Ukraine War Update: On day 130 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian military is steadily advancing in the Donbas. Russian troops have captured the key town of Lysychansk after the Ukrainian forces withdrew on Sunday.
The Russian Plan for Occupied Ukraine
Located in southern Ukraine, Kherson has been at the forefront of the Kremlin’s attempts to annex occupied territories into Russia, or at least give them “independence” and make Moscow their guarantor.
“Russian-backed officials have said they will hold a referendum on Kherson Oblast joining the Russian Federation by autumn 2022. Russia is likely prioritising a pseudo-constitutional vote in an attempt to legitimise its control of the region,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
“On 28 June 2022, Ihor Kolykhaiev, the elected mayor of Kherson city, was arrested, highly likely in an attempt to suppress opposition to the occupation. However, widespread armed and peaceful resistance continues across occupied areas,” the British Ministry of Defense added.
“Kherson is the region which has been brought under the new Russian occupation most comprehensively since February. Finding a constitutional solution for the occupation is likely a priority policy objective for Russia. It will highly likely be prepared to rig voting to achieve an acceptable result,” the British Military Intelligence stated.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 35,970 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 217 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 187 attack and transport helicopters, 1,584 tanks, 801 artillery pieces, 3,744 armored personnel carriers, 246 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 2,618 vehicles and fuel tanks, 105 anti-aircraft batteries, 654 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 64 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 144 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
A Historic War
Last week, the U.S. European Command (EUCOM) had a change of command, and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was there. During his speech, Austin drew attention to the historic nature of the war in Ukraine and what it means for Europe and the free world.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re gathered here at a hinge in history. Russia’s premeditated malice and baseless aggression against Ukraine poses the greatest threat to European security since the end of World War II. And Putin’s war of choice threatens more than just the sovereignty of Ukraine. It is an assault on transatlantic peace and security. It is a reminder that tyrants believe that their imperial appetites matter more than the rights of their peaceful neighbors. And it’s a rallying cry for people of goodwill, from every part of the planet—who have stood together to defend freedom, democracy, and human rights from autocrats who see free systems of self-government as relics of the past,” Austin said.
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.