Russian airbase on Crimean coast damaged in blasts
A Russian airbase deep behind the frontline in Crimea was damaged on Tuesday by several large explosions, killing at least one person and destroying up to a dozen Russian aircraft, Dan Sabbagh reports from Kyiv.
Political sources in Ukraine said the country had carried out the attack on Crimea’s western coast – but no public claim of responsibility was made by Kyiv of the incident. Ukraine’s public coyness about the attack is partly designed to preserve some ambiguity about the means used, sources said, prompting broad speculation as to how Kyiv was able to strike so deep behind Russian lines, in one of the first attacks on Crimean soil since the Russian invasion began in February.
By Thursday, satellite images had emerged appearing to show at least nine Russian warplanes destroyed and large parts of the runway badly damaged.
An analysis piece from Dan Sabbagh suggests that the attack sends a powerful message to Moscow.
Although not the first Ukrainian attack in Crimea since the start of the war, it is the most significant, not just because it took place about 180km (112 miles) behind the frontline but because it took place in the sight of thousands of tourists, he says.
UK sends more M270s
Supporting Effort #2—Southern Axis (Russian objective: Defend Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts against Ukrainian counterattacks)
Russian forces continued to launch air and artillery strikes along the Kherson Oblast administrative border but did not conduct offensive operations on August 12. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted airstrikes on Andriivka, Lozove, and Velyke Artakove (near the bridgehead over the Inhulets River), and Blahodatne, Novohryhorivka, Bruskinske, and Myrne (north of Kherson City). The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces continued shelling civilian and military infrastructure using tank, tube, and rocket artillery and conducted aerial reconnaissance using UAVs along the entire line of contact.
Russian forces continued to target settlements in Dnipropetrovsk and Mykolaiv Oblasts using artillery and missiles. Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces launched 40 missiles on Marhanets and fired approximately 10 tube artillery rounds at Nikopol, both across the Dnipro River from Russian-occupied positions in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Ukrainian officials also reported that Russian forces fired rockets from Uragan MLRS systems at port infrastructure in Mykolaiv City and continued shelling nearby settlements.
Ukrainian forces continued targeting Russian logistics points and ammunition depots in Kherson Oblast. Kherson Oblast Administration Advisor Serhiy Khlan reported that a Ukrainian strike rendered the last bridge Russian forces used to transport military equipment and ammunition to the Nova Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant inoperable on August 12. The Ukrainian Southern Operational Command also reported that Ukrainian forces struck a Russian ammunition depot in Vesele and in the Beryslav district of Kherson Oblast. Ukrainian airstrikes struck a Russian stronghold near Andriivka and a concentration of Russian manpower and equipment near Bruskinske.
A spokesperson for Ukraine’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR), Andriy Usov, said on August 12 that forces belonging to the Wagner Private Military Company are present at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). Usov suggested that the Kremlin trusts Wagner militants to plant mines on the territory of the NPP because the Russian military is either incapable of or refusing to do so.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi stated on August 11 that the IAEA has been prepared to physically investigate the safety of the Zaporizhzhia NPP since June but that “political and other factors” have made a mission impossible. Grossi emphasized that the IAEA’s preliminary assessment suggests that there is no immediate threat to nuclear safety but that “this could change at any moment.” US officials called on Russia to demilitarize and cede the Zaporizhzhia NPP to Ukrainian authorities because there have been repeated strikes on the facility since August 5.
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 along the Donetsk-Kharkiv Oblast border on August 12. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled a Russian attack in the direction of Bohorodychne and Dolyna (both 20km northwest of Slovyansk). Russian forces conducted airstrikes near Zalyman (30km northwest of Izyum), missile strikes on Kramatorsk (6km from the southern outskirts of Slovyansk) and continued to shell settlements along the Kharkiv-Donetsk border on August 12.
Russian forces continued ground attacks east of Siversk on August 12. Russian troops withdrew following failed offensive operations in the direction of Verkhnokamyanske (3km east of Siversk), Ivano-Darivka (7km southeast of Siversk), Spirne (12km southeast of Siversk), and Vyimka (6km southeast of Siversk) and unsuccessful reconnaissance-in-force missions in the Hryhorivka direction (7km northeast of Siversk) and near Spirne. Russian forces also conducted eight airstrikes and continued routine shelling along the Donetsk-Luhansk Oblast border.
The Ukrainian General Staff stated that Russian forces had “partial success” in an attack in the direction of Horlivka - Zaytseve. A Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) official alleged that Russian-led forces gained a foothold in northeastern Bakhmut, but ISW cannot independently confirm the extent of Russian advances from Pokrovske. The Ukrainian General Staff also stated that Russian troops suffered losses and retreated from offensives in the vicinity of Yakovlivka (16km northeast of Bakhmut), Kodema (15 km southeast of Bakhmut), Vershyna (12km southeast of Bakhmut), and Vesela Dolyna (5 km southeast of Bakhmut). Russian forces will likely continue attempting to advance on Bakhmut in the coming days.
Russian forces continued ground attacks pushing southwestward and northwestward from the outskirts of Donetsk City on August 12. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces defeated Russian ground attacks near Pavlivka (50km southwest of Donetsk City). The Ukrainian General Staff also stated that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian assaults near Spartak, Pisky, and Marinka all within 5 miles of the western outskirts of Donetsk City. Russian sources claimed that Russian forces "control" the "situation" in Pisky. ISW previously assessed that Russian forces are in the process of completing the seizure of Pisky. Combat footage and satellite imagery indicate that heavy Russian fire with thermobaric artillery systems has visibly leveled Pisky. Russian forces continued to target Ukrainian-held territory west of Donetsk City with airstrikes and shelling.
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 conduct any confirmed ground assaults on the Kharkiv City on August 12. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted airstrikes on Verkhnyi Saltiv, Ukrainka, and Bayrak, all northeast of Kharkiv City, and Rtyshivka, approximately 50km southeast of Kharkiv City. Russian forces also continued shelling Kharkiv City and settlements to its north and northeast using tank, tube, and rocket artillery.