Timeline: Week 21 of Russia’s war in Ukraine

Al Jazeera looks at the main events that marked the 20th week of the war in Ukraine:

July 13 

Russian forces launch failed offensives east of Slovyansk and Bakhmut in the eastern Donbas region.

Kramatorsk mayor Oleksandr Gocharenko says on Facebook that Russian forces targeted the city’s industrial sector, knocking out power supply to parts of the city. Kramatorsk lies in the heart of the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine.

The EU allows sanctioned goods to cross its territory via rail from Russia to its exclave of Kaliningrad, after a major diplomatic dispute. Russia is separated from Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea by EU member Lithuania, which on June 18 banned the transit of sanctioned goods. Lithuania said it disagreed but would not contest the decision.

(Al Jazeera)

July 14

A Russian submarine fires three Kalibr missiles from Cape Fiolent near Sevastopol in the Crimea, which hit Vinnytsia, two hours southwest of Kyiv, killing at least 23 and wounding at least 100 civilians. Thirty-nine other people are listed as missing. A further two missiles were shot down. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he is “appalled”. Russia attempts to justify the attack saying it was targeting a meeting of senior air force commanders with Western defence contractors.

Ukraine’s National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption suggests that Western sanctions target the companies that build the Kalibr and Iskander missiles, Novator and Design Bureau of Mechanical Engineering. Brigadier-general Oleksiy Gromov says these two types of missile were used in 630 attacks.

In the eastern Donetsk oblast, Russian forces continue to attempt advances on Bakhmut and Siversk. Ukraine posts geolocated footage of a destroyed Russian ammunition depot in Nahirne, on the line of contact.

In the south, Russian forces hit Mykolaiv with nine missiles from the S-300 system, which is normally used for surface-to-air defence, reports Vitaly Kim, the commander of Ukrainian armed forces in Mykolaiv. The missiles hit two educational institutions and a hotel, among other sites.

The US House passes an $839bn annual defence budget, including $1bn in allocations for Ukraine. Of this, $100mn is set aside to train Ukrainian pilots and ground crew on US combat aircraft.

Ukrainian military intelligence says Belarus is unofficially allowing widespread smuggling in both directions across its borders with EU countries Lithuania and Poland, as well as its borders with Ukraine. The sanctioned country thus hopes to sell Belarusian tobacco products while passing on to Russia banned imports such as automotive parts, the intelligence services say.

July 15

Russian forces carry out shelling and air attacks on a string of front-line settlements in eastern Donetsk oblast. Ukraine’s general staff say their forces repelled a Russian attempt to control the Bakhmut-Lysychansk highway, a vital logistics lifeline, in the Bogorodychny area.

Ukraine’s air force announces that a volley of Kh-101 missiles has hit the city of Dnipro, far from the front line. The missiles were reportedly fired from Tu-95 aircraft overflying the Caspian Sea.

Mykolaiv mayor Oleksandr Sienkevych says more than 10 explosions were heard across the city, triggering an air alert.

The head of the Dnipropetrovsk region, Valentyn Reznichenko, says a Russian missile destroyed a school in the Synelnyk region, with likely casualties.

The EU announces the first details of a seventh sanctions package against Russia.

July 16

Russian forces make limited attempts to advance on Siversk. In the south, they shell settlements in Mykolaiv oblast. Ukraine’s southern command says they hit Mykolaiv city with modified S-300 anti-aircraft missile batteries.

An Antonov-12B military cargo plane crashes in northern Greece while carrying 11 tonnes of munitions. The eight-person crew was Ukrainian, but Ukraine’s defence ministry says the plane was private and not operating under its instructions.

July 17

Russian forces fire on settlements southeast of Izyum. Ukraine’s general staff report that Russia has made unsuccessful advances on Siversk and Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region. Fighting is reported on the outskirts of Donetsk city.

In the north, Russian forces launch air and artillery attacks north and east of Kharkiv city.

In the south, Ukrainian forces repulse an attack on Grigorivka, which lies between the Russian front line and Zaporizhia. Russian forces also fire several multiple-launch rockets into Zaporizhia itself, causing fires but no casualties, the regional military administration reports.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia has now fired 3,000 cruise missiles against his country.

July 18

Russian forces launch ground assaults southeast of Izyum and towards the front-line towns of Siversk, Bakhmut and Avdiivka in the eastern Donetsk oblast.

Kramatorsk Mayor Oleksandr Gocharenko reports Russian air attacks on the city’s industrial sector.

In the north, Russian forces continue to shell settlements north and east of Kharkiv.

In the south, Russian forces shell Ukrainian front lines and are said to be bringing in reinforcements.

Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Sienkevych says Russian shelling has resulted in about 12 explosions in the city.

The Ukrainian National Resistance Centre reports that Russian forces are using civilian rail and water routes to disguise and protect the transport of ammunition.

The European Council approves its fifth tranche of military aid to Ukraine, bringing the total to about $2.5bn.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy suspends his spy chief and prosecutor-general, saying 60 of their employees are being investigated for collusion with Russian authorities in occupied territories, raising questions about the heads of these bodies.

July 19

In Donetsk, Russian forces maintain their efforts southeast of Izyum towards Slovyansk and reportedly destroy some Ukrainian equipment concentrations in Slovyansk. Ukraine’s general staff say Russia is preparing for a major offensive on the city from the north. Russian forces also continue assaults in the direction of Siversk, and reportedly make minor advances on Bakhmut.

Ukrainian deputy defence minister Volodymyr Havrilov tells The Times his country is biding its time to sink Russia’s entire Black Sea fleet. “They have to pay for their aggression,” he says.

Ukraine’s southern command says Russia launched six Kalibr missiles from the Black Sea. One was shot down, while five struck houses in Odesa oblast, causing six injuries.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backs Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine as a response to NATO.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shakes hands with Russia's Vladimir Putin as Iran's President Raisi looks on
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shakes hands with Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Tehran as Iran’s President Raisi looks on [Handout: Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader]

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