A Russian ammunition depot explodes after a strike by Ukrainian forces on Nova Kakhovka in Russian-occupied southern Ukraine, July 11, 2022

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Monday’s Coverage: Zelenskiy Suspends Top Officials Over Collaboration With Russian Invasion

Source: Institute for the Study of War


The latest Russian shelling of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine has killed two civilians in Slovyansk and killed one and injured six in Kramatorsk, destroying residential buildings.


The Ukraine Parliament has confirmed the removal of Ivan Bakanov, the head of the domestic intelligence and security agency SBU, and Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova from their posts.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy dismissed the two on Sunday, saying more than 60 staff in their two agencies had collaborated with Russian occupiers.

Parliament indicated that Venediktova was not culpable of collaboration herself, saying she will get a diplomatic post.

In an interview with CNN, she said, “Here in my office we can’t have collaborators at all, because collaboration is only people who worked in occupied territory. Here is not occupied territory.”

She said of Zelenskiy’s dismissal of her, “The President is chief of command. He understands his strategy and tactics. And he makes his decision with his views.


Julia Davis of The Daily Beast and the Russia Media Monitor has posted another example of Russian commentators — including Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Russia State outlet RT — saying Ukraine should not exist and dehumanizing Ukrainians:


A Ukrainian teenager has described how he was detained by Russian soldiers for 90 days, listening to other detainees being tortured in a nearby cell.

Vladislav Buryak, 16, was separated from his family on April 8 at a checkpoint as they fled occupied Melitopol in southern Ukraine. He was released earlier this month after negotiations between his father Oleg, a local Ukrainian official, and Russian soldiers. The Russians sought to swap Vladislav for a person of interest to Moscow’s military.

Vladislav said he was initially held after occupying troops found a video on his phone of Russian soldiers saying they did not want to fight. They then discovered he was the son of an official, and thus “valuable as a hostage”.

They had me working washing the floor of the room they used for interrogations, cleaning officers’ rooms and throwing out the trash. The cell where I was kept was a few metres from where they did the interrogations.

I could hear people shouting, and when I cleaned the room I could see bloodstains. Because I could move around when I was cleaning cells, I sometimes had the chance to see what had happened to people and they could sometimes talk to me for a minute or so when the guards weren’t watching….

There were bloodstains and soaked bandages. I could hear the questioning too, at least three times week. “Do you have weapons? Who else has weapons?” They were shouting and the people being tortured were yelling really loudly.

People were being beaten up and tortured with electric shocks. If someone didn’t say something, the torture would continue, sometimes for several hours.

I saw people afterwards as well, and their faces were bruised. I was really scared that they would beat me up as well, so I tried to keep myself emotionless.

The Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe reported last week that Ukrainian civilians, taken to Russian “filtration centers”, have been subjected to “harsh interrogations and humiliating body searches”. Those accused of collaboration with Ukraine’s military and authorities “often simply disappear”.


Trying to bypass international sanctions, Russia is seeking payment in UAE dirhams for oil exports to some Indian customers.

Three sources spoke of the transactions. An invoice to one Indian refiner, seen by Reuters, calculates the bill in dollars but requests payment in dirhams.

The sources said two Indian refiners have already met the Russian terms.

India is now Russia’s second-largest customer after China. Heavily discounting the price for its oil, Moscow has replaced Saudi Arabia as India’s second-biggest oil supplier after Iraq.


At least one person has been killed in a Russian missile attack on the center of Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.

A photograph posted by local officials showed a blaze in a residential building.


Russian forces have shelled Nikopol in the Dnipropetrovsk region in central Ukraine for the third consecutive night.

Governor Valentin Reznichenko wrote on Telegram:

A night of anxiety and shelling … Russian troops set fire to the Nikopol and Kryvorizky [Kryvyi Rih] districts.

Up to 40 rockets were fired at Nikopol. There is destruction at two industrial enterprises. The explosions caused fires there. Several private houses and power lines were damaged in the city.

Reznichenko said there were no casualties.

Russia has escalated attacks on the region, killing three people and injuring 15 in Dnipro in missile strikes last weekend.


A resident of the port city of Mariupol in southeast Ukraine has defied Russian occupiers by wearing the Ukrainian flag on the site of the demolished Drama Theater.

A man in Mariupol in southern Ukraine defies Russian occupiers by wearing the Ukrainian flag on the site of the demolished Drama Theater, July 18, 2022

After 12 weeks of bombardment, siege, and ground attacks, Russian forces overran the city on the Sea of Azov in late May. Exiled mayor Vadym Boychenko says more than 22,000 were killed, and satellite imagery has confirmed the digging of mass graves by the Russians.

Russian forces levelled the Drama Theater, where civilians were sheltering in the basement, on March 16. Up to 600 people — most of them women, children, and the elderly — were killed.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address to the nation:

This guy is one of many of our people who are waiting for the return of Ukraine and who will not accept the occupation under any circumstances….

We never forgot about them. And I ask all of you who have contacts and opportunities for this: spread real information to the occupied territory, support our people, spread the truth there in any way you find effective.


UK military intelligence supports Ukraine’s assessment of a shift in the military position, with Russia struggling to sustain effective offensive combat power amid its offensive in the east of the country.

The British analysts cite severe shortages of troops, amid Ukrainian claims that more than Russia has lost more than 38,000 soldiers — and the assessment of the head of the UK military that the Russians have suffered 50,000 casualties, curbing their combat effectiveness by 30%.

The analysis says Russian planners face the dilemma of either deploying reserves to the Donbas in the east, seeking to advance in the Donetsk region after occupying neighboring Luhansk, or defending against Ukrainian counter-attacks in the south.

The analysts assessed that Russia may still make gains in Donetsk, but “operational tempo and rate of advance is likely to be very slow”.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: The head of Ukraine’s military says the US supply of medium-range rocket systems is enabling Ukrainian forces to “stabilize the situation”, amid Russia’s offensive in the east and an imminent Ukraine counter-offensive to reclaim occupied territory in the south.

General Valery Zaluzhny wrote on Telegram:

We managed to stabilize the situation. It is complex, intense, but completely controlled.

An important factor contributing to our retention of defensive lines and positions is the timely arrival of M142 HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System), which deliver targeted strikes on enemy control points, ammunition and fuel storage depots.

On Friday, a Defense Ministry spokesman said Ukraine’s forces destroyed more than 30 military logistics centers and ammunition depots of the invading Russians in recent weeks. In the most visible attack, the Ukrainians detonated a large ammunition stockpile in the town of Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine last Tuesday. The military said artillery and armored vehicles were also destroyed.

Each of the advanced wheel-mounted systems can carry six rockets with a range of 70 to 80 km (43 to 50 miles). In addition, Norway is delivering three US-made M270 system, each carrying 12 rockets, after they were upgraded by the British military.

See also Ukraine War, Day 143: 30+ Russian Military Centers Destroyed — Ukrainian Defense Ministry

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu effectively confirmed the Ukrainian statements on the impact of the rocket systems. On Monday, he ordered Russia’s military to concentrate on destroying the rockets and artillery.

Europe Authorizes More Military Aid to Kyiv

Foreign ministers from European Union countries agreed another €500m ($508m) in military aid to Ukraine on Monday.

“A political agreement was reached on the fifth tranche of military assistance to Ukraine,” Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde announced.

The EU has provided €2.5bn in assistance ($2.54 million) since February for the purchase of military weapons, equipment, and supplies.

The EU budget normally does not permit funding of military operations, but the European Peace Facility can be used to provide military aid.

EU Foreign Ministers are also discussing the toughening of sanctions on Russia with a ban on imports of gold, curbing the Kremlin’s revenues.

US: Cooperation Continues Despite Shake-Up of Ukraine Security Service

The US State Department said Washington will continue to provide intelligence to Kyiv despite President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s removal of the head of the intelligence and security service SBU.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, “We invest not in personalities, we invest in institutions. We do have an intelligence-sharing relationship with our Ukrainian counterparts….We continue to proceed ahead with that.”

On Sunday, Zelenskiy suspended SBU head Ivan Bakanov and Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova.

The President said that more than 60 officials from the SBU and Prosecutor General’s Office had supported the Russians in occupied areas, and that senior SBU staff had assisted Russia in the takeover of Kherson in southern Ukraine in the opening days of the February 24 invasion.

On Monday, Zelenskiy appointed security and anti-corruption official Vasyl Maliuk as interim head of the SBU.

The President said on Monday night:

An audit of the agency is under way. The dismissal of 28 officials at various levels is being considered. But the grounds are the same: unsatisfactory job performance.