1. The head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense, Kyrylo Budanov, will also head the committee on intelligence under the President of Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelensky said: “I made important personnel decisions today. In particular, the head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, will also head the Intelligence Committee under the President of Ukraine.” Hryhoriy Galagan, dismissed from the post of commander of the Special Operations Forces, was appointed first deputy head of the Special Operations Center A of the SBU. “Combat General Viktor Khorenko has been appointed as the new commander of the Special Operations Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. General Hryhoriy Galagan has been transferred to another direction and to update the Security Service of Ukraine,” the president said. Zelenskyi’s decree established the Intelligence Committee under the President of Ukraine on June 17, 2020. Previously, the President’s Intelligence Committee was headed by Ruslan Demchenko, dismissed by President Volodymyr Zelensky as First Deputy Secretary of the National Security Council on July 25. (Source: Telegram).
1. On the night of July 26, a video of a large fire appeared in the Budennovsky district of Donetsk. It looks like a burning fuel depot, but there is no exact information, just as there is no information yet on whether this fire broke out due to a strike from the Ukrainian side. Budyonnovsky district is located in the southeast of Donetsk, not near the front line but at a distance from it. (Source: BBC).
2. “50 Russian warehouses have been destroyed with the help of HIMARS. This breaks their (Russian) supply chains and deprives them of the opportunity to conduct active hostilities and cover our armed forces with massive artillery shelling,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said. (Source: BBC).
1. UK Intelligence: Russia almost certainly sees anti-ship missiles as a critical threat limiting the effectiveness of its Black Sea Fleet and will therefore prioritize destroying Ukraine’s anti-ship capabilities. On July 24, 2022, Russian cruise missiles hit the docks of the Odesa port. “The Russian Ministry of Defense claims it hit a Ukrainian warship and a stockpile of anti-ship missiles. There is no indication that such targets were in the area where the missiles hit. It significantly undermines the overall plan for the invasion, as Russia cannot realistically launch an amphibious assault to capture Odessa. Russia will continue to prioritize efforts to degrade and destroy Ukraine’s anti-ship capabilities,” the review says. However, Russian target selection processes are likely regularly undermined by outdated intelligence, poor planning, and a top-down approach to operations. (Source: Twitter).
2. ISW: The Russian army will not be able to develop this local success into an effective attack on Bakhmut from the southeast. Novoluganskoye was at the top of a ledge in the Ukrainian defense line. Novoluganskoye is a small settlement with a simple relief, but the Russians tried to take it for two months; Russians generally spend a lot of time and effort on taking small settlements; there are indications that the Ukrainians have withdrawn in an organized manner from the area and will level the line of defense as a result. There is no significant progress in other sectors and fronts: a relative lull (with shelling, air raids, and local attacks) continues: “Operations in the Novoluganskoye area show that Russian forces continue to suffer from an inability to effectively use the geometry of the battlefield (for example, creating practical wedges), exacerbated by the extreme difficulty that Russian forces face in taking small and relatively unimportant areas, fighting for weeks and months. These restrictions will increase as Russian units wear themselves out by storming these small villages. (Source: ISW).
Economy, Social life, and Culture
1. The Eurovision Song Contest 2023 will be held in the UK, the European Broadcasting Union has confirmed. Initially, it was supposed to be accepted by Ukraine as the winner of 2022, but the organizers decided to postpone the event “for security reasons.” The participant from Ukraine will automatically go to the final. When decorating the stage, the organizers plan to use elements symbolizing the winning country in 2022. The UK will host Eurovision for the ninth time. It became its host country more often than other participants. The city of the contest will be chosen later. (Source: Svoboda).
1. Slovakia may transfer 11 MiG-29 aircraft to Ukraine by the end of August. Fighters are at the top of the wish list of the Ukrainian military command. Russia initially had an overwhelming advantage in military aviation. True, she still has not been able to fully implement it because of the opposition of the Ukrainian air defense, which is based on anti-aircraft missile systems, and not fighters. The Ukrainian Air Force has faced even more significant difficulties, as they are confronted by both Russian air defense systems and Russian fighter aircraft, which are more numerous and well-armed. In open sources, there is no exact data on what losses each side suffered, but Ukraine needs combat aircraft of various classes. The possible transfer of the MiG-29 is good news for Kyiv. Firstly, the Ukrainian Air Force needs any aircraft. Secondly, the MiG-29s form the basis of the country’s fighter aircraft. They are well known to the pilots, who will need very little time to get used to the specifics of the Slovak MiGs, which have been modernized. Finally, the Slovak MiGs can become a “fire-fighting” solution to the current acute shortage of combat aircraft – they can be transferred before the end of August. (Source: BBC).
1. The Russian FSB said it managed to thwart a Ukrainian intelligence operation to hijack at least three Russian military aircraft. Investigator Khristo Grozev, accused by the Russian special services of helping Kyiv, said he knew about this operation. According to him, the FSB made a “serious mistake.” It revealed “the identities of dozens of counterintelligence officers.” At the same time, the Bellingcat team documented all this. (Source: BBC).
2. Citizens of Kyrgyzstan, like other countries of Central Asia, are being recruited to participate in the war in Ukraine on the side of Russia. Announcements began to appear on social networks about recruiting residents of Central Asian countries, particularly Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, to the Russian “private military company Wagner” under the guise of recruiting workers in private security companies in the regions of Russia. The announcements indicate that applicants must “protect industrial facilities in remote regions of Russia.” At the same time, when the journalists contacted their employers, they were offered another job – “performing tasks in the special operation zone” in Ukraine with a reward of 240 thousand rubles. At the same time, it was said that the employing organization works in the interests of the Russian Ministry of Defense, and “no compensation is provided in case of injury.” Applicants were invited to come to work on the Molkino in the Krasnodar Territory. Earlier, in journalistic investigations, it was established that the Wagner PMC base is located there. According to journalists, the phone number from which the job description and conditions were sent are also related to PMCs. The participation of citizens of Kyrgyzstan in armed conflicts in other countries is considered a criminal offense in the country. (Source: YouTube).
3. In France, shops will be banned from keeping their doors open while air conditioning or heating is on, as well as from illuminated advertising at night, Energy Minister Agnès Pannier-Runachet said. A ban on illuminated advertising between 01:00 and 06:00 is already in place in parts of France where fewer than 800,000 people live. Now it is planned to extend its action to all settlements, making exceptions for airports and railway stations. The fine for violating the air-conditioned rule will be 750 euros. On July 14, French President Emmanuel Macron said that France admits the possibility of a complete cessation of gas supplies from Russia. In this regard, the country’s authorities intend to prepare a plan for responsible energy consumption for businesses and citizens. After Russia invaded Ukraine, energy supplies to Europe fell sharply, and their prices rose sharply. Due to the current situation, Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden introduced the first level of the state of emergency, and Germany switched to the second. Hungary also declared a state of emergency. (Source: LEJDD).