Plenty of action on day 33 sees extensive fighting in Mariupol, around Kiev and Kherson. Hostile action appears to have extended to the negotiating table, with reports circulating that claim ex-Chelsea owner and oligarch Roman Abramovich was subject to a poisoning attempt.
Russian troops were recorded occupying the ‘Satelit’ industrial plant in Mariupol. The siege continues with heavy fighting, as this footage shows an NLAW failing to arm during an attack against a Russian tank from buildings in the city.
Kherson and Kryvih Rih
Explosions heard over Odessa as air defence reacts to Russian drones. Explosions were also reported in Kherson, currently occupied by Russian forces.
A Ukrainian counterattack claims to have pushed back Russian forces back to clear 40-60km south of Kryvih Rih, liberating several villages. The Russians continued to shell areas near Zelenodolsk.
According to the city administration, 59 shelling incidents with mortars and artillery, 180 with MLRS, took place in the areas surrounding Kharkiv. The front appears to have remained relatively static, with fighting continuing around Irpin to the south. Following a large haul of Russian materiel in Trostanyets yesterday, the Russians are likely regrouping around the Sumy sector.
Donetsk and Luhansk
Water supply rationing in Donetsk now limits the available water to 2 hours in 48, between 19:00 and 21:00 local time. It appears that these rules apply to the separatist republics, where 700,000 civilians were allegedly evacuated at the start of the ‘special military operation’.
According to British military intelligence, the private military contractor (PMC) ‘Wagner Group’ has deployed more than 1,000 mercenaries to East Ukraine to undertake combat operations. Earlier in the conflict, Ukrainian soldiers claimed to have recovered dogtags from killed Wagner Group mercenaries in the area around Brovary, west of Kiev.
A further 881 people were evacuated from Berdyansk to Zaporizhzhia by bus, with 2,350 making the journey in private vehicles.
Kiev, Chernihiv, and Chernobyl
Footage of the Chernobyl wildfires show the blaze appears to be 4km west of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
East of Kiev, the village of Rudnitske was allegedly reclaimed by Ukrainian soldiers. West of Kiev, a Ukrainian attack appears to have cleared some of the countryside south of Irpin, while the Kiev-Zhytomyr highway remains cut off by Russian forces. The village of Motyzhyn was also cleared in this sector.
However, on the west of this Russian salient, shelling with MLRS rockets and artillery targeted a number of rural locations, including the town of Makariv, where two civilians were apparently killed.
Footage from Ukrainian state television appears to show extensive damage in Chernihiv following extensive bombing and shelling by the surrounding Russian forces.
Missile attacks continued to target rural areas of Zhytomyr. Whether these were directed towards targets in the countryside, or suffered from guidance failures or disruption, is unclear. The Mayor of Rivne claimed that an oil depot was hit in one such missile strike.
Hacks, Poisonings, and Naval Mines
Ukraine claims to have shut down 5 Russian ‘bot farms’, used to facilitate propaganda and cyberattacks, which consisted of over 100,000 fake accounts. A powerful cyberattack targeted internet service provider Ukrtelecom on day 33, but services have apparently resumed. Cyberattacks against Ukrainian telecommunications and state infrastructure have persisted throughout the conflict.
Conversely, a Ukrainian hack against Russia has today revealed the identities of 620 Russian FSB employees. The FSB is the successor to the KGB, handling ‘state security’ for the Kremlin.
During talks in Istanbul, Roman Abramovich apparently suffered a poisoning attempt, losing his sight for several hours, with two Ukrainian negotiators also experiencing symptoms. The reports are currently unconfirmed. Russian ‘hardliners’ have been accused by western media, but it is worth pointing out that many other nations could benefit from sabotaging the peace process. Both sides appear to be downplaying the significance of this poisoning attempt, with the Ukrainians currently denying reports that any poisoning took place.
US President Joe Biden has stated that if Russia uses chemical weapons in the Ukraine conflict ‘the US will respond, and I will not say how we will respond’. Mainstream media has been talking about chemical weapons regularly throughout this conflict, despite not a single one being used in the invasion so far by either side (as far as can be ascertained). Earlier this week, President Biden announced that ‘if Russia uses chemical weapons, then we will respond in kind’. Presumably he did not mean that the West would use chemical weapons in retaliation, which would be a literal reading of this statement.
The recovery of a Ukrainian naval mine in Romanian waters is also recorded. The Ukrainians have clearly mined the coastal waters around Mykolaiv and Odessa extensively in order to deter Russian landings.