July 11, 2023

Institute for the Study of War: 11 NATO states agree to train Ukraine pilots on US-supplied F16’s

Institute for the Study of War

Russian forces conducted a series of Shahed 131 and 136 drone strikes across Ukraine on July 11, likely in a demonstrative response to the 2023 NATO Summit in Vilnius and to threaten the Black Sea grain deal. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces shot down 26 of the 28 Russian Shahed 131 and 136 drones launched from the Primorsk-Akhtarsk (Krasnodar Krai) direction. The Ukrainian Southern Operational Command reported that Russian forces tried to strike the grain terminal in Odesa Oblast, and that two drones struck an administrative building at a port facility. Ukrainian Southern Operational Command Spokesperson Captain First Rank Nataliya Humenyuk stated that Russian forces targeted port infrastructure to disrupt the Black Sea Grain deal. Russia’s drone strikes on port infrastructure also coincide with the first day of the NATO summit in Vilnius and are likely intended to discourage NATO members from providing more military aid to Ukraine. Russia may be threatening the Black Sea grain deal to message the deal’s original broker, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that his recent statement of support for Ukraine’s NATO membership and the return of the five Ukrainian Azovstal commanders on July 7 has not gone unnoticed and is not appreciated by the Kremlin.

Germany and France pledged to provide Ukraine more weapons systems during the first day of the 2023 NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 11.German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius stated that Germany will provide Ukraine with two Patriot air defense launchers, 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles, 25 Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks, and five Bergepanzer 2 armored recovery vehicles over an unspecified time period. France will reportedly send Ukraine Storm Shadow missiles. French President Emmanuel Macron stated that he decided to send Ukraine weapons to allow Ukrainian forces to conduct deep strikes. Reuters reported that a French diplomatic source said that France will provide Ukraine with about 50 SCALP missiles (the French name for Storm Shadow missiles) with a range of 250km.

A coalition of 11 states signed a memorandum with Ukraine outlining the terms for training Ukrainian pilots on the F-16 aircraft at the 2023 NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 11. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced on July 11 that 11 partner states signed a memorandum on the terms for the coalition to train Ukrainian pilots on the F-16. Reznikov noted that the training program may include other fighter aircraft types and expressed his thanks to Denmark and the Netherlands for their ”outstanding leadership” in the process.

Key Takeaways:

  • Russian forces conducted a series of Shahed 131 and 136 drone strikes across Ukraine on July 11, likely in a demonstrative response to the 2023 NATO Summit in Vilnius and to threaten the Black Sea grain deal.
  • Germany and France pledged to provide Ukraine more weapons systems during the first day of the 2023 NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 11.
  • A coalition of 11 states signed a memorandum with Ukraine outlining the terms for training Ukrainian pilots on the F-16 aircraft at the 2023 NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 11.
  • The Kremlin’s and Russian milbloggers’ reactions to the first day of the NATO Summit were relatively muted.
  • Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu attempted to portray the Ukrainian counteroffensive as a failed effort against the backdrop of the NATO Summit.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations on at least three sectors of the front on July 11 and made gains in some areas.
  • A Ukrainian Storm Shadow missile strike reportedly killed Deputy Commander of the Russian Southern Military District (SMD) Lieutenant General Oleg Tsokov at the command post of the 58th Combined Arms Army (CAA) in occupied Berdyansk, Zaporizhia Oblast.
  • Russian milbloggers criticized the Russian military command for failing to defend against Ukrainian strikes on Russian headquarters.
  • Chief of the Russian General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov reportedly fired Commander of the 58th CAA Major General Ivan Popov after Popov voiced his concerns over the need for troop rotations in western Zaporizhia Oblast amidst Ukrainian counteroffensives.
  • An unknown actor killed the Krasnodar City Deputy Head for Mobilization, Captain Stanislav Rzhitsky, on July 10.
  • Russian forces are conducting offensive operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line and made territorial gains.
  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on Bakhmut’s northern and southern outskirts.
  • Russian forces launched assaults on Ukrainian positions on the Donetsk City-Avdiivka frontline.
  • Russian and Ukrainian forces continued ground attacks along the administrative border between Zaporizhia and Donetsk oblasts.
  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations south of Orikhiv in western Zaporizhia Oblast.
  • The Kremlin continues measures to gradually mobilize Russia’s defense industrial base (DIB) to meet Russian military demands in Ukraine without conducting a wider economic mobilization.
  • The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported on July 11 that the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) is struggling to establish regional branches in occupied territories in Ukraine. 
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