Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations in at least four sectors of the frontline on July 1. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Russian forces repelled Ukrainian assaults in the Bakhmut area and along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City front. Russian milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces made marginal gains near Rozdolivka (18km north of Bakhmut) and unspecified gains near Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut). Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations along the administrative border between Zaporizhia and Donetsk oblasts and made gains southwest of Velyka Novosilka. Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations south and southwest of Orikhiv in western Zaporizhia Oblast, with one milblogger claiming that Ukrainian forces made gains up 1.5km deep and 6km wide in the direction of Robotyne (12km south of Orikhiv). Other milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian forces are still at least 1.5km north of Robotyne as of July 1, consistent with ISW’s current assessment of the control of terrain in the area.
US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley acknowledged that Ukrainian counteroffensive operations will take longer than some Western observers had expected. Milley stated that Ukrainian forces are deliberately working through difficult minefields and advancing from 500m to 2,000m a day. Milley reiterated that he expects Ukrainian counteroffensive operations to last up to 10 weeks and urged people to realize that the Ukrainian counteroffensive will be a long and likely costly operation. Russian sources are increasingly claiming that Ukrainian forces are currently conducting assaults in southern Ukraine with smaller infantry groups and fewer armored vehicles than during earlier counteroffensive operations. Russian sources also claim that Ukrainian forces are conducting reconnaissance-in-force operations in southern Ukraine in even smaller groups, some of them allegedly with seven to nine personnel. These claims about Ukrainian operations suggest that Ukrainian forces are not currently attempting the kind of large-scale operations that would result in rapid territorial advances. Ukrainian officials have routinely indicated that Ukrainian forces have yet to commit a substantial portion of their forces to counteroffensive operations and have yet to launch the main phase of the counteroffensive.
Russian officials and sources celebrated claims that Russian forces defeated small-scale Ukrainian landings in east (left) bank Kherson Oblast on July 1 as if they had won a major victory. Kherson Oblast Occupation Head Vladimir Saldo claimed that servicemen of the Russian “Dnepr” Group of Forces cleared areas near the Antonivsky Bridge on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River after special forces elements conducted a surprise landing on Ukrainian forces’ rear positions overnight. Saldo claimed that elements of a “Storm” detachment, the 61st Naval Infantry Brigade (Northern Fleet), the 126th Coastal Defense Brigade (22nd Army Corps, Black Sea Fleet), the 127th Reserve Brigade (likely a new reserve unit), and the 205th Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade (49th Combined Arms Army, Southern Military District [SMD]) participated in the operation that decisively repelled Ukrainian forces from their position near Antonivsky Bridge. Saldo also claimed that Ukrainian forces no longer have any “bridgeheads” on the eastern bank, and a Kremlin-affiliated milblogger claimed that Russian forces were able to advance to the dacha areas near the Antonivsky Bridge after launching an Iskander ballistic missile at the bridge on June 30. A Crimean-based Russian blogger also claimed that elements of the 7th Guards Mountain Air Assault (VDV) Division using T-72 tanks also participated in an attack against Ukrainian positions near the Antonivsky Bridge. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Russian forces eliminated a Ukrainian sabotage group that attempted to land on the island north of Oleshky (9km southeast of Kherson City) – likely referring to the Antonivsky Bridge area. The Russian MoD also demonstratively awarded servicemen of the 80th Arctic Motorized Rifle Brigade (14th Army Corps, Northern Fleet) – a unit within the Russian “Dnepr” Group of Forces – for destroying Ukrainian military equipment in Kherson Oblast. The Russian MoD also published an interview with the commander of the 80th Arctic Motorized Rifle Brigade who claimed that Russian forces fully restored their positions along the coast of the Dnipro River and along the islands and repelled all Ukrainian attempts to cross the river. Russian sources notably did not provide any evidence that Russian forces regained control over coastal areas and many Russian sources reported that clearing operations near the dacha areas adjacent to the Antonivsky Bridge are still ongoing as of July 1.
- Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations in at least four sectors of the frontline on July 1.
- US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley acknowledged that Ukrainian counteroffensive operations will take longer than some Western observers had expected.
- Russian officials and sources celebrated claims that Russian forces defeated small-scale Ukrainian landings in east (left) bank Kherson Oblast on July 1 as if they had won a major victory.
- The exaggerated Russian praise for defeating a small Ukrainian landing suggests either that the Russian military command sincerely fears a Ukrainian attack on east bank Kherson Oblast or that it is desperate for an informational victory following the Wagner Group’s armed rebellion or both.
- Russian forces are likely responding to Ukrainian operations around Bakhmut by pulling forces from elsewhere in Ukraine.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that the Russians might initiate an intentional radioactive leak at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) as part of a potential Russian strategy to freeze the war.
- Russian propagandists are likely conducting an information campaign to destroy the Wagner Group’s reputation as a uniquely effective fighting force in support of the Russian Ministry of Defense’s (MoD) effort to dismantle the Wagner Group and integrate former Wagner fighters into MoD structures.
- Russian forces continued limited offensive operations along the Svatove-Kreminna line.
- Ukrainian forces continued to conduct ground attacks around Bakhmut.
- Russian forces continued to conduct limited ground attacks in and transfer airborne (VDV) elements to the Bakhmut area.
- Russian forces continued to conduct limited ground attacks along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line.
- Russian forces continued to counterattack recently-liberated Ukrainian positions on the administrative border between Donetsk and Zaporizhia oblasts.
- Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in western Zaporizhia Oblast.
- Russian security procedures on the Kerch Strait bridge are likely slowing down Russian logistics from Russia to occupied Crimea.
- Iran may be sending materiel and personnel to Russia to help construct a factory in the Republic of Tatarstan that will reportedly make Iranian combat drones.
- Ukrainian and Western sources continue to report on the abductions of Ukrainian children and adults in the occupied territories.