The war for territory continues with the majority of natural resources still in Ukrainian control but “for Western Europe, Russia’s expanded land grab in Ukraine amounts to a tactical setback.” This is despite the last few months of Ukraine holding Russian control to 20% of the land area.
Ukraine has accused Russia of firing rockets from around the captured Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, killing at least 13 people and wounding 10, knowing it would be risky for Ukraine to return fire. Ukraine says Russia targeted the town of Marhanets, which Moscow says Ukraine has used in the past to shell Russian soldiers at the plant, which Russia seized in March. Calling on foreign allies to send more powerful weapons, Zelenskiy said in a late-night video address that Kyiv “will not leave today’s Russian shelling of the Dnipropetrovsk region unanswered”, and vowed to inflict as much damage on Russia as possible to end the war quickly.
Ukraine’s air force said it believed up to a dozen Russian aircraft were destroyed on the ground in Tuesday’s dramatic explosions at the Saky airbase in Crimea, which Russia said killed one, wounded 13 and damaged dozens of nearby houses. Political sources in Ukraine said it had carried out the attack, but Kyiv did not publicly claim responsibility. One expert said it may have been the product of a daring raid rather than a missile strike.
The British defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said he thought the Saky airbase in Crimea was a “legitimate target” for Ukraine. “First and foremost, Russia has illegally invaded, not just in 2014, but now Ukrainian territory,” he said. “Ukraine, under UN articles, is perfectly entitled to defend its territory and take what action it needs to against an invading force.”
Pro-Russian separatists accused Ukraine of shelling a brewery in the occupied eastern city of Donetsk on Wednesday, killing one person and triggering a leak of ammonia that sparked a fire, Reuters reported.
The EU has been urged to put a travel ban on Russian tourists, with some member states saying visiting Europe is “a privilege, not a human right” for holidaymakers. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has told the Washington Post that the “most important sanction” is to “close the borders, because the Russians are taking away someone else’s land”.
China, which Russia has sought as an ally since being cold-shouldered by the west, has called the US the “main instigator” of the crisis, Reuters reported. In an interview with the Russian state news agency Tass published on Wednesday, China’s ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Hanhui, accused Washington of backing Russia into a corner with repeated expansion of the Nato defence alliance.
The UN expects to see a “big uptick” in applications for ships to export Ukrainian grain after transit procedures were agreed by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations, a senior UN official said on Wednesday. The number of inbound vessels is expected to “grow in the near future” as grain deals are made, said Frederick Kenney, interim UN coordinator in Istanbul. So far, 24 grain carrying ships have left Ukrainian ports.
"The war began in Crimea — and it will also end there." In his weekly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made it very clear that he did not intend to give up the peninsula Russia illegally annexed in 2014.
Just before the address, there had been several heavy detonations at a Russian air base near Novofedorivka in the west of Crimea. It seems likely that this was a targeted attack by Ukraine although there has been no official confirmation, and Kyiv has denied responsibility for the blasts.
If it did turn out to be a military attack, it would be the first on the peninsula since its annexation eight years ago, and of similar symbolic significance as the April sinking of the Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. This could be why Russia has not described the Crimea blasts as a Ukrainian attack. According to Moscow, it was merely a case of some ammunition exploding due to poor handling.
The bombing of targets in Crimea would have a different significance for Russia than the war in Donbas and the rest of Ukraine. Moscow regards the peninsula, which was annexed in violation of international law, as its very own national territory and, following an internationally unrecognized referendum, as part of the Russian Federation.
According to a Russian interpretation, attacks on Crimea would mean the war had shifted to Russian territory — threatening a further escalation of the war.
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 conducted limited ground attacks west of Izyum on August 10. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian troops attempted ground attacks near Husarivka (33km northwest of Izyum) and Velyka Komyshuvakha (21km southwest of Izyum). Russian forces did not conduct any ground attacks northwest of Slovyansk and continued to shell settlements near the Kharkiv-Donetsk Oblast border on August 10.
Russian forces did not conduct any ground attacks around Siversk and shelled Ukrainian positions in and around Siversk on August 10.
Russian forces continued ground attacks around Bakhmut and made partial gains to the south and northeast of Bakhmut on August 10. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian troops attempted to push north from positions around Novoluhanske (about 18km southeast of Bakhmut) and tried to advance around Kodema (about 11km southeast of Bakhmut). Russian sources are additionally escalating claims of territorial control south of Bakhmut. The Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) claimed that DNR troops are working to clear Hladosove, about 16km south of Bakhmut. Russian troops also reportedly conducted ground assaults northeast of Bakhmut in Yakovlivka (about 13km northeast of Bakhmut) and made marginal advances on the territory of the Bilokamyanskyi refractory plant in Soledar (about 8km northeast of Bakhmut). Russian forces continued air and artillery strikes around Bakhmut and will likely continue efforts to advance directly on Bakhmut from the north, east, and south.
Russian forces continued ground attacks in order to push northwestward from the outskirts of Donetsk City on August 10. The Ukrainian General Staff noted that Russian troops attempted to push towards Avdiivka from Mineralne and Spartak, both on the northern outskirts of Donetsk City and within 5km southeast of Avdiivka. Russian sources reported that Russian troops advanced into Krasnohorivka, about 16km north of Donetsk City. Russian forces are additionally continuing to complete the seizure of Pisky, about 6km northwest of Donetsk City. Russian troops will likely continue efforts to leverage recently-gained footholds northwest of Donetsk City in order to continue pushing the line of contact away from Donetsk City.
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 conducted multiple unsuccessful offensive operations along the Kharkiv City Axis on August 10. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces unsuccessfully attempted to advance to Petrivka, approximately 32km northeast of Kharkiv City, and in the Veterynarne-Udy direction, approximately 56km north of Kharkiv City. The Ukrainian General Staff also reported that Russian forces focused on conducting aerial reconnaissance and improving logistical support for units in the Kharkiv City direction. Russian forces continued shelling settlements to the north and northeast of Kharkiv City.
Supporting Effort #2—Southern Axis (Russian objective: Defend Kherson and Zaporizhia Oblasts against Ukrainian counterattacks)
Russian forces conducted an unsuccessful assault in northwestern Kherson Oblast on August 10. Ukrainian military officials reported that a Russian airborne assault platoon attempted a reconnaissance-in-force operation in Lozove, on the eastern bank of the Inhulets River and near the Ukrainian bridgehead. Russian forces launched airstrikes on Andriivka, Olhine, and Novohryhorivka, all situated along the Kherson Oblast administrative border. Russian forces have also continued artillery fire along the line of contact in Kherson Oblast. Russian forces fired 80 Grad missiles at Nikopol and Marganets (both across the Dnipro River from Russian-occupied positions in Zaporizhia Oblast), and the Nikopol City Head Yevhen Yevtushenko described the night of the shelling as ”the worst night since February 24.” Russian forces continued to target Mykolaiv and Zaporizhia cities and their surrounding areas.
Ukrainian officials confirmed destroying two Russian positions in southern Kherson Oblast, situated 100 and 170km south of the nearest frontline. Ukrainian military officials confirmed that they have struck a Russian ammunition depot in Novooleksiivka in the Henichensk district, north of the Kherson Oblast-Crimea border. ISW has previously reported that local officials and social media users reported a large smoke cloud in Noovoleksiivka on August 9. Ukrainian forces also struck a battalion tactical group (BTG) command post of the Russian 217th Guards Airborne Regiment in the Maksyma Horkoho village, approximately 30km west of the Crimean northwestern border. Both settlements are located outside of the US-provided HIMARS range and may indicate that Ukrainian forces are using or have modified other weapons already in their possession to attack Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) on the Southern Axis.
Ukrainian forces damaged a bridge in the area of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) in eastern Kherson Oblast. Kherson Oblast Administration Head Yaroslav Yanushkevych reported that Russian forces are unable to use the bridge. Social media footage showed that the bridge has several holes and other signs of damage, but that some vehicles can pass through the affected area. Ukrainian officials have previously identified the Kakhovka bridge as a key Russian GLOC in Kherson Oblast especially following the damage to the Antonovsky Bridge, east of Kherson City. Russian forces are also continuing to undertake defensive measures to protect military equipment and GLOCs from Ukrainian strikes. Advisor to the Kherson Oblast Administration Serhiy Khlan added that Russian forces continued to hide their military equipment near the Kakhovka HPP and the Kakhovskyi Channel. Satellite imagery showed that Russian forces installed radar reflectors near the partially operating Darivka bridge, approximately 17km northeast of Kherson City.
Ukraine operates sixty-nine fighter jets while Russia has 772 fighter aircraft, according to the Global Firepower index. However, some might look at this numerical imbalance and ask how many of Russia’s fighter aircraft are functional, high-tech, fourth-generation Su-35s, which emerged in 2014. Ukraine also operates air defenses which the Pentagon says continue to be effective against Russian air power.
The Ukrainians operate a collection of Cold War-era Soviet-built surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, the most recent of which is the SA-15 Gauntlet from 1986. How many of these decades-old systems have been maintained and upgraded? What kinds of additional air defenses has Ukraine been receiving from the West? Whatever air defense systems Ukraine might have, it seems clear that they are working because Russia still has not achieved air superiority. One factor which may still be informing operations is that the Russians have been described by the Pentagon as “risk averse,” meaning that they are less inclined to fly into areas where Ukrainian air defenses can target them.
The Russians have air defenses as well, which is likely a reason why Ukraine has not achieved air superiority either. The Russians have enough long-range, road-mobile SAM systems to cover almost all of Ukraine. Russian S-400 air defenses, which have been in service since 2007, have been continuously modernized with digital networking, high-speed computing, and multi-frequency radar capabilities. In recent years, Russian state media outlets have said their air defenses could even detect and destroy stealth aircraft.
Russia operates upgraded fourth-generation Su-35 aircraft, as well as Su-30s and Su-34s. Both the Su-34s and Su-35s are considered “fighter aircraft” with the Su-34 specifically listed as a fighter-bomber with a long-range strike capacity and the Su-35 acting as a multi-role heavy combat fighter. There is a question of just how many of these fourth-generation fighters are operational, as Russia’s arsenal of older fighter jets is likely larger.
However, based on the numbers alone, Russia’s advantage in fighter jets would seem to massively overwhelm Ukrainian warplanes in the air. Russian aircraft may be losing dogfights in the air to highly motivated Ukrainian pilots or simply be held at risk by effective Ukrainian air defenses.
After nearly six months of fighting, Moscow’s sloppy war has yielded at least one big reward: expanded control over some of the most mineral-rich lands in Europe. Ukraine harbors some of the world’s largest reserves of titanium and iron ore, fields of untapped lithium and massive deposits of coal. Collectively, they are worth tens of trillions of dollars.
Ukraine is widely known as an agricultural powerhouse. But as a raw-material mother lode, it’s home to 117 of the 120 most widely used minerals and metals, and a major source of fossil fuels. Official websites no longer show geolocations of these deposits; the government, citing national security, took them down in early spring.
Yet SecDev’s analysis indicates that at least $12.4 trillion worth of Ukraine’s energy deposits, metals and minerals are now under Russian control. That figure accounts for nearly half the dollar value of the 2,209 deposits reviewed by the company. In addition to 63 percent of the country’s coal deposits, Moscow has seized 11 percent of its oil deposits, 20 percent of its natural gas deposits, 42 percent of its metals and 33 percent of its deposits of rare earth and other critical minerals including lithium.
Some of those deposits are hard to reach or require exploration to assess their viability. Some were overtaken during either Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea or the Ukrainian government’s eight-year war with Russian-backed separatists in the east.
Since the invasion began in February, however, the Kremlin has steadily expanded its holdings. According to SecDev and Ukrainian mining and steel industry executives, it has seized: 41 coal fields, 27 natural gas sites, 14 propane sites, nine oil fields, six iron ore deposits, two titanium ore sites, two zirconium ore sites, one strontium site, one lithium site, one uranium site, one gold deposit and a significant quarry of limestone previously used for Ukrainian steel production.