In its latest operational update, published on Facebook, Ukraine’s military command wrote: “The enemy continues to conduct reconnaissance, sparing no personnel.”
It added that “enemy reconnaissance groups were detected and neutralised in the areas of Bakhmutske, Bakhmut and Yakovlivka settlements.”
Also on Monday, the Ukrainska Pravda website reported that aerial reconnaissance and artillery units of the National Guard of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Armed Forces, supported by tanks, “destroyed a subversion and reconnaissance group of Russian special forces and a Russian ammunition point in the north of Kharkiv Oblast,” in northeastern Ukraine.
The operation was revealed by the eastern operational-territorial group of the National Guard of Ukraine, which posted a video on social media, Ukrainska Pravda reported.
Russia stepping up preparations for annexation referenda
Meanwhile, the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported that “Russian occupation officials may be accelerating their preparations for illegitimate pseudo-referenda on the Russian annexation of occupied Ukrainian territory.”
In its latest analysis of the war in Ukraine, published on Sunday night, the US think tank quoted the Ukrainian mayor of Melitopol, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ivan Fedorov, as saying on August 7 that “resistance among Ukrainian residents has forced Russian authorities to ‘constantly’ change their plans for a referendum.”
According to the ISW, Fedorov said the occupation administration originally planned for a single day of voting but is now considering seven days of “voting from home,” with armed Russian military personnel going house to house and “interviewing” Melitopol inhabitants.
Fedorov also claimed that “only some 10 percent of the civilians remaining in Melitopol supports Russian occupation” and warned that “Russian soldiers will threaten to shoot residents who do not vote for annexation,” the US experts said.
At the same time, Ukrainian Kherson Administration Advisor Sergey Khlan said that “occupation authorities have not fully set conditions for a referendum as of August 7 but are accelerating their preparation after a three-week pause in preparations,” which Khlan said had been caused by “Ukrainian HIMARS attacks on Russian occupation logistics,” the ISW reported.
The US think tank said “occupation authorities could also alter the timeline of their sham referenda in response to changing realities on the ground, including a Ukrainian counteroffensive.”
According to Khlan, the preliminary referendum date remains September 11, the ISW reported.
Russian occupation administration aiming to intimidate Ukrainian civilians
The US analysts assessed that “by removing in-person voting options and transitioning to house-to-house surveys, Russian occupation authorities are increasing their opportunities to directly intimidate Ukrainian civilians.”
The ISW said that “this effort is unnecessary to rig the vote to the outcome the Kremlin desires but does make any independent oversight of the vote nearly impossible.”
'Major turn-overs' among Russian military leadership
The US think tank also reported that, in line with its previous assessments, the UK Ministry of Defence had said that “Russian military leadership has experienced major turn-overs due to Russian military failures in Ukraine.”
The ISW noted that, according to the UK Ministry of Defence, “at least six Russian commanders have likely been dismissed from their posts since the beginning of the war in February, potentially including Eastern Military District commander Colonel General Aleksandr Chayko and Western Military District commander Colonel General Aleksandr Zhuravlev.”
Russia carries out limited ground attacks in Donbas
On the frontlines, Russian forces conducted “limited ground attacks southwest and southeast of Izyum, east of Siversk, and to the east and south of Bakhmut,” in the eastern Donetsk Oblast, which is part of the Donbas region, the US analysts reported.
In addition, Russian forces “have likely made incremental gains in settlements on the northwestern and southwestern outskirts of Donetsk City and continued efforts to break Ukrainian defensive lines along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line of contact,” according to the ISW.
In southern Ukraine, Russian troops “unsuccessfully attempted to advance east of Mykolaiv City on Sunday, the think tank wrote.
The US experts also said that Russian forces were forming “a new 72nd Separate Motorised Rifle Brigade in Orenburg Oblast as part of the 3rd Army Corps.”
Monday is day 166 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Source: PAP, facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua, pravda.com.ua, understandingwar.org