Heaviest Fighting In Ukraine To Shift To Southwest Along Dnieper River, British Intelligence Says

August 8, 2022

Following months of fierce battles in the east, Russia's war in Ukraine is about to enter a new phase, with the heaviest fighting shifting along the Dnieper River to a nearly 350-kilometer front that stretches southwest from near Zaporizhzhya to Kherson, British military intelligence said on August 6, as Kyiv and Moscow traded blame for the shelling of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.

In the east, Russian forces launched an offensive on Bakhmut and several other cities in Donetsk, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces reported on August 6.

The General Staff said in its morning report that that the Russian attacks were successfully repulsed in Yakovlivka, Vershyn, Kodem, and Zaitseve.

The reports could not be independently verified.

Britain's Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence bulletin on August 6 that Russian forces are now almost certainly massing in the south in anticipation of Ukraine’s counteroffensive or in preparation for a possible assault.

British intelligence reported that Russia has been moving long columns of military trucks, tanks, towed artillery, and other weapons away from the Donbas in the east toward the southwest.

Russia has also been moving equipment and personnel into the annexed Crimean Peninsula from Russian-occupied Melitopol, Berdyansk, Mariupol, and from mainland Russia via the Kerch Bridge.

The extra equipment and personnel, which includes battalion tactical groups that comprise between 800 and 1,000 troops, will "almost certainly be used to support Russian troops in the Kherson region," British intel suggested.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces have been countering the enemy's moves focusing more often on targeting bridges, ammunition depots, and rail links in the southern regions, including the strategically important railroad spur that links Kherson to Crimea, the bulletin said.

Ukrainian forces are almost certainly using "a combination of block, damage, degrade, deny, destroy, and disrupt effects to try to affect Russia’s ability to logistically resupply," it said.

Ukraine's southern frontline city of Mykolayiv has imposed an unusually long curfew from late on August 5 until early on August 8, Vitaliy Kim, the head of the regional military administration, announced on Telegram. Kim said the measure is meant to allow authorities to identify and detain people collaborating with Russia.

In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia must take responsibility for an "act of terror" after Kyiv and Moscow traded blame for strikes at Zaporizhzhya -- Ukraine's and Europe's largest nuclear plant.

The plant, located about 200 kilometers northwest of the Russian-held port of Mariupol, has been under Russian supervision since Moscow's troops seized it early in the war.

"Today, the occupiers have created another extremely risky situation for all of Europe: they struck the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant twice. Any bombing of this site is a shameless crime, an act of terror," Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

"Russia must take responsibility for the very fact of creating a threat to a nuclear plant," he said.

The world's response should be harsh sanctions against the entire Russian nuclear industry from Rosatom to all related companies and individuals, he added.

Ukrainian officials said earlier that a high-voltage power line at Zaporizhzhya had been hit by Russian shelling, but the plant was still operating and no radioactive discharges had been detected.

Valentyn Reznichenko, the regional governor in Dnipropetrovsk, said that the day before Russian forces had shelled a city across the Dnieper River from the plant.

Military experts quoted in U.S. media reports say they believe Russia was shelling the area intentionally, knowing that Ukrainian forces cannot risk returning fire because it could damage the reactors or disturb nuclear waste sites.

The shelling has already caused concern at the UN’s nuclear watchdog.

Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on August 3 that “every principle of nuclear safety has been violated” at the plant. “What is at stake is extremely serious and extremely grave and dangerous,” Grossi said.

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