The end of the “operational pause”: the Russians resumed offensive in Donetsk region, but captured only a factory and several villages. We analyze the situation at the front on the 180th day of the full-scale war, with maps

Oleksiy Yarmolenko
Tetyana Lohvynenko
The end of the “operational pause”: the Russians resumed offensive in Donetsk region, but captured only a factory and several villages. We analyze the situation at the front on the 180th day of the full-scale war, with maps

Ukrainian artillerymen at positions in the Kharkiv region, August 1, 2022.

The so-called "operational pause" at the front has ended — the Russians are again trying to advance along the entire Donbas and make sorties in Kharkiv and Kherson regions. However, all of them ended unsuccessfully, and in the last 10 days the invaders captured almost nothing. Meanwhile, "demilitarization" continues in the occupied Crimea after the explosions at the Saky airfield — first, an ammunition depot exploded near Dzhankoy, and in the last few days, air defenses in Sevastopol, Kerch and Yevpatoria have been working steadily on the peninsula.

Kharkiv region

The front line in the Kharkiv region has remained almost unchanged for the past few months. The Russians continue to shell Kharkiv and other cities in the area because they are close to the border. The Russian army places its artillery and missile installations on the territory of the Russian Federation, and itʼs more difficult for the Ukrainian Armed Forces to destroy them.

In the north of Kharkiv, the Russians tried several times to advance in the areas of the villages of Dementiivka, Pytomnyk, and Borshchova. All attempts were repelled by the Ukrainian military. Russian Telegram channels also announced the capture of the village of Udy. But for several days, there are no photo and video confirmations from there, so it is most likely another Russian fake.

The front line from Balakliia to Rtyshchivka has also been updated on the map. This is not the capture of territories, but clarification, since no advances have been made in this zone for a long time and the General Staff hardly mentions the settlements along this line in the reports.

On August 17, the Russians tried to advance on the villages of Lebyazhe and Bazaliivka in the direction of the Pechenihy. From the point of view of strategy, itʼs very difficult to explain the need for progress in this direction. For a long time, neither the Ukrainian Armed Forces nor the Russians tried to advance in the area around Pechenihy. The situation there is so calm that an unofficial crossing of the front line has been activated through the Pechenihy dam — people can either leave the occupied territories or get there through a pedestrian crossing.

The most active battles are taking place south of Izyum. After the withdrawal of part of the Russian troops from this direction and a minor counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the Russians are trying to regain lost positions along the entire line from Velyka Komyshuvakha to Bogorodychne. Most likely, they were able to gain a better foothold in the areas of Dovhenke and Sulygivka, but their further attempts to advance were successfully repelled by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.



In Donbas, the Russians intensified shellings along the entire front line, but without success. In the direction of Slovyansk, the occupiers tried several times to advance in the Dolyna and Bohorodychne districts, but also without success.

The Russians also renewed attempts to attack Siversk. Here, the occupying army is stubbornly trying to reach the southern outskirts of the town through Ivano-Daryivka and Vyimka. This will make it possible to press the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Verkhnyokamyanske and Serebryanka to the Siverskyi Donets River, as well as potentially cross the river itself somewhere beyond Siversk. So the town will be surrounded. However, the Russians have not been able to cope with this task for more than 1.5 months.

The offensive around Bakhmut has slowed down. In the last 10 days, the Russians can show only one captured object — the KNAUF plant on the outskirts of Soledar town. Also, the occupiers, most likely, completely took control of the village of Vershyna. However, attempts to advance further and break through to the roads Siversk — Bakhmut or Kostyantynivka — Bakhmut ended in nothing.

The occupiers began to try to break through the Ukrainian defenses on the western outskirts of Horlivka in the areas of the Mayorske, Shumy, and New York checkpoints. However, there are no signs of progress beyond the February 23 line.

The occupiers continue to advance en masse along the western outskirts of Donetsk. Attempts to encircle Avdiivka from the north are repulsed by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but to the south of the city, the Russians, most likely, were able to capture the stronghold of the Ukrainian troops Zenith — before the start of the war in 2014, there was an air defense base there. From the side of the Donetsk airport, the Russian army is trying to advance towards Opytne.

The most difficult situation is currently in Pisky village. The fighting there is already taking place closer to the Donetsk bypass road, and the Ukrainian Armed Forces control only a small part of the village in the northwest. The occupiers are trying to advance beyond Pisky, in the direction of Pervomaiskyi and Nevelske, but so far without success. The situation is similar in Maryinka, the fighting for the village continues.

Several weeks of Russian attempts to regain lost positions south of Vugledar were unsuccessful, so they changed the direction of their attacks and are now coming at the city from the east, trying to cut the road between it and Maryinka. The occupiers were able to make some progress there, but they did not capture the settlements.

The Russian army is also trying to cut the road between Vuhledar and Velyka Novosilka. To do this, they need to capture either the village of Prechystivka or the village of Zolota Nyva. Attempts to advance in these directions were repulsed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Currently, about 40% of the territory of the Donetsk region remains under the control of Ukraine, and in the last 10 days, the Russians were able to advance along the entire front line by several kilometers. Itʼs already obvious that it will not be possible for Russians to seize all of Donetsk oblas either before the end of summer or before the likely "referendums" in mid-September.



Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions

The Russians have transferred most of their troops in Ukraine here, but they are not conducting active offensive actions. They are probably worried about the announced counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and are preparing to repel it.

In the Zaporizhzhia region, the front line has been unchanged for several months. Both Ukraineʼs and Russiaʼs assault attempts are usually insignificant. At the same time, Ukrainian partisans continue to work in the occupied territories, and high-precision weapons is used to hit Russian positions. The occupiers suffer the most in Melitopol.

The situation at Zaporizhzhia NPP is worsening. The Russians continue to shoot across the Dnipro River in the areas of Nikopol and Marganets cities, and also stage provocations at the ZNPP itself. Russia rejected the proposal to introduce a demilitarized zone at the station, but it allegedly agreed to the arrival of the International Atomic Energy Agency mission. This can happen already at the beginning of September. The UN emphasizes that the members of the IAEA mission can be ferried across the river to the ZNPP and returned in the same way. But the Russians have introduced a long "weekend" for the stationʼs Ukrainian staff, and Rosatom representatives are actively working at the ZNPP itself. Most likely, the Russians will try to disconnect it from the Ukrainian energy system and redirect the energy to Crimea.

Combat operations intensified on the right bank of the Kherson region. The Russians, after being reinforced, are trying to advance along the line Tavriyske — Oleksandrivka, as well as to enter the road between Mykolaiv and Snihurivka. Most likely, this is how they seek to create a flanking threat from two sides for the units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces moving along the Mykolaiv-Kherson road, to force them to withdraw and actually stop on the outskirts of Mykolaiv. Thus, the occupiers will push the UAF away from Kherson and create a serious threat to Mykolaiv. However, their offensive attempts are not very successful at the moment.

The occupiers are not yet very active in the Beryslav district of the Kherson region. Constant attempts to knock out the Armed Forces of Ukraine from the bridgehead on the left bank of the Ingulets River in the Andriivka — Lozove area end in failure, as do attempts to prevent the encirclement of Visokopillya.

The Ukrainian military continues to attack the bridges over the Dnipro, which constantly complicates logistics for the occupiers. However, this is not enough, and with the help of pontoons and ferry crossings, the Russians still can transfer reinforcements, equipment and ammunition to the right bank of the Dnipro River. Although there is information that the Russian command in this area left Kherson and moved from the right bank to the left.




Ukraine continues to strike at the rear of Russian troops, and during the last 10 days it has been actively attacking the Crimean peninsula. After the explosions at the Saky airfield, where the Russian army lost about 10 planes, on August 16, an ammunition depot in the village of Maiske near Dzhankoy caught fire. A transformer substation on the railway system exploded near the city itself. On the same day, residents of the village of Gvardiyske, where the Russian airfield is located, heard the explosions. However, the satellites did not record any consequences at the airfield. Probably, there really were explosions there, but they did not lead to the detonation of shells or to the ignition of equipment.

After that, for three days in a row, from August 18 to 20, air defense began to work every day throughout the peninsula — from Yevpatoria and Sevastopol to Kerch. The Russians assure that they are shooting down Ukrainian drones, but have not shown any wreckage so far. They counldnʼt shoot down one of the drones and it fell on the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet of Russia. All this is similar to either a "warning fire" for psychological and informational pressure on the Russians, or, indeed, to reconnaissance of the positions of the Russian army, in particular, the location of air defense units.

Also, for the first time since the beginning of the invasion, Russia publicly confirmed the resignation of a military officer from the high command. At the beginning of the war, it was not known at all who was in charge of the Russian army. Then information appeared in the mass media about the appointment of General Dvornikov as the commander of the entire group in Ukraine, but after some time he also disappeared, and various groups appeared in the Russian mass media — "Center", "East", "West" with their commanders.

And on August 17, it became known that the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet had changed. Instead of Igor Osipov, it was headed by the head of the Naval Academy in St. Petersburg, Viktor Sokolov. This was reported by the Sokolov himself. Nothing is known about the fate of Osipov and the reasons for his resignation.

There were many reasons to fire Osipov: the Black Sea Fleet had probably the most failures. It lost its flagship, the Moscow cruiser. In world history, the cruiser was sunk for the last time in 1982 during the Falklands War. Then, as a result of a British strike, the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano sank.

This time, in addition to the cruiser, several more Russian ships were sunk, including the large amphibious assault ship Saratov. Two more of the same ships were damaged, and later it became known about the death of the commander of one of them. Andriy Paliy, the deputy commander of the Russian Black Sea fleet, also died somewhere near Mariupol. During the entire time of the invasion, the Black Sea fleet did not manage to conduct a single landing operation on the mainland, and had to flee from the captured Snake Island. Also, during the explosions at the Saky airfield, the Russian Federation lost half of its naval aviation.

Supply of weapons

In August, arms supplies to Ukraine somewhat decreased. At the same time, the US is increasing the cost of its military aid packages to $775 million and a billion dollars, respectively. The States have confirmed the transfer of HARM anti-location missiles, with which the Ukrainian Armed Forces destroy Russian radars and air defense systems. The Pentagon said that they are launched from Soviet MiG-29 aircraft that have been modernized.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces will also receive new Scan Eagle drones. These are fairly small drones that can stay in the air for more than 20 hours and have a reconnaissance range of 100 kilometers. Therefore, Ukraine will get another opportunity for long-range reconnaissance and adjustment of its high-precision weapons — M270 and HIMARS.

The ICEYE satellite, which was purchased by the Serhiy Prytula Foundation with money collected by Ukrainians, will help in this. The UAF received access to photos of the companyʼs entire network of satellites for a year, and also has the right to fully control one of them. This makes all warehouses and bases of the Russians in the rear significantly more vulnerable, since the Ukrainian military will be able to find them and strike them.

Another interesting announcement is Germanyʼs promise to transfer 155-mm Vulcano guided shells for artillery. Currently, itʼs about 200 shells. The most interesting thing about them is the range. Vulcano projectiles fly 70-80 kilometers, which is almost twice as far as a standard artillery shot. Such projectiles can be fired from FH-70 howitzers or PzH 2000 self-propelled guns, which are already in service with Ukraine.

In the near future, the situation at the front will most become more acute: both Ukraine and Russia will seek to improve their positions before the onset of cold weather, when the rains will fall and it will be much more difficult to advance. In addition, in mid-September, the Kremlin is preparing to hold so-called "referendums" on the annexation of the occupied territories to Russia. However, as Meduza writes with reference to sources, the Kremlin has not yet made a final decision. The Russian leadership does not want to postpone the "referendums" there, because it will be negatively perceived by supporters of the war. However, they realize that they will not be able to capture all of Donetsk region in the near future. Therefore, it is quite possible that the pseudo-voting will have to be postponed to the winter, and the Kremlin is seriously considering this option.

Translated from Ukrainian by Anton Semyzhenko.

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A Ukrainian soldier jumps over a trench at one of the sections of the defense line near Kharkiv, August 3, 2022.