Russian troops at the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station in the Kherson region of southern Ukraine, May 20, 2022 (AP)
Source: Institute for the Study of War
UPDATE 1409 GMT:
A Russian missile strike has killed five people and wounded 25 — 13 civilians and 12 military personnel — in Kropyvnytskyi in central Ukraine.
The missiles struck the hangars of an aviation enterprise, said the head of the Kirovohrad regional administration, Andriy Raikovych.
In the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine, a man and a women were killed in the town of Toretsk when a five-story building collapsed after a Russian missile strike.
UPDATE 1002 GMT:
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has written about the new Prosecutor General, approved by Parliament on Wednesday:
The main tasks of the prosecutor’s office today are to bring to justice all Russian war criminals, restore justice and defend the interests of Ukraine.
I am convinced that Andriy Kostin, as a professional lawyer, will be able to ensure the systematic work of the general prosecutor’s office. His first important decision in his new position was the appointment of the head of the specialised anti-corruption prosecutor’s office. Oleksandr Klymenko has been appointed.
Kostin replaces Iryna Venediktova, dismissed last week by Zelenskiy’s over staff in her office who collaborated with Russia’s occupation and invasion.
UPDATE 0814 GMT:
Russia’s 49th Army is stationed on the west bank of the Dnipro River and now looks highly vulnerable.
Similarly, Kherson city, the most politically significant population centre occupied by Russia, is now virtually cut off from the other occupied territories. Its loss would severely undermine Russia’s attempts to paint the occupation as a success.
UPDATE 0711 GMT:
US intelligence assesses that up to half of Russia’s initial invasion force have been killed or wounded, according to Rep. Elissa Slotkin.
Slotkin told CNN of the intelligence briefing that more than 75,000 Russian soldiers have been slain or injured.
The legislator, part of a Congressional delegation that recently visited Ukraine, said the next three to six weeks may be crucial in the outcome of Russia’s invasion:
I think that what we heard very firmly from President Zelensky and reinforced today [by US intelligence] is that the Ukrainians really want to hit Russia in the teeth a few times before the winter comes, put them in the best position possible, particularly hitting them down south.
The Ukraine General Staff said on Thursday that 40,230 Russian troops have killed. It claimed the Russian loss of 1,742 tanks, 3,979 armored fighting vehicles, 894 artillery systems, 258 multiple launch rocket systems, 117 air defense systems, 190 helicopters, 222 airplanes, 729 drones, and 15 warships.
UPDATE 0629 GMT:
Russia has blocked a UN Security Council statement welcoming last week’s agreement to lift the Russian blockade on grain and fertilizer shipments through Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.
The text also commended UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the Turkish Government for brokering the arrangements.
Ukraine and Russia signed parallel memoranda with Turkey and the UN in a ceremony in Istanbul on Friday. But less than 12 hours later, Russia fired four missiles on the Black Sea port of Odesa, and subsequently carried out a second strike.
The Russians objected to the statement because it mentioned Guterres’ condemnation of the Saturday missile attack.
Norway’s UN Ambassador Mona Juul said, “Norway and Mexico have been working for days to unify the council in one message welcoming the significant deal to resume exports of grains, foodstuffs, and fertilizers through the Black Sea. We regret that this was not possible.”
Despite the Russian strikes, a joint coordination center opened in Istanbul on Wednesday to oversee the Ukrainian exports.
A Turkish official said, “The Ukrainian and Russian representatives are staying here at the joint centre. The parties have social conversations with each other in this campus. They are eating together here.”
UPDATE 0618 GMT:
Russia attacked infrastructure in the Kyiv region in northern Ukraine early this morning.
Governor Oleksiy Kuleba said rockets were fired on the Vyshgorod district, north of the capital.
Emergency services are on site and establishing if there are casualties.
Officials said more than 20 missiles were fired from Belarus, including nine on Goncharivska in the Chernihiv region in northern Ukraine, between 5:20 and 6:30 a.m.
In the south, the Russians again fired on the port city of Mykolaiv.
Mayor Oleksandr Syenkevych said the 4 a.m. assault damaged educational institutions and residential buildings. A school was “almost completely destroyed”, with a security guard injured, and the Shipbuilding University was hit.
In the east, Russian attacks killed five civilians and wounded eight across the Donetsk region. There were fatalities in Avdiivka, New York, Bakhmut, and Soledar.
ORIGINAL ENTRY: Facing a possible Ukrainian counter-offensive and suffering significant damage, Russia is redeploying forces to occupied southern Ukraine.
For days, the Russians have been moving troops, armor, and weapons to the Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions in a switch from offense to strategic defense.
Russian seized the coastal area on the Black Sea in the opening days of its February 24 invasion, using forces from its occupation of the Crimea peninsula since 2014.
However, with Russia’s offensive now concentrated in the Donbas in the east, Ukrainian forces have seized some villages in the Kherson region. Even more significantly, the Ukrainians — bolstered by the supply of US-made HIMARS medium-range rocket systems — have destroyed dozens of Russian logistic centers and ammunition depots.
The Ukrainians are also bombing bridges across the Dnieper River and its tributaries to cut off the Russian invaders from their troops to the west of the Dnieper, including in Kherson city.
Ukrainian rockets again hit the Antonovskiy Bridge, the most important across the Dnieper and into Kherson, late Tuesday night. Videos showed extensive damage to the structure, with Russian occupation officials acknowledging the attack but maintaining that repairs will be carried out quickly.
The Russian military appeared to concede that they cannot rely on the four bridges into western Kherson, saying they would turn instead to pontoon bridges and ferries.
In his nightly address to the nation, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, “We are doing everything to ensure that the occupying forces do not have any logistical opportunities in our country.”
Zelenskiy’s advisor Oleksiy Arestovych said the operation to liberate Kherson “has already begun”.
No matter how much the enemy overtakes forces and resources on the western bank of the Dnieper, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will first leave them without ammunition depots, fuel, communications and command, and then they will clean up the remnants of their forces.
Retreat (if possible), surrender or be destroyed.
Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak echoed:
You can call the Antonivsʹkyy bridge a mean of ru-air defense that intercepts all ua-missiles, but you cannot escape the reality – occupiers should learn how to swim across the Dnipro River. Or should leave Kherson while it is still possible. There may not be a third warning.
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) July 27, 2022
The President added that, after recapture of the southern areas, the Government will rebuild the Antonivskiy Bridge and other crossings.
Russian occupation official Kirill Stremousov insisted that “all stories about successful…counter-offensives in the Kherson region are sheer lies”.
He offered no evidence to support the claim.
Russia Takes Power Station in East
The Russians did make a notable advance in their eastern offensive, occupying Ukraine’s second-largest power station.
The invaders moved in after Ukrainian forces carried out a strategic retreat from the Soviet-era coal-fired Vuhlehirska plant.
Zelenskiy advisor Arestovych played down the development, saying it was only a “tiny tactical advantage” for Russia.
Russian forces seized almost all of Luhansk oblast last month, including the cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, but have made slow progress in neighboring Donetsk.
Western officials assessed on Wednesday that Russian forces will not occupy all of the Donbas in the “immediate future”, as they have “definitively” lost the initiative.
However, they cautioned that the Russians “are not just going to give up and go home” and that they still have the capacity to “adapt and adjust what they are doing” to achieve the “minimum political objective of the Donbas campaign”.
The Institute for the Study of War assesses that the Russians are now limited in their offensive potential not only in the east, but throughout the country.
Russian forces appear able to sustain only two significant offensive operations in Ukraine at this time, one attempting to seize Siversk and the other advancing on Bakhmut…..
Russian forces have committed enough resources to conduct near-daily ground assaults and to seize territory on these two axes but have been unable to sustain a similar offensive operational tempo or to make similar territorial gains elsewhere in Ukraine. The Russian offensive, therefore, remains likely to culminate before seizing any other major urban areas in Ukraine.