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Ukraine war latest: Ukrainian drones attack ammunition, oil depots in Russia

by The Kyiv Independent news desk July 7, 2024 11:13 PM 10 min read
Photo for illustrative purposes. Member of Falcon unit sending Ukrainian drone Leleka to air in Kostiantynivka, Ukraine on April 18, 2023. (Oleksandr Magula/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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Key developments on July 6,7:

  • Ukrainian drones attack ammunition, oil depots in Russia, source says
  • Leaked documents suggest more Russians killed in Ukraine than previously thought
  • Poll: More and more Russians think a nuclear strike on Ukraine is justified
  • Ukraine working on new maritime strategy, Zelensky says
  • Turkey proposes 'peace platform' to end war in Ukraine

Ukrainian drones operated by the Security Service of Ukraine struck a large ammunition depot in Voronezh Oblast, and two oil deports in Krasnodar Krai region over the past two days, a law enforcement source told the Kyiv Independent on July 7.

Drone attacks were reported in Russia's Krasnodar Krai region overnight on July 6, causing large fires at two oil depots.

Russian state-controlled outlet RIA Novosti claimed later on July 6 that the fragments of a downed drone caused a fire at one fuel storage tank in the village of Pavlov, as well as another fire at an oil depot in the Leningrad community.

Ukrainian drones struck Russian "Lukoil-Yugnefteprodukt," the source said.

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"Yesterday (July 6), the Russians couldn't extinguish the massive fire all day, which started as a result of a nighttime drone attack on the oil depot near the Pavlov community in Krasnodar Krai," the source said.

"A massive fire at two petroleum product tanks began after two explosions."

SBU drones also launched a series of explosions on the territory of the "Rosneft-Kubannefteprodukt" oil depot in the Leningrad community, damaging at least three fuel tanks, the source added.

Overnight on July 7, Ukrainian drones carried out an attack on the ammunition depot in the village of Sergeevka in Voronezh Oblast, according to the source.

"On an area of nine square kilometers, the enemy stored surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, shells for tanks and artillery, and boxes of ammunition for firearms," the source said.

Russia reportedly supplies ammunition from this warehouse to its troops in Ukraine, the source added.

Earlier in the day, Governor Aleksandr Gusev claimed that Russian air defense units destroyed "several drones" over Voronezh Oblast.

Falling drone debris caused a fire in one of the warehouses and the detonation of unidentified explosives in the Podgorensky district, according to the governor.

As of around 9:30 a.m. local time, Gusev announced that a state of emergency had been introduced within the Podgorensky district, where "debris from a Ukrainian drone fell."

The Russian Defense Ministry, on the contrary, did not report downing drones over Voronezh Oblast. On July 7, it reported the downing of one drone over the Belgorod Oblast.

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Leaked documents suggest more Russians killed in Ukraine than previously thought

Between 462,000 and 728,000 Russian soldiers were killed, injured, or captured by mid-June, The Economist reported on July 5, citing leaked documents from the U.S. Defense Department.

These numbers exceed the number of Russian troops who were preparing for the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Russia's losses in Ukraine since 2022 exceed the number of cumulative casualties the country faced in military conflicts since the Second World War.

On July 5, Russian media outlets Meduza and Mediazona published a report indicating that approximately 120,000 Russian troops have been killed since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Ukraine's General Staff estimates that the Russian military's personnel losses surpassed 500,000 in late May. This number includes both killed and injured.

For every Russian killed in action, there are about three to four wounded, according to The Economist.

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Among those who suffered the most significant losses were Russians aged 35 to 39. During the entire period of the invasion, up to 27,000 people from this age group were killed, according to The Economist's calculations.

Regarding the percentage ratio, the most serious losses were among the Russian male population aged 45 to 49.

"The latest estimates suggest that roughly 2% of all Russian men aged between 20 and 50 may have been either killed or severely wounded in Ukraine since the start of the full-scale war," the article said.

Around 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the war, President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Feb. 25.

The announcement is the first time Zelensky has publicly stated a figure on the death toll of Ukrainian soldiers since the start of the full-scale invasion.

Russia continues to recruit 25,000 to 30,000 new soldiers a month, the New York Times (NYT) reported, citing U.S. officials.

This amount is enough to replenish troops and allows the Russian army to continue to carry out human wave-style attacks, the NYT said.

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Poll: More and more Russians think a nuclear strike on Ukraine is justified

One in three Russians believe a nuclear strike against Ukraine would be justified, according to research from the Levada Center, a Russian independent polling organization.

In polling released on July 4, 10% of respondents said they believed such an attack could "definitely" be justified, while 24% said "probably."

The figures, collected in June 2024, had increased by 5 percentage points over the past year.

While a majority of respondents – 52% – are against the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, this is a decrease from 56% in April 2023.

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The polling found those who approved of a nuclear strikes tended to be older and got their news from Russian state media.

Those against were younger and tended to get their news from YouTube.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said in an interview published on May 25 that the U.S. had told Russia that if it uses nuclear weapons, there will be an American response using conventional weapons on Russian forces in Ukraine.

"The Americans have told the Russians that if you explode a nuke, even if it doesn't kill anybody, we will hit all your targets (positions) in Ukraine with conventional weapons, we'll destroy all of them," Sikorski told the Guardian.

Sikorski added that both China and India have warned Russia not to use nuclear weapons.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has repeatedly made nuclear threats against Ukraine and the West since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Though the threats have failed to materialize, and Russia continues to wage its all-out war without using its nuclear arsenal, Russian rhetoric and nuclear drills have both increased in recent weeks.

Russia and Belarus began the second stage of tactical weapons nuclear drills last month, amid escalating tensions between Moscow and the West.

"The situation on the European continent is quite tense, which is provoked every day by new decisions and actions of European capitals hostile to Russia, and above all by Washington," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in comments reported by Reuters.

In May, Russia said the exercises were a response to what it described as "provocative statements and threats by certain Western officials against the Russian Federation."

The United States may have to increase its deployment of strategic nuclear weapons amid growing threats from China, Russia, and other adversaries, a White House official said on June 7.

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Ukraine working on new maritime strategy, Zelensky says

The Ukrainian government is working on a new maritime strategy that will be soon approved by the National Security and Defense Council, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on July 6.

The Black Sea has become one of the main theaters of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, with Kyiv having multiple successes striking Russia's naval forces in the region. Due to the naval drone attacks, Russian warships do not enter the northwestern part of the Black Sea, an area of almost 25,000 square meters, according to Ukraine's Navy Commander Oleksii Neizhpapa.

"We clearly understand that the war has changed the balance of forces in our entire Black Sea region, and the Russian Fleet will never dominate this water area again," Zelensky said in his evening address.

"We are consolidating our interests, taking  into account the new technological possibilities of Ukraine and our relations with partners."

Zelensky said the strategy is being finalized and did not disclose any further details on the plan.

"Ukraine will always be a state capable of protecting its own interests at sea, transport arteries, and the interests of our allies and partners," the president added.

Ukraine wants to expand its shipping corridor, which facilities the only maritime traffic from the three main Odesa ports, to include the ports of Mykolaiv and Kherson in the country's south, Neizhpapa told Reuters in an interview published on July 5.

Kyiv was forced to set up a new export route in the Black Sea last year after Russia unilaterally terminated the Black Sea grain deal. Initially envisioned as a humanitarian corridor to allow the departure of ships stranded there since the start of the full-scale war, it has since grown into a full-blown trade route.

Neizhpapa also said that the upcoming delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine would challenge Russia's "full dominance" of the skies over the Black Sea.

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Turkey proposes 'peace platform' to end war in Ukraine

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on July 6 proposed establishing a "peace platform" to end the war in Ukraine.

Fidan said current efforts to end the war "should be spread on a wider basis," the Turkish newspaper Haber7 reported.

"A peace platform that will prevent deepening polarization, has high participation and representation, and prioritizes diplomacy should be established," he said.

Fidan did not provide any further details.

Turkey has long been trying to take a leading role in peace negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow.

At the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Kazakhstan earlier this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan proposed to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin that Turkey could help mediate an end to the war.

Putin's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, rejected the idea, stating that Erdogan could not serve as an intermediary, without giving specific reasons.

While Turkey is a NATO member, Erdogan has aimed to maintain positive relations with both Russia and Ukraine, previously securing a deal for safe grain shipments from Ukraine's Black Sea ports that lasted for a year.

Ukraine repeatedly said the peace talks should be held on the basis of its 10-step peace formula, which includes a full withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine. Moscow has rejected this proposal.

Kyiv is preparing for the second peace summit and aims to create a detailed action plan which will include steps related to "all the crises" caused by Russia's all-out war, Zelensky said.

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