It appears that Ukraine is continuing to pummel Russian ammunition depots.
Video is emerging of new strikes, this time in Luhansk, as Ukraine remains intent on depleting Russia's stock of shells for its long-range fires which have been creating devastation on Ukrainian troops and civilians.
Before heading into the latest news from Ukraine, The War Zone readers can get caught up with our previous rolling coverage here.
The vivid images of explosions at a Russian ammunition depot in Nova Kakhovka Monday generated a lot of speculation that the attack was the result of fire from U.S.-supplied M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS).
While the Pentagon declined to tell The War Zone whether those systems were involved, it says that Ukraine is using them to great effect. Regardless of whether Ukraine used any of the eight HIMARS now in-country (another four are promised) in last night's attack, retired Australian Army Maj. Gen. Mick Ryan says they are not a "silver bullet" that will change the course of the war by themselves.
Ryan, who worked in the Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell on the U.S. Joint Staff, is now a widely-quoted commentator on Russia's war in Ukraine.
“HIMARS is having an important impact and will continue to do so, but it alone will not win this war,” he said in a Twitter thread Tuesday afternoon. “While it has provided the Ukrainian Armed Forces with a new ‘Long Hand’ to attack the Russian invaders, there is no such thing as a silver bullet solution in war."
The War Zone's analysis highlighted this exact reality back in May, prior to the HIMARS deliveries to Ukraine.
“Importantly, its impact does not abrogate the responsibility of western nations to continue providing the full range of weapons, munitions, intelligence, training and other forms of support required by #Ukraine.”
The Ukrainian Defense Intelligence Directorate says it staged a daring raid to rescue captured Ukrainian troops in Kherson Oblast. With Ukraine's military losing hundreds of troops a day to death, injury and capture, this raid is a big morale boost.
As Russia’s all-out war on Ukraine grinds along in its fifth month, Belarus has kicked off military drills in the Homel region, just north of the border with Ukraine. It was there, you will remember, that Russian troops escaped to after their advance on Kyiv was repulsed.
As Belarus drills, Serhiy Kryvonos, a Ukrainian Army General, suggested that nation could be planning to invade from the north with assistance from Russia, according to the Ukraine NOW Telegram channel.
"They have the forces and means necessary to start an assault on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border without waiting for huge reinforcements. There are those who are able to attack us," Kryvonos said.
According to Kryvonos, Belarus is able to mobilize 340,000 soldiers in addition to 56,000 currently serving in the Belarusian Armed Forces.
Speaking of Belarus, its president, Aleksandr Lukashenko, suggested that it is NATO that is planning an attack on Russia, through Ukraine and Belarus.
The war is now primarily about sustainability and relative losses, which is how we should view Russia's successes in Luhansk.
The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) posted its latest map of Russia's war in Ukraine, continuing to show the battles concentrated in the east and south with little new progress made by either side.
The U.K. MOD also introduced some of the Ukrainian troops it helped train to the public.
Alexander Drueke, an American military veteran captured by Russian forces in Ukraine and who is currently being held in solitary confinement by pro-Russian separatists in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, appears hopeful the U.S. government is pursuing his release, according to a phone call provided to The Washington Post by his family.
A Defense Department watchdog warned on Tuesday that some of the DOD’s and individual services’ practices for tracking and recording the movement of money and aid to Ukraine are hurting the office’s ability to track aid overall, Defense One noted.
In response to a question from The War Zone Tuesday morning, Senate Armed Service Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla), said while he wished "President Biden was moving faster – way faster – to provide Ukraine with military aid, I am encouraged by the Pentagon’s initial oversight of the aid Congress has authorized."
"This report from the department’s independent watchdog is a sign that the Department of Defense is tracking financial flows properly, thanks to audit efforts started by the previous administration and maintained by this administration. Congress and the inspectors general must continue aggressive oversight of military aid to Ukraine to ensure we can keep providing the Ukrainian Armed Forces the weapons they need.”
Regardless, concerns are growing about a black market developing from the $10 billion in military aid from around the globe provided to Ukraine.
But military aid isn’t the only money Ukraine is receiving.
Ukraine is getting an additional $1.7 billion in assistance from the U.S. government and the World Bank to pay the salaries of its beleaguered health care workers and provide other essential services.
While the Russians have made some wild claims about long-range fire systems provided by foreign governments to Ukraine (like the false claim about destroyed HIMARS), sometimes they apparently do destroy things, as this video would appear to show.
And they've also taken out a number of Ukrainian drones as well.
Meanwhile, Ukraine continues to find creative ways to restore its stock of weaponry, including making the best out of downed or otherwise derelict airframes.
The Russians have said a lot of things over the course of their war on Ukraine, a great deal of which are untrue. Like claims that they aren't using Tochka (S-21 Scarab) mobile short-range ballistic missiles, which Ukraine uses as well, offering a shallow level of deniability for indiscriminate strikes. It can carry various types of warheads up to a weight of around 1,000 pounds over a range of up to 75 miles in its most recent Tochka-U version.
Back in April, we told you the story of the Ukrainian nuclear researcher who was deeply concerned about how the Russians took over Chernobyl and shelled Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in the southern Zaporizhzhya region.
Well, it looks like the Russians are using the Zaporizhzhya plant to launch Grad rockets toward Mykolaiv.
And just as they did with Chernobyl, it appears Russia is turning the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant into an armed camp.
We will continue to update this post with new information until we state otherwise.
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