Russian Forces Are Heading Towards Berdiansk

Beginning in the summer, Russia sent two large convoys of military vehicles and personnel via Mariupol, Donetsk Oblast, on their way to Berdiansk, Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

Locals in Zaporizhzhia Oblast assume the deployment is intended to replenish training facilities or boost the front lines. Since the Bridge at Kerch Strait attack on July 17, Russian military supplies in southern Ukraine have undoubtedly been impacted by traffic congestion and accidents on the E58 Mariupol-Melitopol-Kherson City corridor. 

A temporary road bridge will be built next to the Kerch Strait Bridge, a 60-kilometer stretch between Kherson Oblast and Crimea via Armiansk will be reconstructed, and security at the Kerch Strait Bridge checkpoints will be relaxed, among other measures announced by Russian authorities to alleviate traffic and logistics issues.

The Russian military responded with an attack campaign purportedly aimed at Ukrainian military sites in the south of the country. The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that in retaliation, Russian bombs destroyed 70,000 tons of petroleum stored in Ukrainian oil storage facilities in Odesa and Mykolaiv. According to military sources, a half dozen Kaliber missiles and all but five 0f 36 Shahed 131/136 drones were allegedly shot down by Ukrainian air defenses. However, missile pieces rained in Odesa, damaging the port’s infrastructure and a nearby residential neighborhood.

Reports that many Russian assault units, each with up to a platoon of troops, had surrendered to Ukrainian forces in the Zaporizhia area were confirmed by certain Russian military bloggers.

In response to increased Russian offensive activity on July 18, Ukrainian forces along the Kharkiv-Luhansk Oblast border conducted counteroffensives at three frontline areas. In recent months, parts of the First Guards Tank Unit and convict-formed units have ramped up their offensive activities in the Kupyansk region.

The Russian government is attempting a military industry revival at the moment. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said on July 18 that Russian tank manufacturer Uralvagonzavod had supplied additional Russian T-90M Proryv and T-72B2M tanks to the Russian MoD.