Russian troops again carried out an unsuccessful assault in the area of Bohorodichny and are continuing to try to approach Bakhmut – probably so as to attack the city from the Berestov-Soledar line, the U.S. Institute for the Study of War think tank said in its latest summary on July 26.
Bohorodichny is located 20 kilometers northwest of Slovyansk, one of the key Ukrainian-held cities in Donetsk Oblast in the Donbas region.
Commenting on the fighting in the Donbas and in Kharkiv Oblast, ISW analysts said that on July 26 Russian troops conducted limited ground attacks northwest of Slovyansk and shelled populated areas southeast and southwest of Izyum.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine also noted that the enemy had conducted a reconnaissance operation in the area of the village of Chepel, approximately 60 kilometers northwest of Slovyansk, between Kharkiv and Izyum.
“This reconnaissance attempt may indicate that Russian forces are seeking to secure the rear of their operations in the Izyum-Slovyansk area,” the authors of the latest ISW report wrote.
Ukraine’s General Staff also reported on July 26 that Ukrainian forces had repelled assaults by Russian invaders in the area of the Svyati Hory Park, approximately 20 kilometers northeast of Slovyansk. ISW noted that the Svyati Hory National Park is bounded by the eastern bank of the Siverskyi Donets River, but it is unlikely that Russian forces have already crossed the river and are advancing southwest toward Slovyansk.
There are two other hypothetical explanations, according to ISW experts:
• that Ukrainian forces broke across the Siverskyi Donetsk river and entered the territory of the park, and engaged in battle with Russian troops in the area — “which would be noteworthy, but there is no evidence for this,” writes ISW;
• that Russian troops were conducting offensive operations somewhere on the outskirts of the park, northeast of Slovyansk.
Russian troops also made a small advance in the area northeast of Bakhmut on July 25-26, and probably took control of Berestov after the ordered withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from the area, ISW said.
“Russian forces will most likely use this position to move southwest along the T1302 highway towards Soledar, and try to attack Bakhmut from the Berestov-Soledar line,” ISW wrote. “Russian troops are also fighting near Soledar itself.”
In Kherson Oblast, Russian forces, as before, are concentrating their efforts on the defense of occupied positions and have made a limited, unsuccessful assault attempt in the northwest of the region, probably trying to push back the Ukrainian positions on the eastern bank of the Inhulets River.
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces continue to strike Russian ammunition depots and manpower concentrations in Kherson Oblast, which is likely to hamper the logistics of the Russian army in the oblast.
Other conclusions by ISW analysts regarding the situation in Ukraine over the past day:
• Ukrainian intelligence continues to uncover the Kremlin's plans to annex occupied territories of Ukraine through falsified referendums, while Russian puppets in the occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts have announced the acceleration of the planned time frame for the seizure of Ukrainian land – probably to align this process with the Kremlin's goals;
• it is unlikely that Russian forces will occupy significant additional territory of Ukraine before the likely start of annexation in early autumn;
• Russian troops have taken “marginal positions” northeast of Bakhmut and are continuing combat operations east and south of Bakhmut;
• the occupiers conducted a limited attack northwest of Izyum — probably to secure the Russian rear on the Izyum-Slovyansk line;
• the Russian army carried out limited attacks to the southwest of Donetsk, not far from the border with Zaporizhzhya Oblast;
• The Kremlin continues to form regional "volunteer battalions" for deployment in Ukraine.
Russia's war against Ukraine: Map of hostilities
Battle for the Donbas
Battles in Kharkiv Oblast
Battles in southern Ukraine: Kherson, Mykolaiv oblasts