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Russia wants to attack directly near Donetsk, is preparing a counter-offensive from the south to Kryvyi Rih World

On Wednesday night, according to Ukrainian authorities, Russian shelling of Ukrainian cities continued.

Two strong explosions were heard in Kharkiv, the Suspilne station server reported. In the village of Krasnohorivka, southwest of Avdijivka, four civilians died and seven were wounded, said the governor of the Donetsk region, Pavlo Kyrylenko. Mykolayiv was once again the target of shelling.

Russian forces were apparently ordered to attack Avdijivka directly rather than wait for the success of an encirclement operation in the area, according to the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Russian and pro-Russian separatist sources in Donbas have released videos indicating that Ukrainian defenders have been forced out of positions around the Butivka coal mine ventilation shaft southwest of Avdijivka.

It marks this place ISW for the closest Ukrainian position to the city of Donetsk and at the same time a key defensive position for Avdijivka itself. The Ukrainians have held it since 2015. ISW points out that even the Ukrainian General Staff admitted a “partially successful” advance by Russian forces in this area.

According to the Ukrainian Southern Command, Russia then began to concentrate troops in the direction of Kryvyi Rih in an attempt to launch a counter-offensive and advance beyond the borders of the Kherson region.

In mid-July, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ordered the army to liberate southern Ukraine, according to Ukrainian authorities, 53 villages were liberated from Russian occupation in the Kherson region.

Ukrainian attacks on logistical targets are causing supply problems for Russian troops in the area. The British Ministry of Defense said in its regular briefing that the rail link between Kherson and the annexed Crimean peninsula was highly unlikely to remain operational following the recent attack on a Russian ammunition train. According to him, Russia has also established a ferry instead of the damaged Antoniv bridge in Kherson.

“It is likely that with ongoing hostilities and food shortages, we will see an increase in the number of civilians trying to flee Kherson and the surrounding area,” the ministry said.

Iran will support Russia with drones

According to still unconfirmed reports, Iran handed over the first drones to Moscow. The US administration reported on the possible handover of combat drones from Iran to Russia in July. Along with the drones, according to the ISW, pilots were sent to Russia to train on Russian Su-35 fighter jets.

The institute says it was unable to verify the open-source report citing Iranian sources. However, according to him, it is consistent with his own assessment that Tehran and Moscow are seeking closer cooperation in the field of aviation, which would help both countries bypass sanctions and supported the Russian war effort in Ukraine.

According to ISW, the move also suggests that Iran will get Su-35 multi-role fighter jets in exchange for the drones. It is a possible part of the agreement that the representatives of the two parties signed last week. The agreement envisages that Iran will increase the number of civilian flights to Russia and will also repair Russian aircraft.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in mid-July that Iran was preparing to supply Russia with several hundred drones, some of which would be capable of carrying weapons. According to him, Russia could use these drones in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

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