No significant changes. Main Russian offensive directions Izium-Sloviansk and Popasna-Bakhmut-Lysychansk road. Russia did reach road, but got kicked back immediately. Battles in Sievierodonetsk and south-east.
In last 3 days, Ukraine destroyed at least 7 large Russian ammo warehouses. Russia trying to revenge by hitting cities – Kharkiv, Dnipro, Mykolaiv, attempts to aim at Ukraine ammo and oil warehouses/manufacturing. Not all Russian missiles reach targets. Russia ignoring civilian losses. In last week, there is phenomenal increase in accuracy of Ukrainian artillery. Most warehouses and command centers are destroyed with 1st hit. Possibly better ammo, or better targeting. It’s hard to measure and explain such increase, for example 10 howitzers alone is nothing significant, but 10 howitzers with improved fire-control systems and artillery radars could be compared to 40 dumb Russian howitzers.
Kharkiv: 5-7 BTGs, 6 aircraft, 15-18 helicopters near Belgorod, they can not reach Kharkiv, but can approach closer, and significantly increase artillery shelling. Anyone in Kharkiv, please don’t ignore air-raid sirens.
Current Ukrainian tasks – to wear out Russians from Izium to Popasna, and approach on Kherson. Russians trying to do the same on Kharkiv, distract Ukrainians from elsewhere. Attacks on Kharkiv will keep happening quite a while, but there is no risk of losing control of city. Significant damage possible.
Izium: Ukraine moving near Siversky Donets river in direction of Izium with battles (so, not linear speed), blocking possible Russian river crossings.
Can expect SIGNIFICANT update on Monday.
Negotiation plans delayed, until significant changes (either Russia captures Lysychansk, or Ukraine captures Kherson). Germany and France understand that. In modern war and somewhat equal technology, success is not sudden, it’s achieved through slow persistent progress. UK assistance on training is also intended in long term, Ukraine is preparing for long war. Even Western attitude will be corrected, depending on battlefield changes.
Russian Airborne Forces (VDV):
Rumors of commander Andrey Serdyukov was fired. VDV had high losses at beginning of war, they were sent in 1st wave on Kyiv. Some units had losses 60-70%, many valuable commanders died. Those are units, that called and reserved tables at Kyiv restaurants for celebration (and restaurant called back, to mock them).
Legion of Free Russia: large wave of 250 new members.
Visa regime with Russia: to increase security checks, and optionally refuse to undesired Russians. Shouldn’t cause any issues for Russian opposition.
Sanctions: Currently 48% of planned sanctions are already enabled. Transport and energy sanctions are hard and long to achieve, but they work the same way as accumulation losses in battle – slow steady increase, that at some point leads to breakthrough. Lithuania restricted transit to Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave. Russia now has to spend logistics resources on supplying Kaliningrad, that would be spent on supplying Russian forces in Syria and Ukraine.
Yermak-McFaul group is doing slow planned work. Financial Action Task Force (FATF) about to expel Russia [link], Switzerland joins 6th pack of sanctions – slow incremental changes. Situation will become more intense in autumn.
American Politico article, that possibly next wave M142 HIMARS amount could be doubled (+4 for now, still significant) [link]. This is not yet lend-lease in effect
Russia – many units have 30-40% refusals, 30-50% using old equipment, signifying wear. Current pause is to accumulate forces, there will be significant changes in future.
Kherson capture in February – Russia bribed SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) regional director’s assistant, had plans of mine fields, coordinated aviation [link]. First time in Ukraine, when government official is accused
Kazakhstan president Tokayev can’t be invited to Ukraine, as he is in complicated situation – Kazakhstan is still member of CSTO, tight economical ties with Russia. As figure of speech, not advice – he should think, where to draw line between China and Western investors. Kazakhstan is supporting Ukraine, as Ukrainian scenario was rehearsed in Kazakhstan.