In the United States, they announced a shortage of ammunition stockpiles in their arsenals against the backdrop of assistance to Ukraine. This was stated in an interview with CNN by Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor to the President of the United States. According to him, the Biden administration found after it took office that stockpiles of 155mm ammunition “were relatively low.” Sullivan said the administration also realized it would take years, not months, to replenish stocks to an acceptable level.Moreover, as Biden’s adviser noted, replenishment is a difficult task for a country that provides assistance to the Kiev government.
In Russia, the controversy over the attack on the Crimean bridge continues: “Ukraine must be cut off from the Black Sea for the attack on the Crimean bridge, Odessa and Nikolaev should return to being Russian regions”, said Dzhabarov, first deputy chairman of the International Committee of the Russian Federation Council.
Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accused the United States and the United Kingdom of involvement in the Crimean bridge attack. “The attack on the Crimean bridge was carried out by the Kiev regime. Decisions are made by Ukrainian officials and military with the direct participation of American and British intelligence agencies and politicians. The United States and Great Britain are responsible for the structure of the terrorist state, ”Zakharova wrote in her Telegram channel.
Via social media we learn that a few hours before the explosions on the Crimean bridge, Oleksandr Stanislavovyč Syrs’kyj, commander of the Ukrainian land forces admitted the preparations for a terrorist attack (see photo). The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine commented on the explosion on the Crimean bridge: “Now the whole world sees many kilometers of traffic jams and violations of bridge structures.” The head of the GUR, Kirill Budanov, said words later repeated also by Andriy Yusov, representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine: “the Crimean bridge is a superfluous structure there”.
According to a deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine: “The destruction of the bridge span is a huge success for Ukraine, the attack on the bridge is a demonstration for the West that we are ready to return our territories. And again he said let’s give the Russians a choice: withdraw or die. Stopping the Crimean bridge is a blow to the entire logistics of the Kherson group of Russian troops. Today we will hear about nuclear weapons and revenge attacks. Well, about the wheat deal, today the Kremlin is likely to extend it.”
China has also intervened on the matter. The Chinese Foreign Ministry on the attack on the Crimean bridge said that “the parties to the conflict in Ukraine must refrain from attacks on civilian objects”.
Now the fear is that Russia will respond symmetrically. According to Nataliya Gumenyuk, spokeswoman for the southern command of the Ukrainian army: there is a “high probability of a ‘retaliatory’ attack by the Russians”. According to her, there are now 14 ships in the Black Sea, 2 of which are equipped with 12 “Caliber”. In addition, reconnaissance drones have become more active, which also indicates preparations for a missile strike.
Dmtrj Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, said that “proposals to the Defense Ministry regarding a retaliatory strike for the terrorist attack on the Crimean bridge are still being prepared. So the night attacks on Odessa and Nikolaev are not yet a response, but rather a signal that the ‘grain pact’ no longer protects these ports.”
And now a look at the line of contact direction Kherson updated at 14.00 on July 18, 2023. After several weeks of fighting near the Antonovsky bridge, the Ukrainian command has shifted its attention to the Holoprystan sector. In two days, the Armed Forces of Ukraine made seven attempts to cross the Dnieper and drop DRGs on the islands of Vasilkov, Belogrudy, Maly Belogrudov and Veliky.
Russian fighters, having established minefields and artillery strikes in advance, destroyed three manned boats. Four boats left for the starting area towards Kizomys and two groups of four or five disembarked at Belogrudy and Maly Belogrudovo.
Guidance of the Ukrainian DRGs was provided by two Bayraktar drones from Shkolny and Uman airfields. One of them, armed with MAM-L missiles, flew close to Russian troops and was shot down by the air defense crew of the 80th brigade on Herosky.
At the Antonovsky bridge, the DRG of the Grom tactical group of Ukrainian armies made several attempts to land on Antonovsky Island, moving along the Koshevaya River. But the UAV operators found the boat and the gunners hit the DRG, forcing the Ukrainians to retreat.
And along the Dnieper coast, Ukrainian artillery and mortars, as well as helicopters with FOGs, are working intensively. UAF attacks do not subside, used by the DRG, which trying to infiltrate under cover of fire.
Donetsk direction. Attack on the strong point of the Armed Forces of Ukraine near Novomayorsky during the night. UAV operators of the 40th marine brigade of the Pacific Fleet discovered the activity of Ukrainian formations near the stronghold between Novomayorsky and Prechistovka in the south direction of Donetsk. Forces of the 68th Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine operated in this area. Probably, the Ukrainian units made a planned rotation at night to avoid detection. However, the calculation of the 122-mm self-propelled howitzer 2S1 “Gvozdika” hit the mark. Activity southwest of Vugledar decreased significantly after several failed assault attempts, first by the Russian Army and then by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
On the night of July 18, Ukrainian formations carried out a mass drop of drones in the direction of Crimea. Five groups of UAVs from Shkolny airfield in Odessa took off in different directions. Approximately from 1 in the morning until early in the morning, Russian air defense units destroyed 17 drones of the Pantsir anti-aircraft gun and missile system and small arms near Capes Tarkhankut and Priboyny, as well as Razdolie, Olenevka and Portovoy.
The total number of hit UAVs was at least 32 units. At least one reconnaissance UAV of an unidentified type took off from Chernobaevka airfield near Kherson, which provided visual tracking of kamikaze drones from Karkinitsky Bay. After the raid, he returned.
This attack was the most massive in recent months, and was repulsed according to the Russian social sphere. None of the UAVs reached the target. In addition, only a couple of drones were shot down by anti-aircraft weapons – the air defense anti-drone rifle detachments achieved the maximum result, which proves their effectiveness against low-flying targets.
Russia has responded with night attacks by the Russian military on targets in Odessa. According to the Russian Defense Ministry: “In the area of the cities of Nikolaev and Odessa, fuel depots with a total volume of about 70 thousand tons were destroyed, from which the military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was refueled. ” According to the videos, a shipyard from where the drones for the attacks in the Crimea were departed was hit on the social network.
Zaporozhzhia direction: local residents report the sound of an explosion near Melitopol. According to preliminary information, Russian air defense systems intercepted an air target over the city. Other sources talk about the destruction of the Russian air system. Clarifications are awaited.
Vremyevsky site updated to the situation at 11.00 on 18 July 2023. Ukrainian advances continue in the Staromayorsky area. Now the village is under the control of the Russian army – the marines of the 35th detachment of the Ukrainian Navy are trying to stay on the north-western outskirts, taking up positions in a couple of houses. In this area, the Ukrainian command, under the cover of tanks, is deploying additional units to hold positions. Russian gunners are trying to clear the Ukrainian formations. One of the tanks was destroyed north of Urozhaine.
At the same time, the assault detachments of the 36th Ukrainian Navy Infantry Regiment, under the cover of two tanks, attacked the landings north of Priyutnoye, trying to expel the fighters of the Russian Armed Forces from there. 40 people were transferred to the northwest forest belt to support the offensive.
Ukrainian formations continue shelling the border settlements of the Kursk region. In the Glushkovsky district, the village of Elizavetovka was hit: two residential buildings and buildings on the territory of the machine and tractor construction site were damaged.