of other axes. It is a realistic possibility that the RFAF prioritisation of Donetsk will allow the UAF some freedom of action on the Kherson front.
  • Fighting in Donetsk is likely to remain slow-paced and become increasingly challenging for RFAF. The massed artillery tactics, previously used to destroy Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, are unlikely to still be tenable due to the presence of the precision IDF systems now available to the UAF. It is a realistic possibility increased air and aviation presence will be used to make up for the shortfall in massed fires, although UAF man-portable and short-range air defences remain a threat.
  • Ongoing fighting near Kharkiv is likely to continue to draw forces away from the RFAF Main Effort as Russian forces seek to retain control of their supply lines down towards Izyum whilst simultaneously fixing UAF elements that could otherwise be used to conduct spoiling attacks as part of the mobile defence further south.
  • The UAF are likely seeking to push towards the west bank of the Dnipro river, seeking to isolate the RFAF in Kherson and force a withdrawal or surrender. It is likely that the strikes on Antonivsky Bridges are intended to demonstrate the ability to cut off the RFAF from retreat at will, and possibly to force the use of in-demand river crossing assets which would allow them to be targeted by the UAF.
  • The strikes against Odessan port facilities so close to the reportedly ‘successful’ negotiation to release Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, were likely conducted to show Russian determination to prosecute what they believe to be military targets, in spite of a ‘softening’ over grain negotiations. Russia likely struck civilian items unintentionally due to poor Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and a slow ‘kill chain’ leading to outdated targeting information.
  • It is a realistic possibility that the Belarusian Armed Forces (BAF) will continue to conduct limited ISR operations over Ukraine. Belarus almost certainly understands that the UAF will not attack BAF units on Belarusian sovereign territory for fear of provoking an escalation in the conflict. BAF reconnaissance is likely intended to fix UAF units out of fear of an incursion into Volyn Oblast, as well as likely providing the RFAF with intelligence of troop and logistics movements in western Ukraine, whilst the bulk of RFAF ISR assets are fixed in the east.

What Next?

Over the next 7-days, it is likely that the UAF offensive towards Kherson will continue, with limited reporting to confirm/deny progress. It is highly likely that the UAF seeks to isolate Kherson city within the next month, in order to disrupt possible Referenda for secession into the Russian Federation, which the occupation authorities reportedly have planned for September. Initial UAF objectives likely include the disruption/cutting of the M-14/P-47 road south of Nova Kakhovka after a break-out southeast from Bilohirka and Andriivka.

It is likely that Russia will allow the first grain shipments to transit from Ukrainian ports to Istanbul to demonstrate compassion to the international community, whilst concurrently conducting reconnaissance of the mine-free lanes and operations of the Ukrainian Navy for possible future use. The Russian Federation Navy (RFN) presence in the Black Sea, and a lack of clarity on possible international responses to escorted ships coming under fire (or being boarded/seized), means it is almost certain that Russia could halt these shipments with little to no notice or difficulty.

It is highly likely that Russia will continue to conduct strikes into the interior of Ukraine as it attempts to stymie the flow of men and materiel from west to east. It is highly likely that poor targeting information/practices, as well as a lack of the most precise munitions, will cause civilian collateral damage.

Whilst it remains highly unlikely that the BAF will conduct an invasion/attack into Ukraine, inflammatory and provocative activity (such as ISR overflight) is likely to persist. It is also likely that Lukashenko and the Belarusian government will remain vocal in their support for Russian operations in Ukraine and will continue to permit the RFAF use of Belarus as a forward-staging post for air attacks, as well as for movement of troops and equipment.

A Ukrainian police officer near a destroyed bridge that once connected the embattled cities of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk. Ivor Prickett for The New York Times