Igor Girkin aka Igor Strelkov (responsible for downing of MH17 in 2014) released his update on the frontline situation in Ukraine as of morning of 18 July 2022:
There are fragmentary reports about a certain increase of activity of the RF AF in Sumy direction. The scale and the depth of the operation (which is most likely aimed at preventing further shelling of RF territory) is not known to me yet, similarly to the specifics of the primary goals. In any case, we are talking about a tactical operation with limited goals.
Here Igor refutes his own claims for days ago that Seversk has been captured by the Russian forces, and says that attempts of the separatist forces to advance near Avdeevka are continuously repulsed by Ukrainian forces:
Brave messages about liberation of Seversk and our troops entering outskirts of Soledar turned out to be “bollocks”. Seversk is still mainly under control of the enemy. Fights of local significance continue with attempts to advance on a tactical level.
In the past 3 days north of Avdeevka the DPR AF attempted to develop successes from a month ago (as I mentioned repeatedly these were interrupted to transfer forces onto Lysychansk direction). Attacks on Kamenka settlement are stably repulsed by the enemy due to extremely small numbers of forces that are able to be sent into an attack by “worn out down to single digits percents of the standard strength” forces of the DPR People’s Militia. And also due to absence of operational support of artillery on the battlefield. The enemy is repulsing attacks almost purely with artillery fire. Today, as it is being reported, attempts of the attacks continue, although the negative results of the attempts is know in advance to the attackers (those who are under enemy fire).
Additionally, Igor points at the south direction of Kherson as the main place for the upcoming battle and hints that both sides are finalising preparations. As a reminder, days ago Zelenskyi reportedly gave an order to liberate south of Ukraine from the Russian forces:
I have no fresh information about the Zaporizhye frontline.
In Kherson front fierce exchange of artillery and missile strikes during which both side experience sensitive losses. Judging by intensity, the main battles of the “third effective stage of the SMO” are to be expected here.
Donetsk, Stakhanov, Makeevka, Horlivka and a number of other settlements of the LDPR are still subject to regular shelling despite the attempt of the RF artillery and aviation to suppress the enemy’s batteries.
In general, the operational pause continues. Both sides are finishing preparations for the upcoming battles. Possibly, each side is waiting for the “first move” from the enemy.