9:55 p.m .: Russia has promised Ukraine tougher conditions than before if peace talks are resumed. During the negotiations in Turkey in March, concrete results were achieved before Kyiv broke off contact, Yuri Ushakov, an adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, complained on Monday, according to the RBK news agency. “So if the negotiations are resumed now, it will be on completely different terms,” said Ushakov – without giving details.
After the negotiations, Russian troops withdrew north of Kyiv – also in view of the bitter military resistance of the Ukrainians. As a result, among other things, mass graves of civilians were discovered in the small town of Bucha. Since then, there have been no new peace talks.
As early as February, Putin had stated that the goals of the war against Ukraine, which Moscow called a “special military operation”, were the “denazification” and “demilitarization” of Ukraine, its neutral status, the cession of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and the recognition of Crimea, which had been annexed since 2014 called Russian. Moscow entered the negotiations with these demands.
However, Russian troops have also occupied parts of the Zaporizhia region in south-eastern Ukraine and almost the entire Kherson region in the south. The pro-Russian administration deployed there has long been talking about plans to hold referendums on accession to Russia. A commander of the Russian troops has also named the creation of a Russian corridor along the Black Sea coast to the conflict region of Transnistria in the neighboring Republic of Moldova as a war goal.
11:40 a.m.: “Up to 250 foreign fighters” were killed in a rocket attack on the base of the Ukrainian Foreign Legion in Kostyantynivka. This is reported by the “ria” agency, citing the Russian Ministry of Defense. There was no more precise information.
10:08 a.m .: According to the Ministry of Defense, the Russian military should concentrate on destroying long-range weapons and artillery in Ukraine. This was ordered by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, his ministry said.
The Ukraine had recently attacked and destroyed dozens of Russian ammunition depots, mainly thanks to the Himar systems from the USA.
10 a.m.: According to British intelligence experts, the Russian mercenary group Wagner is increasingly filling the gaps in the invasion of Ukraine. The Wagner fighters probably played a central role in recent battles, for example in the capture of the cities of Popasna and Lysychansk, according to the daily intelligence update on the Twitter account of the Ministry of Defense in London on Monday.
However, the British experts also assume that the mercenary force had to accept heavy losses. This leads to lower recruitment standards for new combatants, including convicted criminals and previously rejected applicants. These new recruits would only receive very limited training, which would likely reduce the force’s effectiveness and thus its value as a support for the Russian military.
According to British experts, tensions between mercenaries and regular military units could result from the fact that Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin recently received the award as “Hero of the Russian Federation” for the troops’ deployment in the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine. “This comes at a time when a number of very senior commanders are being replaced,” the British statement said. The morale of the Russian troops could be negatively affected.
Monday, July 18, 8:09 a.m.: The CEO of Germany’s largest agricultural trader Baywa, Klaus Josef Lutz, does not immediately expect food shortages even in the event of a possible gas shortage. “We assume that the food supply will be secured by the end of the first quarter of next year – which does not mean that everything will always be available,” he told the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (Monday). However, staple foods could become scarce and expensive, said Lutz, who is also President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for Munich and Upper Bavaria.
A gas stop would have serious consequences for food production. “Without gas, there would be no ammonia and no fertilizer production. The production of staple foods such as meat, milk and cheese would also be at risk because gas is used for pasteurization, for example.” A switch to oil is not easily feasible. “And a one-to-one replacement with gas from Holland or Norway will not be easy either. Until now, politicians have wanted to produce with gas. Cheap energy is the basis of our prosperity.”
5.45 p.m .: Serhiy Haidai, the military-civilian administrator of the Luhansk region occupied by Russia, made serious allegations against the Russian invaders in an interview with “T-Online”. According to the report, Russia forcibly recruited Ukrainians in parts of the Zaporizhia and Cherson regions – and then used them in a perfidious way in the war.
“They take newly recruited soldiers and throw them on the front line. Ukrainian soldiers defend their positions and open fire, and that’s how the Russians find out where the Ukrainian troops are hiding,” explains Haidai in an interview. “Then the Russians shelled the Ukrainian positions with artillery. They literally used the mobilized soldiers as cannon fodder.”
According to Haidai, the conscripts have only one chance to get out of such a situation alive: “They have to surrender to the Ukrainian army. It’s difficult because at the moment they’re on the enemy’s side. But they have to try to stay on the battlefield while the attack is taking place and do whatever it takes to surrender. It’s the only way to stay alive.” Whether Russia actually uses this tactic cannot be verified independently.
2 p.m .: The Russian military claims to have destroyed numerous weapons supplied by the USA and other NATO countries in new attacks in Ukraine. A Harpoon missile depot was destroyed in Odessa on the Black Sea and a US-supplied Himar multiple rocket launcher was destroyed in the Donetsk region, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in his daily briefing on Sunday.
This information has not yet been verified by an independent party. Experts point out that the Himar systems are difficult to locate and destroy. According to Ukrainian sources, the Harpoon missiles have recently been repeatedly used against the Russian Navy. The Ukrainians also described the use of the Himars multiple rocket launcher as successful.
In the Kharkov region, the Russian armed forces shot down a Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jet with air defenses from the ground and a Mi-17 combat helicopter with a fighter plane in the Sloviansk region in the Donetsk region. About 200 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in attacks in the Kharkiv region, Konashenkov said. The Russian Defense Ministry had previously announced an intensification of attacks in Ukraine. The Ukrainian General Staff in Kyiv also reported massive shelling, mainly with artillery, in the morning.
11:54 a.m .: According to British intelligence experts, Moscow takes the danger to its troops in Ukraine from counter-offensives by the defenders seriously. Russia is strengthening its defensive positions in southern Ukraine, the British Defense Ministry’s daily intelligence update said on Sunday. “This includes the movement of personnel, materiel and defensive supplies between Mariupol and Zaporizhia, as well as in Kherson.” The Russian troops also increased their security measures in the occupied southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol, the statement said on Twitter.
The Russian defensive measures are, among other things, probably a reaction to the attacks by the Ukrainians on command posts, logistical hubs and troop concentrations, it said. Kyiv has also been putting pressure on the Russian-occupied areas in the Kherson region for more than a month and has indicated that further offensive measures are planned.
In view of the lack of personnel from which the Russian troops would have to suffer, a troop reinforcement in the south with a simultaneous fight for the Donbass in the east shows how seriously the Russians take the danger of a counter-offensive, the British experts concluded.
8.30 a.m .: According to their own statements, the Ukrainian armed forces have successfully repelled attacks from the Russian side in the Sloviansk region in the eastern region of Donetsk. The general staff announced on Sunday in Kyiv that there had been massive artillery shelling of military and civilian infrastructure in various towns. The enemy, however, had no success, recorded many losses and withdrew again after resistance from the Ukrainian side. The information could not be independently verified.
The Russian military also fired massively with artillery in the direction of Siwersk and Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. Dozens of towns were affected by the attacks. “In view of the heavy losses in their own ranks, the majority of the occupying forces’ units are in a very bad moral and psychological condition and are looking for a way to avoid participating in further hostilities,” the Ukrainian General Staff report said.
8:45 p.m .: According to the Ukrainian secret service, Russia is preparing for the “next phase of the invasion”. According to the Kyiv Independent, Vadym Skibitsky, representative of the intelligence department in the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, sees “undoubted” indications of this. However, Skibitsky sees no signs of Belarus entering the war in the near future. “The threat is there. today it is not as high as in February, but it may increase over time.”
Military expert Phillips O’Brien explains on Twitter the significance of these attacks. He quotes the Ukrainian governor of Luhansk: According to this, the attacks on the camps mean that the Russian soldiers can no longer store their ammunition and other supplies in the vulnerable goods depots. Instead, ammunition should now be delivered directly to the soldiers at the front, without fixed intermediate stations in the war zone.
According to O’Brien, this is a clear sign of how successful the attacks are for Ukraine – and how devastating for the Russian army. “If Russia really does this, they will have serious problems. If they really do without the interim storage facilities, that means that they are practically improvising.” In addition, Putin’s army needs an enormous number of trucks in order to be able to maintain the supply chains own that amount, O’Brien doubts, summing up: “Bring more long-range weapons systems to Ukraine!”
You can read more reports on the Ukraine conflict on the following pages.