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 remains contested, and the RFAF launched a reportedly unsuccessful attack from Ternova towards Bairak, to the northeast of Kharkiv.
- Air, artillery, and rocket bombardment activities have continued across the outskirts of Kharkiv city and environs; this has caused significant damage to civilian infrastructure.
- The Kharkiv Oblast leader also reported that RFAF had launched S-300 air defence missiles from Belgorod Oblast in a land-attack role, which struck the city.
Video showing the UAF artillery strikes on Russian vehicles in Kharkiv Oblast. Source: @RALee85
Image of destruction caused by an RFAF missile strike in Novovbavarskyi district, Kharkiv city. Source: @Flash43191300
East – Donbas Area of Operations (assessed RFAF Main Effort)
- Ukrainian forces repelled another Russian reconnaissance-in-force in the vicinities of Dolyna and Mazanivka to the north/north-west 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 several contested obstacle-crossings – which have not been particularly successful for the RFAF over the course of this conflict.
- There has been no RFAF advance near Raihorodok, likely due to the topography and defensible terrain.
- To the east of Siversk, the RFAF have attempted to advance west towards Ivano-Darivka but reportedly this has been repelled.
- Further south in the Donbas, Semyhirja remains contested – but it is likely that the RFAF have moved the offensive a few kilometres further south to take Travneve from the direction of Dolomitne/Novoluhanske. The RFAF are currently attacking west from the M-03 highway southeast of Bakhmut towards the village of Vershyna and the towns of Zaitseve and Kodema. The most significant gains made by the RFAF in the Area of Operations (AO) has been from Pokrovske, advancing southwest along the Main Supply Route (MSR).
- Northeast of Bakhmut, the RFAF are seeking to advance along MSRs towards Soledar but are making few gains. Advances remain preceded by bombardment – although this is less intense than previous weeks – likely due to the destruction/dispersion of RFAF ammunition dumps and a reluctance to mass artillery units due to fears of counter-battery strikes.
- On 2 August, west of Donetsk, the RFAF reportedly have broken through in the Pisky/Avdiivka axis, a UAF defensive line that has been static since 2015. It is unlikely that the RFAF can muster sufficient manoeuvre forces to fully exploit any breakthrough, and it is a realistic possibility that the UAF will seek to identify and destroy RFAF Command and Control (C2) assets to disrupt any further advance.
Video report by Radio Free Europe interviewing a resident of Bakhmut. Source: @RFERL
Video and tweet, reportedly of destruction caused as Russian forces move onto Pisky. Source: @WarfareReports
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 Blahdatne, except for fires and some reconnaissance activity towards Novopil.
- Some reporting does indicate an RFAF troop build-up along the FEBA in Zaporizhia Oblast, in preparation for an offensive north towards Zaporizhia city itself. This offensive is likely to be along the two major MSRs leading from Russian-occupied territory into the city – the M-18/E-105 highway running along the east bank of the Dnieper River, and along the T0803, which runs through Orihiv northwest into Zaporizhia.
- West of the Dnipro, the UAF bridgehead on the east of the Inhulets near Bilohirka and Andriivka has been retained, setting favourable conditions for a break-out towards Nova Kakhova along the T2207 MSR.
- 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 Ukrainian General Staff have announced the UAF liberation of seven unspecified settlements in Kherson Oblast – but no further details are available.
- The RFAF are reportedly attempting to repair the Antonivsky Bridge in Kherson to resume reinforcement and resupply west of the river. An interim crossing using pontoons and ferries has been established in the shadows of the bridge, but most heavy equipment is still required to cross the dam at Nova Kakhova to reach forces on the western bank. An RFAF train carrying ammunition near Brilyovka in Kherson Oblast was reportedly destroyed by a UAF precision strike overnight on 28 July 22. The UAF are almost certain to continue to target and strike logistics resupply efforts by the RFAF in Kherson.
Video reportedly showing aftermath of HIMARS strike on an ammunition train in Kherson Oblast. Source: @EuromaidanPress
Image reportedly of the pontoon ferry in operation across the Dnieper near Kherson, in use since the bridge suffered significant strike damage. Source: @Bayraktar_1love
- On 28 July 22 there was reportedly an explosion at a prison at Olenivka, Donetsk Oblast. The prison reportedly housed UAF Prisoners of War (POWs). Russia has blamed the UAF for conducting a long-range strike against the prison using HIMARS; however, the Ukrainians have countered that this was a Russian false-flag attack designed to discredit the UAF.
- On 1 Aug 22, the first ship (the Razoni) carrying grain departed Odessa, bound for Lebanon via Turkey. On 3 Aug 22 the Razoni had passed inspection by the Russian/Ukrainian/United Nations/Turkish officials for contraband in Istanbul and was allowed to proceed on towards its final destination in Lebanon. Although United States (US) Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, called Razoni’s journey a “significant step,” no other ships have left from Ukraine since then, and there has been no explanation for the delay.
- On the morning of 4 Aug 22, the Ukrainian General Staff reported Belarusian Armed Forces troop movements near the Belarus/Ukraine border in Hostomel and Brest areas. On the 31 July it was also reported that additional Belarusian Electronic Warfare (EW) assets of unspecified type had been deployed to the border area.
- Over the last week, the RFAF have also conducted long-range strikes against targets in Kyiv, Odessa, and Lviv Oblasts.
Image reportedly showing inspectors arriving on the Razoni on 3 Aug 22. Source: @EuromaidanPress
Link to Ukrainian report into the probable Russian false-flag attack against POWs in Olenivka. Source: KyivPost
- It is highly likely that the RFAF have repositioned forces from Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts to Kherson and Zaporizhia in order to defend against a probable UAF counterattack. It is likely that the RFAF will not seek to directly confront UAF offensive elements near Kherson and will instead seek to disrupt the operation by attacking north towards Kryvyi-Rih and Zaporizhia city.
- It is highly likely that the repositioning of troops to the south will negatively impact RFAF offensive activity near Siversk, Slovyansk, and Bakhmut. It is a realistic possibility that the reallocation of forces south will degrade the RFAF ability to exploit success, such as the break-through along the M-03 near Pisky and Avdiivka.
- The UAF are likely seeking to push towards the west bank of the Dnipro river, probably in the vicinity of Nova Kakhovka. The dam at Nova Kakhovka is the last remaining fixed river crossing over the Dnieper River and is vital ground for the defending RFAF. If the UAF can bisect the Russian lines between their crossings over the Inhulets and the dam, then RFAF forces to the north will be isolated, and the ability to reinforce/resupply Kherson will be significantly reduced. Actions to isolate Russians west of the river are likely intended to force capitulation and prevent/reduce the destruction of urban areas the UAF seek to gain control over, such as Kherson city. It would also provide prisoners for exchange, and a significant public-relations victory for the UAF.
- The RFAF are likely to continue to deny involvement in the killing of prisoners at Olenivka. It is likely that the false-flag attack was conducted to vilify the UAF and highlight the “risk” of war crimes committed by the UAF using western-supplied equipment. It is a realistic possibility that this is a Russian Information Operation designed to cause tension between the US and Ukrainian governments concerning the provision and use of HIMARS and other advanced weapons systems. It is highly likely that this will have no significant impact on western lethal-aid deliveries to Ukraine.
- Movement of Belarusian EW units towards the Ukrainian border is likely to allow for both collection of electronic intelligence – particularly to assist with RFAF interdiction of western aid – and also hide military preparations/activity on the border. Alternatively, spoofing and electronic attack could be used to seek to encourage the Ukrainians to believe an invasion will originate from Belarus, thus fixing UAF units in the area.
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, to disrupt possible referenda for secession into the Russian Federation, which the occupation authorities reportedly have planned for September. It is currently assessed as unlikely that the UAF will be able to recapture Kherson city before the anticipated winter operational pause. A more realistic objective would be isolating RFAF west of the Dnieper River over winter to compel a withdrawal without any additional destruction to civilian infrastructure, although it is a realistic possibility that any RFAF withdrawal would be associated with a ‘scorched earth’ policy to deny success to the UAF and impose an additional significant cost on the Ukrainian economy.
It is a realistic possibility that the RFAF will conduct offensive activity on both banks of the Dnieper, moving north, in order to draw UAF units away from the attack on Kherson.
It is likely that Russia will slowly continue to allow the export of grain from Ukraine in the short term. Possible causes for the naval blockade to be reimposed include any significant NATO activities in the Russian near-abroad, a major increase in sanctions, or if there are any Ukrainian attacks on the sovereign territory of the Russian Federation (probably including Crimea).
There is no assessed reduction in the likelihood of continued strikes into western Ukraine as Russia seeks to interdict men and materiel transfer east. Iskander ballistic missiles and other precision munitions are likely to be reserved for targets where the RFAF have a high level of certainty of military significance, with terror attacks against urban centres more likely to involve S-300 (air defence) and ‘Bastion’ (coastal defence) missiles.
It remains highly unlikely that the Belarusian Armed Forces will conduct an invasion/attack into Ukraine, inflammatory and provocative activity (such as ISR overflight, troop movements, and activity in the electromagnetic spectrum) is likely to persist. It is also likely that President 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 and missile attacks, as well as for movement of troops and equipment.