Northeast – Kharkiv Area of Operations
- The Russian Federation Armed Forces (RFAF) remain focused on preventing the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) from making ground towards the international border and have sought to fix UAF elements to prevent the reinforcement of other axes. (No change)
- Russian sources claim that the RFAF seized control of Udy, a small urban settlement close to the Russian border. However, these claims have been refuted by the Ukrainian General Staff, who state that the area was still under UAF control.
- Air, artillery and rocket bombardment activities have continued across the outskirts of Kharkiv city and along the line of contact. (No change)
Post with video reported to show damage following RFAF strikes into Kharkiv. Source: @maria_avdv
East – Donbas Area of Operations (assessed RFAF Main Effort)
- RFAF continued ground assaults to the east and south of Bakhmut, building on momentum over the last two weeks. Kodema, Soledar, and Zaitseve continue to dominate battle reporting along this front, where the RFAF have made incremental gains during this reporting period.
- RFAF reconnaissance-in-force personnel also attempted to advance on Yakolivka, further to the north along the Bakhmut front, but were repelled.
- RFAF activity has increased to the northeast of Donetsk city over the last 96-hours. Ukrainian officials have reported that the UAF repelled RFAF attacks on Krasnohorivka, to the north of the city. Hostilities also continue to be reported to the south of Avdiivka.
- Ukrainian sources contest Russia’s claims from over the weekend that it is now in control of Pisky. This position has been contested by the Ukrainian General Staff, with separate social media reports suggesting a small portion of the settlement remains under UAF control.
- No changes of note near Siversk, or Slovyansk. Bombardment activity continues along the line of contact. RFAF attempted to break through UAF lines near Dolyna; however, no change in control was reported.
- Several western media outlets have reported in the last 48-hours that a Wagner Private Military Contractor (PMC) Headquarters in Popasna has been struck. Number of casualties have not been confirmed. Reports suggest that targeting information was shared by a pro-Russia journalist on Telegram on 08 August 22.
Image showing the reported aftermath of the UAF strike on the Wagner PMC compound in Popasna, Luhansk. Source: @Gerashchenko_en
South – Kherson and Black Sea Coast Area of Operations
- On 09 August 22, RFAF suffered a significant setback following an attack on the Saky Airbase, Crimea. According to multiple sources, the attack was reported to have been carried out by the UAF Special Operations Forces. A post-attack battle damage assessment highlighted significant materiel losses, including destruction of SU24 and SU30 attack aircraft.
- On 16 August 22, explosions were reported in Crimea. The explosions were reported near the village of Mais’ke, 21km from the rail junction in Dzhankoi. A railway line is also reported to have been damaged during the attack.
- There have been no notable changes to the situation on the ground in the South Axis. RFAF attempts to mount offensive action near Lozove have failed.
- The UAF continued to successfully target Ground Lines of Communication (GLoC), damaging the Kakhovka bridge near the hydroelectric powerplant. News and social media reflections post strikes indicate that no heavy vehicles can now link-up with RFAF to the north of the river. UAF have also struck the Antonivskyi bridge again in the last 72-hours.
- Rail bridges were also targeted between Tokmak and Melitopol on 15 August 22.
- Some Ukrainian media channels report that Russian command posts are starting to be moved out of Kherson city over reported concerns that they’ll have limited options to retreat from the city if the UAF counteroffensive gains momentum.
- The situation in Zaporizhzhia nuclear powerplant (NPP) remains delicate as the international community continues to apply diplomatic pressure on Russia to hand the facility back over to Ukraine (and allow observers to have access to be able to evaluate the damage). The Russians and Ukrainians continue to accuse each other of shelling the facility.
Video reported to show the explosion at an RFAF logistics node near Dzhankoi, Crimea. Source: @maria_avdv
- Vladimir Putin accused NATO of seeking to extend its influence into the Asia-Pacific region, accusing the United States of trying to drag out the conflict in Ukraine. Putin also referred to Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan, stating that this event was a deliberate provocation by the Biden administration. Putin’s comments came during a formal address at the start of the Moscow international security conference.
- Five European citizens – including two United Kingdom (UK) nationals – have gone on trial in a court administered by the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Russia-backed separatists. The five individuals, who pleaded not guilty, are being charged as mercenaries acting to seize power from Russia. If found guilty, the five individuals could face the death penalty. The detention and charges brought by the DPR have been condemned by the international community. The next court hearing is scheduled for October 22.
- The attack on the Saky Airbase, plus the increased intensity of attacks to RFAF logistics in Kherson and Crimea, is likely to have a notable effect on the morale of Russian forces operating along this axis. This will be compounded by reports of RFAF command posts leaving the area, suggesting that there is great concern over the impending UAF counteroffensive to retake Kherson. RFAF’s ability to defend against this attack will be greatly impeded by the damage incurred at key GLoC in Dzhankoi, and Brylivka in early August 22. Crimea was, up until this stage, viewed as a safe haven for the RFAF and a key logistics hub for manoeuvring supplies from the East Axis and Russian territory. Not only are RFAF logistics hubs increasing at risk from HIMARs, but these successes for the UAF will further galvanise resistance movements whose sabotage operations have been highly effective over the last couple of months.
- As of 16 August 22, there has been no confirmation on the casualty numbers from the Wagner PMC attack in Popasna. Open-source estimates suggest it could be more than 100 casualties. If accurate, this would represent a notable loss for the RFAF, who are reliant on Wagner Group mercenaries to augment its combat power, especially in urban clearance operations. Whilst it’s likely to have a short-term effect on the group’s ability to support offensive operations, they will still likely be able to reinforce RFAF in the medium to long term. This attack highlights a glaring Operational Security breach by the Russians, failing to spot that the image would provide the UAF with the necessary targeting information to find, fix, and finish the strike operation. Up until this stage, publicising the role of Wagner Group and its rough location has been a deliberate part of the Russian messaging strategy – it is highly likely this will change and less information will be available to try and obfuscate the group’s presence.
In the next 7-days, the RFAF are likely to continue to focus on mounting further reconnaissance-in-force operations (supported by air, tube, and rocket artillery bombardment) towards Soledar, Zaitseve, and Kodema settlements. Further tactical gains to the north-west of Donetsk city – notably in Pisky – are also to be expected. The UAF are likely to withdraw to the M04 line, to prevent the RFAF from strengthening its GLoC on the M04 route, and delay any RFAF shaping activity to support the potential future envelopment (and preceding bombardment) of Avdiivka.
In the south, RFAF are most likely to attempt to regain control of Lozove. However, UAF defensive positions are likely to hold and the RFAF are unlikely to receive sufficient combat reinforcements to achieve this objective. Elsewhere along the line of contact, RFAF bombardment activity is likely to intensify in the next 7-days to prevent further advances towards Kherson city. S-300 missiles are also likely to be used in a ground role, targeting Mykolaiv city as observed in the past few weeks.
HIMARs activity will continue, given its success across the battlespace. Ammunition depots, bridgeheads, and rail GLoC will remain the primary targets. It is likely that there will be further reports of the RFAF withdrawing its command elements; or repositioning its weapons and equipment to more secure locations – especially along the South Axis. At Zaporizhzhia NPP, there are no indicators at present to suggest that the Russians will give up control of the facility in the short-term; a visit from international observers is a realistic possibility; and both sides are highly likely to accuse the other of deliberate targeting the NPP in the next reporting period.