Supporting Effort #2—Southern Axis (Russian objective: Defend Kherson and Zaporizhia Oblasts against Ukrainian counterattacks)
Russian forces attempted to regain lost positions in northwestern Kherson Oblast on August 2 and August 3. Ukrainian military officials reported that Russian forces conducted an unsucessful reconnaissance-in-force operation near Bilohirka on the western bank of the Inhulets River. Russian forces have also carried out an airstrike on Andriivka, just south of Bilohirka, likely in an effort to destroy the Ukrainian bridgehead over the Inhulets River. Russian forces continued to shell Ukrainian positions along the Kherson Oblast border, and have launched Smerch MLRS rockets, S-300 air defense missiles, and three Kh-101 cruise missiles onto Mykolaiv City and Mykolaiv Oblast.
Russian forces are reportedly creating a strike group to preempt Ukrainian counteroffensives on the Kherson-Dnipropetrovsk Oblast administrative border. The Ukrainian Southern Operational Command reported that Russian forces are creating a strike group to conduct offensive operations in northern Kherson Oblast, repel Ukrainian counteroffensives, and reach the Kherson-Dnipropetrovsk Oblast administrative border. Kryvyi Rih Military Administration Head Oleksandr Vilkul added that Russian forces are accumulating military equipment and servicemen in the Kryvyi Rih direction (referring to troop positioning in northern Kherson Oblast). Russian forces may be continuing to shell settlements around southwest of Kryvyi Rih and Nikopol to either set conditions for an advance from northern Kherson Oblast onto Zaporizhia City via Nikopol or are targeting Ukrainian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) from Zaporizhia City ahead of Ukrainian counteroffensives.
Russian forces are continuing to transfer equipment throughout the Southern Axis. Geolocated social media footage showed Russian military vehicles moving in the northern direction from southern Melitopol. Mariupol Mayor Advisor Petro Andryushenko published footage of a Russian military convoy composed of engineering vehicles and trucks driving from Mariupol in the direction of Berdyansk. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces are withdrawing military equipment that had originally been committed to the Zaporizhia Oblast frontline at the end of May due to a lack of personnel to man the equipment. The Ukrainian General Staff added that Russian forces are distributing the withdrawn equipment to unspecified tank elements of the 58th Combined Arms Army. Such redistribution may indicate that the Zaporizhia Oblast frontline is particularly vulnerable but that the Russians do not intend to reinforce it.
Russian forces are attempting to repair Russian GLOCs after Ukrainian strikes on Russian strongholds in southern Ukraine. Advisor to the Kherson Oblast Military Administration Head Serhiy Khlan reported that Russian forces began to spread out ammunition warehouses to mitigate the risks and effectiveness of Ukrainian strikes but noted that such distribution disadvantages Russian positions in Kherson Oblast. Social media footage also showed that Russian forces are attempting to repair the Antonivskiy Road Bridge east of Kherson City and are extensively using a ferry over the Dnipro River. The UK Defense Ministry assessed that Ukrainian strikes on a Russian ammunition train in Brylivka on July 30 has likely temporarily impaired Russian railway connections between Kherson Oblast and Crimea, but it noted that Russian forces are likely to repair the railway line within a few days. Social media footage of an explosion in Brylivka published on August 3 suggests that Ukrainian forces might have targeted the location for the second time. Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov stated that Russian forces are trying to restore their bases at the Melitopol airfield.
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 a limited ground attack northwest of Slovyansk and continued to shell settlements west and southeast of Izyum on August 3. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian troops neutralized a Russian reconnaissance-in-force attempt south of Mazanivka, about 25km northwest of Slovyansk near the Kharkiv-Donetsk Oblast border. Russian forces additionally conducted artillery strikes near Protopopivka, Mechebylove, Husarivka, Chepil and Nortsivka, all settlements lying along the arc that ranges from the west to northwest of the Izyum area. Continual artillery strikes west of Izyum are consistent with ISW’s assessment that Russian forces may be setting conditions to advance westward from the rear of the Izyum-Slovyansk line further into Kharkiv Oblast.
Russian forces did not conduct any confirmed ground assaults in the Siversk area and shelled Siversk City and surrounding settlements on August 3.
Russian forces conducted a series of ground attacks to the northeast, east, and southeast of Bakhmut on August 3. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that Russian forces conducted assaults around Volodymyrivka, Yakovlivka, and Soledar (all within 15km northeast of Bakhmut), Pokrovske (about 5km due east of Bakhmut), and Vidrozhennya, Kodema, Zaitseve, Semihirya, and Dolomytne (all within 20km southeast of Bakhumt). The Territorial Defense of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) claimed that DNR forces have taken control of Travneve, a small settlement about 19km south of Bakhmut. While ISW cannot independently confirm the validity of this territorial claim, it is consistent with reports that Russian forces are continuing to fight for positions around the Novoluhanske area in an effort to push northwards on Bakhmut.
Russian forces continued to prioritize unsuccessful frontal assaults onto Avdiivka and failed to advance into Pisky on August 3. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces unsuccessfully attempted to break through Ukrainian defenses in Avdiivka from Spartak and Mineralne, both situated southwest and southeast of Avdiivka, respectively. Russian forces also resumed unsuccessful assaults northeast of Avdiivka, attempting to attack Kransohorivka from both Novoselivka Druha and Vasylivka. The Ukrainian General Staff also noted that Ukrainian forces repelled a Russian assault on Pisky from the Donetsk City direction...
Ukrainian forces repelled Russian offensive operations west of Donetsk City on August 3. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces unsuccessfully attempted to advance to Mariinka and Bilohirka and withdrew. Russian forces have not been consistently fighting around Mariinka compared to persistent assaults around Avdiivka and Bakhmut.
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 continued limited unsuccessful ground attacks along the Kharkiv City Axis on August 3. Russian forces failed to advance in the Kochubeivka-Dementiivka direction, approximately 40km north of Kharkiv City. Russian troops are continuing efforts to maintain occupied frontiers in northeast Kharkiv Oblast and conducted aerial reconnaissance and electronic warfare (EW) operations in this area. Kharkiv Oblast Head Oleg Synegubov stated that Russian forces struck two neighborhoods in Kharkiv City with S-300 air defense missiles shot from Belgorod, Russia, and continued shelling areas north, east, and south of Kharkiv City.
A New York Times review of documents, text messages and interviews found a company owned by Dmitry Firtash paid tens of thousands of dollars for Giuliani's travel to Ukraine in summer 2019, including luxury hotel stays and private jet flights, and although the payments don't appear to break any laws they show his ties to the oligarch were much closer than was publicly known.
“Rudy Giuliani had no idea that Firtash was paying for those trips,” said Giuliani's attorney, Robert Costello. "He certainly would not have allowed it if he had known.”
“As far as Mr. Firtash knew, he never paid for or authorized any funds to be paid for Giuliani,” said attorney Lanny Davis.
Davis blamed the payments on “an inadvertent error” by an administrative assistant who may not have noticed Giuliani's expenses and paid them without Firtash knowing.
Firtash had publicly attacked Biden's policies toward Ukraine, which Giuliani appears to have noticed as he looked for damaging information about Trump's challenger, and he began contacting the oligarch's lawyers in June 2019, around the same time Trump was pressuring Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the former vice president and his family.