Hudson Institute

Ukraine Military Situation Report | July 10

Senior Fellow (Nonresident)
Emergency and rescue personnel clear the rubble of the destroyed building of Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital after a missile attack in Kyiv on July 9, 2024. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images)
Emergency and rescue personnel clear the rubble of the destroyed building of Ohmatdyt Children's Hospital after a missile attack in Kyiv on July 9, 2024. (Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images)

Below Senior Fellow Can Kasapoğlu offers a military situation report about the war in Ukraine.

Executive Summary

  • The Russian military gained the tactical upper hand in combat near the Ukrainian town of Chasiv Yar.
  • Russian salvos struck several civilian targets in Ukraine, including a pediatric oncology hospital in Kyiv.
  • The Kremlin’s missile forces hit Ukrainian air bases, as Kyiv continues to await transfers of F-16 fighter aircraft from North Atlantic Treaty Organization member states.
  • Both Russia and Ukraine continued to use land- and sea-based drones with unprecedented frequency.

1. Battlefield Assessment

Russian forces made tactical gains at an alarming rate, and have been adding troops to their axis of assault in southern Ukraine. This week Ukrainian forces partially withdrew from areas around the town of Chasiv Yar, particularly the Kanal District, where Russian units captured tactically important positions. These developments signaled that Moscow has gained the tactical upper hand after weeks of deadly clashes.

Nazar Voloshyn, the spokesperson for the Khortytsia Operational Group of the Ukrainian Ground Forces, stated that the decision to withdraw reflects a desire to move troops to “better-protected positions,” as Russian forces close in on Chasiv Yar. While the Russian military has made tangible advances, available drone footage shows that fighting has already reduced the town to rubble.

Open-source satellite imagery suggests that Russian units also advanced in the directions of Druzhba, Toretsk, and Pokrovsk. Moreover, the Russian military secured incremental gains near Kharkiv, though Ukrainian pushback remained strong around critical nearby flashpoints like Vovchansk, restricting the Kremlin to marginal advances. Some reports even suggest that Ukrainian forces have encircled important Russian units in that city, potentially including the 83rd Brigade of the Russian Airborne Forces (VDV).

On other fronts, including near Vuhledar, the Kremlin is also reportedly sending troops into battle on motorcycles. This tactic was designed to increase their speed and maneuverability, but it leaves Russian fighters vulnerable to drones and has resulted in heavy bloodshed for marginal gains. Moscow has also resorted to using motorcycle platoons for casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) and resupply tasks to improve battlefield logistics.

Meanwhile, Ukraine continued to strike important Russian assets. Visual evidence suggests that the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) recently used a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) to strike a Nebo-SVU radar system in southern Russia. The Nebo-SVU is a critical part of Russia’s strategic radar networks.

Yet Ukraine is still awaiting the Biden administration’s permission to use its newly resupplied Army Tactical Missile System units (ATACMS) to strike targets within Russia, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently stated. A recalibration of United States policy would allow Ukraine to conduct retaliatory strikes on critical sites that the Kremlin uses to launch glide bomb attacks and help Kyiv shield its population from aerial bombardments. Open-source intelligence suggests that Voronezh Malshevo, an air base in southern Russia that hosts the Sukhoi-34 fighter-bomber aircraft that terrorize Ukrainian civilians, could be one potential target of ATACMS strikes.

Finally, at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected any ceasefire agreement that does not involve the irreversible demilitarization of Ukraine. In a statement, Putin labeled all Ukrainian state institutions as “illegitimate and unfit for negotiations.” Putin’s hostile rhetoric reflects the aggressive position of the Russian siloviki elite, strongmen hailing from the ranks of the former Soviet intelligence services.

2. Russia Launches Missile Salvos against a Pediatric Oncology Hospital in Ukraine

This week, Russia increased attacks on Ukrainian cities, launching intense daytime missile strikes on Kyiv, Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, and multiple metropolitan areas in Donetsk Oblast, killing dozens of civilians and injuring hundreds more. News outlets suggest that the Russian salvos targeted civilian facilities such as the Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital, one of Europe’s largest pediatric oncology centers.

The weapon used in the hospital attack was a Kh-101 air-launched cruise missile, which the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) use widely. In particular, images captured seconds before impact clearly show the missile had a TRDD-50A drop-down turbofan jet engine, which powers the Kh-101. This finding debunks Russian propaganda that claims a failed US air defense missile struck the hospital. No Western air defense interceptor transferred to Ukraine features such a power pack configuration.

Moscow also struck the Artem manufacturing plant, partly owned by Ukroboronprom, an association of enterprises in various sectors of the Ukrainian defense industry. The factory has played a pivotal role in the country’s warfighting efforts as a producer of artillery shells and a modernization facility for critical systems such as the R-73 air-to-air guided missile.

Assessments from the Ukrainian Air Force and visual evidence from the battlefield suggest that Russia’s strike included several lethal systems such as Kinzhal ballistic missiles and Kh-101 and Kh-22 cruise missiles. Some sources claimed that the Russian salvo also featured the 3M22 Zircon hypersonic missile, although no open-source intelligence images of the wreckage exist to confirm these claims.

Despite Ukraine’s high interception rate, the missiles that breached Kyiv’s air defenses caused immense destruction. This illustrates the grim impact of Russia’s offense-dominant strike pattern. The timing of the attacks is also telling: the Russian Armed Forces launched their missiles during the Monday morning rush hour to maximize civilian casualties and induce terror among Ukraine’s civilian population.

3. Russia Might Be Beating Ukraine at Its Own Game

Last week, Russia struck several critical military airfields in Ukraine, including the Myrhorod, Poltava, and Dolgintsevo air bases. Targeted in multiple rounds of strikes, the bases house important aerial assets such as Su-27 and MiG-29 fighter jets and Mi-24 gunships.

These strikes reflect Moscow’s efforts to beat Ukraine at its own game, as Kyiv has long launched strategic attacks on critical infrastructure and facilities inside Russian territory. Open-source intelligence suggests that Moscow flew several drone reconnaissance sorties in advance of long-range strikes from SS-26 Iskander ballistic missiles. These moves hint at the Kremlin’s increasing tactical intelligence and strike capabilities, which place already scarce Ukrainian aerial combat platforms under increased risk.

4. Defense Innovation on Both Sides Highlights the Tech-Driven Nature of the War

Evidence from the battlefield indicates that Russia and Ukraine have continued to innovate rapidly, particularly in robotic warfare assets like unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). In imitation of the “turtle tank” design, which encases main battle tanks within protective steel cages, Russian engineers are reportedly building ground robots with armored layers that shield them from first-person-view (FPV) drone strikes. Kyiv is also trying to expand its capabilities in the unmanned ground warfare domain, with social media highlighting numerous projects, including the newly unveiled Makhno ground robot. These efforts signal Ukraine’s attempts to develop and test UGVs for combat and logistics tasks.

In the maritime domain, Ukraine’s unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) continue to haunt the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Reportedly, Ukrainian naval drones attacked naval platforms at the port of Novorissiyk, prompting Russian planners to accelerate their efforts to shield critical infrastructure from Ukrainian USVs. Recent satellite imagery indicates that the Kremlin ordered for 25 barges to be placed along the strategic Kerch Bridge to shield the vital transport route from Ukrainian naval drones.

Russian forces continue to prioritize the development of asymmetric defense technologies. Visual evidence from the recent Independence Day military parade in Minsk suggests that Belarus now possesses Shahed-136 (or equivalent Russian-made Geran-2) drones. While the number of Shaheds in the Belarusian arsenal is yet to be confirmed, the munitions’ appearance in Minsk indicates that the military partnership between Moscow and Tehran has expanded beyond Ukraine.

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