Ukraine Daily Summary - Monday, July 4

Ukrainian troops will retake Lysychansk thanks to tactics, supply of modern weapons -- Russia tries to legitimize its occupation of Ukraine's Kherson Oblast -- Lukashenko says Belarus’ role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ‘determined long ago’ -- Ukrainian forces launch more than 30 strikes on Russian-occupied Melitopol -- Russian forces torture diver at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant to death -- and more

Ukraine Daily

Monday, July 4

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Russia’s war against Ukraine


A photo of Lysychansk, Luhansk Oblast, taken by Luhansk Oblast Governor Serhiy Haidai on July 3, 2022. (Serhiy Haidai/Telegram)

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General Staff: Ukrainian troops forced to withdraw from Lysychansk. Ukraine’s military reported on July 3 that troops have retreated from the last major city under Ukrainian control in Luhansk Oblast.

Russia claims to have seized entirety of Luhansk Oblast. The claim was made by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. The U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War said on July 2 that Ukrainian forces had likely deliberately withdrawn from Lysychansk, the last major Ukrainian stronghold in Luhansk Oblast. This appears to be an effort to avoid an encirclement of Ukrainian troops. Ukraine has not yet confirmed the loss of Lysychansk but Luhansk Oblast Governor Serhiy Haidai said that Russian troops had gained a foothold in Lysychansk and destroyed the city’s administrative buildings.

Zelensky: Ukrainian troops will retake Lysychansk thanks to tactics, supply of modern weapons. In an evening address on July 3, President Volodymyr Zelensky referred to how Ukraine’s military forced Russian troops to withdraw from Snake Island, saying “there will be a day when we will say the same about Donbas.” Until recently, Lysychansk was the last major city in Luhansk Oblast under Ukrainian control.

UK intelligence: Russia tries to legitimize its occupation of Ukraine’s Kherson Oblast. Russia’s proxies have said they would hold a referendum on annexing Kherson Oblast to Russia by autumn. The U.K. Defense Ministry said on July 3 that finding a pseudo-constitutional solution for the occupation is a “priority policy objective” for the Kremlin. Russia will likely be prepared to rig the vote in order to show an acceptable result, the ministry said.

Institute for the Study of War: Russian forces likely secured Luhansk Oblast border, but ‘pockets of Ukrainian resistance’ may remain. The U.S. think tank reported on July 3 that Russian forces may not have yet fully cleared Lysychansk and Luhansk Oblast of Ukrainian forces, but that this will likely happen “relatively quickly.” The ISW also reports that two senior commanders with Russia’s military may have been tasked with tactical activities around Lysychansk, indicating the importance for Putin of securing the region and his “lack of confidence in more junior officers to do the job.”

Lukashenko says Belarus’ role in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ‘determined long ago’. Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko said Minsk and Russia’s forces are “practically united” as countries of the Union State, a supranational organization consisting of the two countries. Belarus is not a direct participant in the full-scale war in Ukraine, but is providing logistical support to Russia’s invasion. Belarus also allows Russia to use its territory to launch missiles at Ukraine.

Russia reportedly preparing for mobilization in occupied Crimea. The Office of Representative of President of Ukraine in Crimea reported that Ukrainian citizens living in the occupied peninsula could soon be forced to fight against Ukraine. The group called on Ukrainian citizens in Crimea to do everything possible to avoid being forced into fighting for the Russian army, including surrendering to Ukrainian forces at the first opportunity, the message says.

General Staff: Russia transports ammunition from Crimea to Kherson Oblast. Ukraine’s General Staff reported on July 4 that Russian forces transported 17 cars of ammunition from Russian-occupied Crimea to a railway station in Myrne, Kherson Oblast. In the direction of Kramatorsk, Russian forces crossed the Siversky Donets River and set up positions surrounding Lysychansk and Bilohorivka.

Ukraine’s military defeats nearly 50 Russian troops in southern Ukraine. Ukraine’s Operational Command “South” reported that it killed 47 Russian troops and destroyed two self-propelled artillery systems, an Msta-S self-propelled howitzer, a radar system, a signals intelligence station, three armored vehicles, and an Orlan-10 UAV on July 3. Ukraine’s Armed Forces also destroyed one ammunition depot in Mykolaiv Oblast.

MP: About 800,000 Ukrainians have lost homes due to Russia’s war. Russian forces have destroyed more than 15 million square meters of housing in Ukraine, according to Olena Shuliak, head of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Servant of the People party. About 220,000 Ukrainians have already submitted applications for compensation, according to Shuliak.

Mayor: Ukrainian forces launch more than 30 strikes on Russian-occupied Melitopol. Ukraine’s military managed to disable one of the four Russian military bases in Melitopol in Zaporizhzhia Oblast on July 3, Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov said. Explosions were previously heard near an airfield where Russian soldiers are based, according to locals.

Governor claims 3 people killed, 50 houses damaged in attack on Russia’s Belgorod. Belgorod Oblast Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov claimed that 11 apartment buildings and 39 smaller houses had been damaged in the city. He added that four people had been injured. Russia has accused Ukraine of attacking Belgorod, while Ukrainian authorities have not commented on the issue.

General Staff: Ukrainian forces repel Russian offensives near Kharkiv, Sloviansk. Ukraine’s General Staff also reported on July 3 that Russian forces are focusing their efforts on securing positions near Lysychansk and Verkhnokamianske. Russian forces also conducted airstrikes on Ivanivka, Kherson Oblast, and missile strikes towards Mykolaiv Oblast.

Ukraine needs about 2 million blood donors, says donor coordinator. Although the number of people willing to donate blood has increased since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the need for donors is outpacing this spike, according to Iryna Slavinska, founder of DonorUA, a donor recruiting and coordination initiative.

Read our exclusive, on the ground stories

Russian forces have captured Lysychansk, the final Ukrainian holdout in Luhansk Oblast, after heavy fighting, both sides confirmed on July 3. Read our story here.

The human cost of Russia’s war

Deputy PM: Over 400 bodies of fallen soldiers returned to Ukraine. Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a televised address that the number of bodies returned is “definitely not enough,” as there are many more remaining. Vereshchuk said Russia is trying to conceal the number of deceased from the public, thus avoiding the mass transfer of bodies back to Ukraine. She also noted that Russia is not carrying out the identification and examination of the deceased in accordance with European protocols.

Mayor: Russian forces torture diver at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant to death. Enerhodar Mayor Dmytro Orlov reported on July 3 that Andrii Honcharuk died in hospital after he was brutally beaten by Russian forces for refusing to dive into pool at the plant. Orlov said Honcharuk was in a coma when he arrived at the hospital and did not regain consciousness prior to his death.

Zelensky: At least 89 Ukrainian athletes, coaches killed since Feb. 24. In a meeting with Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that 13 Ukrainian athletes and coaches have been captured by Russian forces. Zelensky added that over 100,000 athletes are unable to train due to Russia’s war, as many sport facilities in Ukraine have been destroyed.

Police: 1 person killed in Russian attack on Kharkiv on July 3. Serhii Bolvinov, head of the investigative department of the Kharkiv Oblast police, said one person was killed and at least four were injured in Russia’s shelling of the city. Several apartment buildings were also damaged, he added.

Russian shelling kills 3 people in Kharkiv Oblast. Russian forces shelled the community of Bezruky, Kharkiv Oblast, overnight on July 4, according to Viacheslav Zadornenko, the community’s head. Three people died due to Russia’s attack: two men, aged 52 and 55, and a woman, aged 41. An 81-year-old woman was injured and is hospitalized.

Governor: Missile strikes, shelling all across Donetsk Oblast on July 3. Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported that at least seven civilians were killed and at least 20 were wounded on July 3, with major cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk being hit the hardest. In Sloviansk alone, Russian forces have damaged about 40 residential buildings within a day and killed six civilians, including a child, according to Kyrylenko.

Russian shelling kills 1 person in Mykolaiv Oblast. Russian troops shelled the region’s Bashtanka and Mykolayiv districts on July 2, Mykolaiv Oblast Governor Vitaly Kim said. On the morning of July 3, a residential building and garages caught fire after Russian forces shelled the town of Pervomaiske, he added.

General Staff: Russia has lost 35,970 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24. Ukraine’s General Staff reported on July 3 that Russia had also lost 1,584 tanks, 3,744 armored fighting vehicles, 801 artillery systems, 246 multiple launch rocket systems, 105 air defense systems, 187 helicopters, 217 airplanes, 654 drones, and 15 boats.

International response

Ukraine’s ambassador: Turkey detains Russian ship carrying Ukrainian grain Vasyl Bondar, Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey, said on July 3 that Turkish customs authorities had detained a Russian-flagged vessel carrying grain which was allegedly stolen from Ukraine. Ukraine earlier asked Turkey to detain the Zhibek Zholy cargo ship, Reuters reported. “We have full cooperation,” Bondar said, adding that Ukraine hopes for confiscation of the grain.

Japanese PM: G7 seeks to halve value of Russian oil. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that G7 leaders discussed ways to set a maximum price limit for Russian oil at a level twice lower than its current value during a summit in late June. The official added that the leaders plan to install a mechanism that will not allow Russia to sell it at a higher price than the limit set by G7.

Slovakia plans to give MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger also said in an interview with a Czech TV channel that there is a possibility that his country would also provide Ukraine with tanks, but he said Kyiv has asked not to reveal further details.

Australian prime minister pays visit to Bucha, Irpin, Hostomel. Anthony Albanese said during a visit to Kyiv Oblast that Australia supports just punishment for the crimes committed in the region by Russian troops. Hundreds of civilians were massacred by Russian troops in Bucha, Irpin, and Hostomel in February-March.

Australia to impose sanctions, travel ban on additional 16 Russian ministers, oligarchs. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said during his visit to Kyiv that his country will prohibit Russian gold imports in addition to providing 34 additional armored vehicles to Ukraine.

Australia to provide $100 million in military, technical aid to Ukraine. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said during a joint briefing with President Volodymyr Zelensky while visiting Kyiv on July 3 that Australia is ready to continue supporting Ukraine as long as it takes to win the war. Albanese reiterated Australia’s plan to give Ukraine 14 armored personnel carriers and 20 Bushmaster armored vehicles.

UK to host 2023 Ukraine Recovery Conference. The U.K. will reportedly host the next Ukraine Recovery Conference, which will focus on supporting Ukraine to recover from the damage caused by Russia’s full-scale war. “Ukraine’s recovery from Russia’s war of aggression will be a symbol of power of democracy over autocracy,” U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said, as quoted by Reuters. This year’s conference is starting on July 4 in Lugano, Switzerland.

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