Putin’s War Russia-Ukraine July 2022 –

Written by  //  August 5, 2022  //  Geopolitics, Russia, Ukraine  //  No comments

Putin and Erdoğan meet in Sochi
(The World) Russian President Vladimir Putin met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi today [August 5]. It comes after a Russian proposal, leaked by Ukrainian intelligence, suggests the Kremlin is seeking help from Turkey to evade Western sanctions.

31 July
US envoy: Russia intends to dissolve Ukraine from world map
(AP) — The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Friday there should no longer be any doubt that Russia intends to dismantle Ukraine “and dissolve it from the world map entirely.”
Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the U.N. Security Council that the United States is seeing growing signs that Russia is laying the groundwork to attempt to annex all of the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and the southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, including by installing “illegitimate proxy officials in Russian-held areas, with the goal of holding sham referenda or decree to join Russia.”
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov “has even stated that this is Russia’s war aim,” she said.
Lavrov told an Arab summit in Cairo on Sunday that Moscow’s overarching goal in Ukraine is to free its people from its “unacceptable regime.”
How the Kremlin Is Forcing Ukrainians to Adopt Russian Life
In Russian-occupied regions in Ukraine, local leaders are forcing civilians to accept Russian rule. Next come sham elections that would formalize Vladimir V. Putin’s claim that they are Russian territories.
(NYT) They have handed out Russian passports, cellphone numbers and set-top boxes for watching Russian television. They have replaced Ukrainian currency with the ruble, rerouted the internet through Russian servers and arrested hundreds who have resisted assimilation.
Russia-appointed administrators in towns, villages and cities like Kherson in Ukraine’s south are setting the stage for a vote as early as September that the Kremlin will present as a popular desire in the region to become part of Russia.
Any referendum would be totally illegitimate, Ukrainian and Western officials say, but it would carry ominous consequences. Analysts both in Moscow and Ukraine expect that it would serve as a prelude to Mr. Putin’s officially declaring the conquered area to be Russian territory, protected by Russian nuclear weapons — making future attempts by Kyiv to drive out Russian forces potentially much more costly.

30 July
Zelenskyy calls POW bombing ‘deliberate Russian war crime’
International calls grow for investigation into shelling in town of Olenivka.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of a “war crime” for bombing a jail containing Ukrainian prisoners of war in the eastern Donetsk region.
More than 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war died in the shelling in the town of Olenivka, in territory controlled by Moscow-backed separatists since 2014, according to authorities in the Donetsk People’s Republic.

28 July
Russia strikes areas in northern Ukraine while Ukraine counterattacks in the south
(NPR) Russian troops withdrew from the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions months ago after failing to capture either. The renewed strikes on the areas come a day after the leader of pro-Kremlin separatists in the east, Denis Pushilin, publicly called on the Russian forces to “liberate Russian cities founded by the Russian people — Kyiv, Chernihiv, Poltava, Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Lutsk.”
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military continued to counterattack in the occupied southern region of Kherson, striking a key bridge over the Dnieper River on Wednesday.
Ukrainian media on Thursday quoted Ukraine’s presidential adviser, Oleksiy Arestovich, as saying that the operation to liberate Kherson “has already begun.” Arestovich said Kyiv’s forces were planning to isolate Russian troops there and leave them with three options — to “retreat, if possible, surrender or be destroyed.”

27 July
Russia cuts gas flows further as Europe urges energy saving
Reuters) – Russia delivered less gas to Europe on Wednesday in a further escalation of an energy stand-off between Moscow and the European Union that will make it harder, and costlier, for the bloc to fill up storage ahead of the winter heating season.
The cut in supplies, flagged by Gazprom (GAZP.MM) earlier this week, has reduced the capacity of Nord Stream 1 pipeline – the major delivery route to Europe for Russian gas – to a mere fifth of its total capacity.
Russia says its strike on July 24 destroyed 100 HIMARS missiles
Russia has previously said it has destroyed several HIMARS systems supplied to Ukraine by the West, claims denied by Kyiv

24 July
Russia says strike on Ukrainian port hit military targets
(AP) — Russian defense officials insisted Sunday that an airstrike on the Ukrainian port of Odesa hit only military targets, but the attack tested an agreement on resuming grain shipments that the two countries signed less than a day before the assault.
Long-range missiles destroyed a docked Ukrainian warship and a warehouse holding Harpoon anti-ship missiles supplied by the U.S., Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said at a daily briefing.
Speaking late Saturday in his nightly televised address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the attack on Odesa “destroyed the very possibility” of dialogue with Russia.
Russia hits Ukraine’s Black Sea port despite grain deal
(AP) — Russian missiles hit Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odesa just hours after Moscow and Kyiv signed deals to allow grain exports to resume from there. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry denounced Saturday’s airstrikes as a “spit in the face” to Turkey and the United Nations, which brokered the agreements.

20 July
Russia declares expanded war goals beyond Ukraine’s Donbas
By Mark Trevelyan
Foreign minister says geographical reality has changed
Russia may push deeper as West supplies long-range arms
Ukraine says comments show Russia aims to grab more land
(Reuters) In an interview with state media nearly five months after Russia’s invasion, the foreign minister also said peace talks made no sense at the moment because Western governments were leaning on Ukraine to fight rather than negotiate.
CIA director estimates 15,000 Russians killed in Ukraine war

19 July
What If the War in Ukraine Spins Out of Control?
How to Prepare for Unintended Escalation
By Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage
(Foreign Affairs) The war in Ukraine will soon enter its sixth month. For all the talk of Russia crossing the West’s redlines with its conduct in the war and of the West crossing Russia’s redlines with its military assistance to Ukraine, the true redlines have not yet been breached. At the outset of the war, both sides hashed out a set of invisible rules—unspoken but nonetheless real. They include Russia’s acceptance of allied heavy-weapons deliveries and intelligence support for Ukraine, but not the use of Western troops. And they include Western states’ grudging acceptance of Russian conventional warfare within Ukraine’s borders (eager as these countries are to see Moscow defeated), as long as the conflict does not lead to the use of weapons of mass destruction. So far, these invisible rules have continued to function, proof that neither U.S. President Joe Biden nor Russian President Vladimir Putin wants a wider war. …
The less apocalyptic the perspective of Washington and its allies, the better. The United States and Russia are not on the verge of World War III. Not every move is existential. The Russian military suffers under countless and increasing constraints, whereas the war in Ukraine will constantly turn up new, uncertain, disturbing, and frightening contingencies. The world will have to learn to live with it. The Cuban missile crisis lasted for 13 days. The crisis generated by the war in Ukraine will last for a long time to come

15 July
Shlomo Ben-Ami: Talking Peace in Ukraine
The West’s Ukraine policy has so far achieved a deadlock on the battlefield – which over time will skew in Russia’s favor, with catastrophic consequences for Ukraine and beyond – and an escalating global food and energy crisis. How long can this approach realistically be sustained?
Through a combination of barbarism and sheer numbers – “Quantity has a quality all its own,” said Stalin – Russia has generally managed to turn the tide. And, indeed, in Ukraine today, what has become a brutal war of attrition is producing slow but consistent Russian advances. A similar shift in Russia’s favor may well be playing out geopolitically. The West’s resolve to uphold its robust values-based response is waning. Though NATO members projected unity at their recent summit in Madrid, Europe seems to be increasingly divided on Ukraine. Eastern European countries, together with Finland and Sweden, view Russia as an immediate, even existential, threat. But for countries like Italy, Spain, and even France, more immediate security concerns lie in North Africa and the Sahel, as well as in the possibility of a new migrant crisis. And amid skyrocketing inflation and slowing economic growth, the political sustainability of economic sanctions is far from certain.

13 July
Russia’s War Against Ukraine Has Turned Into Terrorism
The Russian military isn’t just bombing civilians. It’s also targeting the laws and values that protect human rights.
By Anne Applebaum
(The Atlantic) Random attacks on random places, far from the front lines and with no military significance whatsoever, are now a daily occurrence in Ukraine. According to Oleksander Chechytko, a prosecutor who was collecting evidence in Serhiivka when I visited, three Kh-22 bombs hit the town on the night of July 1. The Kh-22 is an anti-ship missile produced in the 1960s. It was designed to hit warships, but there are no warships in Serhiivka. There are no military objects in Serhiivka at all, Chechytko told me. The nearest military installation, he said, is at least five kilometers away.
…the war in Ukraine now has a different nature than most of the wars we have seen this century. In the eastern part of the country, soldiers on both sides fight for territory on either side of a discernible front line. But elsewhere in Ukraine, something else is happening, something that looks less like war and more like multiple acts of terrorism.

Ukraine’s new rockets are wreaking havoc on Russia’s army
The American-supplied HIMARS is wiping out arms dumps and command posts
(The Economist) “Russian forward ammunition dumps are quite possibly the most unsafe places in any war zone,” explained an American army handbook published in 2016. Munitions were not stored safely, it noted, and many dated from the Soviet era, close to their expiry dates, creating “a tinderbox ready to explode”. “Priority targeting of these areas will cause a serious logistics strain on the Russian system,” it concluded. Ukrainian generals are now putting that theory to the test.
On July 11th a Russian ammunition depot in Nova Kakhovka in southern Ukraine (see map) exploded in spectacular fashion. Satellite images showed that the entire facility vanished overnight. It is thought to be the latest victim of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (himars), which America began sending to Ukraine in late June.

7 July
Ukraine is losing this war – the west needs to massively step up its military aid
By Frank Ledwidge
30,000 soldiers killed and one-third of Russia’s tank force turned into scrap are meaningless to Vladimir Putin
Ukrainian forces entering Crimea would send the message, ‘This is what strategic defeat looks like’
As matters stand, Ukraine lacks the combat power to be certain of success

(CapX) There were the great victories at Kyiv, Chernihiv and Kharkhiv. But with setbacks in Donetsk and Luhansk, the appalling realisation is sinking in that this is likely to be a very bloody war, lasting years. The country’s coastline is in the invaders’ hands and its ports are blockaded. A serious economic crisis is looming both in Ukraine and more widely. While Ukraine is not winning, it is losing.
Last week’s Nato summit stated that it would assist member states “adequately” in providing support to Ukraine, while recognising each member’s “specific situation” – presumably the specific situation of some countries being unwilling to contribute usefully to the defence of Ukraine.
For Ukraine, as for Russia, the key strategic front is in the south. Retaking Kherson – the ancient city on the Black Sea coast that Russia seems to be planning to annex as part of its scheme to “return Russian land” – would be a real blow to the Kremlin. Ukrainian forces entering Crimea, a short tank ride from Kherson, would send the message: “This is what strategic defeat looks like.”
So to attempt this would make sense both militarily and politically. But Ukraine’s problem, as matters stand, is that it lacks the combat power to be certain of success. The trend of weapons supply is nowhere near what will be required to ensure the recovery of Ukrainian lands and a consequent end to this war – by negotiation, or decision of arms.

Putin warns Russia is just getting started in Ukraine
Vladimir Putin has said “everyone should know that” Russia was just getting started in Ukraine and has not “started anything yet in earnest”.
Any prospects for peace negotiations will grow dimmer the longer the conflict dragged on, the Russian leader said in a hawkish speech to parliamentary leaders.
He said if the west wanted to defeat Russia on the battlefield, it was welcome to try.Putin says Russia just getting started in Ukraine and calls on west to meet on battlefield
“Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield. What can you say, let them try. We have heard many times that the West wants to fight us to the last Ukrainian.
This is a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, but it seems that everything is heading towards this.”

4-6 July
Russian forces ‘destroying everything’ in eastern Ukraine
Luhansk’s Governor Serhiy Haidai says Russian forces are ‘burning down and destroying everything on their way’.
(Al Jazeera) Russian forces are involved in scorched-earth tactics in their offensive in eastern Ukraine, pounding civilian areas with missiles and reducing villages, towns and cities to rubble, the governors of Luhansk and Donetsk provinces have said.
Indiscriminate shelling by Russian forces over the past 24 hours had killed at least eight civilians and wounded 25 more, Ukrainian officials said Wednesday.
Russia Advances Behind Brutal Barrage, but Will Its Strategy Keep Working?
The Russian and Ukrainian armies have both been badly mauled, raising questions about how long they can keep fighting as they have, particularly the outgunned Ukrainians.
As Russia declares victory in Luhansk, Ukraine captures tanks and regains territory in neighbouring region
Ukrainian soldiers interviewed by CBC at their front-line positions say Russia’s triumphs in the Luhansk region have obscured hard-won military successes elsewhere — including in the neighbouring Izyum region.
In April and May, Russian troops drove hard through the rolling countryside to try to capture the nearby city of Slovyansk, with the aim of encircling a large part of Ukraine’s army. But soldiers from the 93rd Mechanized Brigade stopped the Russian advance — and since then, Ukrainian forces have been slowly regaining lost territory.

Thinking About the Unthinkable in Ukraine What Happens If Putin Goes Nuclear?
(Foreign Affairs) Planning for the potential that Russia would use nuclear weapons is imperative; the danger would be greatest if the war were to turn decisively in Ukraine’s favor. That is the only situation in which the Russians’ incentive to take that awesome risk would be plausible, in an attempt to prevent defeat by shocking Ukraine and its NATO supporters into standing down. The Russians might do this by setting off one or a few tactical nuclear weapons against Ukrainian forces or by triggering a symbolic explosion over an empty area.
There are three general options within which U.S. policymakers would find a variation to respond to a Russian nuclear attack against Ukraine. The United States could opt to rhetorically decry a nuclear detonation but do nothing militarily. It could unleash nuclear weapons of its own. Or it could refrain from a nuclear counterattack but enter the war directly with large-scale conventional airstrikes and the mobilization of ground forces. All those alternatives are bad because no low-risk options exist for coping with the end of the nuclear taboo.
Ukrainian forces take up new positions as Putin hails Luhansk victory
(Reuters) – Ukrainian forces were taking up new defensive lines in the eastern part of the country on Monday, preparing for the next phase in the war as President Vladimir Putin proclaimed Russia’s victory in the months-long battle of Luhansk.
Russia captured the city of Lysychansk on Sunday, bringing an end to one of the biggest battles in Europe in generations. For two months, Moscow brought the full might of its ground forces to bear on a small pocket of the front line. It completed Russia’s conquest of Luhansk province, one of two regions it has demanded Ukraine cede to separatists in the Donbas region.
The battle is the closest Moscow has come to achieving one of its stated objectives since its forces were defeated trying to capture Kyiv in March. It marks Russia’s biggest victory since it captured the southern port of Mariupol in late May.
Analysis: Russia hails capture of Luhansk region, but big Ukraine battles lie ahead

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