Espreso. Global

Victorious news of 544th day of war: Ukrainian army widely uses cluster munitions, liberates territory near Bakhmut; China-Russia space partnership under threat

21 August, 2023 Monday

Kyiv parades destroyed Russian equipment, Ukrainian forces strike behind enemy lines, which could undermine the stability of Russian defense; and the Ukrainian army liberated 3 sq. km in the Bakhmut sector over the past week

China is disappointed with Russia's space failure

The crash of Russia's Luna-25 space station could undermine Russia's space partnership with China, Bloomberg writes. The failure of the Russian Luna-25 spacecraft may raise doubts about Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who is a partner of the Russian Federation in the construction of a proposed base on the moon, designed to challenge the United States and its space allies.

It is noted that the fall of Russia's Luna-25 is not just a setback in Vladimir Putin's efforts to overcome war-related sanctions.

Wu Yanhua, chief designer of China's major deep space exploration project, led a delegation to the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia's Far East to attend the launch and discuss deepening cooperation between the two countries' space programmes.

Now that the mission has ended in failure, Chinese media reports on the accident have been very sparse, with the official Xinhua news agency publishing only a short five-sentence report on Sunday.

"This failure is expected to deal a blow to Russia's ambitions. The West should not underestimate Russia just because its lunar programme failed," wrote Hu Xijin, a former editor of the Communist Party-controlled Global Times.

Ukrainian Armed Forces advance in Bakhmut sector

Over the past week, the defense forces have liberated 3 square kilometers in the Bakhmut sector, said Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar.

She noted that the main directions of the enemy's offensive are in the east, so heavy fighting is taking place there.

"As for the Bakhmut sector, the news is coming from both the southern and northern flanks. If you look at the map, it looks like a horseshoe around Bakhmut," says Maliar.

"On the northern flank, the enemy is trying to drive our troops out of their positions. After all, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have occupied the key dominant heights there and are "annoying the enemy".

"And the Russian enemy is actually trapped there. Because they cannot leave Bakhmut and make a full advance there. They are trying to storm this northern flank to knock out our troops. The enemy is not succeeding, but the fighting there is also fierce," said the deputy minister.

According to the General Staff, over the past day Ukrainian aviation carried out 6 strikes on the areas where Russian personnel were concentrated. Missile and artillery units struck 4 control points, an area of concentration of personnel, weapons and military equipment and 3 artillery pieces at enemy firing positions over the last day.

Ukraine effectively uses cluster munitions at the frontline

Cluster munitions are helping the Ukrainian Armed Forces in their counter-offensive in the Lyman and Kupyansk sectors. They help to inflict more losses on the manpower and equipment of the occupying Russian soldiers. 

The journalists asked the soldiers directly how they assessed the results of the use of cluster munitions.

"The main advantage is that the enemy is now very afraid to attack. They (Russians - ed.) can even recognise cluster bombs by the whistling sound when they fly in their direction," said Stanislav, a soldier with the 14th Detached Mechanized Brigade.

During the counter-offensive, the Ukrainian Armed Forces use cluster munitions to fire on dense forests when the exact location of Russian troops is unknown, to hit unarmoured vehicles and spray bombs over enemy infantry, forcing the occupying Russian forces to dig into trenches and preventing them from returning fire.

Also, according to the soldiers, cluster munitions allow them to get closer to the fortified Russian positions, because the enemy troops "do not stick their heads out during the shelling".

Destroyed Russian tanks displayed on Khreshchatyk Street

Russian tanks are now on the main street of the capital of Ukraine, but defeated and burned. A "parade" of destroyed Russian vehicles is held in Kyiv. The remains of tanks, howitzers and rockets were brought to Khreshchatyk. Burned tanks, armored vehicles, and the remains of missiles have already begun to be installed on the central street of the capital. About 20 pieces of destroyed Russian equipment have been brought there, including self-propelled howitzers, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, armored fighting vehicles and so on.

Ukrainian Armed Forces demoralize enemy by shelling their rear areas

Strikes by the Ukrainian Armed Forces behind the enemy lines undermine the morale of Russian troops. This could threaten the sustainability of Russian defense in many critical areas of the front, according to a report by the Institute for the Study of War. Russian frontline units, especially in southern Ukraine, have often faced a deteriorating morale after Ukrainian strikes on their rear.

Morale problems can spread quickly among Russian troops, especially if one of the units under pressure is defeated, which can cause panic and significantly impair the combat capabilities of other Russian military formations.

“A broken Russian frontline unit would threaten the integrity of other frontline defenses, and such a break in the Russian frontline would provide a vulnerability that Ukrainian forces could exploit,” the ISW said.

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