Day 506: Ukraine close to major success on front lines, Estonia’s intelligence chief says

Ukrainian troops are close to a major success on the front lines, Estonia’s intelligence chief says. Ten more countries join G7’s framework declaration of support for Ukraine. Wagner fighters train the Belarusian military, Belarus’ defense ministry says. 

Ukraine close to major success on front lines, Estonia’s intelligence chief says

Ukrainian troops are close to a major success on the front lines as the counteroffensive takes shape, said Colonel Margo Grosberg, the head of Estonia’s intelligence as reported by the Estonian news agency ERR.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Grosberg said that Ukrainian troops conduct precision strikes against Russian command posts and logistical hubs. Ukraine makes gains around Bakhmut and exhausts Russian reserves, he said.

“All this shows that the Ukrainians are close to a success of a larger sort,” Grosberg said.

During the preparation phase of offensive operations Ukrainian troops seek to pin Russian forces along narrow fronts and find weak points to break through the Russian lines. They also conduct strikes against Russian transport hubs, logistical hubs, and command posts in the rear, Estonia’s intelligence chief said.

Ukrainian troops captured key areas to the north and south of Bakhmut, so that Ukrainian artillery came within range of the Russian-held city and Ukrainian units took control of the roads leading into Bakhmut. This created resupply problems for Russian units there, Grosberg said.

Russian airborne forces that have been deployed to Bakhmut since spring take losses and cannot be redeployed elsewhere or withdrawn into reserve. The airborne forces, known as VDV, are Russia’s elite units that have high morale, and the tactic to exhaust them saps their motivation, the Estonian intelligence chief added.

“There should be more success at some point,” Grosberg said.

Wagner fighters train Belarusian military, Belarus’ defense ministry says

Belarus’ Ministry of Defense said Friday that soldiers from Russia’s Wagner group were training its territorial defense forces. The ministry said the exercises were taking place near Asipovichy. “Conscripts master the skills of moving on the battlefield and tactical shooting, gain knowledge of engineering training and tactical medicine,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Wagner group fighters acted as instructors in a number of military disciplines.

“Experience gained by the conscripts from the Wagner group will make a substantial contribution to the country’s military security,” the ministry said.

Ten more countries join G7’s declaration of support for Ukraine

Ten more countries joined G7’s joint declaration of support for Ukraine, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak said on Telegram.  

Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Finland, Iceland, Belgium, and Portugal joined the framework for the G7 countries willing to provide Ukraine with security guarantees, he said.

On Wednesday, July 12, G7 leaders agreed a declaration that will provide Ukraine with effective security guarantees.

The declaration is a framework document, Yermak said, and will be followed by bilateral security commitments between Ukraine and individual G7 countries.

The countries pledge to work with Ukraine towards:

-ensuring a sustainable force capable of defending Ukraine now and deterring Russian aggression in the future, through the continued provision of security assistance and modern military equipment, promoting increased interoperability with Euro-Atlantic partners, training and training exercises for Ukrainian forces, intelligence sharing and cooperation, support for resilience initiatives, including to address hybrid threats;

-strengthening Ukraine’s economic stability and resilience, including through reconstruction and recovery efforts, to create the conditions conducive to promoting Ukraine’s economic prosperity, including its energy security;

-providing technical and financial support for Ukraine’s immediate needs stemming from Russia’s war as well as to enable Ukraine to continue implementing the effective reform agenda.