DAY 509

Victory Chronicles
-DAY 509

July 17,2023

Explosions reported on Crimean Bridge

Ukrainska Pravda sources have reported that the night attack on the Crimean Bridge was a special operation by the Security Service of Ukraine and Naval Forces. “Ukraine’s Security Service and the Naval Forces of Ukraine were involved in the blowing up the Crimean Bridge overnight.” The bridge was attacked using surface drones. Ukrainska Pravda’s source noted that it was difficult to reach the bridge, but finally, it was done. Nataliia Humeniuk, Head of the Joint press center of the Defense Forces of Ukraine’s south, suggested on air during the national joint 24/7 newscast that the events on the Crimean Bridge could have been a provocation by the Russians themselves. The Ukrainian Security Service has not yet officially commented on the Bridge collapse.

Symbolic number of the Day - 238,300

The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported on July 17 that Russia had lost 238,300 troops in Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24 last year. This number includes 620 casualties Russian forces suffered just over the past day. According to the report, Russia has also lost 4,115 tanks, 8,034 armored fighting vehicles, 7,059 vehicles and fuel tanks, 4,504 artillery systems, 685 multiple launch rocket systems, 428 air defense systems, 315 airplanes, 310 helicopters, 3,828 drones, and 18 boats.

War in Pictures

The 128th separate Zakarpattia mountain assault brigade published photos from the training of female defenders. The soil-colored beret is the highest honor for every mountain assault fighter. Fighters go through fire and water to get it. The servicewomen of the 128th separate mountain assault brigade of the Zakarpattia Oblast proved that they could pass this test and receive the beret with the edelweiss flower just as well as men. 

Video of the Day

The final stage of preparation before the battle: large-scale training of the “Lut” (Rage) brigade. Fighters from all regiments of the Lut Joint Assault Brigade of the National Police took part in the combat coordination. The exercises took place day and night and were as close as possible to actual combat operations. The fighters practiced storming, clearing, and holding buildings, passing through minefields, assisting the wounded during active hostilities, and more. Oleksandr Fatsevych, Deputy Head of the National Police of Ukraine, and Oleksandr Netrebko, “Lut” Brigade Commander, oversaw the training. The fighters successfully accomplished all their tasks.

ISW report

The apparent crisis in the Russian chain of command and the corresponding morale effects it may produce will likely degrade Russian capabilities to conduct tactical offensive operations that are critical to the Russian elastic defense in southern Ukraine. Russian defensive operations in southern Ukraine follow a pattern in which one echelon of Russian forces slows and degrades attacking Ukrainian forces until a second echelon counterattacks from prepared defensive positions to roll back the Ukrainian advances.

Tactical counterattacks from prepared (and therefore likely relatively safe and defensible) positions require a degree of motivation and morale that the chain of command crisis may undermine to the point of failure. Elements of the 58th CAA and the 7th VDV Division are engaged in the defense of areas of western Zaporizhia Oblast and are likely already experiencing pronounced morale issues in the wake of the controversies surrounding their dismissed commanders. Ukrainian assaults also appear to be occurring along seams of the Russian defense between different formations and units in some areas, and insubordination and command and control issues may lead to a lack of cohesion between these defending units. ISW has not observed direct indicators of these developments at this time.

War Heroes

“Our team is extremely sad. Our friend, Dmytro Ishchenko, was killed in battle near Bakhmut on July 14,” reads the statement of Motohelp, a volunteer rescue organization.

“Dmytro was such a kind and sincere person that it was impossible not to love him. He always believed in the best. He joined our team in 2018. He told us that he had been interested in volunteering since the Maidan. As soon as he bought a motorcycle and started riding actively, he joined our team and immediately became an active part of it. He repeatedly said that things should be done for real, not for show. And if you take on something, you have to see it through… From February 24, 2022, he actively volunteered for the first month, getting and delivering food and medicine to the military. And then, in the spring he volunteered to fight. He became a combat medic. In the fall, he took part in the battles for Kharkiv Oblast; in the summer and late 2022, he fought in Donetsk Oblast, and in the winter in Luhansk Oblast. Then there was a rotation. An enemy shell near Bakhmut killed him. Incredible pain and sorrow for his family, friends and everyone who knew him. In our hearts, Dmytro will always remain a wonderful, sincere and kind man. We love you, friend; you were a friend, a brother. A true warrior in spirit and deeds” wrote the Motohelp organization.

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