Situation as of 8:00 a.m. on July 17, 2023
- Ukrainian Armed Forces engage in intensive positional battles against Russian troops, adjusting plans to overcome powerful fortifications and adopting a cautious approach to reduce losses, resulting in a slower offensive pace. Ukrainian forces target Russian warehouses and bases in occupied territories, causing significant damage.
- One of the segments of the Crimean Bridge collapsed on the morning of July 17. This complicates the movement of vehicles from the territory of the Russian Federation to the temporarily occupied Crimea.
- On the 11-12th of July, in Vilnius, Lithuania, the NATO Summit took place. Within its framework, the inaugural meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Council was held. In the final communiqué of the Summit, NATO member countries agreed that Ukraine will join the Alliance, but only when “Allies agree and conditions are met.”
- The Group of Seven (G7) countries signed a declaration in support of Ukraine and announced the initiation of bilateral negotiations with Ukraine regarding the formalization of support for Kyiv, including long-term commitments to provide Kyiv with the necessary weapons for defense against Russia during and after the war, as well as assistance in the reconstruction of the Ukrainian economy.
Intensive positional battles continue on the front line. Russian troops are trying to carry out an offensive in the directions of Kupyansk (Kharkiv region) and Kreminna (Luhansk region). The Ukrainian military continues offensive operations in the Bakhmut area in the east and in the Zaporizhzhia region in the south. The Ukrainian command is forced to adjust plans of operations because of the need to overcome powerful Russian fortifications. Analysts believe that after significant losses in equipment during the first days of the counteroffensive, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are changing tactics. The use of a more cautious approach reduces losses, but at the same time leads to a slowdown in the pace of the offensive. The main danger is mines, which Russian troops actively use to cover their line of defense.
The Ukrainian military strikes at warehouses and bases of the Russian troops in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. In particular, objects in Luhansk and Mariupol were hit. On July 11, Lieutenant-General of the Russian army Oleg Tsokov was killed in Berdyansk, as a result of a strike on the headquarters of Russian troops. On the night of July 16, Sevastopol was attacked with kamikaze drones. In addition, during the week, Russian sources reported on UAV attacks in the Kursk, Voronezh and Belgorod regions of the Russian Federation.
One of the segments of the road part of the Kerch bridge, which connects the temporarily occupied Crimea with the territory of the Russian Federation, collapsed on the morning of July 17. The movement of vehicles by this route is currently suspended. The Russian occupation administration of Crimea states that the damage to the bridge was the result of a night attack by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Russian milutary continue their daily attacks on Ukrainian territory, using mainly kamikaze drones and ballistic missiles. On the night of July 11, UAVs were used against Kyiv and Odesa. Despite the successful work of the Ukrainian air defense, a grain terminal was struck by a kamikaze drone in Odesa, where a fire broke out. The next night, the drone attack repeated. 2 people were injured in the Cherkasy region as a result of a UAV hitting a non-residential object. On the night of July 13, 4 people were injured as a result of falling wreckage of downed kamikaze drones in Kyiv; explosions were also recorded in the Khmelnytskyi and Kirovohrad regions. On the night of July 14, a utility company in Kryvyi Rih (Dnipropetrovsk region) was hit as a result of a UAV attack, 1 person was injured. The next night, a drone hit was recorded in Zaporizhzhia, where an infrastructure facility, 16 multi-storey residential buildings, 2 educational institutions and a medical institution were damaged; 1 person was injured. On the night of July 16, Russian troops launched missile strikes on Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia.
During the week, the losses of civilians on the territory of the frontline regions of Ukraine amointed to at least: in Donetsk region – 7 people killed and 24 people wounded; in Kherson region – 5 people killed, 14 people injured; in Kharkiv region – 1 person killed and 11 people injured.
Russian mercenaries from the so-called “PMC Wagner” have settled on the territory of the Republic of Belarus. On July 14, the Belarusian Ministry of Defense announced that mercenaries had begun training local territorial troops as instructors. The next day, a large column carrying “PMC Wagner” servicemen was recorded moving to Belarusian territory. At the same time, Ukrainian State Border Service reports that currently there are not enough militants in Belarus to create a strike group that would threaten Ukraine.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION, POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS
According to the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine, for the post-war recovery of the country over the next ten years, an additional 4.5 million people will need to be brought into the labor market. This situation is caused by a shortage of workforce in Ukraine, which has worsened due to the departure of around 6 million Ukrainian citizens abroad during the war.
On July 13th, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted in the first reading a bill on the legalization of medical cannabis. The adoption of the document aims to borrow experience in regulating the limited circulation of cannabis, cannabis resin, cannabis extracts and tetrhydrocannabinol, with the subsequent use of the analgesic qualities of the corresponding plant in medical practice. The Ministry of Health of Ukraine emphasizes that this does not involve the free circulation of preparations containing medical cannabis.
According to the declaration of the “Group of Seven” (G7) from July 12th, frozen Russian assets in G7 countries will not be unfrozen until Russia compensates Ukraine for the damages incurred during the war. The G7 also confirms the need for the establishment of an international mechanism to compensate Ukraine for the damage caused by Russian aggression and expresses readiness to explore options for developing such a mechanism. G7 countries intend to continue working on sanctions against Russia and export control.
FOREIGN POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT
On July 11-12, a Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization at the level of Heads of State took place in Vilnius. Its main themes revolved around strengthening the Alliance’s deterrence and defense system, as well as continuing assistance to Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression. NATO members acknowledged Ukraine’s progress on the path to Euro-Atlantic integration and reaffirmed that Ukraine will join the Alliance, but only with the full consensus of its allies and the fulfillment of all necessary conditions. As a result of the summit, the inaugural meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Council was held, and the obligatory nature of the Membership Action Plan as the next stage on Ukraine’s path to NATO was revoked.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, attended the summit, participating in the meetings of the newly established Council and conducting a series of bilateral negotiations. On the sidelines of the NATO Summit, the Ukrainian leader met with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the President of the United States of America, Joseph Biden, the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, the Acting Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, the Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Rishi Sunak, the Federal Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. The President of Ukraine informed about the course of hostilities and the situation on the front line, and the leaders discussed operational and strategic plans to enhance international cooperation, provide security guarantees to Ukraine, and support Ukrainian aspirations on the path to Euro-Atlantic integration.
Furthermore, within the framework of the NATO Summit in Vilnius, the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries signed a “Joint Declaration of Support for Ukraine,” which became the first comprehensive legal document regarding security guarantees for Ukraine and will facilitate the possibility of concluding bilateral agreements with the respective countries. The G7 countries also announced the commencement of bilateral negotiations with Ukraine to formalize their support. These agreements entail long-term commitments to assistance in the field of security, provision of modern military equipment, and support in strengthening the Ukrainian economy.
In the pursuit of supporting Ukraine’s path to NATO membership, partner states have declared the provision of new military assistance packages. The United Kingdom has announced a substantial new funding package for Ukraine, encompassing additional ammunition and combat vehicles, as well as £50 million (equivalent to $64.7 million USD) for the repair of military equipment and support for a new rehabilitation center for the wounded. Australia will provide Ukraine with a new defense package, including 30 Bushmaster armored transport vehicles. Germany has delivered another batch of military assistance to Ukraine, with a total value of approximately 700 million euros, which includes two Patriot surface-to-air missile launcher systems, Leopard tanks, Marder infantry fighting vehicles, Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, artillery projectiles, anti-aircraft ammunition, and other military equipment. According to Chancellor Olaf Scholz of the Federal Republic of Germany, the volume of arms deliveries to Ukraine from Germany between 2022 and 2027 will amount to approximately 17 billion euros. Canada has announced $541 million in new funding to support Ukraine and strengthen transatlantic security, with the funds allocated for providing military assistance and enhancing Ukraine’s cyber defense capabilities. Norway has transferred two NASAMS installations and Black Hornet nano-drones to Ukraine for observation and reconnaissance purposes. Bulgaria has transferred 100 armored vehicles to Ukraine, marking the country’s first official transfer of heavy equipment. In turn, France will send long-range SCALP missiles, equivalent to the British Storm Shadow, to Ukraine and has increased its military assistance to Ukraine by 170 million euros. Japan will provide Ukraine with an unmanned aerial vehicle detection system, while Denmark will supply drones for demining operations. The Norwegian government has increased the size of its military aid fund for Ukraine to 10 billion Norwegian kroner. Additionally, on July 13, the European Parliament approved the Act on Support to Ammunition Production (ASAP) aimed at accelerating the delivery of ammunition and missiles to Ukraine and assisting member states in replenishing their arsenals.
On July 11, the participating states of the “fighter coalition” (11 partner countries along with Ukraine) signed a memorandum defining the terms for training Ukrainian pilots in operating Western F-16 fighters, which will commence in Denmark in August. The US will allow European countries to train Ukrainians on F-16 fighter jets.
This week, President Yoon Suk Yeol of the Republic of Korea visited Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine held a meeting with the South Korean leader, discussing the implementation of the Peace Formula, food security issues, strengthening cooperation, and the reconstruction of Ukraine. President Zelenskyy also had a telephone conversation with President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa.
The information in the newsletter is collected from official sources—reports of state authorities of Ukraine, Ukrainian and international news agencies. The accuracy of the data is carefully checked by the project team and corrected in case of fake news.