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Ukraine – the situation August 15, 2022

Overview

  • OPSEC: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told government officials last week to stop talking about the coming offensive and Kiev’s military tactics, an apparent response to remarks by the Ukrainian General Staff G-3, Major General Gromov, that the offensive would begin soon and liberate much of occupied Ukraine by the end of the year. The general rule is simple: war is definitely not the time for vanity and loud statements” Zelensky said, forgetting perhaps that he had forecast the liberation of Kherson “by September.”
  • UK MinDef Ben Wallace said: They [the Russians] have failed so far and are unlikely to ever succeed in occupying Ukraine.”
  • The Ukrainian General Staff reports that Russian air forces have doubled their sortie rate since last week and that Russian artillery fire across all lines of control has increased substantially. Independent observers (American) report that the Russians are now sustaining 20,000 rounds of artillery fire per day while the Ukrainians are firing 5,000-6,000 rounds per day.
  • Russian ground forces’ activity at the western end of the Donbas salient near Bakhmut and Kramatorsk has picked up significantly.
  • Further to the southwest opposite Donetsk, both sides report heavy fighting near Avdivka and Krasnohorivka. The town of Pisky has been taken over by Russian forces and is being cleared out.
  • Ground activity in the south is limited to, at most, company-size skirmishes at the small Ukrainian bridgehead across the Inhulets River.
  • On the regional-strategic level, continued concern is voiced by Western observers over Russian plans to move west from the City of Kherson and beyond Mykolaiv for a link-up with Russian and pro-Russian forces in Transnistria. However, we’re talking here about covering a distance of close to 200 km, which – with current Russian forces is as unrealistic as MG Gromov’s home-by-Christmas talk.

East/Center

The Ukrainian General Staff over the weekend reported that the city of Kramatorsk was attacked by Russian ground forces and later was struck by heavy rocket fire. The UGS also said that the Russians were pushed back.

If the UGS reports are correct, even if only Russian reconnaissance elements were involved, this is a new development. Kramatorsk lies about 30km northwest of Bakhmut and 8 to 10 km south of Sloviansk. As Bakhmut falls (as is expected in the course of the coming 7 to 10 days), Russian forces driving southwest from the Izium region could be pushing between the cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk or just south of Kramatorsk and trap Ukrainian forces to the east of the Izium-Kramatorsk-Bakhmut line.

Near Bakhmut, the town of Zaitseve just southeast of Bakhmut is now under Russian control. The Russian front line is still moving slowly, but now more perceptibly westward. The UGS says that more than 150 missiles hit Bakhmut overnight.



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