Ukraine War, 8–9 July 2022

Hello everybody,

There is quite an exchange of blows in Ukraine, the last few days: seemingly, the Russians are trying to retain initiative, or to stop developing Ukrainian counteroffensives.

AIR/MISSILE WARFARE

Keystone Cops claim their Su-35s and MiG-31BMs have shot down two Su-25s in the Mykolaiv region, on 8 July — for a total of 239 Ukrainian aircraft and 137 helicopters shot down by now… in turn, Ukrainians claimed a Russian attack helicopter (Mi-24?) as shot down in the Horlivka area, on 9 July. The Keystone Cops in Moscow also seem to be worried enough by the reinforced Ukrainian artillery (which is particularly effective in counter-battery operations, like in this case, lately) that there’s no day without them claiming to have destroyed another batch of ‘stored M777s’….and of course they have destroyed four, then two additional M142 HIMARS and whatever else…. all by ‘high-precision missiles’ that hit another hangar, of course… All the evidence shown is always the same old one photo and one video.

Their 2S7 Pions seem to be back to shelling Mykolaiv. Actually, some are claiming them to be deploying S-300 SAMs in surface-to-surface mode, too (yes, this is possible; all the Soviet/Russian-designed SAMs have a surface-to-surface mode, but are not particularly precise when deployed that way). All that was hit were private homes and businesses.

Chasiv Yar — a place half-way between Kramatorsk and Horlivka — was heavily hit by the Russians, yesterday. Keystone Cops claimed a ‘hangar with American 155mm M777 howitzers’ and ’30 Ukrainian militants who shelled residential quarters of Donetsk’, all hit by ‘high-precision weapon of the VKS. (seemingly, the Keystone Cops in Moscow cannot even imagine there’s something like ‘Armed Forces of Ukraine’….). Actually, it’s unclear by what (except that it was ‘four missiles/rockets’). The local railway station went up in flames, and up to 30 civilians were reported as trapped under the rubble of a five-storey building there: from that alone, seems, this was simply a ‘payback’ for all the ammo depots blown up in the Donetsk area of the last two weeks.

Four Russian missiles approaching the Kharkiv area were claimed as shot down, yesterday evening. No idea about the type yet. A volley of four Kalibrs approached the Kryvyi Rih area, late on 9 July: one was shot down but three others hit ‘an industrial enterprise in Radushne’.

BATTLE OF DONBASS

Kharkiv…Russians and Putin-fans were claiming that Udy was captured by the RFA, but this is not truth. The Russian push south on Demetrivka has been brought to stop, but Ukrainians have lost Vesele and Male Vesele, north-east of Kharkiv. Further east, once the smoke cleared, it turned out Ukrainians are still holding Rubizhne on the Siversky Donets. This is as important because the reinforced Ukrainian artillery is now brought to bear and heavily felt. For example, seems to have hit a supply train about to enter Vovchansk from the north, on 8 July.

Izium….this is another area that’s heavily hit by Ukrainian artillery. Especially lots of shelling was reported down the railway lines from Russia. For example: Izium, Lozove, Oleksandrivka, Studenok. Ukrainians seem to have really made some advances into the forest west of Izium, and fighting for Prydonetske is going on since at least a week, meanwhile. Think, Ukrainians aren’t going to get closer to Izium without clearing Zavody and Andriivka, though.

Sloviansk… The Russians have brought in new BTGs to the frontline — for example: from the 106th VDV Division — and widened their frontline further south. Su-25s of the VKS flew over 50 air strikes in this area alone, the last two days. On the ground, the RFA has widened its frontline by attacking Kurulka — in addition to Krasnopilya, Dolyne and Bohorodichne. Ukrainians (80th and 81st Airborne) seem to be back to holding ‘just’ the southern side of Bohorodichne. Russian artillery (the RFA at least three artillery brigades concentrated on this sector of the frontline) is shelling almost every place from Kurulka, via Ivanivka, down to Pryvillya, eastern Sloviansk, an dup to Sydorove. That said, their pressure is not coming forward that well — probably because of systematic destruction of their forward depots by Ukrainian artillery.

Siversk….I’m not entirely sure any more if Ukrainians are still holding Bilhorivka. They repeated that claim on 8 July, but as of this morning it seems they do not: actually, the Russians (which is: Wagner PMC, plus 2nd, 4th and 7th Brigades LPR and the 1st Brigade DPR) should be pushing from that place on Hryhorivka and Serebianka. In the centre, after at least two Russian attacks from Zolotarivka on Verkhnokamyanske have been repelled, the third was successful in securing the eastern side of that village. Ukrainians seem to be still holding Spirne, though — perhaps because of an action by the 24th Mech, which claimed the destruction of 12–15 Russian tanks?

A company of Russian tanks in the process of being demolished by the 24th Mech.

Talking about the 24th: the mass of Ukrainian units that used to fight for Severodonetsk and Lysychansk is not in the line any more. Seems, have been withdrawn for rest, reorganisation, and to replace losses. For example, the 17th Tank and two TD brigades are not there any more: the lines are held by the 118 and 128th TD Brigades, with the 58th Motor and 79th Mech as reserves and the 4th Tank in the rear (mind: most of regular Ukrainian brigades are meanwhile including up to 4–5 battalions).

Half a company of Russian tanks knocked out by the 79th Airborne.

Bakhmut….this remains the most critical zone, the last few days. The Wagner PMC and/or Spetsnaz are attacking Vesela Dolyna, the last two days. Some of their fans are claiming attacks on Zaitseve and all the way to Opytne (south of Bakhmut, on the T0513), but there’s no evidence they got so far: most likely, they’re shelling this area. Another assault on the Vuhleriske power plant and Novoluhanske was repelled, though: the battered 30th Mech seems to have been replaced by the 72nd Mech (equipped with, between others British-supplied FV103 Spartan APCs) , in this area.

LOC….the Russians have launched new attacks on Avdiivka and Marinka, near Donetsk: all were repelled (Marinka area is heavily hit by Russian artillery, the last few days). Meanwhile, there are at least 12, perhaps 13 M142 HIMARS in Ukraine, and their presence is now heavily felt. Around 04.00hrs this morning, they seem to have almost simultaneously hit the oil refinery and eight Russian depots in Donetsk and further east — for example: Alchevsk, Shakhtorsk, Zuhres, all the way to Chystakove (20km east of Donetsk). In between, the Russians added to their own misery by several…. ‘smoking accidents’. For example in Kuzatovo, in the Ulyanovsk area.

SOUTH

Zaporizhzhya and southern Donbas… Eat of Vuhledar, Ukrainians seem to have liberated Volodymyrivka, and are pushing for Yehorivka. Not sure if this is a big attack, though, or ‘just fighting for better positions’. They seem to be on the northern side of the Tokmachka River, opposite to Polohy, too (though, my earlier report about the liberation of this village was premature). Further south, Ukrainian guerrilla blew up another major communication in the Melitopol area: this time a railroad bridge 25km north of the town.

Kherson…The 49th CAA and the XXII Corps are on counterattack since some 24–36 hours and appears to have counterattacked at Snihurivke, and taken Lozove and Bilohirka, on the southern side of the Davydiv Brid. In the south, Ukrainians tried to push for Tomyna Balka, while the 49th CAA might have recaptured Stanislav in the south. There are next to no news from the Kyselivka-Chornobaivka area, whatsoever, except that the local airport is constantly shelled, and another ammo dump in Chornobaivka was blown up, yesterday. Ukrainians seem to have blown up a Russian supply train in the Antonivka area, on 8 July, too (at least the FIRMS is shown a fire raging there for something like 24 hours already).

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From Austria; specialised in analysis of contemporary warfare; working as author, illustrator, and book-series-editor for Helion & Co.

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Tom Cooper

Tom Cooper

From Austria; specialised in analysis of contemporary warfare; working as author, illustrator, and book-series-editor for Helion & Co.

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