Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 10, 2023
Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 10, 2023
Riley Bailey, Kateryna Stepanenko, Karolina Hird, Nicole Wolkov, and Frederick W. Kagan
July 10, 2023, 7pm ET
Click here to see ISW’s interactive map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This map is updated daily alongside the static maps present in this report.
Click here to access ISW’s archive of interactive time-lapse maps of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These maps complement the static control-of-terrain map that ISW produces daily by showing a dynamic frontline. ISW will update this time-lapse map archive monthly.
Note: The data cutoff for this product was 12:30pm ET on July 10. ISW will cover subsequent reports in the July 11 Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment.
Correction: ISW's July 10 campaign update understated Russian territorial gains since January 1, 2023 by about 110 square kilometers. ISW now assesses that Russian forces gained about 392 square kilometers between January 1 and July 9 and still assesses that Ukrainian forces liberated about 253 square kilometers between June 4 – 9. Ukrainian forces have thus liberated in five weeks about two-thirds as much territory as Russian forces have captured in over six months. ISW apologizes for this mistake.
Ukrainian officials stated on July 10 that Ukrainian forces have fire control over Bakhmut and Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) around the city. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar stated that Ukrainian forces have taken control of unspecified heights around Bakhmut, allowing Ukrainian forces to establish fire control over Bakhmut itself. Ukrainian officials have recently signaled that Ukraine seeks to trap Russian forces within the city, and it appears that Ukrainian operations in the Bakhmut area in recent days have been intended to slowly envelop Russian troops in Bakhmut and on its flanks. ISW was previously conservative when assessing claims of Russian fire control and general interdiction of Ukrainian lines of communication in and around Bakhmut as Russian forces gradually took control of the settlement, but Ukrainian claims of establishing fire control may be more credible.  Both Ukrainian and Russian sources have indicated in recent days that Ukraine is gaining ground in the Bakhmut area and on its southwestern flanks including specific terrain features that can give Ukrainian forces fire advantage. The fear of Ukrainian fire control and imminent threats to Bakhmut is also permeating the Russian information space, and Russian milbloggers have repeatedly expressed fear over Ukrainian forces encircling Russian forces in Bakhmut. Russian sources claimed at least since February that Russian forces maintained fire control over critical Ukrainian GLOCs around Bakhmut, while Ukrainian officials and sources did not express concern over these Russian claims, in contrast, and withdrew their forces in good order in the face of the Wagner Group‘s expensive frontal assaults. The persistent signaling of Ukrainian officials about Ukrainian operational intent in Bakhmut, alongside the clear concern of milbloggers over exactly what this intent may be, suggests that Ukrainian counteroffensive actions in this direction may be credibly threatening the Russian hold on Bakhmut, although it is far too early to forecast the liberation of the city.
Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on July 10. Ukrainian military officials stated that Ukrainian troops continued offensive actions in the Bakhmut, Berdyansk (western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhia oblasts), and Melitopol (western Zaporizhia Oblast) directions. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces have liberated four square kilometers of territory in the Bakhmut direction over the past week, and a total of 24 square kilometers since starting counteroffensive operations in the Bakhmut direction (likely around early June). The Ukrainian General Staff also reported that Ukrainian troops advanced up to one kilometer in the Berdyansk and Melitopol directions, and a total of 8.6 kilometers since Ukrainian troops initiated counteroffensive operations in these directions. Since the beginning of the Ukrainian counteroffensive on June 4, ISW has calculated based on its own control of terrain data that Ukrainian forces recaptured approximately 253 square kilometers of territory. (Ukrainian official accounts of the area liberated differ from ISW’s, almost certainly because Ukraine calculated its initial control of terrain differently. ISW is presenting its own figure of liberated land to make an apples-to-apples comparison of Russian and Ukrainian gains.) Russian forces have captured a total of 282 square kilometers in the entire theater since January 1. In five weeks, Ukrainian forces have liberated nearly the same amount of territory that Russian forces captured in over six months.
Russian Chief of the General Staff and overall theater commander Army General Valery Gerasimov’s first public appearance since Wagner’s rebellion supports ISW’s previous assessment that he will likely retain his official position within the Russian military. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) published footage on July 10 showing Gerasimov receiving reports about alleged Ukrainian attempts to strike Russian military targets in occupied Crimea and Rostov and Kaluga oblasts. ISW previously assessed that Gerasimov’s past long periods of public absence have not been indicators of his official position within the Russian military leadership and that Putin will likely not remove Gerasimov as the overall theater commander or Chief of the General Staff, as doing so would be too damaging to the Kremlin’s and the MoD’s reputation. The Kremlin has previously responded to speculations about Gerasimov’s public absences by affirming his role as Chief of the General Staff and appears to be currently publicizing Gerasimov’s presence at the meeting to respond to a new bout of rumors about his absence following Wagner’s rebellion on June 24. ISW has previously observed Russian speculations that Russian Airborne Forces (VDV) Commander Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky has recently assumed Gerasimov’s responsibilities for Russian operations in Ukraine, although there continues to be no confirmation of these speculations. Gerasimov’s first public appearance since the rebellion was notably focused on alleged Russian internal security issues and not necessarily on Russian operations in Ukraine that the overall theater commander oversees.
The Kremlin and Western intelligence officials reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin on June 29 (and/or July 1) following Wagner’s armed rebellion on June 24. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated that Putin met with Prigozhin and all of the Wagner commanders (35 people in total) in a three-hour meeting in the Kremlin. Peskov claimed that Putin gave an assessment of Wagner’s actions during the “special military operation,” gave his assessment of the armed rebellion, and listened to commanders’ explanations. Putin also reportedly offered Wagner commanders “further employment options,” while the Wagner commanders assured Putin that they are loyal supporters and soldiers of the state and Putin. Peskov refused to answer a question about whether Russian MoD officials were present at the meeting. French outlet Liberation previously reported on July 7, citing Western intelligence officials that Prigozhin and Wagner’s top commanders met with Putin, Head of the Russian National Guard (Rosgvardia) Viktor Zolotov, and Head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin on July 1. It is unclear if Liberation is referring to the claimed June 29 meeting or an additional meeting in the Kremlin.
Putin’s decision to meet with Prigozhin is inconsistent with the Kremlin’s prior rhetoric about Prigozhin and his role within the Wagner private military company (PMC). Peskov stated on June 29 that he did not have information about Prigozhin’s whereabouts. Putin had also claimed in his speech on June 27 that “the owner of Concord company” (the Concord company is the parent company of Prigozhin’s catering company) provided catering services for the Russian army, while the Russian state fully funded and supplied Wagner forces. Putin was clearly referring to Prigozhin in this statement given that Prigozhin is the owner of the Concord company and previously served as Putin’s caterer in an effort to deliberately deprive Prigozhin of the title of Wagner financier and undermine his role in the Wagner PMC. Putin’s meeting with Prigozhin and the later acknowledgment erodes these efforts and contradicts Putin’s condemnation of the rebellion’s organizers. The Kremlin may have sought to publicize the meeting to address the number of questions arising regarding Prigozhin’s ability to freely move around Russia without facing legal action.
A Kremlin-affiliated war correspondent characterized the Putin-Prigozhin meeting as the Kremlin’s attempt to “gently” replace Prigozhin and restructure Wagner. The milblogger claimed that the Kremlin is very dependent on Prigozhin’s structures within Wagner and that their destruction would seriously damage the Wagner PMC, confirming ISW’s previous assessment that the Kremlin is gradually attempting to separate the Wagner PMC from Prigozhin. ISW also previously assessed that the Kremlin relied on irregular armed formations and their patrons to outsource reservist recruitment and crowdfunding efforts, which may be one of many forms of the Kremlin’s structural dependencies on Prigozhin-lead Wagner PMC. The milblogger noted that the meeting aimed to close out any issues that were not discussed during the negotiations between Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and Director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov that ensured security guarantees for Prigozhin. The milblogger noted that some of these issues included the fate of Wagner PMC as well as Prigozhin’s businesses and personal affairs. The milblogger added that Prigozhin is still allowed to operate his businesses and not face charges in Russia but had lost access to his media companies and faces a smear campaign in the state media, as ISW has also assessed.
Gerasimov’s public reemergence and the acknowledgment of the Putin-Prigozhin meeting is likely a part of the Kremlin’s wider narrative effort to portray itself as fully in control following Wagner’s rebellion while also reaching out to those who lean toward loyalty toward Wagner and especially Prigozhin himself. The MoD published the footage of Gerasimov on the same day that the Kremlin acknowledged Putin’s June 29 meeting with Prigozhin, likely signaling a rejection, at least officially, of the rebellion’s call to replace senior Russian military leadership. A notable Russian milblogger argued that Gerasimov and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s media appearances show that there will be no command reshuffles and observed that Putin never fires people under external pressure. Acquiescence to Prigozhin’s demands to remove Shoigu and Gerasimov would have likely damaged Putin’s regime security by creating a precedent that resistance and outright rebellion are legitimate means to achieve desired goals. The public backing of Shoigu and Gerasimov and the acknowledgment of Putin’s meeting with Prigozhin indicates that the Kremlin likely aims to portray the rebellion, its potential fallout, and the calls to replace disdained MoD establishment figures as a settled affair. The Kremlin may have chosen to portray itself as solving this issue now because of Lukashenko’s apparent attempt on July 6 to distance himself from the deal he mediated between the Kremlin and Prigozhin. The meeting and the publicized support for Shoigu and Gerasimov are in line with what ISW continues to assess to be the Kremlin’s attempt to balance a desire to mitigate the widespread disdain for MoD establishment figures that fueled Wagner’s rebellion while also trying to disempower those who sympathized or supported the rebellion.
It is unclear whether any agreements between the Kremlin and Prigozhin will prompt significant numbers of Wagner personnel to agree to sign contracts with the MoD. A Russian milblogger interviewed a Wagner assault group commander on July 10 and claimed that the commander stated that no personnel in his unit have signed the contract with the MoD. The Wagner commander reportedly stated that Wagner is united around Prigozhin and a common ideology of fighting for the motherland instead of a military contract. The commander reportedly stated that he will either continue serving with Wagner or demobilize. It is unclear what proportion of Wagner fighters has this deep ideological loyalty to Prigozhin and Wagner as an independent organization, although such an ideological commitment will likely prove a significant obstacle for MoD efforts to subordinate Wagner. Prigozhin ramped up efforts to disseminate Wagner’s militarism and ideology throughout Russia in March, and Prigozhin may have similarly intensified internal ideological messaging within Wagner itself at the time.
Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov claimed that Chechen Akhmat Special Forces have deployed to the Bakhmut direction, but a local Ukrainian commander denied having encountered Chechen forces, suggesting that these Chechen elements are not making significant frontline contributions to Russian operations in Ukraine. Kadyrov claimed on July 9 that Akhmat Special Forces (Spetsnaz) Commander Apty Alaudinov recently visited Akhmat Spetsnaz near Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut) and that Russian forces recently decided to transfer Akhmat Spetsnaz to the Bakhmut direction, allegedly reflective of the Russian General Staff’s trust in Akhmat’s combat capabilities. A Ukrainian battalion commander operating in the Bakhmut direction stated on July 10 that Ukrainian personnel have yet to encounter any Akhmat units near Bakhmut, however. A Russian source claimed on July 6 that “bearded mountain men” were taking pictures at the Bakhmut Raion welcome sign, likely hinting that Chechen forces were coming to the Bakhmut area for propaganda purposes.
Kadyrov recently claimed on May 31 that Akhmat Spetsnaz assumed responsibility for the Russian offensive to capture Marinka southwest of Donetsk City. Kadyrov also reportedly deployed Akhmat Spetsnaz to border areas in Belgorod Oblast to defend against limited all Russian pro-Ukrainian cross-border raids. ISW has observed Akhmat Spetsnaz elements fighting near Bilohorivka south of Kreminna and operating in Zaporizhia Oblast. Kadyrov has previously claimed that 7,000 Chechen servicemen are operating in Ukraine but that there are 70,000 active Chechen personnel in the entire Russian military. If Akhmat forces are deployed across five different sectors of the front, it is likely that each grouping lacks significant manpower and provides limited combat capabilities to ongoing Russian operations in each sector. Akhmat forces have allegedly been fighting in Marinka for over a month and have yet to produce the significant breakthroughs that they promised. Akhmat forces have been engaged in Russian offensives south of Kreminna since at least February 2023 with a similar lack of Russian advances in the area. Akhmat Spetsnaz thus appears unlikely to make even a tactically significant impact in their alleged deployment to the Bakhmut area. Kadyrov is likely promoting Akhmat as a heavily involved force in Ukraine in order to curry favor with the MoD and with Putin. It is unclear how involved Akhmat forces are in Russian operations in each sector that they are reportedly deployed to, and Kadyrov may be intentionally shielding these forces from combat and degradation in a bid to retain the influence these paramilitary structures provide.
Former Russian officer and prominent critical nationalist milblogger Igor Girkin claimed on July 10 that he managed to deliver a speech in St. Petersburg despite efforts by law enforcement to censor him and prevent the speech from happening. Girkin previously accused the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) of fabricating a bomb threat at the Listva bookstore in St. Petersburg to prevent him from speaking about the Wagner Group rebellion. On July 10, Girkin posted an update claiming that he still delivered the lecture in St. Petersburg, and the Listva bookstore reported that Girkin spoke in a pre-prepared spare room while the law enforcement raid was ongoing. Girkin stated that the only thing that law enforcement accomplished during the raid was making a stronger point against itself and its resort to censorship than even he could. Girkin went on to complain that he is preparing to leave St. Petersburg for Moscow as it is clear he is no longer welcome in the city. ISW previously assessed that the FSB-fabricated bomb threat at Girkin’s event is likely part of a long-standing feud between the FSB and Girkin and the larger ultranationalist community, and the fact that Girkin supposedly went ahead with his speech despite the censorship attempts is likely to exacerbate the feud.
- Ukrainian officials stated on July 10 that Ukrainian forces have fire control over Bakhmut and Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) around the city.
- Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on July 10.
- Russian Chief of the General Staff and overall theater commander Army General Valery Gerasimov’s first public appearance since Wagner’s rebellion supports ISW’s previous assessment that he will likely retain his official position within the Russian military.
- The Kremlin and Western intelligence officials reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin on June 29 (and/or July 1) following Wagner’s armed rebellion on June 24.
- Putin’s decision to meet with Prigozhin is inconsistent with the Kremlin’s prior rhetoric about Prigozhin and his role within the Wagner private military company (PMC).
- A Kremlin-affiliated war correspondent characterized the Putin-Prigozhin meeting as the Kremlin’s attempt to “gently” replace Prigozhin and restructure Wagner.
- Gerasimov’s public reemergence and the acknowledgment of the Putin-Prigozhin meeting is likely a part of the Kremlin’s wider narrative effort to portray itself as fully in control following Wagner’s rebellion while also reaching out to those who lean toward loyalty toward Wagner and especially Prigozhin himself.
- It is unclear whether any agreements between the Kremlin and Prigozhin will prompt significant numbers of Wagner personnel to agree to sign contracts with the MoD.
- Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov claimed that Chechen Akhmat Special Forces have deployed to the Bakhmut direction, but a local Ukrainian commander denied having encountered Chechen forces, suggesting that these Chechen elements are not making significant frontline contributions to Russian operations in Ukraine.
- Former Russian officer and prominent critical nationalist milblogger Igor Girkin claimed on July 10 that he managed to deliver a speech in St. Petersburg despite efforts by law enforcement to censor him and prevent the speech from happening
- Russian and Ukrainian forces conducted ground attacks along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line and in the Bakhmut direction.
- Russian forces conducted ground attacks along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line.
- Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations south of Orikhiv in western Zaporizhia Oblast on July 10.
- Russian forces are continuing to suffer significant casualties on the battlefield.
- Russian occupation officials acknowledged widespread utility service disruptions in occupied Donetsk Oblast.
We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because these activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We will continue to evaluate and report on the effects of these criminal activities on the Ukrainian military and the Ukrainian population and specifically on combat in Ukrainian urban areas. We utterly condemn these Russian violations of the laws of armed conflict, Geneva Conventions, and humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.
- Russian Main Effort – Eastern Ukraine (comprised of two subordinate main efforts)
- Russian Subordinate Main Effort #1 – Capture the remainder of Luhansk Oblast and push westward into eastern Kharkiv Oblast and encircle northern Donetsk Oblast
- Russian Subordinate Main Effort #2 – Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast
- Russian Supporting Effort – Southern Axis
- Russian Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts
- Activities in Russian-occupied areas
Russian Main Effort – Eastern Ukraine
Russian Subordinate Main Effort #1 – Luhansk Oblast (Russian objective: Capture the remainder of Luhansk Oblast and push westward into eastern Kharkiv Oblast and northern Donetsk Oblast)
Russian and Ukrainian forces continued limited ground attacks along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line on July 10. Geolocated footage published on July 9 indicates that Russian “Storm-Z” assault detachments made marginal gains within Novoselivske, Luhansk Oblast (16km northwest of Svatove). The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed on July 10 that Russian forces repelled Ukrainian assaults and sabotage and reconnaissance groups near Novoselivske. Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces advanced south of Vilshana (15km northeast of Kupyansk) on July 10 and captured unspecified positions near Kuzemivka (16km northwest of Svatove) on July 9, although ISW has not observed visual confirmation of either claim. The Russian MoD claimed that Russian forces repelled Ukrainian assaults near Karmazynivka (12km south of Svatove) and Dibrova (5km southwest of Kreminna). A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces conducted successful offensive operations near Torske (14km west of Kreminna) and south of Kreminna in the Serebryanske forest area. The Ukrainian General Staff reported on July 10 that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful assaults west of Spirne (25km south of Kreminna).
Russian Subordinate Main Effort #2 – Donetsk Oblast (Russian Objective: Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)
Ukrainian and Russian forces continue to conduct ground attacks around Bakhmut on July 10. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces have liberated four square kilometers of territory in the Bakhmut direction in the past week and have liberated 24 square kilometers in total since the start of the Ukrainian offensives in the Bakhmut direction. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister reported that Ukrainian forces established fire control over Bakhmut itself and made unspecified advances south of Bakhmut. Ukrainian Ground Forces Commander General Oleksandr Syrskyi also told ABC News in an interview published on July 9 that he is confident Ukrainian forces will retake Bakhmut. The Russian MoD and Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces repelled Ukrainian attacks on Berkivka (6km northwest of Bakhmut) and Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut) and that Ukrainian forces conducted attacks near Andriivka (10km southwest of Bakhmut). Footage published on July 10 purportedly shows elements of the “Prizrak” (Ghost) Battalion (a Luhansk People‘s Republic formation) and the 4th Motorized Rifle Brigade (2nd Luhansk People’s Republic Army Corps) repelling a Ukrainian attack near Klishchiivka. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful attacks near Hryhorivka (9km northwest of Bakhmut) and Dubovo-Vasylivka (6km northwest of Bakhmut). A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces conducted ground attacks near Berkhivka and Vesele (20km northeast of Bakhmut). Footage published on July 10 purportedly shows elements of the 58th Separate Spetsnaz Battalion (1st Donetsk People’s Republic Army Corps) operating in the Bakhmut direction.
Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line on July 10. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks near Sieverne (6km west of Avdiivka), Krasnohorivka (22km southwest of Avdiivka), and Marinka (on the southwestern outskirts of Donetsk City). Ukrainian Tavriisk Group of Forces Spokesperson Major Valery Shershen and the Ukrainian General Staff stated that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful attacks near Novomykhailivka (36km southwest of Avdiivka). A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful attacks near Novokalynove (11km northwest of Avdiivka), Stepove (3km northwest of Avdiivka), Pervomaiske (11km southwest of Avdiivka), and Nevelske (13km southwest of Avdiivka). Footage amplified on July 9 purportedly shows elements of the 9th Brigade (1st Donetsk People’s Republic Army Corps) and 10th Tank Regiment (3rdArmy Corps, Western Military District) operating in the Avdiivka direction. The Russian MoD claimed that Russian forces repelled Ukrainian attacks near Nevelske and Vodyane (8km southwest of Avdiivka).
Russian Supporting Effort – Southern Axis (Russian objective: Maintain frontline positions and secure rear areas against Ukrainian strikes)
Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued ground attacks in western Donetsk Oblast on July 10. The Russian MoD claimed on July 10 that Ukrainian troops conducted sabotage and reconnaissance attempts near Pryyutne (15km southwest of Velyka Novosilka). Russian milbloggers also claimed that Ukrainian forces continued attempts to advance south of Rivnopil (10km southwest of Velyka Novosilka) and near Staromaoirske (8km south of Velyka Novosilka) and Urozhaine (8km south of Velyka Novosilka). One milblogger claimed that elements of the Russian 34th Separate Motorized (Mountain) Brigade (49th Combined Arms Army, Southern Military District) repelled a Ukrainian attack in the area south of Velyka Novosilka. Another milblogger claimed that elements of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) “Kaskad” operational-tactical formation and unspecified Russian infantry elements are defending near Urozhaine.
Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations south of Orikhiv in western Zaporizhia Oblast on July 10. Geolocated footage posted on July 10 suggests that Ukrainian forces conducted a mechanized push and advanced to within 2km northeast of Robotyne (14km south of Orikhiv). Russian sources, including the Russian MoD, claimed that Ukrainian troops conducted attacks near Robotyne, and one prominent Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces operating Western-provided fighting vehicles advanced towards the defensive lines of the 71st Motorized Rifle Regiment (42nd Guards Motorized Rifle Division, Southern Military District) just northeast of Robotyne. Geolocated footage posted on July 9 additionally shows that Ukrainian forces have advanced southeast of Orikhiv towards Novopokrovka (15km southeast of Orikhiv). Russian milbloggers additionally claimed that Ukrainian troops conducted limited reconnaissance-in-force attacks with a group of around 30 personnel along the Pyatykhatky-Zherebryanky line (about 25km southwest of Orikhiv). Some Russian sources claimed that Russian forces operating near Pyatykhatky deliberately abandoned and mined trenches to encourage Ukrainian forces to enter mined trench areas, thereby suffering significant casualties.
Russian forces conducted air, missile, and artillery strikes against the west (right) bank of Kherson Oblast and Mykolaiv Oblast on July 10. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command stated on July 10 that Russian forces conducted 60 artillery strikes with 365 shells against settlements and Ukrainian positions on the west bank and conducted 3 KAB laser-guided bomb strikes against Beryslav Raion. Ukrainian Mykolaiv Oblast Head Vitaly Kim reported that Russian forces struck Mykolaiv City with likely Iskander-M ballistic missiles early in the morning on July 10 and shelled Ochakiv from positions on the Kinburn Spit. A Russian milblogger claimed that the situation on the east (left) bank is unchanged and that Russian forces continue counter-battery fire and aerial reconnaissance against Ukrainian positions on the west bank. Another Russian milblogger posted footage claiming to show Russian drones striking Ukrainian equipment near the Antonivsky Bridge on the east bank.
Russian officials continue to struggle with traffic and logistics issues at the Kerch Strait Bridge associated with the continued tourist season in occupied Crimea. Russian sources widely reported on July 10 that over 1,200 cars waited in line to cross the Kerch Strait Bridge on the Krasnodar Krai side of the bridge, reportedly because the Ministry of Emergency Situation suspended movement across the bridge due to poor weather conditions. ISW previously assessed that the constant influx of Russian tourists into occupied Crimea, a critical rear area of an active warzone, is causing severe logistical issues along one of Russia’s most fundamental ground lines of communication.
Russian Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts (Russian objective: Expand combat power without conducting general mobilization)
Russian forces are continuing to suffer significant casualties on the battlefield. BBC’s Russian service confirmed the deaths of 553 servicemen between July 4 and July 7 using information available in the open source. BBC noted that the exact dates of death for 313 confirmed servicemen are not available and noted that the unconfirmed number of casualties is likely significantly greater. BBC also confirmed the deaths of one Russian general, two colonels, three lieutenant colonels, and 12 officers in the specified timeframe. Russian opposition outlets Mediazona and Meduza reported that approximately 47,000 servicemen died between February 24, 2022, to May 30, 2023, according to the Russian Registrar for Inheritance Cases. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov refused to comment on Mediazona’s and Meduza’s report, noting that only the Russian MoD has information on casualty numbers. The UK MoD assessed that Russian forces are struggling to provide medical assistance to servicemen after suffering on average around 400 casualties a day for 17 months. The UK MoD added that up to 50 percent of Russian combat fatalities could have been prevented with proper first aid and noted that the leading causes of fatalities are slow evacuations of wounded and inappropriate use of Russian combat tourniquets. Elements of the Russian “Storm-Z” convict assault detachment of the 27th Separate Guards Motorized Brigade operating in the Luhansk direction recorded an appeal complaining about lack of medical assistance and short recovery time periods before the wounded servicemen return to the frontlines. Elements of the “Storm-Z” detachment noted that their unit only has 25 servicemen remaining from the original 110 troops.
Russian forces are continuing their efforts to recruit volunteers for military contract service. Russian 106th Guards Airborne (VDV) Division – elements of which are currently operating on the northern flanks of Bakhmut – announced the recruitment of volunteers and promised monthly salaries of 204,000 rubles ($2,252) with additional one-time federal and regional compensations. Putin signed a bill simplifying applications for residence permits for foreigners who sign military contracts with the Russian MoD.
Russian defense industrial base (DIB) officials are claiming that Russia is maintaining the production of Kinzhal ballistic missiles. First Deputy Director General of the Russian state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec, Vladimir Aryakov, stated that Rostec is mass-producing Kinzhal missile systems to fulfill Russian MoD orders. Russia is likely procuring supplies for Kinzhal missiles via sanctions evasion if Aryakov’s claims are true.
Activities in Russian-occupied areas (Russian objective: Consolidate administrative control of annexed areas; forcibly integrate Ukrainian civilians into Russian sociocultural, economic, military, and governance systems)
Russian occupation officials acknowledged widespread utility service disruptions in occupied Donetsk Oblast as of July 10. Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) head Denis Pushilin stated that 80 percent of respondents in a utility services poll for occupied Donetsk Oblast reported that they have access to water supplies only every other day. Other residents reportedly complain about a complete lack of water, non-compliance with water supply schedules, low water pressure, poor water quality, and water supply-related accidents.
The Kremlin continues to offer preferential lending and business opportunities to establish further economic control in occupied territories. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law in July prohibiting banks and microfinance organizations from collecting overdue debts from residents of the occupied territories until 2026. The Kherson Oblast Prosecutor's Office announced on July 10 that it will provide free legal assistance to entrepreneurs in Russian-occupied Kherson Oblast.
Significant activity in Belarus (Russian efforts to increase its military presence in Belarus and further integrate Belarus into Russian-favorable frameworks).
ISW will continue to report daily observed Russian and Belarusian military activity in Belarus, as part of ongoing Kremlin efforts to increase their control over Belarus and other Russian actions in Belarus.
Nothing significant to report.
Note: ISW does not receive any classified material from any source, uses only publicly available information, and draws extensively on Russian, Ukrainian, and Western reporting and social media as well as commercially available satellite imagery and other geospatial data as the basis for these reports. References to all sources used are provided in the endnotes of each update.
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