Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted counteroffensive operations in five sectors of the front on July 5 and made gains in some areas. Geolocated footage posted on July 5 shows that Ukrainian forces have advanced southwest of Berkhivka (6km northwest of Bakhmut), west of Yahidne (2km north of Bakhmut), and southwest of Bakhmut. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations south and north of Bakhmut, and Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar stated that Ukrainian forces are advancing in an unspecified area on Bakhmut’s southern flank. Ukrainian MP Yuriy Mysyagin stated that Ukrainian forces established a new position north of Opytne (6km northwest of the outskirts of Donetsk City) along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City front. Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted assaults in the Lyman direction, the Bakhmut direction, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City front, on the border between Zaporizhia and Donetsk oblasts, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast. Ukrainian Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Department of the General Staff General Oleksii Hromov reported on July 5 that Ukrainian forces have advanced 7.5km into Russian-controlled territory in western Zaporizhia Oblast and along the administrative border between the Zaporizhia and Donetsk oblasts. Hromov stated that Ukrainian forces have liberated nine settlements and 160 square kilometers of territory since the start of the Ukrainian counteroffensive on June 4.
Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted a series of missile strikes targeting Russian rear positions along the entire front overnight and during the day on July 5. Geolocated footage published on July 4 indicates that Ukrainian forces struck an ammunition depot in Makiivka, Donetsk Oblast (6km northeast of Donetsk City). A Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces struck a Russian fuel and lubricants depot in Makiivka and that Ukrainian forces are regularly launching missile strikes against rear Russian targets in Ukraine. Geolocated images published on July 5 also show apparent Ukrainian strikes on Russian positions near Debaltseve (52km northeast of Donetsk City). Geolocated footage published on July 5 also shows the aftermath of an alleged Ukrainian strike on a railway station in Yasynuvata (6km northeast of Donetsk City). Geolocated images published on July 5 shows the aftermath of an alleged HIMARS rocket strike on a Russian occupation administration building in Volnovakha, Donetsk Oblast (35km southwest of Donetsk City). Russian milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces struck Russian positions near Yakymivka (16km southwest of Melitopol) and attempted to strike Berdyansk in Zaporizhia Oblast with Storm Shadow Cruise missiles. Russian sources claimed that Russian air defense systems shot down a Ukrainian missile in the vicinity of Berdyansk. A local Kherson Oblast Telegram channel also claimed that Russian air defenses were activated near Skadovsk, Kherson Oblast (60km southeast of Kherson City).
The footage and claims of these Ukrainian strikes suggest that Ukrainian forces launched a coordinated series of strikes aimed at degrading Russian logistics and ground lines of communication (GLOCs) throughout the theater. United Kingdom Chief of the Defense Staff Admiral Sir Antony David Radakin stated on July 4 that Ukrainian forces are conducting an operation to “starve, stretch, and strike” Russian forces to break down Russian defensive lines. A widespread strike series targeting Russian GLOCs and logistics would be an appropriate element of such a strategy and is partially reminiscent of the interdiction campaign that Ukrainian forces conducted as a part of the Kherson counteroffensive. ISW previously assessed that Ukrainian forces appear to be focusing on creating an asymmetrical attrition gradient that conserves Ukrainian manpower at the cost of a slower rate of territorial gains, while gradually wearing down Russian manpower and equipment. A possible Ukrainian interdiction campaign supporting this effort would have cumulative effects, and its results would not be immediately evident.
Ukrainian and Russian officials maintained their heightened rhetoric regarding the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) on July 5 following significant claims of a possible attack against the plant overnight on July 4-5. Russia likely continues setting informational conditions for a possible false flag attack against the ZNPP but remains unlikely to cause a radiological incident at this time. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar stated that Russia may attack the ZNPP to either accomplish its military goals in the area — presumably deterring any possible Ukrainian counteroffensive near the Kakhovka Reservoir — or to intimidate and blame Ukrainian forces for any attacks against the ZNPP. Ukrainian Deputy Chief of the General Staff’s Main Operational Department, Oleksii Hromov stated that the situation at the ZNPP is not new and that Ukrainian forces have the necessary equipment to handle radiological incidents. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claimed that there is a “great threat” that Ukraine may sabotage the ZNPP with “catastrophic consequences.” ISW continues to assess that Russian statements accusing Ukraine of imminent sabotage against the ZNPP are likely part of a broader information operation aimed at undermining support for Ukraine ahead of the upcoming NATO summit and dissuading Ukrainian forces from counteroffensive operations in Zaporizhia Oblast.
- Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted counteroffensive operations in five sectors of the front on July 5 and made gains in some areas.
- Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted a series of missile strikes targeting Russian rear positions along the entire front overnight and during the day on July 5.
- Ukrainian and Russian officials maintained their heightened rhetoric regarding the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) on July 5 following significant claims of a possible attack against the plant overnight on July 4-5. Russia likely continues setting informational conditions for a possible false flag attack against the ZNPP, but remains unlikely to cause a radiological incident at this time.
- Ukrainian officials reported that Russia continues to procure Iranian-made Shahed drones and is setting conditions to manufacture these drones in Russia with Iran’s assistance.
- The Kremlin continues to show concern over the risk of a potential armed rebellion in Russia after Wagner Group’s rebellion on June 24.
- The Financial Times (FT) reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping personally warned Russian President Vladimir Putin against threatening to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine during his visit to Moscow in late March.
- Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin dismissed Sergei Mikhailov from his position as General Director of TASS state newswire and replaced him with Andrey Kondrashov.
- Russian forces continued offensive operations along the Kupyansk-Svatove line, and Russian and Ukrainian forces continued skirmishing around Kreminna.
- Ukrainian forces conducted successful offensive operations in the Bakhmut area, and Russian milbloggers reported that Ukrainian forces liberated an important height near Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut).
- Russian and Ukrainian forces continued ground attacks along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line.
- Ukrainian forces continued ground attacks in the western Donetsk Oblast-eastern Zaporizhia Oblast border area and in western Zaporizhia Oblast.
- A Ukrainian official confirmed that Ukrainian forces maintain positions in east (left) bank Kherson Oblast.
- Ukrainian officials reported that Russia’s hybrid cryptomobilization and contract service recruitment campaigns have failed to produce large numbers of recruits, contrary to Russian claims.
- Russian officials are setting information conditions to postpone regional elections in occupied Ukraine likely out of concerns for successful Ukrainian counteroffensives.