Timeline: Week 24 of Russia’s war in Ukraine

Al Jazeera recaps key events in week 24 of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A Russian serviceman on guard in front of the main entrance of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station.
A Russian serviceman guards the main entrance of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station, which has been under Russian control since March [File: Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA-EFE]

Al Jazeera looks at the main events that marked the 24th week of the war in Ukraine:

August 3

Ukraine reports that its artillery destroyed a column of Russian armour in Kharkiv province, as it was moving into an attack position.

Ukraine’s General Staff says Russian forces are shelling settlements in Donetsk province, and had launched an unsuccessful assault on the village of Berestove. Ukraine also says fighting is ongoing in settlements east of Bakhmut city.

In southern Kherson province, Russian forces conduct a reconnaissance-in-force to test Ukrainian strength around Bilohirka village.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres launches a fact-finding mission into the bombing of a Russian prisoner-of-war camp in the separatist-held Olenivka area of Donetsk, which led to the deaths of an estimated 50 Ukrainian servicemen.

August 4

Ukraine’s General Staff say Russian forces try to break through defences at Husarivka in Kharkiv province. Ukrainian forces also repelled Russian assaults on the villages of Bohorodychne and Dolyna in northern Donetsk. They also repel four Russian assaults east of Bakhmut.

Ukrainian forces in Zaporizhzhia province say they destroyed a camouflaged command and observation post of the enemy, and right next to it – a large warehouse of munitions, using just three mines.

Amnesty International publishes a report accusing the Ukrainian military of using military tactics that endanger civilians by deploying fighters and equipment near residential houses, hospitals and schools.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai says Russian forces are pressing Ukrainian civilians into military service in parts of the province that they have occupied since 2014.

“In the territories occupied in 2014, they have already mobilised everyone they can. Now even indispensable miners are being taken away. The euphoria of ‘liberation’ quickly passed in the recently captured cities and villages,” the governor said.

August 5

Ukraine’s General Staff say Russian forces make unsuccessful ground assaults on the cities of Avdiivka, Bakhmut in Donetsk, and Marinka. Ukraine’s air force destroyed four S-300 launch systems in the past 24 hours, spokesman Yuri Ignat says. Russian forces had used the anti-aircraft missile systems to attack civilian settlements far from the front.

August 6

Ukraine’s General Staff say that their forces push back Russian units advancing on the western outskirts of Bohorodychne in Donetsk. East of Bakhmut, Ukrainian forces reportedly push back a series of Russian assaults. Ukrainian forces also reportedly inflict heavy casualties as they repel Russian assaults from various directions near Avdiivka city.

Ukraine’s southern command says its forces destroy 39 Russian rocket launchers and an ammunition warehouse.

August 7

Ukraine’s General Staff report that their forces defeat Russian reconnaissance attempts in Dolyna city, Bohorodychne village and Bilohorivka settlement. Numerous assaults on the Bakhmut area were also reportedly pushed back. Fighting is reported as ongoing in Avdiivka.

Ukraine’s southern command reports destroying 24 Russian multiple rocket launchers, a T-62 tank, five armoured vehicles and an ammunition warehouse in raids against Beryslav and one other location in Kherson province.

Russia’s defence ministry says Ukraine’s 44th Artillery Brigade struck the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant for a third time, damaging a high-voltage power line. Russia’s defence ministry said power at the plant’s reactors 5 and 6 was reduced to 500 megawatts.

Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai says Russia is sending residents messages on their mobile phones and on television, encouraging them to participate in a referendum on the future of the region with promises of food and water. “’We will help you meet your basic needs if you go to the referendum. Otherwise, die, and we will draw the result without you,’ the message reads,” Haidai says. Russia is particularly going after people made homeless by the destruction of the cities of Lysychansk, Severodonetsk, Popasna, Rubizhne, Hirske and Zolote.

Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry says four ships with Ukrainian grain have departed the ports of Odesa and Chornomorsk. The vessels, the Mustafa Necati, Star Helena, Glory, and Riva Wind, are carrying a reported 170,000 tonnes of grain to Italy, Turkey and China. This is the second group of four ships to depart Ukraine after the Razoni, Navi Star, Rojen, and Polarnet.

Dnipropetrovsk regional governor Valentyn Reznichenko says Russian forces fire 60 Grad missiles, wounding two civilians and damaging houses and power lines.

August 8

Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai says Russian forces made an unsuccessful but concerted overnight attempt to break through Ukrainian defences in seven settlements on the Luhansk-Donetsk border, which demonstrated that Russian forces are not yet in complete control in Luhansk province.

Russia fires 20 Grad missiles into Marhanets city and two Kh-59 missiles at Kamianske city, both in Dnipropetrovsk province in central Ukraine, as reported by the region’s governor Valentin Reznichenko. The latter attack destroys four warehouses of agricultural concern, the governor says on the Telegram messaging app.

Ukraine reports it has received three Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft guns from Germany. A total of 30 are expected to arrive from Germany.

The US announces its 18th drawdown of military equipment for Ukraine, worth $1bn. This includes an unspecified quantity of ammunition for the HIMARS rocket artillery system; 75,000 rounds of 155mm howitzer shells; 20 120mm mortars and 20,000 mortar rounds, ammunition for the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS), and a state-of-the-art anti-aircraft system of which Ukraine has received two units. This brings to $9.1bn the military assistance the US has given Ukraine. There is no mention of sending more HIMARS launch systems. The US has promised 20 and so far delivered 16.

Partisans in occupied Kherson province launch the Voice of the Partisan underground newspaper.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls on the international community to react to Russia’s shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s biggest.

“There is no such nation in the world that can feel safe when a terrorist state fires at a nuclear plant. God forbid, something irreparable will happen – and no one will stop the wind that will spread the radioactive contamination. Therefore, a principled response of the international community to these Russian attacks on the Zaporizhzhia NPP – the largest in Europe – is needed now,” Zelenskyy says.

Russian forces shell Nikopol city in Dnipropetrovsk province, striking water treatment works and leaving 7,000 people without water, governor Valentyn Reznichenko says.

In Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and other provinces, administrators say Russia’s shelling and missiles have a purpose – to destroy as much as possible of the wheat crops that remain in fields, and to hit farming infrastructure.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights records 5,401 civilians killed in Ukraine, and a further 7,466 injured.

A new report finds that technology Russia acquired from the US, Europe and Asia is critical to the weapons it is using in Ukraine. Russian weapons systems, numbering 27, ranging from cruise missiles to air defence, were found to rely predominantly on Western components, according to research by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) defence think-tank. All told, 450 foreign-made components were discovered in Russian weapons, says the report titled: Silicon Lifeline: Western Electronics at the Heart of Russia’s War Machine.

August 9

A Russian military administration official says Russia plans to annex territories it has occupied in Ukraine’s Mykolaiv province and add them to occupied territories in Kherson province. Ekaterina Gubareva, the deputy head of Russia’s Kherson military administration, said the relevant decrees were being drafted for the annexation.

“We are discussing a lot about the liberated territories … [a decision] was made to annex such liberated territories to the Kherson region so that it would be possible to pay pensions and social benefits there, and provide cell phone,” she said.

Source: Al Jazeera