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Russia’s war on Ukraine. 04.08.2023. Friday extended report

Operational situation

The Ukrainian Defense Forces continue their offensive operations on the directions of Bakhmut, Melitopol, Tokmak, and Berdyansk. The enemy concentrates its main efforts on the Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, and Avdiivka directions.

General conclusion:

  • The Ukrainian Defense Forces continued their offensive on at least three sectors of the front line and developing progress in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • Russian forces are attempting to launch an operational-scale offensive on the Kupyansk and Lyman directions. They wage intense defensive battles in the area of Bakhmut and conduct a strategic defensive operation in the Southern Operational Zone, where they have already deployed almost half of their ground forces.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • Over 40 combat engagements took place in different directions.
  • On the Kupyansk direction, Russian forces have progressed towards the H26 highway Kupyansk – Svatove. They have made advancements to the south and north of Novoselivske. Additionally, minor enemy progress has been observed near Vilshana and Pershotravneve in Kharkiv Oblast, Kuzemivka in Luhansk Oblast. They attacked Ukrainian positions near Synkivka.
  • On the Lyman direction, units of the 2nd Army Corps captured Ukrainian positions near Bilohorivka, advanced in the area of Torske and Serebryansk forestry, repulsed Ukrainian attacks near Bilohorivka and Berestove.
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces hold back Russian forces to the south and southeast of Ivanivske, continued the offensive on the southern flank of Bakhmut, have intensified offensive actions in the area of Klishchiivka, and are trying to break through the Russian defenses on the outskirts of Bakhmut itself.
  • Russian troops unsuccessfully tried to regain lost positions south of Andriivka, west of Klishchiivka, and west of Kurdyumivka.
  • In the Avdiivka direction, the Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to hold back the advance of Russian troops in the area of Maryinka.
  • Russian troops repulsed Ukrainian attacks near Krasnohorivka and Maryinka, attacked the southwestern approaches to Avdiivka and drove Ukrainian forces from positions in the area, conducted a successful assault near Vesele and advanced closer to Avdiivka from the northeast.
  • Zaporizhzhia direction:
    • Berdyansk direction (Velyka Novosilka): Russian forces attempted unsuccessful counterattacks to reclaim lost positions west of Staromayorske and east of Urozhaine. They also attacked the Defense Forces near Vuhledar and continue to hold their positions in Novodonetsk.
    • The “Tavriya” Operational Grouping advanced near Mykilske.
  • In the Black Sea-Azov naval operational area, there were 11 Russian ships, including 2 cruise missile carriers on combat duty in the Black Sea, 3 in the Sea of Azov, 8 in the Mediterranean, including 2 cruise missile carriers. The total salvo is 36 Kalibr cruise missiles.
  • The large amphibious ship of project 775 “Olenegorsky Gorniak” was attacked at the Novorossiysk naval base. The ship was damaged (hole below the waterline, loss of power, tilt to the left side 300). The oil terminal of the port was damaged.

Change in enemy disposition:

  • In the Volnovakha direction, on the sector from Shevchenkove to Solodke, the following units of the Eastern Military District of the Russian Federation are engaged in defensive operations: the 36th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 29th Army, the 39th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 68th Army Corps, the 155th separate marines brigade of the Pacific Fleet, the 113th and 123rd motorized rifle regiments, the 116th separate special regiment of the mobilization reserve of the 1st Army Corps, the 14th separate SOF brigade, the 23rd BARS detachment, two battalions of the 11th motorized rifle regiment of the 1st Army Corps, and the 42nd separate naval intelligence point of special purpose of the Pacific Fleet.

Possible operation situation developments:

  • In order to contain the breakthrough of the “Tavriya” Operational Grouping’s vanguard to their primary defensive line, the enemy’s command may opt to assemble a tactical group consisting of units from the 100th Separate Ranger Brigade, the 14th “BARS” Detachment, and the 249th Separate Motorized Special Purpose Battalion “Akhmat-Yug” (part of the Federal Service of the Russian National Guard). They could then attempt a counterattack within the defense zone of the Russian 70th Motorized Rifle Regiment (the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division) towards Novodanylivka along the H-08 road.
  • North of Klishchiivka, the enemy is preparing a counterattack with the forces of the 102nd motorized rifle regiment (150th motorized rifle division). Between Klishchiivka and Andriivka, the enemy is preparing a sequence of counterattacks with the forces of the 72nd separate motorized rifle brigade, supported by the 68th tank regiment (150th motorized rifle division). The enemy’s command plans to deploy the 105th rifle regiment of the mobilization reserve in the area of Khromove.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 04.08.23

Personnel – almost 248,490  people (+640);

Tanks – 4,228 (+4);

Armored combat vehicles – 8,249 (+15);

Artillery systems – 4,911 (+19);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 704 (0);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 466 (+1);

Vehicles and fuel tanks –7,3392 (+20);

Aircraft – 315 (0);

Helicopters – 311 (0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 4,104 (+27);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,347 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).


  • According to information provided by the MOD’s Situation Center, over the past day Russian troops shelled 9 regions of Ukraine. 127 towns and villages and 98 infrastructure objects were attacked with various types of weapons. Oblast Military Administrations reported a total of 2 killed and 14 wounded civilians in 3 Oblasts over the past day.
  • The Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation instructed its subordinate units to provide free transport to drive 400 Ukrainian children from Donetsk Oblast to six regions in Russia, Crimea and Sevastopol, “Zmina” Human Rights Center reported citing documents in its possession. The children are moved “as part of the humanitarian mission under the project “Children are our future”. The project is implemented by the “Saving Childhood” charity fund together with the Administration of the Russian President, the Ministry of Sports of the Russian Federation and the so-called “Ministry of Sports and Tourism of the DPR”.
  • Ukraine successfully returned the bodies of another 44 fallen defenders from the temporarily occupied territories, Oleg Kotenko, the Commissioner for Issues of Persons Disappeared Under Special Circumstances, reported.

International aspect. August 1-6, 2023

In his address to the annual gathering of the Ukrainian diplomatic corps, President Volodymyr Zelensky has articulated his foreign policy priorities for the upcoming months. He urged the heads of missions abroad to capitalize on the post-dead season period and redouble efforts to achieve the following five key objectives:

  • promoting the Ukrainian Peace Formula; 
  • securing further weapons supplies, adding new and enforcing existent sanctions; 
  • advancing Ukraine’s integration into the E.U. and NATO, negotiating interim security guarantees, advancing neighborhood policy; 
  • facilitating economic reconstruction and transformation; 
  • focusing on Ukrainians at home and abroad.

Kyiv is determined to gain support for the Ukrainian Peace Formula (UPF) from a wider range of nations, particularly those in the Global South. Nevertheless, the recent Russia-Africa summit underscored the significant hurdle of engaging these countries. Russia’s actions, notably its withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) and escalated attacks on agricultural infrastructure in Ukrainian ports along the Black Sea and the Danube River, have precipitated yet another surge in food prices.

Moscow attempted to manipulate vulnerable African countries by promising free grain while ignoring the South African President’s call to resume the BSGI and ensure freedom of navigation in the Black Sea. Instead, Russian leaders found satisfaction in the accolades of Ibrahim Traoré, who seized control of Burkina Faso through a coup, praising Russia’s perceived significance for the continent.

These developments reveal a global-scale problem, with Russia establishing itself as a destabilizing force in the Sahel and other African regions. Russia deploys the so-called Wagner PMC to support juntas and exploit corrupt regimes in the continent. The allure of Russian mercenaries, promises of grain, financial incentives, and misleading anti-colonial rhetoric appears more captivating to African leaders than the values, norms, and principles of international law advocated by Ukraine and its partnering nations.

Yet, Ukraine is championing an unconventional approach by urging other nations to endorse the Ukrainian Peace Formula (UPF) either as a whole or by selecting specific components they deem pertinent. Rooted in the norms and principles of international law, the UPF’s adoption promises advantages to all nations committed to upholding the rules-based international order.

Kyiv places considerable optimism on the upcoming high-level summit in Jeddah, where Saudi Arabia emerges as an intriguing choice to promote the UPF. 

Saudi Arabia currently enjoys favorable relations with Russia, with their coordinated efforts in oil production benefiting both nations. This collaboration, however, has raised concerns in Washington D.C., as the U.S. desires Riyadh’s assistance in curbing Kremlin’s war expenditures. The timing of the upcoming meeting gains significance following a visit by Biden’s National Security Adviser to Saudi Arabia, suggesting a potential effort to mend relations. 

Anticipated at the event is the presence of China’s peace envoy, Li Hui, whose involvement holds significance. As a principal oil supplier to China, Saudi Arabia is deepening its economic ties with this Asian powerhouse. Moreover, Riyadh values Beijing’s role in mediating efforts to improve relations with Iran, a crucial regional rival.

India, known for its “Not a Time for War” stance, might potentially surpass this mantra due to its vested interest in the success of the impending G20 summit it is scheduled to host in September.

Mexico’s President has voiced discontent over the absence of an invitation extended to Russia and remains uncertain about sending his own envoy. However, he may follow in the footsteps of Lula da Silva, who confirmed Brazil’s participation despite the discord between Ukraine and Russia concerning his peace initiative.

It is highly probable that other invitees to the Jeddah meeting will join, thereby bolstering the prospects of success at the forthcoming global Peace Summit, which Kyiv has invested great hopes in.

The matter of weapons and sanctions stands as a pivotal concern in the continuing conflict, and it is unmistakable that hesitancy and vacillation among Western leaders yield dire outcomes. Justifiably, The Washington Post has pointed out that such indecision comes at a steep cost, leading to the loss of more Ukrainian lives and further intensifying the protracted and grueling conflict. Ukraine urgently requires a sufficient arsenal of weapons and equipment, such as ammunition, artillery pieces, air defense systems, tanks, armored vehicles, drones, and antimine systems.

However, Western capitals have been reluctant to provide some of these essential defense articles. The lack of timely decisions, for instance, the supply of F-16s last year, has hindered the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ ability to execute successful combined offensive operations that had been expected this spring. The provision of air support would have fulfilled the hopes of those who had expected a miracle on the heavily reinforced battlefield. While Ukrainian pilots are about to begin their training, Kyiv is looking forward to its partners who may break the ice in supplying Western jets. 

At the same time, Ukraine seeks to set up joint production of various defense articles, including drones, artillery systems and shells, and other weapon systems and equipment. The WP argued that Western leaders should become more proactive “instead of uncomfortably looking on as Ukraine’s counteroffensive devolves into a slow war of attrition.”

Despite the U.S.’s confidence in the G7’s imposition of a price cap on Russian oil, designed to both constrain Moscow’s revenues and stabilize energy markets, Russia has adeptly navigated the new circumstances. It has established a “shadow fleet” of old tankers over the past year, allowing it to bypass the price cap and transport half of its crude oil and a third of its petroleum products without constraint. In response, sanctions experts call for a reduction in the price cap from $60 to $50 and propose imposing limitations on tanker ownership, primarily targeting Greek entities and individuals, to prevent the transfer of Russian oil or tanker sales back to Russia.

Another pressing concern is Russia’s import of dual-use goods, particularly semiconductors. Investigations by the Russian “Verstka” outlet reveal that Russia has imported over $502 million worth of chips from Western companies since the beginning of the year. Alarmingly, among the top twenty-five importers, eleven companies are directly involved in supplying parts and equipment to Russia’s defense industry. Additionally, Russia continues to acquire millions worth of Western-made machine tools, including from Italy (O.M.V.) and Germany (Arinstein) and has imported at least $171 million worth of Western spare parts for civil aviation.

Ukraine remains steadfast in its commitment to curtail Russia’s industrial capacity. This includes persuading partners and relevant companies to cease supplying and stop aiding Russia in evading export control restrictions on critical components for military and dual-use purposes. Kyiv is actively working to synchronize the speed of sanctions policy and enforcement among its partners to effectively curb Russia’s activities. Addressing these issues is crucial to apply significant pressure on Russia and hinder its capability to circumvent sanctions and expand its military capabilities. By taking collective and coordinated action, Ukraine aims to curtail Russia’s industrial reach and ensure greater adherence to export controls among the relevant parties.

Ukraine is eager to complete its preparations promptly to initiate accession talks with the European Union. While the results of the Vilnius summit were mixed, Kyiv remains optimistic that its domestic efforts and diplomatic engagements with its partners will yield positive outcomes next year at the jubilee NATO summit in Washington, D.C. 

High hopes are vested in discussions with the G7 and a dozen other European nations to establish specific, bilateral, and long-term security commitments and arrangements. These arrangements are regarded as more akin to security assistance guarantees than security guarantees from the Ukrainian standpoint, distinct from the comprehensive security agreements enjoyed by Israel, as framed by the American perspective.

Ukraine is neither de jure nor de facto a nuclear power. The expectations for gaining access to the comprehensive array of defense assets, especially strategic ones, akin to Israel’s access, remain remote. The current Administration’s policy of restricting Ukraine from targeting legitimate objectives within Russia is also unlikely to be abandoned.

Ukraine’s survival and security hinge on the imperative of strengthening relations with its immediate neighbors, and Poland plays a critical role in this regard. Poland has provided refuge to 1.6 million Ukrainians and substantial assistance, making it a lifeline for Western security assistance. Poland has long advocated for Ukraine’s membership in the E.U. and NATO. 

However, domestic politics has the potential to impact these crucial relations. A recent diplomatic discord has surfaced due to certain Polish politicians’ inclination to safeguard the interests of Polish farmers and gain political advantage in anticipation of the upcoming parliamentary elections this autumn. Due to limitations on exporting grain overseas because of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and a further sea blockade, Ukraine increased its grain exports to Poland and via Poland to other markets regulated by the EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. In response, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia lobbied for a moratorium on Ukraine’s grain export until June and then extended until mid-September. The European Commission proposed a €100 million compensation for E.U. farmers affected by the Ukrainian exports. 

However, the Polish Prime Minister threatened to keep the border closed for Ukrainian grain products after the European Commission’s moratorium expires on September, 15th. This situation led to tensions between Ukraine and Poland, with Kyiv summoning the Polish Ambassador over a comment concerning Ukrainians’ perceived “lack of gratitude” for Warsaw’s assistance. In a retaliatory move, Warsaw summoned the Ukrainian ambassador. The public conflict may benefit some political parties seeking to score points. Still, it complicates crucial relations between the two countries and poses a blow to Ukraine’s already fragile economy.

Ukraine is facing dire economic challenges due to the devastating impact of Russia’s war, which has caused a loss of one-third of the country’s GDP. Nonetheless, the pressing needs extend beyond mere financial aid. Domestic transformations and substantial economic development are vital, requiring direct foreign investments, joint projects, innovations, and advanced technologies.

Kyiv is actively pursuing the engagement of other nations and cities in its extensive reconstruction efforts, with a focused approach on specific regions and cities within Ukraine. The country urgently needs humanitarian de-mining assistance, given its status of the most mined country in the world. This is essential to pave the way for reconstructing territories liberated from Russian aggression. A comprehensive assessment conducted collaboratively by the European Commission, the Ukrainian Government, the World Bank Group, and the United Nations has pegged the expense of reconstruction and recovery in Ukraine at an astonishing $411 billion. Despite frozen Russian assets in Western financial institutions, no established legal mechanism currently exists to channel these funds towards Ukraine’s pressing reconstruction needs.

Ukraine is also taking significant steps to support its citizens abroad, particularly given the staggering number of over 5.8 million Ukrainian refugees living beyond its borders, as reported by the U.N. The government is diligently working to create favorable conditions for their return and successful reintegration into society and the economy.

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