UA-69458566-1

Sunday, July 21, 2024

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 21, 2024

Nicole Wolkov, Christina Harward, Grace Mappes, Kateryna Stepanenko, and George Barros

July 21, 2024, 5:45pm 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.

Click here to see ISW’s 3D control of terrain topographic map of Ukraine. Use of a computer (not a mobile device) is strongly recommended for using this data-heavy tool.

Click here to access ISW’s archive of interactive time-lapse maps of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These maps complement the static control-of-terrain map that ISW produces daily by showing a dynamic frontline. ISW will update this time-lapse map archive monthly.

Note: The data cut-off for this product was 12:30pm ET on July 21. ISW will cover subsequent reports in the July 22 Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment.

Russian State Duma Chairperson Vyacheslav Volodin recently visited Nicaragua and Cuba, likely as part of ongoing Kremlin efforts to project its influence in the Western hemisphere and rally states against the US and the West. Volodin met with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo in Managua, Nicaragua on July 20 and relayed a message from Russian President Vladimir Putin stating that Russo-Nicaraguan relations are "developing dynamically" and that the two states' coordination efforts in international affairs are "yielding good results."[1] Ortega condemned Western sanctions against Russia and reiterated Kremlin narratives claiming that NATO support for Ukraine is aggravating the war. Volodin met with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel in Havana, Cuba on July 21 and relayed a similar message from Putin that Russo-Cuban relations are "developing dynamically."[2] Diaz-Canel thanked Russia for its support to end the US blockade against Cuba.[3] Volodin told journalists on July 21 that the Russian State Duma will send observers to the Venezuelan presidential election on July 28.[4] Russia has increasingly been trying to demonstrate its influence in the Western hemisphere, including by signing a memorandum of understanding with Venezuela aimed at countering "coercive measures" and conducting naval exercises near and port calls to Cuba and Venezuela in June 2024.[5] Cuba and Nicaragua were also notably among the eight Russian "ally" states that voted against a recent United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolution demanding that Russia withdraw its forces from the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) and return the plant to full Ukrainian control.[6] Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela have recently expressed interest in joining BRICS, and Putin has recently identified BRICS as a pillar of his envisioned "Eurasian security architecture" that is aimed at undermining NATO.[7]

Volodin's visits to Nicaragua and Cuba immediately followed Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko's visits to Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, during which Golovchenko signed multiple bilateral economic and trade agreements, possibly as part of Russian schemes that use Belarus to help Russia evade Western sanctions. Golovchenko visited Venezuela from July 14 to 16 and met with Venezuelan officials, including Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.[8] Golovchenko stated that his visit aimed to discuss trade and the economic sphere and expressed Belarus' unwavering support for Maduro.[9] Golovechenko also visited Cuba from July 16 to 17, during which he signed contracts worth "millions of dollars" to supply unspecified Belarusian goods to Cuba in exchange for Cuban exports to Belarus.[10] Golovchenko visited Nicaragua from July 18 to 19 and signed contracts worth $85 million aimed at bilateral economic cooperation, including the Belarusian Development Bank's agreement to finance the delivery of more than 700 pieces of unspecified equipment to Nicaragua.[11] Belarus may provide goods, equipment, or technology to Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Cuba in exchange for goods that Belarus and/or Russia cannot themselves acquire due to Western sanctions.

The Georgian State Security Service (SUS or SSSG) reportedly recently summoned several Georgian citizens who had served as volunteers alongside Ukrainian forces for questioning on charges of "conspiracy to overthrow the government" and "terrorism." Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Georgian service Ekho Kavkaza reported on July 20 that the SUS summoned a Georgian activist and former volunteer in Ukraine, Lasha Chigladze, for questioning in the presence of a Tbilisi City Court judge on July 19.[12] Pro-ruling party Georgian Dream media outlet Imedi TV reported that Georgian authorities charged Chigladze with conspiracy to overthrow the government and "preparing [acts of] terrorism."[13] Chigladze's lawyer told Georgian opposition outlet Mtavari TV that he assessed that Georgian authorities summoned Chigladze because he fought in Ukraine against Russia.[14] Another Georgian citizen who volunteered alongside Ukrainian forces, Nadim Khmaladze, stated on his Facebook page on July 20 that the SUS had summoned him for questioning on charges of planning a "coup d'etat" and "terrorism."[15] Khmaladze told Georgian outlet Batumelebi that the SUS summoned a third Georgian citizen who volunteered with Ukrainian forces for questioning.[16] Article 410 of Georgia's criminal code forbids mercenarism, but Georgian authorities notably did not charge these former volunteers under that article, nor hundreds of other Georgian volunteers who have fought in support of Ukraine since 2014.[17]

The SUS previously employed standard Kremlin information operations against Georgians protesting Georgia's Russian-style "foreign agents" bill in May 2024 and particularly blamed Georgians living abroad and fighting in Ukraine, and other perceived opposition actors for provocations and inciting protests.[18] The SUS also claimed in September 2023 that former Georgian officials, Ukrainian military intelligence officials of Georgian descent, and Georgians fighting with Ukrainian forces in Ukraine were plotting a violent coup.[19] The Kremlin routinely uses the narrative of a “violent coup” in Ukraine to misrepresent Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity and protests for Ukrainian European integration, and the SUS’ activities increasingly mirror Kremlin rhetoric. Georgian authorities and the SUS' decision to question and charge its citizens who have fought in Ukraine indicate that the Georgian Dream ruling party likely intends to purposefully derail long-term Georgian efforts for Euro-Atlantic integration, which plays into continued Russian hybrid operations to divide, destabilize, and weaken Georgia. A recent Caucasus Barometer (a network of affiliated research centers in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia) poll of Georgian citizens, however, indicates that 69 percent of respondents identify Russia as Georgia's "main enemy," and a National Democratic Institute poll of Georgian citizens published in February 2023 found that 81 percent of respondents support Georgia's membership in the European Union (EU) and 73 percent of respondents support Georgia's membership in NATO.[20]

Geolocated imagery confirms that a Ukrainian drone strike damaged infrastructure at the Millerovo Airbase in Rostov Oblast overnight from July 19 to 20.[21] Geolocated satellite imagery collected on July 21 shows that Ukrainian strikes destroyed the Millerovo Airbase's maintenance hangar, damaged a fuel depot, and sparked a fire in a nearby field.[22] It is unclear whether the Ukrainian drone strike damaged Russian aircraft at the Millerovo Airbase.

Key Takeaways:

  • Russian State Duma Chairperson Vyacheslav Volodin recently visited Nicaragua and Cuba, likely as part of ongoing Kremlin efforts to project its influence in the Western hemisphere and rally states against the US and the West.
  • The Georgian State Security Service (SUS or SSSG) reportedly recently summoned several Georgian citizens, who had served as volunteers alongside Ukrainian forces, for questioning on charges of "conspiracy to overthrow the government" and "terrorism."
  • Geolocated imagery confirms that a Ukrainian drone strike damaged infrastructure at the Millerovo Airbase in Rostov Oblast overnight on July 19 to 20.
  • Russian forces recently advanced near Avdiivka.
  • Russian forces conducted missile and drone strikes against Ukraine overnight on July 20 to 21.
  • Russian federal subjects are intensifying non-standard monetary incentives for contract service with the Russian military.

We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because these 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 the Ukrainian population and specifically on combat in Ukrainian urban areas. We utterly condemn Russian violations of the laws of armed conflict and the Geneva Conventions and crimes against humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.

  • Russian Main Effort – Eastern Ukraine (comprised of three subordinate main efforts)
  • Russian Subordinate Main Effort #1 – Push Ukrainian forces back from the international border with Belgorod Oblast and approach to within tube artillery range of Kharkiv City
  • Russian Subordinate Main Effort #2 – Capture the remainder of Luhansk Oblast and push westward into eastern Kharkiv Oblast and encircle northern Donetsk Oblast
  • Russian Subordinate Main Effort #3 – Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast
  • Russian Supporting Effort – Southern Axis
  • Russian Air, Missile, and Drone Campaign
  • Russian Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts
  • Russian Technological Adaptations
  • Activities in Russian-occupied areas
  • Ukrainian Defense Industrial Base Efforts
  • Russian Information Operations and Narratives
  • Significant Activity in Belarus

Russian Main Effort – Eastern Ukraine

Russian Subordinate Main Effort #1 – Kharkiv Oblast (Russian objective: Push Ukrainian forces back from the international border with Belgorod Oblast and approach to within tube artillery range of Kharkiv City)

Russian forces continued localized offensive operations north and northeast of Kharkiv City on July 20 and 21 but did not advance. Russian forces reportedly attacked north of Kharkiv City near Hlyboke and northeast of Kharkiv City in Vovchansk, and Ukrainian forces reportedly counterattacked near Hlyboke on July 20 and 21.[23] A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces are attempting to prevent Ukrainian forces from crossing the Travyanske Reservoir (northwest of Lyptsi).[24]

The Russian military command continues to reinforce Russian forces near Hlyboke and Vovchansk to sustain offensive operations in the Kharkiv direction. The Ukrainian Kharkiv Operational-Tactical Group of Forces (GoF) reported on July 21 that the Russian military command deployed additional assault groups of the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade (Pacific Fleet, Eastern Military District [EMD]) and 18th Motorized Rifle Division (11th Army Corps [AC], Baltic Fleet, Leningrad Military District [LMD]) near Hlyboke.[25] The Ukrainian Kharkiv GoF added that the Russian military command is regrouping assault groups of the Russian 41st Motorized Regiment (72nd Motorized Rifle Division, 44th AC, LMD), 1009th Motorized Rifle Regiment (6th Combined Arms Army [CAA], LMD), and 128th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (44th AC) to continue assaults in central and eastern Vovchansk. The Ukrainian Kharkiv GoF added that Russian forces withdrew the Russian 153rd Tank Regiment (47th Tank Division, 1st Guards Tank Army [GTA], Moscow Military District [MMD]) for reconstitution and that elements of the 128th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade and the Chechen “Akhmat” Spetsnaz detachment assumed the regiment’s positions. The Ukrainian Kharkiv GoF reported on July 13 that the Russian command was preparing elements of the Russian 153rd Tank Regiment to launch attacks within Vovchansk.[26] A deputy commander of a Ukrainian brigade operating in the Kharkiv direction reported that Russian servicemen train for two to six weeks before deploying to the Kharkiv frontline and do not receive accurate information about the real situation on this frontline before fighting as part of the Russian assault groups.[27] A Ukrainian official amplified a screenshot of a complaint from the wife of a Russian servicemember from the 79th Motorized Rifle Regiment (18th Motorized Rifle Division), claiming that her husband is currently fighting in the Lyptsi area (north of Kharkiv City) without water and food.[28]

Russian Subordinate Main Effort #2 – Luhansk Oblast (Russian objective: Capture the remainder of Luhansk Oblast and push westward into eastern Kharkiv Oblast and northern Donetsk Oblast)

Russian forces reportedly advanced along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line, but there were no confirmed changes to the frontline in this area on July 21. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Russian forces seized Andriivka (west of Svatove) and Pishchane (northwest of Svatove).[29] ISW previously assessed on July 20 that geolocated footage indicated that Russian forces recently seized Pishchane.[30] A prominent Russian milblogger claimed on July 21, however, that Russian forces do not fully control Pishchane and that Russian forces' presence in Andriivka is unconfirmed.[31] Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces also advanced further west of Pishchane, towards Stepova Novoselivka (southeast of Kupyansk), and up to 1.75 kilometers east of Andriivka and Myasozharivka (west of Svatove).[32] ISW has not observed confirmation of these Russian claims, however. Russian forces continued offensive operations northeast of Kupyansk near Synkivka; northwest of Svatove near Stelmakhivka, Hlushkivka, Pishchane, and Berestove; and west of Svatove Andriivka on July 20 and 21.[33] Elements of a Russian reconnaissance company of the 347th Motorized Rifle Regiment (47th Tank Division, 1st Guards Tank Army [GTA], Moscow Military District [MMD]) are reportedly operating in the Kupyansk direction.[34]

Russian Subordinate Main Effort #3 – Donetsk Oblast (Russian objective: Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)

Russian forces continued ground attacks in the Siversk direction on July 21 but did not make any confirmed advances in the area. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces attacked northeast of Siversk near Bilohorivka; east of Siversk near Verkhnokamyanske; southeast of Siversk near Vyimka and Spirne; and south of Siversk near Pereizne on July 20 and 21.[35]

Russian forces continued offensive operations near Chasiv Yar on July 21, but there were no confirmed changes to the frontline. A Russian milblogger claimed that there are reports that Russian forces crossed the Siverskyi Donets-Donbas Canal on an unspecified flank of Chasiv Yar, although ISW currently assesses that Russian forces have not established enduring positions on the west side of the canal in or near Chasiv Yar.[36] Fighting continued near Chasiv Yar; north of Chasiv Yar near Novomarkove and Kalynivka; southeast of Chasiv Yar near Klishchiivka and Andriivka, and south of Chasiv Yar near Stupochky on July 20 and 21.[37] Assault elements of the Russian 88th "Hispaniola" Volunteer Brigade (Russian Volunteer Corps) claimed that they are conducting assaults near Chasiv Yar on motorcycles.[38] Elements of the Russian 98th Airborne (VDV) Division reportedly continue operating near Chasiv Yar.[39]

Russian forces continued ground attacks near Toretsk on July 21 but did not make any confirmed advances. A prominent Kremlin-affiliated Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces advanced south of Pivdenne Mine and Poltavska Street east of Zalizne (southeast of Toretsk), although ISW has not observed visual confirmation of these claims.[40] Another Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces advanced up to one kilometer deep in Niu York (south of Toretsk).[41] Fighting continued east of Toretsk near Pivnichne and Druzhba; southeast of Toretsk near Zalizne and Pivdenne; and south of Toretsk near Niu York on July 20 and 21.[42]

Russian forces recently advanced southwest of Avdiivka amid continued Russian offensive operations west of Avdiivka on July 21. Geolocated footage published on July 21 indicates that Russian forces recently advanced northeast of Nevelske (southwest of Avdiivka).[43] Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces advanced north of Prohres and south and up to 500 meters west of Lozuvatske (both northwest of Avdiivka), although ISW has not observed visual confirmation of these claims.[44]  Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces advanced in eastern Vovche and seized Novoselivka Persha (both northwest of Avdiivka), but one milblogger continued to claim that Ukrainian forces still maintain positions on the outskirts of Novoselivka Persha.[45] Fighting continued north of Avdiivka near Kalynove; northwest of Avdiivka near Vozdvyzhenka, Lozuvatske, Novooleksandrivka, Prohres, and Novoselivka Persha; and west of Avdiivka near Umanske, Yasnobrodivka, and Karlivka on July 20 and 21.[46] Elements of the Russian 1st detachment of the “Wolves” Sabotage and Reconnaissance Brigade, Vostok-V Volunteer Reconnaissance-Assault Brigade (Rosgvardia), and 116th Separate Rifle Regiment (1st Donetsk People's Republic Army Corps [DNR AC]) are reportedly operating near Ocheretyne (northwest of Avdiivka).[47] Elements of the Russian "Black Hussars" detachment (15th Motorized Rifle Brigade, 2nd Combined Arms Army [CAA], Central Military District [CMD]), 30th Motorized Rifle Brigade (2nd AC, CMD), 27th Motorized Rifle Division (2nd CAA, CMD), and 1st “Slavic” Motorized Rifle Brigade (1st DNR AC) are reportedly operating near Prohres.[48]

Russian forces continued Russian offensive operations west and southwest of Donetsk City on July 21 but did not make any confirmed advances. Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces advanced north along Vidrodzhennya, Michurina, and Haharina streets in central Krasnohorivka (west of Donetsk City).[49] Geolocated footage published on July 21 shows Ukrainian forces repelling a Russian roughly reinforced platoon-sized mechanized assault south of Kostyantynivka (southwest of Donetsk City).[50] Fighting continued west of Donetsk City near Krasnohorivka and southwest of Donetsk City near Heorhiivka, Paraskoviivka, and Kostyantynivka on July 20 and 21.[51] Elements of the Russian 238th Artillery Brigade (8th CAA, Southern Military District [SMD]), "Grachi" Spetsnaz detachment, and 5th and 110th motorized rifle brigades (both of the 1st DNR AC) are reportedly operating near Krasnohorivka.[52] Drone operators of the Russian 39th Motorized Rifle Brigade (68th AC, Eastern Military District [EMD]) are reportedly operating near Kostyantynivka, and elements of the Russian 57th Motorized Rifle Brigade (5th CAA, EMD) are reportedly operating in the Vuheldar direction.[53]

Russian forces continued ground attacks in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area on July 21. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces attacked near Staromayorske (south of Velyka Novosilka) on July 20 and 21.[54]

Russian Supporting Effort – Southern Axis (Russian objective: Maintain frontline positions and secure rear areas against Ukrainian strikes)

Positional engagements continued in western Zaporizhia Oblast near Robotyne, northeast of Robotyne near Mala Tokmachka, north of Robotyne near Novodanylivka, and northwest of Robotyne near Shcherbaky on July 20 and 21.[55]

Positional engagements continued in east (left) bank Kherson Oblast, including near Krynky and Kozachi Laheri, on July 20 and 21.[56] Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces are clearing unspecified islands in the Dnipro River Delta and that Ukrainian forces maintain positions near Kruhlyk Lake (west of Oleshky).[57]

Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted a drone and ATACMS strikes against occupied Crimea on the night of July 20 to 21 and on the morning of July 21. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Russian forces destroyed five drones over the Black Sea, and Kherson Oblast occupation head Vladimir Saldo claimed that Russian forces intercepted two ATACMS missiles flying towards occupied Crimea on the morning of July 21.[58]

Russian Air, Missile, and Drone Campaign (Russian Objective: Target Ukrainian military and civilian infrastructure in the rear and on the frontline)

Russian forces conducted missile and drone strikes against Ukraine overnight on July 20 to 21. Ukrainian Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Mykola Oleshchuk stated that Russian forces launched 39 Shahed 136/131 drones from the Kursk, Primorsko-Akhtarsk, and occupied Crimea directions and three Iskander-M ballistic missiles and two Kh-59/69 cruise missiles from Kursk Oblast overnight.[59] Oleshchuk stated that Ukrainian forces shot down 35 Shaheds and that unspecified Ukrainian countermeasures, likely referring to electronic warfare (EW), prevented the Kh-59/69 missiles from striking their targets.[60] The Sumy Oblast Military Administration reported that a Russian missile strike damaged critical infrastructure in Shostkynskyi Raion, Sumy Oblast, and the Mykolaiv Oblast Military Administration reported that a Russian missile strike started a fire at an agricultural infrastructure object in Bashtanskyi Raion, Mykolaiv Oblast.[61] Kyiv City Military Administration reported that Russian forces targeted Kyiv for the fifth time over the past two weeks but that Ukrainian forces shot down all drones on the approaches to the city.[62]

Ukrainian sources reported that Russian forces used a new type of strike drone in strikes against Ukraine overnight on July 19 to 20. Ukrainian media outlets circulated imagery of drone wreckage and claimed that this is the unspecified strike drone that Ukrainian officials reported on July 20.[63] Ukrainian media cited unspecified sources as saying this drone flew at a low altitude of only 20-30 meters and speculated that the drone resembles the Russian ZALA 421-20 reconnaissance drone.[64] One Ukrainian source claimed that this new Russian drone contains both Russian and Chinese-produced parts.[65] ISW remains unable to verify any of these reports, however.

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

Russian federal subjects are intensifying non-standard monetary incentives for contract service with the Russian military. Yaroslavl Oblast Head Mikhail Yevraev announced on July 16 a new initiative offering 100,000 rubles (about $1,150) to any person who brings a friend to a military registration and recruitment center if the friend signs a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) for military service.[66] The Republic of Tatarstan also started a similar initiative as of July 11.[67] Russian State Duma Committee on State Construction and Legislation Deputy Chairperson Yuri Sinelshchikov stated that this new recruitment mechanism is risky and that Russians can abuse this system, especially if other federal subjects adopt similar mechanisms.[68] Sinelshchikov called for this mechanism to be codified in Russian legal regulations and expressed concern about whether Russian federal subjects can sustain funding for such initiatives. Russian opposition source Cherta reported that some Russians are signing contracts to earn money to pay off gambling debts after interviewing several gamblers and their families.[69]

Russian forces are reportedly developing and formalizing a military motorcycle specialty, likely in response to increased Ukrainian drone strikes and aerial reconnaissance forcing Russian forces to use small and fast vehicles for frontline logistics and transport. A Russian milblogger claimed on July 21 that the Russian 5th Motorized Rifle Brigade (1st Donetsk People's Republic Army Corps [DNR AC]) is establishing its own military motorcycle school and that other Russian brigades are similarly handling this issue "at a high level."[70] The milblogger claimed that Russian forces also plan to introduce a military motorcycle specialty and that the Russian Volunteer Society for Assistance to the Army, Aviation, and Navy of Russia (DOSAAF) will begin training motorcycle specialists on October 1.[71]

Russian Technological Adaptations (Russian objective: Introduce technological innovations to optimize systems for use in Ukraine)  

Tikhiye Krylya (Quiet Wings) Group, a subsidiary of Russian joint-stock arms manufacturing company Kalashnikov Concern, claimed on July 17 that it successfully tested the "Legionnaire E33k" unmanned aircraft that can deliver cargo.[72] The Legionnaire E33k reportedly weighs 29.9 kilograms, has a wingspan of four meters, has a range of 200 kilometers with a payload of three kilograms and 50 kilometers with a payload of 10 kilograms, and can fly for up to 150 minutes (2 and a half hours).

Ukrainian Defense Industrial Efforts (Ukrainian objective: Develop its defense industrial base to become more self-sufficient in cooperation with US, European, and international partners)

ISW is not publishing coverage of Ukrainian defense industrial efforts today.

Activities in Russian-occupied areas (Russian objective: Consolidate administrative control of annexed areas; forcibly integrate Ukrainian citizens into Russian sociocultural, economic, military, and governance systems)

ISW is not publishing coverage of activities in Russian-occupied areas today.

Russian Information Operations and Narratives

Ukrainian broadcaster Suspilne and Russian online technology outlet Kod Durova reported on July 21 that unknown hackers distributed an identical message with pro-Kremlin narratives and a call for Ukrainian forces to lay down their arms across 273 prominent Ukrainian Telegram channels.[73] The message accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of starting the war with Russia and re-amplified a false Russian narrative that Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska purchased a luxury sports car. The message called on Ukrainians to “lay down [their] arms” and “choose the path of dialogue and understanding.” Ukrainian media consultant Igor Palchikovsky told Suspilne that the message appeared on several prominent Ukrainian Telegram channels with over one million followers each and on Ukrainian regional Telegram channels. Palchikovsky added that this message appeared across 1,964 Telegram channels, most of which were Russian Telegram channels, but that the affected Ukrainian channels had large followings while the affected Russian channels had small audiences. Kod Durova found that the message largely targeted Ukrainian Telegram channels, however.[74] An official Telegram channel of the Russian Airborne (VDV) and Spetsnaz forces (1.1 million followers) claimed that hackers posted the same message on their page via the Russian “FleepBot” and “Crosser Bot” Telegram bots, which are used for auto-posting and audience interaction analysis, respectively.[75] The Ukrainian State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection announced that hackers used the FleepBot function and advised Ukrainian Telegram channels to remove the bot.[76] FleepBot representatives claimed that the incident was the result of “unauthorized access” and promised to contact law enforcement.[77] Kod Durova reported that a similar incident occurred in March 2022 with Crosser Bot.

Russian state media is likely attempting to establish a network of claimed pro-Russian voices in Ukraine to erode public trust in the Ukrainian government and demoralize Ukrainian society. Kremlin newswire TASS interviewed an alleged member of the pro-Russian underground movement in Ukraine who amplified several false Kremlin claims, such as the presence of Western mercenaries in different Ukrainian regions, ungrounded accusations of Ukrainian forces committing crimes against civilians, and narratives about domestic and mobilization problems.[78] The Kremlin may be attempting to infiltrate the Ukrainian information space with such claimed Ukrainian, pro-Russian narratives.

Kremlin state media continues to deliberately misrepresent Zelensky’s discussions about the second Global Peace Summit and possible talks with Russia on the condition of the Kremlin’s serious considerations of Ukrainian demands as a violation of Ukrainian laws against talks with Russia.[79] TASS claimed that Zelensky stated in a BBC interview that Ukraine could negotiate with Russia and claimed that a Ukrainian decree previously banned such negotiations. The Kremlin state media is deliberately misrepresenting Zelensky and the Ukrainian government’s statements to suggest that the Ukrainian government is violating Ukrainian laws and the will of the Ukrainian people.

Significant activity in Belarus (Russian efforts to increase its military presence in Belarus and further integrate Belarus into Russian-favorable frameworks and Wagner Group activity in Belarus)

Nothing significant to report.

Note: ISW does not receive any classified material from any source, uses only publicly available information, and draws extensively on Russian, Ukrainian, and Western reporting and social media as well as commercially available satellite imagery and other geospatial data as the basis for these reports. References to all sources used are provided in the endnotes of each update.


[1] https://t.me/MID_Russia/43382

[2] https://t.me/MID_Russia/43388; https://tass dot ru/politika/21412007

[3] https://t.me/MID_Russia/43388

[4] https://www.interfax dot ru/world/971759

[5] https://isw.pub/UkrWar062524; ] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-june-6-2024; https://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/russian-warships-leave-havanas-port-after-5-day-111192438

[6] https://isw.pub/UkrWar071224

[7] https://tass dot ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/21078215 ; https://ria dot ru/20240607/nikaragua-1951373387.html ; https://tass dot ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/20878267; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-june-21-2024 ; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-july-3-2024   ; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-june-14-2024

[8] https://www.belta dot by/society/view/golovchenko-na-vstreche-s-ministrom-inostrannyh-del-venesuely-etot-vizit-dlja-nas-osobennyj-647801-2024/; https://www.belta dot by/society/view/golovchenko-belarus-i-venesuela-ne-tolko-realizujut-prezhnie-dogovorennosti-no-i-vyjdut-na-novye-648122-2024/; https://www.belta dot by/politics/view/golovchenko-pribyl-v-venesuelu-647774-2024/ ; https://www.belta dot by/society/view/golovchenko-obsudil-s-prezidentom-venesuely-razvitie-stran-v-uslovijah-sektsionnogo-davlenija-648099-2024/

[9] https://www.belta dot by/society/view/golovchenko-na-vstreche-s-ministrom-inostrannyh-del-venesuely-etot-vizit-dlja-nas-osobennyj-647801-2024/

[10] https://belta dot by/society/view/golovchenko-pribyl-s-ofitsialnym-vizitom-na-kubu-648360-2024/; https://www.belta dot by/economics/view/golovchenko-nesmotrja-na-slozhnosti-izyskali-vozmozhnosti-dlja-postavok-belorusskoj-produktsii-na-kubu-649435-2024/

[11] https://belta dot by/economics/view/kontrakty-na-85-mln-podpisany-vo-vremja-vizita-golovchenko-v-nikaragua-648961-2024/; https://belta dot by/society/view/golovchenko-pribyl-s-ofitsialnym-vizitom-v-nikaragua-648680-2024

[12] https://www.ekhokavkaza dot com/a/sgb-nachala-vyzyvatj-na-oprosy-gruzinskih-dobrovoljtsev-voevavshih-v-ukraine/33044220.html

[13] https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1698943197592613 ; https://www.ekhokavkaza dot com/a/sgb-nachala-vyzyvatj-na-oprosy-gruzinskih-dobrovoljtsev-voevavshih-v-ukraine/33044220.html

[14] https://mtavari dot tv/news/161459-zedapiruli-kitkhvebi-iqo-tvalshi-vechkhirebit ; https://www.ekhokavkaza dot com/a/sgb-nachala-vyzyvatj-na-oprosy-gruzinskih-dobrovoljtsev-voevavshih-v-ukraine/33044220.html

[15] https://www.facebook.com/N.D.khmala/posts/pfbid02qTojnTT3mHpLq7nzK6sqeeDYp31tHm9LtbqZ4AkT7imYMggFNhHQks24DTnFB3c9l ; https://www.ekhokavkaza dot com/a/sgb-nachala-vyzyvatj-na-oprosy-gruzinskih-dobrovoljtsev-voevavshih-v-ukraine/33044220.html

[16] https://batumelebi dot netgazeti.ge/slideshow/536072/

[17] https://matsne.gov dot ge/en/document/view/16426?publication=262

[18] https://www.facebook.com/sssgeo/posts/pfbid02pprPC9JTY6t2ATZYxGRVTyRNh9RxPtHp4qmo4nhM6ywKeec48DUxNYxBXtveMX2cl ; https://www.ekhokavkaza dot com/a/32937747.html ; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-may-8-2024

[19] https://www.radiotavisupleba dot ge/a/32597360.html ; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-may-8-2024

[20] https://www.caucasusbarometer.org/en/cb2024ge/MAINENEM/ ; https://www.svoboda dot org/a/opros-pochti-70-gruzin-nazvali-rossiyu-vragom-svoey-strany-/33044801.html ; https://www.ndi.org/publications/ndi-poll-eu-membership-support-increases-indicating-georgians-unwavering-support

[21] https://x.com/kromark/status/1815026901510946821; https://x.com/kromark/status/1814912166589304847; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-july-20-2024

[22] https://x.com/kromark/status/1815026901510946821; https://x.com/kromark/status/1814912166589304847

[23] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0Au5MU5GB6eLZN2ziHC9JgUoXNmeTUVVEaFhDMkjD3LKyDdC8WC4DgVR476PX9jVSl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0QdYaG8YXhNo1njMSmQ13roUimEkqybycqqDtXoVErkMesDhfzGhvdstrTekjTMkQl https://t.me/synegubov/10444; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0zrSQjcrNpEKV1gn7HWpxqKCVQi3GmhAt9e9pUG4vB2efSctBRpagi1f11wkvYwCZl; https://t.me/wargonzo/21128; https://t.me/DnevnikDesantnika/12931 ; https://t.me/RVvoenkor/72890

[24] https://t.me/DnevnikDesantnika/12931

[25] https://t.me/otukharkiv/310

[26] https://understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-july-13-2024

[27] https://armyinform dot com.ua/2024/07/21/zastupnyk-komandyra-3-yi-shturmovoyi-rozpoviv-hto-proty-nyh-voyuye-na-harkivskomu-napryamku/

[28] https://t.me/andriyshTime/24896?single

[29] https://t.me/mod_russia/41241

[30] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-july-20-2024

[31] https://t.me/rybar/61960

[32] https://t.me/RVvoenkor/72890; https://t.me/motopatriot/25187

[33] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0Au5MU5GB6eLZN2ziHC9JgUoXNmeTUVVEaFhDMkjD3LKyDdC8WC4DgVR476PX9jVSl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0QdYaG8YXhNo1njMSmQ13roUimEkqybycqqDtXoVErkMesDhfzGhvdstrTekjTMkQl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0zrSQjcrNpEKV1gn7HWpxqKCVQi3GmhAt9e9pUG4vB2efSctBRpagi1f11wkvYwCZl; https://t.me/rybar/61960

[34] https://t.me/belarusian_silovik/38021; https://t.me/dva_majors/47737 ; https://t.me/boris_rozhin/130719; https://t.me/epoddubny/20456 ; https://t.me/brussinf/7790

[35] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0Au5MU5GB6eLZN2ziHC9JgUoXNmeTUVVEaFhDMkjD3LKyDdC8WC4DgVR476PX9jVSl ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0QdYaG8YXhNo1njMSmQ13roUimEkqybycqqDtXoVErkMesDhfzGhvdstrTekjTMkQl ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0zrSQjcrNpEKV1gn7HWpxqKCVQi3GmhAt9e9pUG4vB2efSctBRpagi1f11wkvYwCZl

[36] https://t.me/motopatriot/25177

[37] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0Au5MU5GB6eLZN2ziHC9JgUoXNmeTUVVEaFhDMkjD3LKyDdC8WC4DgVR476PX9jVSl ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0QdYaG8YXhNo1njMSmQ13roUimEkqybycqqDtXoVErkMesDhfzGhvdstrTekjTMkQl ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0zrSQjcrNpEKV1gn7HWpxqKCVQi3GmhAt9e9pUG4vB2efSctBRpagi1f11wkvYwCZl ; https://t.me/RVvoenkor/72876 ;

[38] https://t.me/spainrus/1463 ; https://x.com/666_mancer/status/1815018565793206450

[39] https://t.me/rusich_army/15943 ; https://t.me/DnevnikDesantnika/12916 ; https://t.me/motopatriot/25173 ; https://t.me/EnotHersonVDV/3334

[40] https://t.me/rybar/61968

[41] https://t.me/DnevnikDesantnika/12929

[42] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0Au5MU5GB6eLZN2ziHC9JgUoXNmeTUVVEaFhDMkjD3LKyDdC8WC4DgVR476PX9jVSl ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0QdYaG8YXhNo1njMSmQ13roUimEkqybycqqDtXoVErkMesDhfzGhvdstrTekjTMkQl ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0zrSQjcrNpEKV1gn7HWpxqKCVQi3GmhAt9e9pUG4vB2efSctBRpagi1f11wkvYwCZl ; https://t.me/RVvoenkor/72870 ; https://t.me/wargonzo/21128

[43] https://t.me/creamy_caprice/6128; https://t.me/Khortytsky_wind/754

[44] https://t.me/z_arhiv/27352 ; https://t.me/RVvoenkor/72890

[45] https://t.me/RVvoenkor/72868 ; https://t.me/wargonzo/21128 ; https://t.me/voenkorKotenok/57670 ; https://t.me/NgP_raZVedka/18426 ; https://t.me/NgP_raZVedka/18423

[46] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0Au5MU5GB6eLZN2ziHC9JgUoXNmeTUVVEaFhDMkjD3LKyDdC8WC4DgVR476PX9jVSl ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0QdYaG8YXhNo1njMSmQ13roUimEkqybycqqDtXoVErkMesDhfzGhvdstrTekjTMkQl ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0zrSQjcrNpEKV1gn7HWpxqKCVQi3GmhAt9e9pUG4vB2efSctBRpagi1f11wkvYwCZl ; https://t.me/DnevnikDesantnika/12930 ; https://t.me/wargonzo/21128 ; https://t.me/voenkorKotenok/57670

[47] https://t.me/boris_rozhin/130698

[48] https://t.me/motopatriot/25159 ; https://t.me/voenkorkhayrullin/2950 ; https://t.me/motopatriot/25184 ; https://t.me/NgP_raZVedka/18424

[49] https://t.me/rybar/61954 ; https://t.me/RVvoenkor/72874 ; https://t.me/RVvoenkor/72890 ; https://t.me/wargonzo/21128

[50] https://x.com/klinger66/status/1814997212335604019; https://x.com/PuenteUribarri/status/1814989050501042438

[51] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0Au5MU5GB6eLZN2ziHC9JgUoXNmeTUVVEaFhDMkjD3LKyDdC8WC4DgVR476PX9jVSl ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0QdYaG8YXhNo1njMSmQ13roUimEkqybycqqDtXoVErkMesDhfzGhvdstrTekjTMkQl ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0zrSQjcrNpEKV1gn7HWpxqKCVQi3GmhAt9e9pUG4vB2efSctBRpagi1f11wkvYwCZl ; https://t.me/rybar/61954

[52] https://t.me/boris_rozhin/130682 ; https://t.me/Sladkov_plus/11035

[53] https://t.me/voin_dv/9853 ; https://t.me/voin_dv/9858

[54] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0zrSQjcrNpEKV1gn7HWpxqKCVQi3GmhAt9e9pUG4vB2efSctBRpagi1f11wkvYwCZl ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0QdYaG8YXhNo1njMSmQ13roUimEkqybycqqDtXoVErkMesDhfzGhvdstrTekjTMkQl

[55] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0Au5MU5GB6eLZN2ziHC9JgUoXNmeTUVVEaFhDMkjD3LKyDdC8WC4DgVR476PX9jVSl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0QdYaG8YXhNo1njMSmQ13roUimEkqybycqqDtXoVErkMesDhfzGhvdstrTekjTMkQl ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0zrSQjcrNpEKV1gn7HWpxqKCVQi3GmhAt9e9pUG4vB2efSctBRpagi1f11wkvYwCZl

[56] https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0QdYaG8YXhNo1njMSmQ13roUimEkqybycqqDtXoVErkMesDhfzGhvdstrTekjTMkQl; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0zrSQjcrNpEKV1gn7HWpxqKCVQi3GmhAt9e9pUG4vB2efSctBRpagi1f11wkvYwCZl; https://t.me/SJTF_Odes/10604

[57] https://t.me/motopatriot/25142; https://t.me/motopatriot/25151; https://t.me/russian_airborne/6533 ; https://t.me/voin_dv/9846; https://t.me/DnevnikDesantnika/12920

[58] https://t.me/mod_russia/41228; https://t.me/SALDO_VGA/3825

[59] https://t.me/ComAFUA/352 ; https://armyinform dot com.ua/2024/07/21/syly-ppo-zbyly-vnochi-35-shahediv/ ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0igDR4VvZBzJyE3mW7nsPJ6ty6rXYpuoGZtx4dAcqkTmb1QRLc5edjuuozGn3nNz8l ;

[60] https://t.me/ComAFUA/352 ; https://armyinform dot com.ua/2024/07/21/syly-ppo-zbyly-vnochi-35-shahediv/ ; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/pfbid0igDR4VvZBzJyE3mW7nsPJ6ty6rXYpuoGZtx4dAcqkTmb1QRLc5edjuuozGn3nNz8l ;

[61] https://t.me/mykolaivskaODA/10664; https://t.me/mykolaivskaODA/10664

[62] https://t.me/VA_Kyiv/7008 ; https://armyinform dot com.ua/2024/07/21/vorog-vnochi-atakuvav-kyyiv-udarnymy-bpla-vsi-zbyti-na-pidstupah-do-stolyczi/; https://t.me/kyivoda/18819

[63] https://t.me/bbcrussian/68000 ; https://t.me/defenseexpress_ua/7730; https://t.me/war_home/2032; https://mil.in dot ua/uk/news/na-kyyivshhyni-zbyly-udarnyj-dron-novogo-typu/

[64] https://t.me/bbcrussian/68000 ; https://t.me/defenseexpress_ua/7730; https://t.me/war_home/2032; https://mil.in dot ua/uk/news/na-kyyivshhyni-zbyly-udarnyj-dron-novogo-typu/

[65] https://t.me/war_home/2032;

[66] https://sevastopol dot su/news/gubernator-poobeschal-platit-za-privlechenie-kontraktnikov-100-tysyach-rubley

[67] https://understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-july-11-2024; https://www.marimedia dot ru/news/army/item/175258/; https://pg12 dot ru/news/83469

[68] https://www.penzainform dot ru/news/global/2024/07/12/v_gosdume_ukazali_na_risk_v_idee_viplat_za_privedennih_v_voenkomat_blizkih.html

[69] https://t.me/mobilizationnews/19500

[70] https://t.me/Sladkov_plus/11036

[71] https://t.me/Sladkov_plus/11036

[72] https://kalashnikovgroup dot ru/news/kalashnikov-_provel_pokazatelnye_polety_samoleta_-legioner_e33k

[73] https://suspilne dot media/795165-ataka-na-ukrainski-energoobekti-svitlo-vidklucatimut-vprodovz-dobi-878-den-vijni-onlajn/?anchor=live_1721559282&utm_source=copylink&utm_medium=ps; https://suspilne dot media/kharkiv/795365-zaklik-sklasti-zbrou-nizku-ukrainskih-telegram-kanaliv-zlamali-ekspert-poasniv-ak-ce-stalosa/; https://meduza dot io/news/2024/07/21/hakery-poluchili-dostup-k-sotnyam-ukrainskih-telegram-kanalov-i-opublikovali-soobscheniya-s-prizyvom-slozhit-oruzhie ; https://t.me/sotaproject/83777; https://t.me/astrapress/60116

[74] https://t.me/d_code/19711

[75] https://t.me/rusich_army/15939

[76] https://www.facebook.com/dsszzi/posts/pfbid02mF4rMWjD8PhpYgErTrsZSLLtbJz3s5smqqJXMEzzVEe93BvbdMsE3RiLYMgYBPuKl

[77] https://t.me/fleepnews/313

[78] https://t.me/tass_agency/261738; https://t.me/tass_agency/261744; https://t.me/tass_agency/261747; https://t.me/tass_agency/261755 

[79] https://t.me/tass_agency/261785

 

Iran Update, July 21, 2024

Kelly Campa, Alexandra Braverman, Siddhant Kishore, and Brian Carter

Information Cutoff: 2:00 pm ET

The Iran Update provides insights into Iranian and Iranian-sponsored activities abroad that undermine regional stability and threaten US forces and interests. It also covers events and trends that affect the stability and decision-making of the Iranian regime. The Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) provides these updates regularly based on regional events. Click here to see CTP and ISW’s interactive map of Israeli ground operations. This map is updated daily alongside the static maps present in this report.

CTP-ISW defines the “Axis of Resistance” as the unconventional alliance that Iran has cultivated in the Middle East since the Islamic Republic came to power in 1979. This transnational coalition is comprised of state, semi-state, and non-state actors that cooperate to secure their collective interests. Tehran considers itself to be both part of the alliance and its leader. Iran furnishes these groups with varying levels of financial, military, and political support in exchange for some degree of influence or control over their actions. Some are traditional proxies that are highly responsive to Iranian direction, while others are partners over which Iran exerts more limited influence. Members of the Axis of Resistance are united by their grand strategic objectives, which include eroding and eventually expelling American influence from the Middle East, destroying the Israeli state, or both. Pursuing these objectives and supporting the Axis of Resistance to those ends have become cornerstones of Iranian regional strategy.

We do not report in detail on war crimes because these activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We utterly condemn violations of the laws of armed conflict and the Geneva Conventions and crimes against humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.

The IDF reported that its airstrikes targeting Hudaydah, Yemen, on July 20 sought to disrupt the Iranian weapons supply route to the Houthis and damage dual-use infrastructure.[1] The IDF said that it intended to disrupt an Iranian weapons supply route to the Houthis and a critical source of Houthi financing by targeting dual-use energy infrastructure and the port’s cargo unloading capabilities.[2] The IDF estimated that 70% of goods that enter the port of Hudaydah reach the Houthis.[3] Israeli F15s and F35s struck 20 fuel depots, large container cranes used to unload goods from ships, and unspecified energy infrastructure.[4] The strikes set fire to the port and the fire is expected to continue burning for several days.[5] Houthi-affiliated media reported that 84 people were wounded in the airstrikes.[6] An Israeli military correspondent reported that the IDF assessed that the port of Hudaydah’s ability to receive goods has been “completely shut down” by the airstrikes.[7]  The IDF stated that this operation was the longest-range operation conducted by the IDF Air Force.[8] The IDF said that the Houthis did not attempt to shoot missiles at incoming Israeli aircraft.[9]

A senior security official told an Israeli Army Radio correspondent that Israel needs to “project power towards the entire region” after the Houthi drone hit Tel Aviv.[10] A senior security official told an Israeli Army Radio correspondent that the IDF may need to conduct further attacks in Yemen in the near future.[11] The IDF conducted the July 20 airstrikes in retaliation for the July 18 Houthi drone attack that targeted Tel Aviv and killed one Israeli citizen, but the IDF added that the airstrikes were also a response to “hundreds of [Houthi] aerial threats” targeting Israel in recent months.[12] US and coalition airstrikes have previously targeted military sites and targets within Houthi-controlled Yemen.[13] An Israeli military correspondent noted that Hudaydah port is also used to import humanitarian aid into Yemen.[14] The July 20 airstrike was the first Israeli strike targeting the Houthis.

Houthi supreme leader Abdulmalik al Houthi announced the start of the fifth phase of Houthi escalations against Israel known as “Operation Jaffa” in a speech on July 21.[15] Abdulmalik’s speech follows the IDF‘s retaliatory strike on the port of Hudaydah, Yemen on July 20. Abdulmalik claimed that Israelis are no longer safe in main population centers of Israel, including Tel Aviv. Abdulmalik added that Israel will not re-establish deterrence vis-a-vis the Houthis by launching attacks on Yemen. Abdulmalik denied that the “Jaffa” drone that the Houthis used in its July 18 attack on Tel Aviv was foreign-made and referred to it as “purely“ Yemeni made.[16] The Jaffa drone, however, appears to be a modified variant of the Iranian-designed Samad-3 drone.[17] The Houthis presumably modified the Samad-3 in order to extend its range. Abdulmalik denied that the Houthis are conducting operations to benefit Iran and reiterated that the Houthis are operating in support of the Palestinians.[18] Houthi spokesperson Brigadier General Yahya Sarea separately said in a televised statement on July 20 that the Houthis will respond to this “blatant Israeli aggression and will not hesitate to strike the enemy’s vital targets.”[19]

The IDF said it intercepted a surface-to-surface missile approaching Israeli territory from Yemen on July 21.[20] The missile did not cross into Israeli territory.[21] The Houthis have not claimed the attack as of this writing.

Key Takeaways:

  • Yemen: Houthi supreme leader Abdulmalik al Houthi announced the start of the fifth phase of Houthi escalations against Israel known as “Operation Jaffa,” claiming that Israelis are no longer safe in Israel’s main population centers.
  • Gaza Strip: The IDF confirmed on July 21 that it killed a prominent Hamas fighter and the Gaza Brigade commander in the al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in an airstrike on an unspecified date.
  • West Bank: Israeli forces have engaged Palestinian fighters at least five times in the West Bank since CTP-ISW's last data cutoff on July 20.
  • Lebanon: Iranian-backed militias, including Lebanese Hezbollah, have conducted at least seven attacks into northern Israel since CTP-ISW's last data cutoff on July 20.

Gaza Strip

Axis of Resistance objectives:

  • Erode the will of the Israeli political establishment and public to sustain clearing operations in the Gaza Strip
  • Reestablish Hamas as the governing authority in the Gaza Strip

The IDF confirmed on July 21 that it killed a prominent Hamas fighter and the Gaza Brigade commander in the al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in an airstrike on an unspecified date.[22] The IDF said that the two fighters’ deaths followed the IDF‘s airstrikes that killed two Hamas commanders, one PIJ commander, and 20 Shati Battalion members in the Gaza Strip.[23] The IDF said on July 21 that it also killed Hamas fighter Nimr Hamida.[24] Hamida planned and participated in an October 2003 shooting attack that killed three IDF soldiers near Ein Yabrud in the West Bank.[25] Hamida was exiled to the Gaza Strip in the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal, in which Israel traded 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for an IDF soldier captured in 2006 by Palestinian militias.[26] Hamida served as a member of Hamas’ West Bank Headquarters‘ Ramallah Committee.[27] The West Bank Headquarters is a Hamas unit based in the Gaza Strip that planned attacks against Israel from or within the West Bank.[28]

The IDF also confirmed on July 21 that it killed the Gaza Brigade commander of the al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Izz al Din Akila on an unspecified date.[29] The IDF said that Akila had facilitated al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades attacks against the IDF throughout the war.[30]  CTP-ISW previously reported that Akila was killed in an airstrike targeting Shati camp on July 13.[31]

The 3rd Alexandroni Infantry Brigade (Res.) (99th Division) continued clearing operations along the Netzarim Corridor on July 21. Israeli forces raided militia infrastructure and located weapons near the corridor.[32]  Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the al Aqsa Martyrs‘ Brigades fired rockets and mortars targeting Israeli forces along the Netzarim Corridor.[33]

The 162nd Division continued clearing operations in Rafah since CTP-ISW's last data cut-off on July 20. The IDF Givati Brigade identified and killed an armed cell of Palestinian fighters approaching Israeli forces.[34] The Givati Brigade also located and destroyed mortar shells that were ready to be launched at Israeli forces.[35] The IDF 401st Brigade destroyed tunnel shafts and underground infrastructure in Tal al Sultan.[36] Hamas fighters targeted Israeli armor with rocket propelled grenades and anti-personnel improvised explosive devices east of Rafah city.[37]

West Bank

Axis of Resistance objectives:

  • Establish the West Bank as a viable front against Israel

Israeli forces have engaged Palestinian fighters at least five times in the West Bank since CTP-ISW's last data cutoff on July 20.[38] All clashes occurred within Tubas. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) detonated an IED targeting IDF vehicles in Tayasir in the West Bank on July 21.[39] The IDF did not report any injuries.[40]

A video reportedly showing masked Israeli settlers attacking Israeli activists, foreign volunteers, and Palestinian civilians with clubs near Nablus circulated on social media on July 21.[41] Israeli media reported the settlers attacked the civilians while they were planting trees. The settlers injured an unknown number of civilians, including American volunteers.[42] The settlers fled when the IDF arrived at the scene.[43] 

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated that the Israeli Air Force may increase its activities to combat terrorism in the West Bank during a situational assessment with IDF Central Command on July 21.[44] Gallant stated that terrorism in the West Bank is increasing.

This map is not an exhaustive depiction of clashes and demonstrations in the West Bank.

Southern Lebanon and Golan Heights

Axis of Resistance objectives:

  • Deter Israel from conducting a ground operation into Lebanon
  • Prepare for an expanded and protracted conflict with Israel in the near term
  • Expel the United States from Syria

Iranian-backed militias, including Lebanese Hezbollah, have conducted at least seven attacks into northern Israel since CTP-ISW's last data cutoff on July 20.[45]

Recorded reports of attacks; CTP-ISW cannot independently verify impact.

Iran and Axis of Resistance

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq—a coalition of Iranian-backed Iraqi militias—claimed that it conducted a drone attack targeting a “vital target” in Eilat, Israel on July 21.[46] The IDF has not acknowledged the incident at the time of writing.

Houthi-affiliated media claimed that the United States and the United Kingdom conducted six joint airstrikes targeting unspecified sites in Hajjah and Hudaydah Governorates, Yemen on July 21.[47] Houthi-affiliated media claimed that the United States and the United Kingdom conducted two airstrikes in Midi district, Hajjah Governorate. Houthi-affiliated media also claimed that the United States and United Kingdom conducted four joint airstrikes targeting Ras Isa, Salif District, Hudaydah Governorate.

United States Central Command (CENTCOM) destroyed one Houthi drone over the Red Sea on July 21.[48] CENTCOM determined that the drone presented an imminent threat to US and coalition forces, and merchant vessels in the region.

The Houthis claimed a drone and missile attack on the Liberian-flagged container ship Pumba in the Red Sea on July 21.[49] CTP-ISW cannot verify that the attacks occurred at the time of writing.


[1] https://x.com/idfonline/status/1814756937830961179

[2] https://x.com/idfonline/status/1814756940888543335; https://x.com/Doron_Kadosh/status/1814895997358645295

[3] https://x.com/Doron_Kadosh/status/1814705798070600185

[4] https://x.com/manniefabian/status/1815023584504316281; https://x.com/idfonline/status/1815024162420707534

[5] https://t.me/moriahdoron/12027; https://x.com/Doron_Kadosh/status/1814895997358645295

[6] https://x.com/TvAlmasirah/status/1814762366946447723

[7] https://x.com/Doron_Kadosh/status/1814705798070600185

[8] https://x.com/idfonline/status/1814756943963066527

[9] https://x.com/manniefabian/status/1815023584504316281; https://t.me/moriahdoron/12024

[10] https://x.com/Doron_Kadosh/status/1814895997358645295

[11] https://x.com/Doron_Kadosh/status/1814895997358645295

[12] https://x.com/idfonline/status/1814756937830961179

[13]

https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/iran-update-july-19-2024;

https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/iran-update-june-19-2024;

https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/iran-update-april-9-2024;

https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/iran-update-march-23-2024

[14] https://x.com/manniefabian/status/1815023584504316281

[15] https://www.saba dot ye/ar/news3351322.htm

[16] https://x.com/TvAlmasirah/status/1815019111732101338

[17] https://www.criticalthreats.org/analysis/iran-update-july-19-2024

[18] https://www.saba dot ye/ar/news3351322.htm

[19] https://x.com/TvAlmasirah/status/1814727108977172917; https://x.com/TvAlmasirah/status/1814727888203051070

[20] https://x.com/idfonline/status/1814869331819557257; https://x.com/idfonline/status/1814869331819557257

[21] https://x.com/idfonline/status/1814869331819557257

[22] https://x.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/1815019146163216443 

[23] https://x.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/1815019146163216443; https://x.com/idfonline/status/1813892215682514978; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/iran-update-july-18-2024

[24] https://x.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/1815019146163216443

[25] https://x.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/1815019146163216443; www.timesofisrael dot com/liveblog_entry/idf-hamas-operative-killed-in-recent-gaza-city-strike-was-behind-deadly-west-bank-attack-in-2003

[26] https://www.timesofisrael dot com/liveblog_entry/idf-hamas-operative-killed-in-recent-gaza-city-strike-was-behind-deadly-west-bank-attack-in-2003/

[27] https://x.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/1815019146163216443

[28] www.timesofisrael dot com/liveblog_entry/idf-hamas-operative-killed-in-recent-gaza-city-strike-was-behind-deadly-west-bank-attack-in-2003

[29] https://x.com/IDFSpokesperson/status/1815019146163216443 

[30] https://x.com/AvichayAdraee/status/1815018533329236366

[31] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/iran-update-july-15-2024

[32] https://x.com/idfonline/status/1814906430048108771

[33] https://t.me/sarayaps/18355;

https://t.me/nedalps/4291;

https://t.me/nedalps/4292

[34] https://x.com/idfonline/status/1814906423987331532

[35] https://x.com/idfonline/status/1814906423987331532

[36] https://x.com/idfonline/status/1814906430048108771

[37] https://t.me/hamaswestbank1/4045

[38] https://t.me/QudsN/438115

https://t.me/hamza20300/272205

https://t.me/hamza20300/272207

https://t.me/elaqsa_1965/6865

https://t.me/elaqsa_1965/6865

[39] https://t.me/hamza20300/272212; https://t.me/QudsN/438129

[40] https://www.jpost dot com/breaking-news/article-811160

[41] https://x.com/kann_news/status/1815037185441005632

[42] https://x.com/ytirawi/status/1814976978467917908

[43] https://x.com/kann_news/status/1815037185441005632

[44] https://www.jpost dot com/breaking-news/article-811264

[45] https://t.me/mmirleb/5583

https://t.me/mmirleb/5589

https://t.me/mmirleb/5592

https://t.me/mmirleb/5594

https://t.me/mmirleb/5597

https://t.me/mmirleb/5601

https://t.me/mmirleb/5599

[46] https://t.me/ElamAlmoqawama/1228

[47] https://www.saba.ye/en/news3351295.htm

[48] https://x.com/CENTCOM/status/1814760480377823239

[49] https://x.com/army21ye/status/1814906815190098260/photo/1