Ukraine Daily Summary - Tuesday, July 19

Russia's Wagner Group lowers recruitment standards, incurs heavy casualties -- Russia fires 7 cruise missiles on Odesa Oblast from Black Sea, injuring 6 -- Putin says sanctions cause ‘colossal’ problems in Russian tech industry -- Russia likely supporting war efforts with ethnic minorities, sparking resistance in ethnic enclaves -- and more

Ukraine Daily

Tuesday, July 19

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Russia’s war against Ukraine


A heavily damaged office building in Vinnytsia, Vinnytsia Oblast, on July 14, 2022. (Alexey Furman/Getty Images)

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Zelensky to dismiss 28 officials from Security Service. In his evening address to the nation, President Volodymyr Zelensky said he will dismiss 28 officials from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). The announcement came after Zelensky initiated the dismissal of SBU chief Ivan Bakanov earlier today. On July 17, Zelensky suspended Bakanov along with Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova from their duties due to the high number of suspected high treason and collaborative activities of law enforcement employees.

Ukraine’s first lady visits DC. Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska arrived in Washington at the invitation of the U.S. First Lady Jill Biden. Zelenska began her visit with a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on July 18. Zelenska and Biden met in Ukraine in early May, when the U.S. first lady made a brief visit to the western part of the country.

Armed Forces: 943 civilians, including 216 children, evacuated from occupied territories in Kharkiv Oblast. Both authorities and volunteers participated in the evacuation, according to Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov.

UK intelligence: Russia’s Wagner Group lowers recruitment standards, incurs heavy casualties. According to the latest U.K. Defense Ministry intelligence update, Russian mercenary group Wagner is hiring convicts and formerly blacklisted individuals, potentially impacting its effectiveness and value as a prop to the regular Russian forces. The group has “almost certainly” played a central role in capturing the cities of Popasna and Lysychansk in Luhansk Oblast, the ministry said.

Zelensky: Russia has fired over 3,000 missiles at Ukrainian cities since Feb.24. President Volodymyr Zelensky also said it’s impossible to count the number of Russian artillery and other projectiles used against Ukrainians. “But it is definitely possible to bring all Russian war criminals to justice. Each of the collaborators. All those responsible for terror,” he said.

Russia fires 7 cruise missiles on Odesa Oblast from Black Sea, injuring 6. Ukraine’s Operational Command “South” reported on July 19 that six people were injured, including one child. Russia fired seven Kalibr cruise missiles on Odesa Oblast, one of which was intercepted. Three houses, two sheds, a school, a cultural center, and several cars were also damaged.

General Staff: Ukraine’s Armed Forces inflict losses on Russia near Sloviansk, Avdiivka. The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported that on July 18 the Ukrainian military inflicted losses on Russian forces and forced them to retreat near Sloviansk and Avdiivka, as well as repelled a Russian attack in the direction of Bakhmut.

Media: Putin to visit Iran on July 19. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is expected to meet Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Tehran on July 19, Aljazeera reports. The leaders are reportedly expected to discuss Syria, the war in Ukraine, energy, and trade.

Bloomberg: Putin says sanctions cause ‘colossal’ problems in Russian tech industry. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin told officials during a video conference on strategic development goals that Russia is facing “colossal problems” in the high-tech sector due to international sanctions, but that Russia will not allow its economy to fall back decades and will look for solutions by relying on domestic resources, Bloomberg reports.

Institute for the Study of War: Russia likely supporting war efforts with ethnic minorities, ‘sparking resistance in ethnic enclaves.’ The U.S. think tank reported on July 18 that the Kremlin’s likely attempt to “shield ethnic Russians from high levels of mobilization” may be inciting resistance in some of Russia’s ethnic enclaves, which may be disproportionately shouldering the war effort. The ISW also reported that Russia is likely focusing on seizing Siversk and Bakhmut at this stage, rather than Sloviansk.

Read our exclusives here

President Volodymyr Zelensky dropped major news on a typically slow Sunday evening, removing from office two of his staunchest allies – Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova and Security Service Head Ivan Bakanov. Read our explainer here.

One way or another, according to Ukraine’s leadership, it’s bound to happen. Even though the Battle of Donbas is far from over, Ukraine is expected to open the next chapter of the war sometime in the near future — a highly anticipated, major counter-offensive operation in the south, particularly to liberate the Russian-occupied city of Kherson. Read our story here.

The human cost of Russia’s war

Russians shell high-rise yard near Mykolaiv, killing 4 civilians. According to Dmytro Pletenchuk, press secretary of the Mykolaiv Oblast Military Administration, Russian forces had a film crew on site as they shelled the yard of a high-rise building on the outskirts of Snihurivka in Mykolaiv Oblast to use the images and video for media purposes.

Russian shelling of Toretsk in Donetsk Oblast kills 6. According to the State Emergency Service, the bodies of five people were found during search operations, and three people were rescued from the rubble, one of whom died in a hospital.

Prosecutors: Russian attacks on Kharkiv Oblast kill 2, wound 3 over past 2 days. According to Kharkiv regional prosecutors, one person was killed in the village of Kalynove on July 17, and another in the village of Pechenihy. Russian forces also launched a missile strike on the town of Chuhuiv in Kharkiv Oblast, damaging two high-rises on July 18.

Prosecutors: Russia’s war has killed at least 353 children, wounded 666 since Feb. 24. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, the numbers are expected to be higher since they do not include casualties in the Russian-occupied territories and areas where hostilities are ongoing.

General Staff: Russia has lost 38,450 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24. Ukraine’s General Staff said on July 18 that Russia had also lost 1,687 tanks, 3,886 armored fighting vehicles, 849 artillery systems, 248 multiple launch rocket systems, 113 air defense systems, 188 helicopters, 220 airplanes, 690 drones, and 15 boats.

International response

Ukraine asks EU to impose sanctions on 30 Russian banks. The Yermak-McFaul Expert Group on Russian Sanctions called on the EU to impose sanctions against all top 30 Russian banks, including Gazprombank, while keeping gas payments under a separate mechanism.

EU approves 500 million euros in military aid for Ukraine. The European Council approved the allocation of another 500 million euros for military aid to Ukraine from the European Peace Fund, President of the European Council Charles Michel announced on Twitter on July 18.

US to keep sharing intelligence with Ukraine despite changes to Zelensky’s inner circle. The U.S. State Department says it will continue to provide Ukraine with intelligence amid President Volodymyr Zelensky’s decision to replace top personnel, including Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova and Security Service Head Ivan Bakanov. “We are in daily contact with our Ukrainian partners… We invest not in personalities, we invest in institutions,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

Ambassadors from EU, Israel visit Vinnytsia after Russian strike. Diplomats from EU countries and Israel visited Vinnytsia, where 24 civilians were killed and over 100 injured by a Russian missile strike on July 14. The missiles hit the city’s central square and a concert venue. Vinnytsia Oblast Governor Serhiy Borzov asked the 20 visiting diplomats to help with restoration.

Turkey planning new meeting for grain corridors from Ukraine. Turkey’s Defense Ministry said Turkey hopes to hold a second four-way meeting in Istanbul regarding the organization of a grain corridor from Ukraine this week, European Pravda reports, citing Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar. Delegations from Ukraine, Russia and Turkey met with UN representatives in Istanbul on July 13 for the first time to discuss the safe export of grain.

Ukraine’s defense minister gets ‘very good news’ in conversation with US counterpart. Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov held a phone conversation with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin on July 18. The two discussed the next Ramstein meeting of defense ministers on July 20. Reznikov said that Austin gave him “very good news” that he will reveal soon.

Russia fines Google $382 million for not removing content banned in Russia. A Moscow court imposed a fine of 21.77 billion rubles ($382 million) on Google for repeated failure to remove “information prohibited in Russia” from YouTube. Earlier in June, Google’s local subsidiary in Russia filed for bankruptcy after authorities froze its local bank account related to fines against YouTube.

In other news

EU to open accession talks with Albania, North Macedonia. The 27 EU member states agreed on July 18 to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, which have been pending since 2020. “We have taken another important step towards bringing the Western Balkans closer to the EU,” said Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala.

Azerbaijan to supply EU with at least 20 billion cubic meters of gas by 2027. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen signed a deal with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku on Monday in a move aimed at bringing imports of Azeri natural gas to ‘at least’ 20 billion cubic meters per year in 15 years, doubling the current supply through the Southern Gas Corridor, and reducing the EU’s reliance on Russian energy. The EU has previously criticized Baku’s human rights record under President Aliyev.

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