Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy (R) alongside US counterpart Joe Biden at the NATO Summit, Vilnius, Lithuania, July 12, 2023 (CNN)

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Thursday’s Coverage: More Attacks on Russia’s Warships in Crimea

Map: Institute for Study of War


A “Ukrainian intelligence source” says a sea drone damaged the small Russian missile ship Samum in an attack at the entrance to Sevastopol Bay in Russian-occupied Crimea on Thursday.

The vessel was towed away for repairs.

The Russiam defence ministry said in a statement on Thursday that it repelled an attack on the Samum in the Black Sea, during which it destroyed a naval drone. Reuters could not independently verify the two accounts.


The UK has officially proscribed the Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries as a terrorist organization.

The UK Government said in a statement:

This order comes into force with immediate effect and will make belonging to the Wagner Group or actively supporting the group in the UK a criminal offence, with a potential jail sentence of 14 years which can be handed down alongside or in place of a fine.


Ukrainian military spokesman Col. Yuriy Ihnat says an overnight Russian drone attack tried to strike warplanes used this week to attack Russian military facilities, equipment, and warships in occupied Crimea.

The Ukraine Air Force said 17 drones attacked the Khmelnytskyi region, the site of the Starokostiantyniv airbase, in central Ukraine. Debris from downed UAVs damaged 12 homes and shattered windows in a school. There were no casualties.

Ihnat said, “We understand what the enemy is looking for: where the command has hidden our bombers after the events that happened recently in the sea near Crimea.”


Gen. Sergey Surovikin, the former commander of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has resurfaced in Algeria.

Surovikin, who led the invasion forces in late 2022, was pushed aside by the Kremlin after the rebellion of Wagner Group mercenaries in late June. Considered to be close to Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin, he was reportedly interrogated, put under house arrest, and stripped of command of Russia’s Aerospace Forces.

Earlier this month — after the apparent assassination of Prigozhin and other senior Wagner members in a jet crash — Surovikin reappeared in public and appointed head of the Coordinating Committee for Air Defense.


The Ukraine military reports the downing of 17 of 22 Iranian-made attack drones launched by Russia overnight.

The statement did not cite any casualties or significant damage.


The Ukraine General Staff is claiming the liberation of Andriivka in the Donetsk region in the east of the country.

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar indicated on Thursday that the village, south of Bakhmut, had been regained by the three-month counter-offensive.

The 3rd Separate Assault Brigade said fighting was ongoing and units “continue to consolidate their positions”: “Taking and holding Andriivka is our way to a breakthrough on the right flank of Bakhmut and the key to the success of the entire offensive.”

The General Staff also claimed ”partial success” in the Klishchiivka area.


UK military intelligence, supporting the assessment of Ukrainian counterparts and of independent analysts, says two Russian warships damaged in Wednesday’s Ukrainian attack on Russian-occupied Crimea are beyond repair.

Despite the Russian ministry of defence downplaying the damage to the vessels, open-source evidence indicates the Minsk [landing ship] has almost certainly been functionally destroyed, while the Rostov [submarine] has likely suffered catastrophic damage.

The analysts note wider consequences for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet from the necessary repairs to the stricken shipyard:

Any effort to return the submarine to service is likely to take many years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. There is a realistic possibility that the complex task of removing the wreckage from the dry docks will place them out of use for many months. This would present the Black Sea fleet with a significant challenge in sustaining fleet maintenance.


Another Russian commander has reportedly been killed by Ukraine’s counter-offensive in the south of the country.

Russian military bloggers say the commander of the 247th Guards Air Assault (VDV) Regiment, Vasily Popov, was slain in combat.

Another commander of the 247th, Col. Konstantin Zizevsky, was killed in February 2022 at the start of Russia’s invasion.


Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has praised Thursday’s destruction of a Russian air defense system in occupied Crimea.

In his nightly address to the nation, Zelenskiy spoke to armed forces, “I thank you for today’s triumph – the destruction of the occupiers’ air defense system on the land of our Crimea. It is a very significant achievement, well done!”

Ukraine’s security service said drones disabled radars and antennae of the Russian Triumf system, then two Neptune cruise missiles hit the launching complexes.


A Ukrainian commander has given details of Monday’s operation regaining control of oil and gas drilling platforms — the “Boyko Towers” — in the Black Sea off the coast of Russian-occupied Crimea.

The platforms were seized by Russia in 2015 and have been used as military positions for control of the sea and support of Moscow’s attacks on Ukrainian territory.

The commander of military intelligence for Ukraine’s Special Forces said in a televised interview.

The special operation was being prepared for about a month and a half. We realized that it could be a one-way trip, because only a fool and a dead man are not afraid. We went on an inflatable boat because it is more maneuverable and less visible to air support means.

During the operation, Ukrainian forces encountered a Russian combat aircraft and shot it down with a man-portable air defense system.

When we started to dock, the plane started to fire at our fighters. The boat was slightly damaged. One such shell could have sunk us. There was one shot, it hit the tail section. We saw a peculiar smoke — first white, then black.

Once on the platforms, the Ukrainian troops found Russian ammunition and equipment for reconnaissance in the western part of the Black Sea.

The commander, codenamed “Pein”, said, “We have severely restricted the Russians’ actions in the Black Sea, namely in the waters of Zmiinyi [Snake] Island. We pushed them back to the shores of Crimea.”

Ukraine military intelligence also released video of an attack by naval drones on a Russian patrol ship in the southwestern Black Sea.

The service said two Russian patrol ships were attacked early Thursday: “The strikes caused “some damage.”

On Wednesday, Ukrainian attacks — possibly with UK-supplied Storm Shadow cruise missiles — heavily damaged a Russian landing ship and submarine in a shipyard in Crimea’s Sevastopol.

Ukrainian officials said the stricken vessels are beyond repair.

See also Ukraine War, Day 567: Missile Strike Damages Russian Shipyard in Sevastopol


The US, South Korea, and Japan have issued a joint statement, warning against any provision of North Korean military assistance to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The ational security advisors of the three countries issued the statement a day after a five-hour meeting between North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin in the far east of Russia. The encounter reportedly included discussion of the supply of North Korean artillery and munitions, in return for food and energy aid from Moscow.

The statement noted that the North Korean military assistance would break a UN Security Council resolution from 2006 — supported by Russia — which established an arms embargo on Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons program.

The national security advisors warned of “clear consequences” if either North Korea or Russia breached obligations, highlighting Moscow’s responsibility as a permanent member of the Security Council to comply with its resolutions.

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said on Friday that Canberra about the Kim-Putin meeting.

I’d make two points about that. One, that any Russian purchase would be a violation of multiple resolutions of the UN Security Council which ban all arms transfers to and from North Korea. The second point is that I think this shows, if it is true, a degree of desperation from Mr. Putin.

She assured that Australia “would join with the entire international community in urging [Putin] to observe the sanctions against North Korea that the entire international community has imposed”.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will attend the UN General Assembly session in New York in person next week, addressing the chamber and meeting global leaders.

Multiple officials confirmed that Zelenskiy will have discussions with US President Joe Biden, either in New York or in at the White House in Washington.

Both Zelenskiy and Biden will speak in the Assembly next Tuesday.

The Ukraine President will also meet Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli government announced Thursday.

Zelenskiy in Washington

Zelenskiy visit the US Capitol in Washington next Thursday, according to a Republican official. He will not address a joint session of Congress. Instead, he will meet individually with legislators.

Congress is considering a White House request for $24 billion more in aid to Ukraine. Some Republicans and Trumpists are expressing opposition to any support for Ukrainian resistance against Russia’s invasion.

Last week US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Zelenskiy in Kyiv. During the trip, Blinken announced an additional $1 billion in military, economic, and financial assistance.

Zelenskiy traveled to the US in December 2022, his first journey outside Ukraine since the Russian invasion 10 months earlier.

In May, Zelenskiy and Biden met at the G7 summit in Japan. Two months later, they spoke on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Lithuania in July.