The Luhansk and Donetsk provinces form Ukraine’s industrial heartland, known as the Donbas region.
In its latest operational update, published on Thursday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine wrote: “In the Slovyansk direction, the enemy is trying to conduct an assault. The areas of Dolyna, Kurulka, Mazanivka, Bohorodychne, Adamivka, and Chepil settlements were shelled with barrel artillery and multiple rocket systems.”
Elsewhere in Donetsk Oblast, in the Kramatorsk direction, “the enemy shelled the areas of Kryva Luka, Kuzmynivka, and Hryhorivka with barrel and jet artillery,” Ukraine’s military command said.
In the Bakhmut direction, “the occupiers shelled the areas of Ivano-Daryivka, Semyhirya, and Vugleghirska TPP with barrel artillery. An airstrike was carried out near Spirne,” Ukraine’s General Staff reported.
As regards the north of the country, Ukraine’s military command reported: “The enemy carried out artillery shelling and carried out airstrikes by army helicopters in the areas of Vovkivka, Myropillya, Kindrativka and Esman settlements of the Sumy oblast.”
In the Kharkiv direction, “the enemy is concentrating its efforts on holding the occupied lines, and is trying to conduct assaults on certain sections of the contact line,” Ukraine’s General Staff said.
It added that Russian forces “carried out artillery fire in the areas of the settlements of Slatyne, Mala Danylivka, Ruski Tyshki, Vesele, Kutuzivka, Pryshyb and Husarivka.”
“Near Shestakovo, the occupiers remotely mined roads,” Ukraine’s military command reported.
In the area of Dobryanka, in the Chernihiv Oblast, “our soldiers almost completely destroyed the enemy's sabotage and reconnaissance group and successfully repelled the enemy assault that followed it," Ukraine’s General Staff said.
Meanwhile in southern Ukraine, in the Avdiyivka, Kurakhivka, Novopavlivka, and Zaporizhzhia directions, “the enemy is conducting a systematic fire attack on the positions of the units of the Defence Forces in order to constrain their actions,” according to Ukraine’s military command.
Ukraine’s General Staff reported that in the South Buh direction, “the enemy concentrated efforts to prevent the advance of units of the Defence Forces of Ukraine. Conducted shelling from mortars, tanks, barrel and rocket artillery in the areas of Lymany, Posad-Pokrovske, Prybuzke, Myrne, Kotlyareve and Blagodatne settlements.”
Ukraine’s military command also said: “Our rocket-artillery and aviation units continue to hit the enemy's strongholds, concentration points and warehouses in the designated directions.”
Russia makes operational pause?
According to the Institute for the Study of War, a US-based think tank, “there were no claimed or assessed Russian territorial gains in Ukraine on July 6 for the first time in 133 days of war.”
The US analysts said that "Russian forces have largely initiated an operational pause" after they captured the key city of Lysychansk in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk province last week.
The think tank added that “Russian forces still conducted limited and unsuccessful ground assaults across all axes on July 6.”
According to the ISW, during their operational pause, “Russian forces will likely confine themselves to relatively small-scale offensive actions as they attempt to set conditions for more significant offensive operations and rebuild the combat power needed to attempt those more ambitious undertakings.”
‘Crypto-mobilisation’ of Russian economy
The US analysts also said that the Kremlin "continued to set conditions for the crypto-mobilisation of the Russian economy in anticipation of protracted operations in Ukraine.”
For instance, “the Russian State Duma adopted the third and final reading of a law introduced by the cabinet of ministers on June 30 that will allow the Russian government to oversee and regulate labor relations in Russian enterprises (both state and privately-owned),” the ISW said.
“This law, as ISW has previously reported, will allow government officials to recall workers from personal vacations, reschedule time off without employee consent, and require employees to work weekends, holidays, and nights,” the think tank added.
According to the US experts, these measures "allow the Kremlin to take much more direct control of most aspects of the Russian economy, including suspending rights and protections some workers would normally have."
The law "must still be sent to the Federation Council before it reaches Russian President Vladimir Putin and is officially published, but the Kremlin is likely seeking to use the law to leverage domestic labor to maximize economic output and prepare for protracted operations in Ukraine.”
Slovyansk, Siversk, Bakhmut
The ISW reported that Russian forces on Wednesday conducted offensive operations north of Kharkiv, as well as to the northwest and east of the city of Slovyansk in the eastern Donetsk province.
Russian units also continued efforts to "push westward towards Siversk from the Luhansk-Donetsk oblast border" and towards Bakhmut from the south, according to the US think tank.
Russian forces “may be forming a new military unit in Mulino, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast,” the US experts wrote.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces "may be setting conditions for a counteroffensive toward Kherson City,” the ISW reported.
Thursday is day 134 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Source: PAP, facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua, understandingwar.org