Ukraine war situation report day 147
July 20, 2022 - New U.S. intelligence claims that Russia plans to keep the territory it has captured in Ukraine permanently. Annexation would mean that Russia would consider any attack on the area as an attack on Russia itself.
Former Russian militant commander and nationalist blogger Igor Girkin has called for the Kremlin to reunify the entire territory of so-called “Novorossiya” -- Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts -- with the Russian Federation and create a “Malorossiya state” up to the Polish border.
After annexation, President Vladimir Putin may state, directly or obliquely, that Russian doctrine permitting the use of nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory applies to newly annexed territories.
Russian forces continued offensive operations toward the city of Slovyansk on July 19, with fierce ground assaults southeast of Izyum, around Barvinkove and east of Siversk and Bakhmut. Artillery struck four settlements northwest of Slovyansk.
Russia also mounted air, artillery, and missile strikes on settlements to the north, northeast, and southeast of the city of Kharkiv.
Ukraine deployed U.S.-supplied high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) to strike a bridge over the Dnipro River -- a major Russian supply route to the east of Kherson city. Around Mykolaiv, Russian forces used modified S-300 surface-to-air missiles to strike ground targets around the city.
The Kremlin could attempt to annex occupied Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts into Russia as early as September 11, when local and gubernatorial elections occur across Russia.