Timeline: Week 23 of Russia’s war in Ukraine

Al Jazeera recaps key events in week 23 of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian servicemen fire a M777 howitzer at a position on a front line, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv region, Ukraine on August 1, 2022 [File: Sofiia Gatilova/Reuters]

Al Jazeera looks at the main events that marked the 23rd week of the war in Ukraine:

July 27

In Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk province, Russian forces focus on attacking Siversk and Bakhmut. Ukrainian general staff report unsuccessful Russian attempts to attack Verkhnokamyanske, east of Siversk. The general staff also say Ukrainian forces repelled Russian efforts to advance on Bakhmut in Soledar, Semihirya and Berestove.

In the north, the Derhachi city council reports heavy fighting in various settlements north of the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest.

Ukrainian forces damage the Antonivka vehicle and rail bridges using HIMARS rocket artillery, rendering them unusable for heavy military transport. This helps cut off forward Russian positions in Kherson, in Ukraine’s south.

Also in the south, Russian forces attempt limited offensives in Davydiv Brid and Bilohirka but withdraw.

(Al Jazeera)

July 28

Ukraine’s general staff say its forces pushed back a Russian assault on Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region and inflicted losses. They also report a Russian reconnaissance-in-force northwest of Sloviansk, which is repelled.

Russian forces are redeploying from Luhansk and Kharkiv to Kherson in the south, according to the general staff. Ukrainian forces repel an attack at Brukivka-Bikohirka in Kherson. Ukraine’s southern command says Russian forces unleashed a barrage of S-300, Hurricane, Grad and Kalibr missiles overnight against mostly non-military targets.

The United States Senate passes a nonbinding resolution calling on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to recognise Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism”, alongside Iran, North Korea and Cuba.

(Al Jazeera)

July 29

Ukrainian defenders stop a Russian reconnaissance-in-force mission outside Verkhnokamyansk on the Donetsk front line.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai says Ukrainian defenders also repelled six Russian attacks in the province, which Russia declared conquered on July 3. Haidai says HIMARS rocket artillery has gone a long way towards defanging the Russian offensive and says it has “lost momentum”.

Ukraine’s general staff say defenders also inflicted heavy losses on Russian forces which unsuccessfully attempted to storm Soledar, Vershyn and Semihirya, all east of Bakhmut. Further south, Ukraine repelled assaults on Avdiivka and other settlements in Donetsk.

Ukraine’s southern command says its forces destroyed two Russian ammunition warehouses in Berislav and Kherson districts.

Russian forces south of the Dnieper river fire rocket artillery into Nikopol overnight. The fire is likely to have come from Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, where Russian forces are using radioactive facilities as cover.

Fifty Ukrainian prisoners of war are killed when their detention facility is blown up in Olenivka, in Donetsk. Russia says Ukraine targeted its own men. Ukraine says Russia blew up its own penal colony “to cover up war crimes”.

Vadym Skibitsky, deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, tells Kyiv television channel that Russia’s lack of trained and experienced officers is hampering its efforts to raise a new army corps and new battalions.

Suspected Russian Iskander missiles hit the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk, killing at least one civilian and wounding five others.

July 30

Ukraine’s general staff say a three-pronged attack on Semihirya in eastern Donetsk failed, as did a series of ground assaults along the eastern front. They report “systematic shelling” along the entire front.

Ukraine’s air force says it destroyed two Russian command posts and ammunition depots in unspecified locations, killing dozens.

Haidai says Ukrainian saboteurs destroyed a switching control box at Svatove on a railway line used by Russian forces to move ammunition, demonstrating that local resistance is not quashed deep inside Russian-controlled territory.

Russia’s energy giant Gazprom cuts off natural gas supplies to Latvia, after the country refuses to pay for the gas in roubles to a Russian bank, as specified by President Vladimir Putin.

Al Jazeera reports that 16 ships are loaded with grain and ready to leave Odesa port.

July 31

On the eastern front, Ukrainian defenders thwart Russian attempts to “improve their tactical position” under air cover in the Bakhmut area.

A hail of a dozen Russian missiles hits Mykolaiv. One of them kills Oleksiy Vadatursky, a Ukrainian grain tycoon who played a key role in negotiating the resumption of grain shipments, in what many local officials told Al Jazeera was a targeted assassination. Ukraine’s southern command says Russian forces also fired two cruise missiles and 50 Grad missiles into Nikopol.

A presumed Ukrainian drone flies into Russia’s Black Sea fleet headquarters in Sevastopol on Russia’s Navy Day, wounding five people.

Putin signs a new naval doctrine casting the US as Russia’s principal rival. He announces the deployment within a few months of Russia’s new Zircon ship-launched missile, which travels at nine times the speed of sound. As part of the new doctrine, Russia intends to strengthen the Black Sea fleet and its infrastructure in Crimea.

August 1

Ukraine’s general staff say their soldiers repel Russian assaults on Avdiivka and Pisky, towns in the teeth of the Russian front line in eastern Donetsk. Russian forces launch an assault on Bakhmut. There are no assaults on Siversk or Sloviansk for the first time in days, possibly a result of troops’ redeployments to the southern front.

The commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, tells troops in the east they have inflicted such losses on Russia’s 17th battalion tactical group, it had to be sent back to Russian for recovery and replenishment.

Ukrainian defence minister Oleksyi Reznikov says four HIMARS systems have arrived, bringing the Ukrainian total to 16. The US had announced it was sending the systems on July 20. Reznikov also says units of the MARS II MLRS system have arrived from Germany. This is a European variant of the M270 rocket artillery system, which is equal to two HIMARS systems.

Russian forces shell Mykolaiv city overnight, striking dozens of homes, offices and public buildings, and causing an unspecified number of deaths and injuries, say Ukraine’s police. Russian forces also shell civilian areas of Dnipropetrovsk overnight, damaging eight houses and injuring two people.

In a counterattack, Ukrainian marines capture nine Russian soldiers, a lawyer and an officer on the southern front.

Ukrainian infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov says the first ship with Ukrainian grain following a July 22 agreement to lift a Russian blockade is to leave port. The Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni is to carry 26,000 tonnes of Ukrainian corn from Odesa to Tripoli in Lebanon.

August 2

Ukrainian military intelligence says Russia concealed losses from a Ukrainian strike against the hotel Krasnii Luch, in the town of Khrustalnyi in occupied Luhansk, where Russian soldiers were billeted.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says the government has begun mandatory evacuations of civilians in Donetsk.

The head of Mykolaiv’s state administration Vitaly Kim says Russian forces shell Mykolaiv city twice overnight with Smerch and S-300 anti-air rockets. A security guard is wounded.

Vadym Skibitskyi, Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence, says Russia has sent a battalion tactical group of paratroopers to Crimea, intending to deploy them in Kherson and Zaporizhia. Ukrainian partisan groups in Crimea are becoming increasingly active, he says, expecting a return to Ukrainian control.

Russian forces shell Dnipropetrovsk region in central Ukraine overnight, causing injuries and damage to houses, cars and a power line.

In an interview with the Livy Bereg website, the head of the Ukrainian Defence Procurement Agency, Denys Sharapov, says the body is working to create transparent payment and procurement mechanisms to speed up the supply of weapons to Ukraine. The agency was set up in early July for this purpose, suggesting that transparency issues may have dogged Ukraine’s ability to make use of generous financial military assistance from the US and the European Union. “I am creating an agency that will work according to NATO standards and make any ‘tricky’ schemes impossible,” Sharapov says.

The US announces a new $550m package of military aid, including 75,000 155mm shells and HIMARS rockets.

Russian defence minister Sergey Shoigu says Russian forces have destroyed six US-supplied HIMARS launch systems during the war. Ukraine’s southern commander Andriy Kovalchuk denies the claim. Ukraine and the US have denied similar claims in the past.

The Razoni anchors off Turkey’s coast 36 hours after leaving Odesa.

Source: Al Jazeera