Ukrainian forces made tactically significant gains in the Bakhmut area and continued counteroffensive operations in at least three other sectors of the front on July 7. Geolocated footage published on July 6 indicates that Ukrainian forces have made tactically significant gains near Yahidne (2km north of Bakhmut). The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations north and south of Bakhmut, and Ukrainian Ground Forces Commander Colonel General Oleksandr Syrsykyi reported that Ukrainian forces established control over unspecified previously lost positions in the Bakhmut area. Ukrainian General Staff Spokesperson Andriy Kovalev reported that Ukrainian forces also achieved partial success near Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut). The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in western Zaporizhia Oblast and along the administrative border between Zaporizhia and Donetsk oblasts. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and other Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted offensive operations in the Kreminna direction along the Kharkiv-Luhansk Oblast border.
Russian forces have reportedly committed almost the entirety of the Russian Eastern Grouping of Forces to southern Ukraine. Ukrainian military observer Konstantin Mashovets stated on July 5 that the Eastern Grouping of Forces is comprised of the 5th Combined Arms Army (CAA), the 35th CAA, the 36th CAA, and the 29th CAA (all of the Eastern Military District). ISW cannot confirm the exact composition of the Eastern Grouping of Forces, although it continues to appear that this operational direction command structure is largely coextensive with the Eastern Military District (EMD). Mashovets claimed that the 5th CAA’s 127th Motorized Rifle Division and 60th Motorized Rifle Brigade are operating along the administrative border between Zaporizhia and Donetsk oblasts and that the CAA’s other main unit, the 57th Motorized Rifle Brigade, is operating south of Bakhmut. ISW has observed the 5th CAA‘s 127th Division and 60thBrigade in the Zaporizhia Oblast-Donetsk Oblast border area along with previous Russian claims that the 57th Motorized Rifle Brigade has been operating on Bakhmut’s southern flank. Mashovets stated that the 35th CAA’s 38th Motorized Rifle Brigade, 64th Motorized Rifle Brigade, and 69th Separate Cover Brigade are deployed to western Zaporizhia Oblast and that the 36th CAA’s 37th Motorized Rifle Brigade and 5th Separate Tank Brigade are deployed to areas south of Velyka Novosilka in western Donetsk Oblast. ISW previously assessed that the 35th CAA’s Chief of Staff’s alleged death from a Ukrainian missile strike on June 13 in Zaporizhia Oblast suggested that significant elements of the 35th CAA are likely operating along the Zaporizhia front. The Ukrainian General Staff previously reported on March 19 that elements of the 37th Motorized Rifle Brigade would deploy to western Donetsk Oblast. Mashovets also stated that the 29th CAA, the smallest combined arms army in the EMD, is the only formation of the Eastern Grouping of Forces in reserve. Mashovets added that the 58th and 49th CAAs and 22nd Army Corps of the Southern Military District (SMD) are committed to operations in Southern Ukraine. Mashovets stated that elements of the 68th Army Corps (EMD) are also deployed to southern Ukraine, but suggested that the 68th Army Corps is not a part of the Eastern Grouping of Forces, making it the only higher-level EMD formation separate from the Eastern Grouping of Forces.ISW has also observed elements of the EMD Pacific Fleet’s naval infantry brigades (40th and 155th) continuing to serve in western Donetsk Oblast after suffering heavy losses during the Russian winter spring 2023 offensive. Mashovets‘ reporting and ISW’s current observation of the Russian order of battle (ORBAT) in southern Ukraine indicates that almost the entirety of the EMD’s combat power is committed to defending against Ukrainian counteroffensives, primarily in southern Ukraine.
- Ukrainian forces made tactically significant gains in the Bakhmut area and continued counteroffensive operations in at least three other sectors of the front on July 7.
- Russian forces have reportedly committed almost the entirety of the Russian Eastern Grouping of Forces to southern Ukraine.
- The deployment of almost the entirety of the Russian Eastern Grouping of Forces and extensive SMD elements to the frontline in southern Ukraine suggests that Russian defenses in southern Ukraine may be brittle.
- Russia temporarily disconnected at least partially from the global internet during a test of its “sovereign internet” system overnight on July 4-5.
- Russian forces conducted a series of missile and drone strikes against rear areas in Ukraine on June 6 to 7.
- Russian and Ukrainian forces continued ground attacks along the Kharkiv-Luhansk Oblast border. Ukrainian forces made tactically significant gains in the Bakhmut area between July 6-7.
- Russian and Ukrainian forces conducted ground attacks in western Donetsk Oblast.
- Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces launched a renewed wave of counterattacks in western Zaporizhia Oblast on July 7.
- The Russian occupation of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) continues to restrict international monitors’ access to the facility.
- The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) reportedly drafted a law that would expand the list of gross disciplinary offenses within the Russian Armed Forces.
- Russian authorities continue to portray themselves as responsible custodians of Ukrainian children in an effort to discredit Ukraine while continuing to forcibly deport Ukrainian children to Russia.
- A Belarusian military official stated that Wagner Group forces have not yet decided to deploy to Belarus while giving a press tour of the speculated Wagner Group base in Asipovichy on July 7.