Russian forces in the Kherson region in southern Ukraine, admitting in a video to heavy losses, August 2023

Friday’s Coverage: Russia Strikes Another Hotel, Killing 1 and Injuring 16

Map: Institute for Study of War


Russian Lt. Ivan Korolev has crossed the border into Lithuania and requested political asylum.

Korolev reached the capital Vilnius, where he was detained by Lithuanian border guards at a bus station on Thursday. He was then taken to a border checkpoint for 24 hours.

The lieutenant told BBC Russian that he decided on August 3 that he would flee, as he did not want to participate “in a bloody war”.

Korolev said he has been in Russia during the invasion, worrking to supply frontline troops with ammunition.

He is now in a migration center in the town of Pabradė while his application for political asylum is reviewed.


Video is circulating of another apparent Ukrainian attack on the Kerch Bridge between Russia’s Krasnodar region and Russian-occupied Crimea.

Russian proxy officials are declaring that two missiles were downed. They say that traffic was briefly stopped, but the bridge was not damaged.

The 19-km (12-mile) bridge is Vladimir Putin’s flagship project, opened in May 2018 following Russia’s “annexation” of Crimea more than four years earlier. It was struck and damaged by Ukraine operations last October and almost a month ago.


A Russian proxy official has confirmed that Ukrainians in occupied areas are being denied essential public services unless they apply for a Russian passport.

Alexander Dudka, the Russian-appointed head of the village of Lazurne in the Kherson region, has posted a video warning residents that they will not receive humanitarian aid or medicines like insulin.

There’s now an official document stating that medicine purchased using Russia’s budget by foreign nationals, that is, Ukrainian citizens, will not be possible. This primarily concerns insulin-dependents who already felt what it means to be a citizen of another country.

The same will apply to the distribution of humanitarian aid. To those who have not received the passport of the country they live in, the country that is feeding them, giving them benefits and provides their security on this territory.


A Russian guided bomb has killed a police officer and injured 12 people in Orikhiv, near the frontline in the Zaporizhzhia region in southern Ukraine.

Ukraine Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said the slain officer was a 31-year-old captain. Four colleagues were among the injured.


Russian shelling killed a 73-year-old woman in the Kharkiv region in northeast Ukraine early Saturday morning.

The Russians attacked the village of Kupyansk-Vuzlovyi village, near the frontline, hitting a residential building.


The Russian rouble has sunk to 100:1 v. the US dollar, its lowest point in 16 months.

Earlier this week, Russia’s Central Bank responded by halting purchases of foreign currency on the domestic market for the rest of 2023.

Just after the start of Vladimir Putin’s invasion in February 2022, the rouble dropped to 135:1 v. the dollar. It rebounded sharply when the Central Bank raised interest rates to 20% and insisted that purchases for oil and gas be made in roubles rather then euros or dollars.


Russia’s Defense Ministry claims that 20 Ukrainian drones were downed over Russian-occupied Crimea overnight.

The Ministry declared that 14 drones were destroyed by air defense systems and six were electronically jammed.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: In a small but notable breakthrough for its 9-week counter-offensive, Ukraine has established a pocket across the Dnipro River in the south of the country.

Multiple military analysts confirm that Ukrainian forces not only crossed the river this week but liberated Kozachi Laheri on the east (left) bank of the Dnipro. The area is across the river from Kherson city, freed by Ukraine from Russian occupation last November.

Russian forces tried to pre-empt any Ukrainian advance in early June by destroying the Nova Kakhovka Dam, flooding the Kherson region in an “eco-cide” which killed scores of civilians.

See also Ukraine War, Day 481: Russia Blew Up Nova Kakhovka Dam and Then Blocked Humanitarian Aid — Reports

While Ukrainian forces have carried out operations on Dnipro islands and on the east bank during the counter-offensive, this is the first time that they have created a fixed position.

Thomas Theiner writes, “This isn’t a raid.” He explains that Ukrainian special forces, trained by Britain’s Special Air and Special Boat Services, secured the landing grounds. Light infantry was ferried across the Dnipro as troops steadily expanded the beachhead.

Theiner notes that Russia has no armored or mechanized forces in the area, that its artillery is “barely active” except for mortars, and that there are no immediate reinforcements.

Yaroslav Trofimov of the Wall Street Journal and Ukrainian political advisor Anton Gerashchenko post video of a Russian unit in the Kherson region, Battalion 1822, acknowledging “heavy losses”, with 40% of troops killed or wounded in two weeks.

The lieutenant in command appeals to the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia over food, ammunition, and medical supplies:

Ukraine liberated all territory west of the Dnipro last November, but has faced defenses built up by the retreating Russian forces and the demolition of the Nova Kakhovka Dam since then.

Southern Front Advance in Western Zaporizhzhia Region

The southern front of the counter-offensive also has secured an advance in the western Zaporizhzhia region, reaching the northern outskirts of Robotyne.

The village is 10 km (6.2 miles) south of Orikhiv. As the Institute for the Study of War observes, “Russian forces have dedicated significant effort, time, and resources to defend” it.

Geolocated footage also confirmed that Ukrainian troops are in Urozhaine, 9 km (5.6 miles) south of Velyka Novosilka in the area along the border of the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions.

The ISW summarizes:

Ukrainian counteroffensive operations appear to be forcing the Russian military to laterally redeploy Russian forces defending in western Zaporizhia Oblast, indicating that the Ukrainian effort there may be significantly degrading Russian defenses….

The lack of Russian operational reserves means that the Russian command will have to conduct more lateral redeployments if they wish to reinforce certain sectors of the front in the future….

The further degradation of defending Russian forces thus creates opportunities for any Ukrainian breakthrough to be potentially decisive.