This Week in the Russia-Ukraine War (July 21)

A snapshot of recent news from sources around the world on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Map of Ukraine. Image – U.S. DoD

A Ukrainian security official said Kyiv was responsible for an attack on the bridge that connects the Russian mainland with the annexed Crimean Peninsula. The strike, a joint operation between Ukraine’s Security Service and the country’s navy, utilized maritime drones. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia would retaliate.

Hours after the attack on the bridge, Moscow announced it was pulling out of a  U.N. deal that allowed Ukraine to export grain through the Black Sea. Russia said there was no connection between the two events, and claimed the decision to withdraw from the agreement was due to a failure of the United Nations to ease restrictions on Russian food and fertilizer exports.

Shortly after Russia pulled out of the grain deal, Russia launched an attack against a main port in Odessa used for exporting grain. Six Kalibr cruise missiles were launched, all of which were reportedly shot down. However, there was still damage to some port infrastructure.

The  chief of the U.K.’s MI6 Foreign Intelligence Service said in a recent speech that Ukraine has retaken more territory in its recent counteroffensive than Russia was able to capture in a year. However, Russian landmines continue to slow the counteroffensive, with regions in the south and east heavily saturated in minefields.

South Korea announced plans to increase non-military aid to Ukraine from $100 million in 2022 to $150 million in 2023. The pledge came as South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol visited Ukraine for the first time since Russia’s invasion.

The U.S., meanwhile, announced another military aid package to Ukraine on Wednesday. The $1.3 billion assistance will include four NASAMS launchers with ammunitions, 152mm artillery rounds, Phoenix Ghost and Switchblade unmanned aerial vehicles, precision aerial munitions, counter-UAV electronic equipment, and tactical vehicles.

Multiple U.S. media outlets reported on Thursday that Ukraine has begun employing U.S.-supplied cluster munitions in strikes against Russian forces. Washington confirmed earlier this month that it was delivering the weapons to aid Ukraine’s counteroffensive.

Diplomatic sources told Politico on Tuesday that the European Union is considering a proposal to launch a EUR20 billion fund to support Ukraine over the next four years. If approved, the funding would be to “help countries cover their own costs of purchasing and donating items such as ammunition, missiles and tanks,” Politico reported. The funding would also go toward training Ukrainian military personnel.

Ukrainian troops used a HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) to destroy a Russian-made S-400 system.  The S-400 is designed as an air defense system for use against aircraft, but Russian troops have used this missile to attack ground targets.

Taiwan will not provide MIM-23 HAWK surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) to Ukraine.  Originally, news stories said Taipei had agreed to sell retired HAWK missiles to the United States for re-export to Ukraine.  Taipei may be worried that transferring HAWKs to Ukraine could anger Russia.

Russia is using its missile inventory faster than its domestic defense firm can replace these units.  Now, India might sell its BrahMos supersonic missile to Russia.

Russia has lost hundreds of UAVs during the fighting in Ukraine.  These systems are performing reconnaissance and strike missions.  To meet the demands of the war, Moscow is working to increase production of its UAVs, including man-portable systems.

A Russian military base in the Crimea has reportedly been hit by Storm Shadow missiles.  A fire broke out at a military training ground.  Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for this attack.




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