Ukrainian military expert Oleg Zhdanov brings an update to the frontline situation in Ukraine on 1 August 2022.
No major changes in the past day, the frontline is stable with areas of increasing and decreasing activity of the hostilities.
Volyn-Polesye direction (Belarus – North)
Observed is deployment of additional Electronic Warfare devices by the Belarusian Armed Forces. No other major changes – Belarusian forces continue rapid response exercises. EW equipment is more defensive rather than offensive but we are yet to see what they are preparing for.
No changes, intensive shelling continues, Sumy Oblast suffered the most.
More shelling by the Russian forces using all available artillery means, sabotage groups attempted reconnaissance towards Mozanovka, without success.
No changes. Artillery and airstrikes continue, with positional fights.
Artillery and airstrikes at different sections. Russian forces attempted reconnaissance towards Yakovlevka. Russian sabotage group was discovered and destroyed. Russian forces attempted assault at Vershyna and Soledar without success, retreated to initial positions with losses. As of now, assault operations continue towards Bakhmut.
Artillery and airstrikes, assault operation by the Russian forces towards Pesky – no success, retreated.
Novopavloskaya, Zaporozhye direction
Artillery and airstrikes, positional fights. Reconnaissance by fire towards Maryinka without success, retreated. Regrouping of the Russian forces towards Zaporozhye direction.
Yuzhnyi Bug (Pivdennyi Bug)
Artillery and airstrikes, active air reconnaissance of the Ukrainian positions. Increased activity of the Russian forces towards Kryvyi Rih direction.
The Black Sea
Notable is increase in activity in the Black Sea, especially Russian aviation in the North West section. Most likely related to the grain deal that is currently on-going. Also, now there are six Kalibr missile carriers in the Black Sea capable of firing up to 44 missiles, however, these are located between Crimea and Novorossyisk, not close to Ukraine.
Ukraine city shelling
Mykolaiv and Nikopol were attacked. Likewise, Sumy was shelled seven times. Kharkiv was also shelled.
Strikes at Skadovsk, Enerhodar, railway station at Brylovka in Kherson Oblast where a train with personnel, weapons and vehicles was destroyed. Appears to have resulted in significant casualties – Dzhankoy and Simferopol hospitals are full, wounded were being taken much further to Sevastopol.
Change of tactics
If previously reconnaissance by fire and assault operations were conducted by more or less numerous forces, at least a BTG – up to 200-300 people for assault, and company size for reconnaissance – 100-150 people, now the Russians are utilising sabotage groups of 15-20 people. These small groups attract Ukrainian fire on their position to understand where the Ukrainian positions are, including artillery.
Ukraine now counteracts this impact by using artillery adjusted by anti-sabotage groups. The tendency is towards using fewer people due to a lack of personnel in the Russian forces, forcing them to preserve people.
At Kryvyi Rih direction, Russians are attempting to move forward over Dnieper to the right bank. Apparently, this is according to Ukraine’s plans to let in as many Russian forces. This direction is being reinforced by the Russians who may renew the assault at Voznesensk, which however is very far – 100-150km from the frontline. These are mostly VDV units with BMD vehicles – there are no roads there.
As of now, the strengthening of the Russian group must be looked at on a larger scale. Certainly the number of troops is increasing but it’s important to remember that every day in large numbers the Russian supplies are being destroyed. The 800 vehicles that crossed the Kakhovka dam, each vehicle on average needs 1 ton of diesel fuel per 2-3 days. This is hundreds tons of fuel that need to be transported in smaller batches over the river, which is complicated further by the destruction of the bridges. Railway bridge is not in use, the only available roads are Kakhovka HPP and the pontoon crossing at Kherson.
Russian forces are unlikely to be able to start an offensive on 5-6 August, the troops are still being transferred to Melitopol, Kherson and the right bank on Dnieper. The railway line from Crimea to Kherson was cut off preventing beginning of an offensive. Part of troops were thrown from Mariupol to Donetsk to reinforce L/DPR army corps. There is also some movement in Kharkiv Oblast where likely the secondary strike will be done to prevent Ukrainians to transfer away forces. Generally, the situation is escalating, Russians are likely preparing an offensive, but at the moment this is likely well-known by the Ukrainian command, with several options available to them.
Political and military events
Red Cross was not allowed to investigate the tragedy. Oleg Zhdanov believes it was a fire rather than an explosion as it lead to such significant casualties. The UN appealed to Russia to allow UN emissaries to attend the place of the tragedy. This may indicate at certain connections between UN leader and the Russian president. Questions must be raised to the responsible individuals in Ukraine who did not organise a quick exchange of the captives.
The first ship with grain today left the Odesa port. Various sources differ in assessment of the contents, some say it’s grain, others says it’s corn, not clear yet. But the ship has sailed. Turkey will be the main security guarantor here. The situation is tense since Russian aviation increased presence in the Black Sea’s North West area.
Volunteer battalions in the Russian Federation
In Moscow, a whole regiment is being recruited (rather than a battalion), including foreign workers (Central Asia). Two artillery “divizions” are being formed in St. Petersburg – same conditions, with 200k rubles paid immediately, and 200k salary per month in addition to unspecified social payments.
Continued stand-off around Taiwan. Intrigue is increasing. The situation is developing with Nancy Pelosi’s visit under question. China launched a supersonic missiles 130km away from Taiwan to send a message to the USA and allies.
Russian Federation wants to open the second front. At first, it was believed to be in Belarus, then attempts to shake up the situation in Transnistria, now similar attempt in Balkans, right in the underbelly of the EU. Russia is likely pushing Serbia to start military operations. Kosovo is a gun powder keg with a long fuse and the conflict has been frozen for a long time with high probability of it igniting again. In north Kosovo, Serbs have put the people in the streets which resulted in clashes with police and gunfire. Despite the efforts of military and politicians last night, the situation was not resolved but postponed for a month, Russia will do all it can to provoke Serbia for another conflict, regardless of how many people might die. This is done to distract the European politicians from Ukraine as much as possible.
In general, the world situation is tense, there are sources of instability everywhere. All these might affect the way the Ukrainian conflict is going.