Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted counteroffensive operations in six sectors of the front on July 2 and made gains in some of these areas.The Russian Ministry of Defense and other Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations in the Lyman direction, in the Bakhmut area, along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City front, in western Donetsk Oblast, on the administrative border between Zaporizhia and Donetsk oblasts, and in western Zaporizhia Oblast. Ukrainian Eastern Group of Forces Spokesperson Colonel Serhiy Cherevaty reported on July 2 that Ukrainian forces are continuing to make unspecified advances on the flanks around Bakhmut. A Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces made unspecified gains southwest of Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut). Geolocated footage published on July 1 indicates that Ukrainian forces advanced northeast of Volodymyrivka (12km southeast of Vuhledar) in western Donetsk Oblast. Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations south and southwest of Orikhiv in western Zaporizhia Oblast. Zaporizhia Oblast occupation deputy Vladimir Rogov claimed that Ukrainian forces advanced towards Russian trench positions near Robotyne (12km south of Orikhiv) and that there is ongoing close combat in these trenches. Some Russian sources continue to describe these Ukrainian counteroffensive operations as smaller tactical operations than earlier Ukrainian counteroffensive operations.
Russian forces conducted another series of drone and missile strikes targeting southern Ukraine and Kyiv on July 2. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces launched 11 missiles and eight Shahed drones at Ukraine, including three Kalibr missiles at Odesa and Mykolaiv oblasts. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces intercepted all three Kalibr cruise missiles and eight Shahed drones. The Kyiv City Military Administration reported that Ukrainian air defenses shot down all Russian Shahed drones targeting Kyiv, and Ukraine‘s Southern Operational Command reported that Ukrainian forces shot down two drones over Mykolaiv Oblast.
The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) is attempting to consolidate control over the Russian information space by undermining select Russian milbloggers who did not repeat the MoD’s desired framing regarding the claimed defeat of a Ukrainian presence on the east (left) bank Kherson Oblast on July 1. The Russian MoD claimed on July 1 and July 2 that Russian forces successfully repelled Ukrainian landings near the Antonivsky Bridge and disproportionally celebrated defeating a small Ukrainian landing on the eastern (left) bank of the Dnipro River. Some Russian milbloggers, however, contrary to the MoD‘s reports noted that fighting is still ongoing and that Ukrainian forces maintained some positions near Antonivsky Bridge as of July 2. A prominent Russian milblogger amplified a post on July 1 from an unspecified Telegram channel, which criticized several prominent Kremlin and Wagner-affiliated Telegram channels for contradicting the Russian MoD’s official narrative. The post accused select milbloggers of spreading false information about the situation around the Antonivsky Bridge and other Russian MoD claims – ultimately accusing these channels of assisting Ukrainian “psychological operations.” Russian milbloggers who contradicted the MoD’s report responded in turn by accusing the Russian General Staff of launching an attack on the Russian milblogger community. These defiant milbloggers claimed that the Russian General Staff and the MoD previously attempted to open a criminal case against milbloggers in 2022 and claimed that milbloggers’ accurate coverage of frontline realities greatly undermines defense officials’ efforts to exaggerate Russia’s successes. Some of these defiant milbloggers directly interact with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and it is likely that the Russian MoD seeks to censor some Kremlin-affiliated milbloggers out of a concern that these ultranationalists may expose Russian military failures to Putin during their monthly ”special military operations” milblogger working groups within the Kremlin.
- Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted counteroffensive operations in six sectors of the front on July 2 and made gains in some of these areas.
- Russian forces conducted another series of drone and missile strikes targeting southern Ukraine and Kyiv on July 2.
- The Russian MoD’s conflict with the milblogger community over a trivial combat operation may indicate that the Russian military command does not think it has any other successes to report to Putin amidst the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive.
- The Russian MoD’s attempt to overstate a potential tactical Russian victory near the Antonivsky Bridge and its efforts to restrict opposing information has backfired.
- Putin continues to face the choice of either siding with the Russian MoD to defend its weakened reputation or maintaining his support among pro-war ultranationalist milbloggers and their patronage networks.
- Russian and Ukrainian forces continued to engage in positional battles along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna frontline.
- Ukrainian and Russian forces continued to conduct limited ground attacks around Bakhmut and along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line.
- Ukrainian forces reportedly conducted limited offensive operations in western Donetsk Oblast and have advanced as of July 2.
- Russian sources claimed that Russian and Ukrainian forces conducted limited offensive operations in the western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhia oblasts border area.
- Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces maintain limited positions in east (left) bank Kherson Oblast near the Antonivsky Bridge as of July 2.
- Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated that Russian officials plan to create regional centers for the development of drones in Nizhny Novgorod as well as in occupied Sevastopol, Crimea, and Mariupol, Donetsk Oblast.
- Ukrainian and Belarusian sources reported that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and other Belarusian officials and citizens are actively involved in the deportation of Ukrainian children from occupied territories to Belarus.