The Russian Ministry of Defense has announced the end of the army’s operational break, thus resuming its attacks on several axes of military advance. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) notes that the Russians are unlikely to carry out much more ground attacks in Ukraine, but it is likely to be a limited continuation of them, with Moscow focusing on the Sloviansk-Siversk-Bahmut area. The ISW also says the Kremlin has ordered Russian forces to take control of the entire Kharkov region, despite the very low probability of Russia’s success. Russian forces carried out limited ground attacks around Siversk and Bahmut on Saturday and fired on the Ukrainian army and civilian infrastructure in eastern Ukraine. Russia’s occupation authorities are likely to respond to an apparent threat to Ukrainian partisan activities by strengthening administrative regimes in the occupied areas.

The live text that covered the events in Ukraine can be watched HERE.

Assessed control of the territory in the Donetsk region on 16 July. Source: Institute for the Study of War in Washington (ISW)

According to Nexta, during the night from Saturday to Sunday, the Russians used incendiary ammunition in Marinka, Donetsk region. Among them would be Grad rockets with termite.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly ordered Russian forces to capture the city of Kharkov and the rest of the unoccupied territory in the region, despite a very low probability of success in the area, according to ISW. The Institute offers this observation as a hypothesis, rather than an analysis, because the evidence and indicators for it to happen are limited and circumstantial. Russian forces have been trying to conquer Dementiivka north of Kharkov on June 26, even though capturing the town is of limited importance for the purpose of defending the occupied territory from the offensive actions of the Ukrainians. The Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine published an intercepted conversation on July 16 in which a Russian soldier said that his commander did not care about the losses, but only wanted to reach Kharkov. The ISW says the Russian occupation authorities continue to set conditions for the annexation of the Kharkov region beyond the territory they already own.

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Russian forces launched rockets at ground targets along the Southern Axis on July 15 and 16. They launched 4-6 Kh-101 cruise missiles – high-precision cruise missiles designed to bypass air defense systems – to Dnipro, Dnipropetrovsk region on the evening of July 15. The images showed the interception of at least one of them by Ukrainian systems and at least two others hit buildings in the center of the Dnipro. The Russian Defense Ministry claims that the missiles hit the Yujni Machinery Factory, used to build and repair Ukrainian Tochka-Us systems and multi-launch missile systems in the Dnipro industrial district, but ISW cannot verify the exact locations of the attacks. The use of these types of missiles by the Russians to target a Ukrainian military factory could be due to the fact that Russian forces either no longer have adequate ammunition for such attacks or are desperate to reduce Ukrainian attacks on Russian military infrastructure by targeting warehouses. and missiles.

The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Moscow forces continued bombing the contact line and carried out no ground attacks on 16 July.

EU to tighten sanctions on Russia accused of firing missiles at nuclear power plant

EU foreign ministers will discuss tougher sanctions against Russia on Monday, at a time when Moscow is accused of deploying rocket launchers at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, AFP said.

The governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region (southeast), Valentin Reznicenko, on Saturday denounced “a flood of fire” in the direction of the city of Nikopol, with rocket launch Grad on residential areas. “Rescuers found two dead under the rubble,” he said.

EU ministers will have to consider, among other things, a European Commission proposal to ban gold purchases from Russia in order to align EU sanctions with those of its G7 partners.

Another proposal aims to include new Russian personalities on the EU’s blacklist.

“Moscow must continue to pay a high price for its aggression,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said after sending the new measures to the 27.

According to a senior European official, no decision is expected during the first discussion in Brussels on these new sanctions.

Russia’s largest buyer of gold is the United Kingdom, with 290 tons in 2020, in exchange for $ 16.9 billion, according to data provided by the Russian customs service.

The cost of the war is also felt for the rest of the world, Western countries said at the G20 in Bali, which ended on Saturday without a joint statement, due to a lack of consensus on this point.

Russia’s participation was “absurd” and “was tantamount to inviting an arsonist to a firefighters’ meeting,” criticized Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland.

The allegations are similar in Ukraine, where the national nuclear power operator has accused the Russian military of installing missile launchers right at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant site in an area under its control since March.

“The situation (at the plant) is extremely tense and the tension increases day by day. The occupiers bring their machinery there, including the rocket systems with which they have already hit the Dnieper River and the Nikopol territory, “80 km southwest of Zaporozhye, Energoatom President Petro Kotin told Telegram.

According to him, up to 500 Russian soldiers are still at the site of the Ukrainian power plant, the largest in Europe.

On Friday night, the Ukrainian air force indicated that Russian Kh-101 missiles were launched around 22.00 from the Caspian Sea to Dnipropetrovsk, four of which were destroyed.

The southern region’s command center said on Saturday that the situation was “tense but under control”, according to Agerpres.

“The enemy continues to carry out offensives (…) but, due to the lack of success on the ground, it intensifies the rocket and air strikes,” he said on Facebook.

Further north, near Kharkov, the country’s second largest city, the city of Chiuhuiiv was hit by Russian missiles on Friday night, killing three people, Oleg Sinegubov, the region’s governor, said.

In the east, on Friday evening, Kramatorsk, the main city of the Donbas basin still under Ukrainian control, in the Donetsk region, also suffered several bombings.

On the other hand, Ukraine and its Western allies remain in shock from the cruise missile strikes that devastated downtown Vinita on Thursday, hundreds of kilometers west of the front.

The death toll rose to 24 on Saturday. “Unfortunately, one woman died at the hospital, she was 85% burned,” Vinnytsia Governor Serghii Borzov said, adding that 68 people continued to receive care, including four children.

In the face of international condemnations, the Russian Defense Ministry said it aimed at a meeting in Vinita of the “command of the Ukrainian Air Force with representatives of foreign arms suppliers.”

However, a senior US defense official said on condition of anonymity that he had “no indication of a military target nearby.”

Russia has never acknowledged the mistakes or crimes committed by its armed forces in Ukraine and systematically assures that it only hits military targets.

In the Donbas, separatist forces and the Russian military said they were advancing and were about to take full control of the city of Siversk, which had been attacked after the capture of Lysiceansk to the east earlier this month.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Saturday that Minister Sergei Shoigou had visited the military involved in the Ukraine offensive, without specifying the date of the visit, the second after the first in June, and whether it had taken place in Ukraine or Russia.

He “gave the necessary instructions to further increase” the military pressure, the ministry added, AFP concludes.

Editor: Alexandru Costea

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