The situation in the Donbas
In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense focused on the situation in the Donbas and the next likely Russian targets but also touched on Snake Island and the Russian military’s inability to strike targets with precision.
“In the Donbas, Russian and pro-Russian Luhansk People’s Republic separatist forces claim to have entered the outskirts of Siversk,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
“This has not been corroborated, however, Russian forces have been slowly advancing westwards following shelling and probing assaults towards Siversk from Lysychansk to open a pathway onward to Sloviansk and Kramatorsk,” the British Ministry of Defense stated, adding that “Bakhmut is likely to be the next objective, once Siversk is secured.”
“Since withdrawing from the strategically located Snake Island on 30 June 2022, Russia has been attempting to deny its use by Ukraine,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.
“However, on 13 July 2022 airstrikes by two Su-27 Russian fighter jets failed to hit the island. This follows the pattern of Russian air forces failing to successfully engage in the tactical battle,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Friday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 38,000 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 220 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 188 attack and transport helicopters, 1,672 tanks, 842 artillery pieces, 3,866 armored personnel carriers, 247 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 2,731 vehicles and fuel tanks, 109 anti-aircraft batteries, 681 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 67 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 155 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Russian Filtration Operations
In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense also touched on the forcible relocation of millions of Ukrainians from the country to Russia since the start of the war.
“Over 2.5m people have now been evacuated from Ukraine to Russia since the start of the invasion. Russia continues to face accusations that it is forcibly deporting Ukrainians; in many cases Ukrainians have reportedly been mistreated in filtration camps set up by Russia,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
Those forcible relocations are part of the Kremlin’s plan to eventually annex occupied territories in Ukraine. Russian occupational authorities have been working toward that goal for a while now, making it easier for Ukrainians to get Russian citizenship, for example.
“On the eve of the Ukraine Accountability Conference, the United States calls on Russia to immediately halt its systematic ‘filtration’ operations and forced deportations in Russian-controlled and held areas of Ukraine. The unlawful transfer and deportation of protected persons is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians and is a war crime,” U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a press release.
“Russian authorities must release those detained and allow Ukrainian citizens forcibly removed or coerced into leaving their country the ability to promptly and safely return home. We call on Russia to provide outside independent observers access to so-called ‘filtration’ facilities and to forced deportation relocation areas in Russia,” the U.S. secretary of state added.
Russian Missile Strike Hits Ukraine
On Thursday, a Russian submarine sailing approximately 240 miles away in the Black Sea launched a volley of at least five 3M-54 Kalbir cruise missiles against the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia. Three of the cruise missiles struck a shopping center near the city’s center, while two were intercepted by Ukrainian air defenses.
At least 23 have been killed and 90 wounded, while scores more are trapped under the rubble of the shopping center and an adjacent dance studio and wedding hall. Among the dead are at least three children, one of which has Down Syndrome and was returning from a speech therapy session with her mother.
Moscow persists in launching ballistic and cruise missiles indiscriminately against Ukrainian cities, and voices arguing that Russia be declared a terrorist state are increasing. However, the legal and geopolitical side-effects of such a designation make it unlikely.
1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.