Friday, July 22, 2022

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 22

 Karolina Hird, Grace Mappes, Layne Philipson, George Barros, and Frederick W. Kagan

July 22, 6:30 pm ET

Click here to see ISW's interactive map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This map is updated daily alongside the static maps present in this report.

The United States announced a new $270 million security package for Ukraine, and Ukrainian officials detailed their procedures for keeping track of Western weapons on July 22.[1] The US package includes an additional four high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS), 36,000 artillery ammunition rounds, anti-armor systems, and 580 Phoenix Ghost drones.[2] Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksii Danilov reiterated that the Ukrainian government is employing multiple monitoring mechanisms to keep track of weapons deliveries to Ukraine.[3] Ukraine’s Modern Information and Analytical System of the Main Situational Center (COTA) reportedly allows Ukrainian officials to monitor the status of arms deliveries to Ukrainian frontlines and works in tandem with NATO’s LOGFAS logistics and accounting control system.[4] Danilov’s statement is likely a response to an ongoing Russian information operation that seeks to discount Ukraine as a trustworthy recipient of Western military aid.[5]

Key Takeaways

  • The United States announced an additional $270 million security package for Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian officials reiterated that they are employing monitoring mechanisms to track and account for the delivery of Western weapons to Ukrainian frontlines.
  • Russian forces conducted ground attacks east of Siversk and to the east and south of Bakhmut.
  • Russian forces unsuccessfully attempted to advance northwest of Donetsk City.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted limited positional battles north of Kharkiv City.
  • Russian forces conducted localized ground attacks near the Kherson-Mykolaiv Oblast border.
  • Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov announced that the newly-formed Chechen “West-Akhmat” battalion will not be immediately deployed into Ukraine and will stay in Chechnya.
  • Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) Denis Pushilin signed a cooperation agreement with the occupation head of Kharkiv Oblast, indicating that the Kremlin intends to integrate Kharkiv Oblast into the Russian Federation.

We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because those activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We will continue to evaluate and report on the effects of these criminal activities on the Ukrainian military and population and specifically on combat in Ukrainian urban areas. We utterly condemn these Russian violations of the laws of armed conflict, Geneva Conventions, and humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.

  • Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine (comprised of one subordinate and two supporting efforts);
  • Subordinate Main Effort—Encirclement of Ukrainian Troops in the Cauldron between Izyum and Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts
  • Supporting Effort 1—Kharkiv City
  • Supporting Effort 2—Southern Axis
  • Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts
  • Activities in Russian-occupied Areas

Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine

Subordinate Main Effort—Southern Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk Oblasts (Russian objective: Encircle Ukrainian forces in Eastern Ukraine and capture the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)

Russian forces did not conduct any confirmed ground attacks toward Slovyansk and shelled settlements to the southeast and southwest of Izyum on July 22. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces shelled Dolyna, Dibrovne, Bohorodychne, Adamivka, Mykilske, Kurulka, Mazanivka, and Krestychne, all to the northwest of Slovyansk, and conducted aerial reconnaissance north of Barvinkove in Velyka Komyshuvakha.[6]

Russian forces continued unsuccessful ground attacks east of Siversk on July 22. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that Russian forces tried and failed to advance westward of Verkhnokamyanka to Verkhnokamyanske and continued to fight southeast of Siversk in Ivano-Darivka.[7] Russian forces also conducted air and artillery strikes on Ukrainian positions in settlements from the northeast to southeast of Siversk.[8]  

Russian forces conducted ground attacks toward Bakhmut from positions to the east and continued limited ground assaults south of Bakhmut on July 22. Russian sources claimed that troops of the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) occupied the southern part of Pokrovske, less than 5 km east of Bakhmut.[9] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian troops are also attempting to advance towards Bakhmut from the Stryapivka-Soledar area to the northeast and the territory of the Vuhledar Power Plant to the south.[10] Russian forces continued artillery strikes directly on Bakhmut and surrounding settlements to support ongoing ground offensives.[11]

Russian forces conducted a limited ground attack directly northwest of Donetsk City on July 22. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian troops repelled a Russian attempt to advance from Vesele to Vodyane, about 10km northwest of the western outskirts of Donetsk City.[12] Russian forces continued to fire at Ukrainian positions along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line of contact and in the direction of the Zaporizhia Oblast border.[13]

Supporting Effort #1—Kharkiv City (Russian objective: Defend ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Izyum and prevent Ukrainian forces from reaching the Russian border)

Russian forces did not make any confirmed territorial advances on the Kharkiv Axis on July 22. The Derhachi City Council reported that Ukrainian forces engaged in positional battles near Tsupivka, Dementiivka, Velyki Prokhody, and in the Kozacha Lopan-Zolochiv direction north of Kharkiv City.[14] Russian Telegram channel Rybar claimed that a Russian reconnaissance group conducted a ground assault near Udy, 5 km from the Russian border northwest of Kharkiv City, but ISW cannot currently verify this claim.[15] Russian forces conducted an airstrike on Verkhnii Saltiv, 35 km east of Kharkiv City along the Siverskyi Donets River.[16] Russian forces also continued shelling Kharkiv City and the surrounding settlements.[17]

Supporting Effort #2—Southern Axis (Russian objective: Defend Kherson and Zaporizhia Oblasts against Ukrainian counterattacks)

Russian forces conducted limited unsuccessful offensives in Kherson Oblast on July 22. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces unsuccessfully attempted to advance in the Mala Seidemynukha-Andriivka and Davydiv Brid-Bilohirka directions, both near the Kherson-Mykolaiv Oblast border.[18] Russian Telegram Channel Rybar confirmed that Ukrainian forces still maintain a bridgehead on the Inhulets River near Lozove on July 22.[19] Russian forces continued focusing on defending previously occupied positions and preventing Ukrainian offensive actions along the Southern Axis and continued conducting artillery strikes on settlements along the Kherson-Mykolaiv and Kherson-Dnipropetrovsk Oblast borders and settlements on the Zaporizhia Oblast frontline.[20] Russian forces launched missile strikes on civilian infrastructure in Mykolaiv City and Apostolove in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast and airstrikes near Potomkyne and Prechystivka.[21] Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported on July 22 that Russian forces are mining roads and the banks of the Inhulets River in the areas bordering Snihurivka and Zelenodolsk, suggesting that Russian forces may be preparing for a possible Ukrainian counteroffensive in the area.[22]

Ukrainian forces are continuing to threaten Russian logistics strongholds along the Southern Axis. Ukraine's Southern Operational Command reported that Ukrainian forces destroyed five Russian strongholds and two Russian ammunition depots in the Zelendolsk and Skadovsk areas of Kherson Oblast on July 22.[23] However, ISW cannot confirm rumors about a Ukrainian encirclement of Russian forces near Vysokopillya as of this publication.[24]

Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) published footage on July 22 of the July 20 Ukrainian strike on Russian military assets at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in occupied Enerhodar, Zaporizhia Oblast.[25] GUR’s footage shows strikes on a Russian BM-21 Grad and anti-air transport among the NPP's water coolers and Russian personnel tents roughly 350 meters from the nearest nuclear cell block.[26] GUR reported that the strikes killed three Russian personnel and wounded 12 others.[27] Images of the strikes’ aftermath show devastation at the former tent site with no damage to the surrounding NPP facilities.[28]

Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts (Russian objective: Expand combat power without conducting general mobilization)

Russian leaders may be de-emphasizing the rapid deployment of ad hoc proxy units to Ukraine. Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov announced on July 22 that personnel of the Chechen “West-Akhmat” Battalion (the formation of which was announced on June 26) will remain in Chechnya to further develop their skills and defend Chechen land if necessary.[29] Kadyrov had previously stated that this battalion was formed with maximum urgency for deployment into Ukraine, which is consistent with ISW’s observations that the Kremlin likely seeks to deploy non-Russian ethnic minority groupings to support operations in Ukraine in the short term.[30] However, Kadyrov now appears to be de-emphasizing the exigency of deployment, which may indicate that he is facing increasing domestic pressure to stop sending Chechens to fight in Russian operations in Ukraine.[31] Russian and Russian-backed proxy authorities may experience increasing internal pressure to scale down deployments of ad hoc battalions in minority enclaves.[32]

Activity in Russian-occupied Areas (Russian objective: consolidate administrative control of occupied areas; set conditions for potential annexation into the Russian Federation or some other future political arrangement of Moscow’s choosing)

Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) Head Denis Pushilin and Russian-backed Kharkiv occupation government head Vitaly Ganchev signed an agreement on July 22 to facilitate the cultural, political, and economic integration of occupied Kharkiv Oblast with Russia.[33] Pushilin claimed that the Russian “liberation” of Kharkiv Oblast, which Pushilin called “southern Russia,” has just begun.[34] Pushilin claimed that Russian cities in Kharkiv Oblast are waiting to return to their “Great Motherland” and that the “Russian city of Kharkiv, which has always been a gubernatorial city of the Russian empire...will also return home [to Russia].”[35] This agreement supports ISW’s assessment that the Kremlin intends to annex Kharkiv Oblast into the Russian Federation.  Russian forces may intensify efforts to gain ground in Kharkiv although the likelihood of Russian forces capturing significant territory in Kharkiv Oblast remains limited.

Russian authorities continued measures to foster pro-Russian sentiment and identity among Ukrainian children. Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported that Russian occupation authorities in Kherson Oblast are creating youth public organizations and competitions to further pro-Russian military-patriotic indoctrination of Ukrainian children.[36] The Ukrainian Resistance Center also reported that Russian occupation authorities in Kherson imported an additional 250 teachers from Russia under the guise of a business trip in order to work in occupied Ukraine.[37]

Russian occupation authorities continued crackdowns on partisan activity in occupied Kherson Oblast. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported that Russian occupiers in Kherson City are checking private garages for weapons and have increased street patrols and roadblocks.[38]
















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[36] dot ua/content/rashysty-na-tymchasovo-okupovanykh-terytoriiakh-namahaiutsia-zaluchyty-ukrainsku-molod-do-novostvorenykh-prorosiiskykh-orhanizatsii.html

[37] https://sprotyv.mod dot

[38] dot ua/2022/07/22/rosiyany-nazbyraly-shhe-250-vchyteliv-dlya-vidpravky-na-okupovani-terytoriyi/