Fighting in the Donbas and Kherson
“It is likely that Ukraine has successfully repelled small scale Russian assaults from the long-established front line near Donetsk city in the Donbas,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in a recent update on the war.
“In the Kherson area, Russian forces have highly likely established two pontoon bridges and a ferry system to compensate for the fact that nearby bridges have been damaged in recent strikes,” the British Ministry of Defence stated.
“Across the newly occupied territories in southern Ukraine, Russian-installed authorities are highly likely under increasing pressure from Moscow to consolidate their control over the region and prepare for referendums on joining Russia later in the year,” the British Ministry of Defense added.
“Russia currently classes the occupied areas as under interim ‘civil-military administration’. Local authorities are likely coercing the population into disclosing personal details in order to compose voting registers,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 40,830 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 223 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 190 attack and transport helicopters, 1,763 tanks, 916 artillery pieces, 4,004 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 259 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 2,902 vehicles and fuel tanks, 117 anti-aircraft batteries, 735 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 77 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 174 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Russia, the War in Ukraine and Belarus
In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense focused on the role of Belarus in the war thus far.
One of the closest allies of the Kremlin, Minsk facilitated the invasion of Ukraine by allowing Russian troops to stage from its territory. The Russian push to take the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv started from Belarussian territory. However, the Belarussian military hasn’t participated in direct combat operations in the war, despite the wishes of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“On 28 July 2022, Russia fired at least 20 missiles into northern Ukraine from Belarusian territory. This follows Russia’s use of Belarusian territory to launch the main thrusts of its failed attempt to take Kyiv in February,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
Essentially a proxy of Moscow and one of the last dictatorships in Europe, Belarus and its leader, President Aleksandr Lukashenko, surprised many by not taking a more active role in the conflict. Nonetheless, both the Belarussian leader and his country have been targeted by Western sanctions.
“Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko continues to follow Moscow’s line on the Ukraine conflict, stating on 21 July that Ukraine must accept Russia’s demands for the war to stop,” the British Ministry of Defense added.
“His regime has become ever more authoritarian, with the expansion of the death penalty for ‘preparing terrorist acts’. His increasing and baseless accusations of Western designs on Belarus and Ukraine likely indicate that he has become almost wholly dependent on Russia,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
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.