Update from Ukrainian military expert Oleg Zhdanov – 16 August

Posted on 20 August 2022



Oleg Zhdanov, the Ukrainian military expert, with his battlefield and military-political situation update on 20 August 2022.

Volyn-Polesye (Belarus – North)

No major changes in the past day. The border with Belarus is being reinforced as Ukraine controls the situation. No accumulation of Belarusian forces can be observed. Missile attack threat remains.

Northern direction

Sumy Oblast suffered from artillery and missile strikes. In Zlobozhanskiy region, the adversary battles to hold on to their positions and occasionally tries to improve their tactical position. All attempts to assault Ukrainian position failed.

Kharkiv direction

Artillery and aviation strikes with positional fights. The adversary attempted assault towards Barschovy, which resulted in their retreat, to test Ukrainian defence.

Sloviansk direction

Shelling from everything possible including tanks. Around Novodmitrievka and Vernopolye and Kurul’ky, adversary units attempted assaults without success.

Kramatorsk direction

Shelling, artillery strike exchanges, the adversary attempted air recon and advanced at Ivanodaryevka where fights continue.

Bakhmut direction

Shelling, civilian infrastructure suffers the most, the city of Bakhmut is being destroyed similarly to Mariupol, Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. Occupiers assaulted at Bakhmut, Zaytsevo, and Kadema, which was unsuccessful.

Avdiivka direction

Likewise, full-scale shelling including aviation strikes. Russian assaults towards Opytnoye and Mayorsk – no success, but fights continue.

Novopavloskoye-Zaporizhye direction

Shelling, enemy assault operations at Zolotaya Niva, unsuccessful. The activity in Donetsk Oblast is highest as of today. 

Yuzhniy Bug (Pivdenniy Bug) direction

Continued positional fights and artillery/aviation exchanges. Russians attempting to replenish losses in vehicles and personnel, bringing up what’s been accumulated on the right bank. Also, personnel of the adversary has large problems with rotation – those whose contracts expired are not let go and forced to re-sign the contract, which creates conflicts leading to use force and weapons. Also, Russian command is demoralising personnel by lying about payments, which are less than promised by contracts. Morale among personnel is low.

City shelling by and against Ukraine

Difficult situation. Orekhov in Zaporizhye and the city itself were shelled. In Dnipro, four missiles were taken down. Mykolaiv – an arrival. Voznesensk – missile arrival at a civilian building with its middle collapsing resulted in 9 injured with 4 children among them, all children had serious injuries. A girl lost her eye and is being taken to Mykolaiv to save her life.

Occupied territories are under strike by Ukraine, this includes Nova Kakhovka strikes that lead to detonations. Evpatoria in Crimea, Russian air defence operated but unclear what was the target. Sevastopol, likewise air defence and small arms fire at an UAV which still struck the Black Sea Fleet HQs. 

In Melitopol, night explosions. Bachchisaray – two explosions, but unclear what exactly happened. Crimea starts coming back to Ukraine. 

Military-political situation

  • Curious meeting between Afghanistan and Russia with the former offering Russia medicinal herbs and dried grapes in exchange for oil.
  • Russia is forming over 50 named battalions – local authorities are responsible for their own money to form volunteer battalions that will be sent to Ukraine. 34 regions of Russia take part in the program. Each battalion has its own name, hence “named”. All volunteers are accepted, but mostly those who are ideologically inclined to fight. Payment starts from 100,000 rubles up to 360,000 rubles per month, similar to PMCs fighting in the Donbass. The cheapest are Buryats who get from 100,000. In terms of names, Amur Battalion for instance comes from the Amur region. Baykal battalion comes from Buryatiya. St. Petersburg forms three battalions – Krondshtadt, Neva and Pavlovsk, in Tatarstan – Alga and Timer battalions etc. Russia is not stopping, Russia is escalating and drawing the whole country into the war.
  • Belarus. Military drills continue at least to 27 August, intentions unclear, BTGs at the border are likely to be units where exercising troops can rest.
  • Satellite data access was purchased for the money that was collected by Ukrainians for Bayraktars which were given for free. The company operates 19 satellites in total. The satellite is purchased for the full length of its use. It flies over Eurasia. It’s an excellent technology that is very detailed and can discover individual soldiers. Also, access to the satellite company database from all 19 satellites was purchased for one year. Since the purchase, in Kherson Oblast the occupational forces released a leaflet with guidance on how to hide from the satellite which is impossible aside from hiding in a bunker like Putin. Likewise, vehicles cannot be hidden. 
  • Ukrainian government extended COVID-19 guidelines until December as cases are on the rise.
  • In the USA, an official in a closed discussion voices an opinion that all targets chosen by Ukraine within Ukraine’s 1991 borders are legitimate for strikes. These borders are internationally recognised. 
  • The USA together with the UK announced that they would consider a ZNPP strike by Russians to be a trigger for NATO Article 5. If any of the fallout reaches a NATO country, Russia will get a war with NATO.
  • The USA provided another package of aid for Ukraine worth $750 million, mainly ammunition and weapons. The White House reports that weapons include HIMARS missiles, whether ATACMS is not clear; 16 105-mm howitzers, and 36,000 shells for them – this is to replace Soviet D-30; 15 ScanEagle reconnaissance UAVs by Boeing which can stay in the air for up to 20 hours and distance reaching up to 100km; 40 armoured personnel carriers resistant to mines and capable of resisting to ambushes; anti-radar rockets AMG-88; TOW anti-tank missile launchers; 1000 Javelins; 2000 anti-armour shells.

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