Ukraine Situation Report: U.S. Replenishes Kyiv’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle Force
With Ukraine facing mounting losses the Pentagon announced Tuesday it is sending another 30 Bradleys and 25 Strykers.
The package was not expedited as a result of Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin’s aborted mutiny, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s top spokesman.
To date, Ukraine has seen 10 of 109 Bradley variants already delivered destroyed, two damaged, and another 12 damaged and abandoned, according to the latest figures from the Oryx open source intelligence tracking group. That figure could be higher, because Oryx only tabulates equipment it can visually verify.
Curiously, none of the 100 Strykers provided to Ukraine have been reported damaged, destroyed or abandoned, which could be an indication of just what Kyiv is holding back in its counteroffensive.
Asked by The War Zone if the U.S. has determined whether any Strykers have been lost, Ryder said that he was not going to do “battle damage assessment for the Russian military.”
He later added that there was no timeline for the delivery of these vehicles.
This is the second replenishment of Bradleys and Strykers. Earlier this month, the Pentagon announced it was sending 15 more Bradleys and 10 more Strykers to Ukraine.
The other capabilities in this 41st Presidential Drawdown Authority package include:
- Additional munitions for Patriot air defense systems;
- Stinger anti-aircraft systems;
- Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);
- Demolitions munitions and systems for obstacle clearing;
- Mine clearing equipment;
- 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds;
- Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles;
- Javelin anti-armor systems;
- AT-4 anti-armor systems;
- Anti-armor rockets;
- High-speed Anti-radiation missiles (HARMs);
- Precision aerial munitions;
- Small arms and over 22 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades;
- Thermal imagery systems and night vision devices;
- Testing and diagnostic equipment to support vehicle maintenance and repair;
- Spare parts, generators, and other field equipment.
Before we head into the latest news from Ukraine, The War Zone readers can catch up on our previous rolling coverage here.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces continue to make progress in its counteroffensive, likely retaking territory Russia has held since 2014. That, at least, is the conclusion of the U.K Ministry of Defense in its latest daily intelligence briefing.
As well as liberating more villages, the same report suggests that Ukraine has, perhaps for the first time, begun to retake territory in the east of the country that lies beyond the de facto borders established between Kyiv and the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic in 2014.
"Ukrainian airborne forces have made small advances east from the village of Krasnohorivka, near Donetsk city, which sits on the old line of control," the briefing states.
"This is one of the first instances since Russia's February 2022 invasion that Ukrainian forces have highly likely recaptured an area of territory occupied by Russia since 2014."
"Recent multiple concurrent Ukrainian assaults throughout the Donbas have likely overstretched Donetsk People's Republic and Chechen forces operating in this area."
All told, U.K. Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace said that Ukraine has already liberated some 300 square kilometers of territory, more than Russia captured during its failed winter campaign.
There is no indication, he added, that Russia has the needed ground troops to counter the multiple threats from Ukraine along the 200-kilometer line from Bakhmut to the left bank of the Dnipro River.
However, when it comes to Bakhmut, while Ukrainian troops are making progress around that city, they have yet to enter it again, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Tuesday on her Telegram channel.
"At present, offensive actions in the Bakhmut direction have been going on for a fourth day," she said. "Our defenders advance on the flanks every day. Gradually, but surely. As of today, they have not entered the city of Bakhmut."
The reason, she said, is largely because of the defenses Ukraine built up while it held the city.
Bakhmut and its suburbs have "a developed system of engineering fortifications and an extensive network of strongholds. All this was once prepared by our military and local authorities for defense, which actually helped to keep it for so long," said Maliar. "But now these fortifications and strongholds have been occupied by the enemy, so to liberate these lands requires a little more effort and patience."
The Kremlin-connected Rybar Telegram channel concurred with Maliar that Ukraine is making progress around Bakhmut, a surge it claimed that could spell greater trouble for Russian forces in that part of the front.
As his troops have made progress, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited two areas along the frontline in eastern and southern Ukraine.
"Today — the front. Donetsk region, Zaporizhzhia," he said on his nightly address. "Our warriors, our frontline positions, areas of active operations at the front. Today, our warriors have advanced in all directions, and this is a happy day. I wished the guys more days like this."
Zelensky's comments come after Ukrainian troops reportedly established a foothold near the Antonovsky Bridge on the left bank of the Dnipro and retook the village of Rivnopil.
On Tuesday, the battle for the area near the bridge raged on, with both sides trading heavy artillery fire as Ukraine tries to hold on to its bridgehead and Russia tries to counterattack.
Ukraine's special operations forces (SSO) riverine units have played a big role in the burgeoning Dnipro River area of operations.
Once again, rail infrastructure within Russian-occupied Crimea appears to have come under attack.
According to the Telegram channel of the official Russian RIA Novosti news agency, railway tracks were damaged in eastern Crimea. That account cites the Russian-imposed regional governor, who said repairs would take four to eight hours. The reports did not state what caused the damage, but there has been a series of similar attacks on railways both in Crimea and in areas of Russian close to the Ukrainian border which some have blamed on Ukraine or pro-Ukrainian partisans.
A top Chinese official has suggested that Beijing could back Ukraine’s aims of reclaiming its 1991 territorial integrity, which includes Crimea - the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014 - Al Jazeera reported Tuesday.
In a recent interview, China’s envoy to the European Union Fu Cong said “I don’t see why not” when asked about supporting Kyiv’s goals, which include reclaiming other Ukrainian regions now occupied by Russia.
“We respect the territorial integrity of all countries,” according to Al Jazeera. “So when China established relations with the former Soviet Union, that’s what we agreed. But as I said, these are historical issues that need to be negotiated and resolved by Russia and Ukraine and that is what we stand for.”
Images of Chinese-manufactured Type 66 152mm high explosive artillery shells being used by Russia, meanwhile, have emerged on social media. It is unclear of where the munitions came from, but markings on the containers indicate they could have originally been delivered to Iran, then shipped to Russia.
Wallace told Parliament today that the Storm Shadow air-launched, conventionally armed cruise missiles are having a "significant impact on the battlefield" thanks to its accuracy and Ukraine's ability to successfully deliver the payload. You can read more about what the Storm Shadow brings to the table for Ukraine in our deep dive here.
Canadian troops are working to prove a new concept of operations involving heavily armed Polaris MRZR 4x4 all-terrain vehicles, including ones with TOW anti-tank missiles. This effort started late last year and comes as troops in Ukraine have been making use of all-terrain vehicles, buggies, and other very light vehicles as mobile anti-tank platforms for well over a year now. You can read more about this in our story here.
The United Nations Humans Rights Office today announced that Russian forces have carried out widespread and systematic torture of civilians since launching its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Dozens of civilians have also been summarily executed by Russian forces in the same timeframe, the U.N. says. Meanwhile, Ukrainian security forces are accused of 75 cases of arbitrary detention of civilians.
As part of its report, the U.N. Humans Rights Office interviewed hundreds of victims and witnesses, resulting in details of more than 900 civilians being arbitrarily detained in the conflict, including children and elderly people, most of them by Russia. The vast majority of those interviewed reported torture and, in some cases, being subjected to sexual violence during detention by Russian forces.
The head of the U.N. Humans Rights Office in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner, said: “Torture was used to force victims to confess to helping the Ukrainian Armed Forces, compel them to cooperate with the occupying authorities or intimidate those with pro-Ukrainian views,” AP reports.
There was much speculation after it was noted that an Il-96-300 transport from the Russian Special Air Group had departed Vnukovo Airport, outside Moscow, headed for Washington DC. The aircraft, a type normally used for transporting Russian government officials, is being used for a regular rotation of diplomatic staff, Maria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry press spokesperson, told the TASS news agency.
According to TASS: "The plane flying to Washington will take out Russian diplomats who are ordered to leave the U.S. in connection with the completion of a three-year stay," Zakharova said.
"Russian diplomats are leaving the U.S. not because of expulsion, but because of restrictions imposed by Washington on the work of Russian foreign missions."
Exactly a year after a Russian airstrike on Kremenchuk hit a busy shopping mall, killing at least 21 civilians, explosions have again rocked the central Ukrainian city.
"Explosions were heard in Kremenchuk," said Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson Yuriy Ignat. "We are waiting to hear from regional administrations about the implications of the explosions."
Ignat said that two missiles were spotted before the explosions were heard in Kremenchuk, according to a report from Reuters.
Last year's attack on Kremenchuk took place at a time when authorities estimated there were hundreds of people inside the shopping mall. Many were trapped inside and different world leaders subsequently described the incident as a war crime.
Elsewhere, the Ukrainian Armed Forces claim they shot down two Kalibr cruise missiles and seven Iranian-made Shahed drones in the course of last night. The same source states that Russia carried out 45 airstrikes and launched 38 attacks using multiple rocket launch systems (MLRS) on Monday night.
Another Russian engineering vehicle has apparently been captured, which will come in handy when it is repaired and used by Ukrainian forces.
More video emerged of Russian forces coming under attack from Ukraine.
Weeks after the destruction of the Nova Kahkovkha dam over the Dnipro River, the Kakhovka Reservoir looks a lot like the Sahara.
Cope cages, built to protect vehicles from drones, are getting more elaborate. The one seen on this armored vehicle looks more like a batting cage.
And finally, while we have seen a number of innovations and improvisations from both sides, the modified turret placed on the hull of this Russian T-72B2K main battle tank is one of the more unusual ones we have seen.
That's it for now. We'll update this story when there's more news to report about Ukraine.
Contact the author: firstname.lastname@example.org