Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations in at least four sectors of the front made marginal advances on July 3. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Ukrainian forces also conducted counteroffensive operations in the Lyman direction. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar stated that Ukrainian forces continue counteroffensive operations the Bakhmut area, the western Donetsk-Zaporizhia Oblast border area, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast. Malyar stated that Ukrainian forces recaptured nine square kilometers of territory in eastern Ukraine, and geolocated footage shows that Ukrainian forces have advanced southwest of Bakhmut. Malyar stated that Ukrainian forces also recaptured 28.4 square kilometers in southern Ukraine in the past week for a total of 158.4 square kilometers in southern Ukraine during an unspecified time period. A Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces made limited gains south of Orikhiv in western Zaporizhia Oblast.
Russian milbloggers have seized on recent Ukrainian activity on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast to call for an increased presence of small river vessels and equipment in the Dnipro River to prevent further Ukrainian advances. Russian milbloggers appealed on July 2 to the heads of the Dagestan and Tatarstan republics, Astrakhan Oblast, Krasnodar Krai, and Primorsky Krai to send boats confiscated from poachers to the Kherson Oblast frontline, specifying that 10 regiments and brigades of the Southern Military District’s “Dnepr” (the Russian word for Dnipro) Grouping of Forces sorely need the vessels. ISW previously reported on July 2 that milbloggers are accusing the Russian MoD of failing to provide Russian forces on the east bank with requisite boats and other equipment, and it appears that milbloggers outsourced their requests for additional logistical support to Russian regional heads. Dagestan Republic Head Sergey Melikov responded to the milblogger appeal on July 3 and ordered Dagestan to solve the issue of transferring confiscated poaching boats to Russian forces. One Russian milblogger called for the resurrection of the “Dnepr” flotilla,” a special miliary river unit that was active in the 1735-1739 and 1787-1792 Russo-Turkish wars, the Russian Civil War, and World War II. The milblogger claimed that a resurrected “Dnepr” flotilla could significantly ameliorate the position of Russian troops in the Kherson direction and that this grouping could be reinforced with simple, civilian-use boats. Several other milbloggers, including former Russian officer Igor Girkin, claimed that Russian forces in Kherson Oblast need small boats and equipment in order to keep Ukrainian troops as far back from the Dnipro delta as possible. The overall anxious milblogger response to recent Ukrainian activity across the Dnipro River suggests that many Russian milbloggers fear Ukraine’s ability to cross the river and believe that the current command of the “Dnepr” grouping has not sufficiently prepared its troops for that potentiality.
Russian Security Council Deputy Chairperson Dmitry Medvedev published an essay that reamplified inflammatory Russian rhetoric towards Ukraine and the West, likely to undermine support for Ukraine at the upcoming NATO summit. Medvedev’s July 3 essay paints his usual alarmist rhetoric in new colors; he again portrayed the war in Ukraine as part of a broader existential conflict against the West, restated many of Putin’s extreme pre-war demands that transcended Ukraine, and implied that Russia is prepared to engage in this broader conflict for “decades” if these demands are not met. Medvedev claimed that “armageddon” is “probable” if the West does not agree to negotiate a new world order with Russia, absurdly claiming that the nuclear “taboo” is broken (presumably by the US use of atomic weapons in 1945–it is otherwise entirely unclear to what he might be referring) to falsely imply that nuclear war is a certainty. Medvedev attempted to portray Russia as connected to partners outside of the West despite Western sanctions, and that states not aligned with the West actively stand against it. Medvedev’s essay is consistent with his and other senior Kremlin officials’ prior attempts to scare Western states, organizations, and media prior to significant international discussions about military, political, and economic support for Ukraine and its effort to liberate Russian-held territories. Medvedev’s essay is a restatement of existing Russian narratives and does not represent a true inflection in Russian political, military, or nuclear rhetoric.
- Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations in at least four sectors of the front made marginal advances on July 3.
- Russian milbloggers have seized on recent Ukrainian activity on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast to call for an increased presence of small river vessels and equipment in the Dnipro River to prevent further Ukrainian advances.
- Russian Security Council Deputy Chairperson Dmitry Medvedev published an essay that reamplified inflammatory Russian rhetoric towards Ukraine and the West, likely to undermine support for Ukraine at the upcoming NATO summit
- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reiterated boilerplate rhetoric about the current state of the war in Ukraine and the Wagner Group rebellion on July 3.
- Russian forces continued drone and missile strikes against rear areas in Ukraine overnight and during the day on July 3.
- The Kremlin continues to use tools of digital authoritarian to surveil Russia’s domestic population and aim to expand domestic production of surveillance technology.
- Ukrainian and Russian forces continued limited attacks on the Svatove-Kreminna line and south of Kreminna.
- Russian and Ukrainian forces continued ground attacks in the Bakhmut area.
- Ukrainian forces reportedly continued limited ground attacks in western Donetsk Oblast, near the Donetsk-Zaporizhia oblasts administrative border, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast.
- Official Russian sources continue to claim that Russian forces repel all Ukrainian assaults on the east (left) bank of Kherson Oblast near the Antonivsky Bridge.
- The Wagner Group is reportedly suspending regional recruitment on a temporary basis.
- Russian officials continue efforts to portray Russia as a safe custodian of Ukrainian children while inadvertently confirming that Russia is facilitating mass deportations of Ukrainian children to the Russian Federation.