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Russian Su-34 shot down by ‘friendly fire’ – July 18, 2022 Ukraine update

To hide from HIMARS attacks, Russian troops turned the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant into a missile base.



In the foreground is the shattered and smoking remains of a Russian Air Force Su-34. It is unrecognizable as an aircraft, reduced to twisted metal. It sits in a field of crops, that are green with broad leaves and about knee high. In the background is a row of lush trees on the edge of the field, the sky is cloudy.

[KYIV, Ukraine] – MTN It has been 3,063 days since Russia occupied Crimea on February 27, 2014.

Russian Minister of Defense General Sergei Shogui announced on July 15 that the operational pause by Russian forces was over. In the first 36 hours since the announcement, Ukraine had the quietest day on the battlefield since February 24. The Russia-Ukraine War is entering Phase 3, but it remains unclear what that will look like.

Luhansk – Russian troops remained pinned in Bilohorivka and the Verkhnokamyanka oil refinery. Attempts to advance into Donetsk were thwarted in both directions.

Near Alchevsk, during a Ukrainian High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) attack, air defenses of the Luhansk People’s Republic accidentally targeted a Russian Su-34 generation 4.5 fighter aircraft, shooting the plane down. The airframe has been identified as number RF-95890, a Su-34M. The M variant is the most technologically advanced version of the Su-34. The pilot was able to eject, with Ukraine claiming they captured the pilot behind the line of conflict. The wreckage was still smoldering at sunrise.

Northeast Donetsk – The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that Russian forces tried advancing “near” Hryhorivka and were unsuccessful. There was also a report of a probe toward Serebrianka, which was unsuccessful.

Additionally, there is continued fighting in the Spirne-Ivano-Daryivka area with no change in territorial control. Spirne remains a no man’s land.

Bakhmut – Serhiy Haidai, the Luhansk Region Administrative and Military Head, reported that the next Russian objective is Bakhmut. Russian forces shelled and fired rockets from MLRS at Soledar, Bakhmut, and the surrounding villages.

In the Svitlodarsk Bulge, Russian forces attempted to improve their positions in Novoluhanske and advance on the Vuldhar Power Plant. Neither attack was successful.

Southwest Donetsk – Zaporizhia – Elements of the 1st Army Corps of the Donetsk People’s Republic attempted to advance on Marinka. Fighting continued overnight, but Ukrainian forces beat back the Russia-backed militia.

Ukraine claims to have hit a Russian ammunition depot in Mykilske with HIMARS rockets. The depot was stored with ammonium nitrate fertilizer, creating a large shockwave and clouds of telltale orange smoke.

Pro-Russian social media accounts were reporting Ukraine had liberated Solodoke, south of Donetsk city.

Kherson – Ukraine hit two Russian ammunition depots in Nova Kakhovka using NATO-provided High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). Russian and Ukrainian forces exchange artillery, rockets, and air strikes from Oleksandrivka [Mykoaliv] to Osokorivka. There weren’t any documented changes in territorial control.

Operational Command South of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that the air force attacked “troop concentrations” never Davydiv Brid.

Dnipropetrovsk – The city of Nikopol was hit with over 60 rockets fired from Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) across the Dnipro. Civilians and civilian infrastructure were targeted. The Russian Ministry of Defense set up artillery and MLRS firing positions in Enerhodar at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant.

Kharkiv – Northeast of Kharkiv, there were no ground attacks of significance from either belligerent. Russian forces had improved their position in Dementiivka on July 16, but were pushed back by Ukrainian territorial guard forces overnight.

Sumy – The settlements of Velikopysariv, Krasnopil, Khotyn, Bilopol, Shalygin, Novoslobid, Esman, and Seredino-Bud were shelled by artillery and rockets fired by MLRS from Russian positions across the international border. There were no reports of casualties.

Chernihiv – Twelve artillery shells hit the settlement of Snovsk in the Chernihiv oblast. There were no reports of injuries.

Izyum – For the second day in a row, Russian forces made no attempts to advance on the line of conflict south of Izyum. Multiple reports indicated that Russian forces had lost control of Dibrovne.

Odesa – Black Sea – Serhiy Bratchuk, the adviser to the head of the Odesa Regional Military Administration, reported that a majority of warships in the Black Sea Fleet had been relocated from Sevastopol to Novorossiysk in Russia.

Beyond Ukraine – A Ukrainian An-12 cargo plane operated by the private company Meridian Air crashed in Greece. The plane had taken off from Serbia and was en route to Amman, Jordan, when it experienced a mid-air emergency. Witnesses said the plane caught fire and rapidly descended before crashing. All eight crew members were killed in the crash.

Daily Assessment

  1. It has been two days since the Kremlin announced the operational pause is over, and the operational tempo for ground combat remains low.
  2. Russian forces have increased the amount of artillery fire in the last 24 hours, but it remains far below the intensity of fire experienced in June 2022.
  3. We cannot confirm Governor Haidai’s statement that the next large offensive from Russian forces will be to secure Bakhmut. We believe that defending Kherson or securing Siversk will be the next major objective.

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