The Russian army fails to advance quickly into Ukraine due to significant casualties and carries out continuous brutal artillery strikes against civilians, especially in Donbas, near Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk. The Armed Forces of Ukraine repel the enemy assault in the Sloviansk and Bakhmut directions. The Ukrainian military command and government officials insist on the immediate supply of anti-missile and heavy weapons. The leaders of France, Germany, Italy, and Romania visit Kyiv to support the granting of candidate status for EU membership for Ukraine and discuss further help to Ukraine with President Zelenskyy.
Summary report of June 16: Situation
The operational update from the General Staff regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, on June 17, 2022 is in a dropdown menu below.[toggle]
In the Volyn and Polissya areas, the main efforts of the Armed Forces of the republic of belarus are focused on conducting reconnaissance, engineering equipment positions and protection of the state border. The threat of missile and air strikes remains.
In the Siversky direction, the enemy continues to conduct demonstration actions. The aggressor fired artillery at a unit of the Defense Forces in the border areas of Sumy and Chernihiv oblasts.
In the Kharkiv direction, the enemy’s main efforts are focused on maintaining the occupied borders, preventing the Defense Forces from entering the state border and the rear of a group of troops operating in the Sloviansk direction. The enemy tried to conduct reconnaissance by fighting in the area of the settlement of Kochubiyivka. Our soldiers responded with accurate fire and the enemy retreated.
In the Sloviansk direction, the occupiers are concentrating their main efforts on continuing the offensive on Sloviansk. They are conducting reconnaissance in the area of Krasnopillya, the battle continues. The enemy tried to take full control of the village of Bohorodychne. Ukrainian soldiers successfully repulsed the assault.
Trying to create conditions for the development of the offensive on the city of Sloviansk, the enemy uses artillery in the areas of Dolyna, Krasnopillya, Dibrivny and Vernopilla.
The enemy did not take active action in the Lyman direction.
In the Sievierodonetsk direction, the occupiers continue to fire from barrel and jet artillery on units of our troops. Inflicted an air strike on the settlement of Ustynivka. Fighting continues for complete control over the city of Sievierodonetsk. The enemy moves in the direction of additional units of jet artillery.
In the Bakhmut direction, the defenders of Ukraine repulsed an enemy assault in the direction of the settlement of Zolote. The enemy retreated. The occupiers tried to advance in the direction of Vasylivka and Berestove. Our soldiers fired and forced the enemy to flee.
No active offensive actions of the enemy were recorded in the Avdiivka, Kurakhiv, Novopavlivka and Zaporizhzhia areas. The enemy launched air strikes near New York, Avdiivka and Pobeda.
In the South Buh direction, the enemy used barrel artillery and jet fire systems in areas of settlements Kulbakino, Mykolaivka, Stepova Dolyna, Murakhivka, Novopavlivske, Shevchenkove, Zorya, Partysanske, Kvitneve, Novohrygorivka, Kiselivka, Kniazivka, Osokorivka, Lupareve and Posad-Pokrovske. Ukrainian aircraft struck at enemy clusters in Kherson, Kakhovka and Beryslav districts of Kherson oblast.
The aggressor continues to block civilian shipping in the northwestern Black Sea. In its waters there are two carriers of sea-based cruise missiles of the “Caliber” type.
The enemy continues to suffer losses in personnel, weapons and equipment. During the day, in the Donetsk region, soldiers of the Territorial Defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine shot down a Mi-35M helicopter. There are successes in Zaporizhzhia as well. In the Kherson oblast, the enemy has significant losses in manpower.[/toggle]
The Russian Federation military changed its battle tactics. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, the occupying forces now use small assault groups for offensive operations. The use of full-fledged tactical battalion groups and support equipment is not currently observed. They conduct combat operations during daylight hours only.
In the Luhansk Oblast, the Russian army continues to launch ground strikes on the infrastructure of Sievierodonetsk and is trying to occupy other cities and villages in the region. If Ukrainian soldiers regain a street in Sievierodonetsk, Russian artillery immediately shells it heavily. If Russians think Ukrainian soldiers could be in a house, their tanks level it from a distance. Over the past day, the Russians have used artillery and MLRS in the areas of Sievierodonetsk, Lysychansk, Ustinovka, Loskutovka, Metelkino, Borovskoye, Mykolaivka and Novoivanovka.
Sievierodonetsk is a key point in the system of the defense operation of the Luhansk region and the occupiers are simultaneously attacking the city in nine directions, according to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Zaluzhny. The occupiers are attempting to completely encircle Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk from two sides, said Yury Butusov, editor-in-chief of Censor.net. They approached the Bakhmut-Lysychansk highway and are preparing to break through to the north to Pokrovsky and south of the village of Vrubivka. They are also trying to encircle Ukrainian positions in the Zolote-Gorskoe-Toshkivske area. Butusov believes that only defeating the enemy in the Bakhmut-Popasnaya area can change the outcome.
The Ukrainian military repelled an assault in the direction of the settlement of Zolote and the enemy retreated.
In Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk, six people were killed, said the head of the Luhansk OVA Serhiy Gaidai. The Azot building was damaged as a result of shelling. In Lysychansk, an enemy bomb hit one of the buildings and killed four civilians, a school building and two houses were destroyed, in Gorny — 18 houses, and in Vrubivka — 7. The Russian military deliberately shoots Sievierodonetsk’s high-rise buildings from tanks and destroys the city with artillery due to the fact that they fail to conquer it for four months in a row, Gaidai believes. “Control over the streets is constantly changing, the situation is rather shaky, but our defenders hold a strong defense and fight for every house. Sometimes, a battle can really last a whole day for just one high-rise building. We are waiting for long-range artillery from Western partners! If it arrives, Sievierodonetsk will soon be liberated!”
Evacuation from the Azot plant in Sievierodontsk is impossible due to the incessant artillery shelling from Russia. 568 civilians, including 38 children, sheltering at the plant have food supplies that have not been replenished for two weeks, Roman Vlasenko, head of the Sievierodonetsk regional military department, told CNN on Wednesday.
In the Donetsk Oblast, the main efforts are concentrated in the area of Bakhmut. About 14 private houses, a weather station, and a farm were destroyed and damaged and about 30 animals were killed, Pavel Kirilenko, the head of the Donetsk OVA, said.
The enemy destroyed 4 bridges across the Siverskyi Donets river, said Alexei Gromov, deputy chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
In the Sloviansk direction, Ukrainian soldiers repelled an enemy assault in the direction of the Dolyna. The enemy has retreated, reports the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
In the Kherson Oblast, Russian occupiers are strengthening reserve positions in the northwest direction. Families of Russian occupiers are moving into the occupied Ukrainian settlements, in particular to Kherson. Russian “newcomers” arbitrarily inhabit the abandoned houses & apartments of Ukrainians who left to save their lives, Ukrainian deputy MoD said.
In the Odesa Oblast, the tugboat “Vasily Bekh” with the “TOR” anti-aircraft missile system on board was hit near Zmeiny Island, the Navy of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reports. The Russian army is equipping an air defense outpost on Zmiinyi (Snake) Island to cover the entire Black Sea flotilla. Russian warships in the Black Sea have a weak air defense and are vulnerable to Bayraktar TB2 strike drones.
In the Sumy Oblast, Russia launched several missile airstrikes, killing four people and wounding at least six. As a result of the shelling, an agricultural facility was damaged. Russian troops also launched mortar shelling of the border areas of the Oblast 26 times yesterday, the Oblast head said.
In the Kharkiv Oblast, Ukrainian troops are engaged in hostilities with the occupiers north and northeast of the city of Kharkiv and are preparing for a counteroffensive in the west of Izium. The fighting in the vicinity of Kharkiv did not lead to any significant changes. The Russian Army struck on Malinovka, the regional prosecutor’s office reported. Three people were injured.
In recent weeks, Kharkiv has been hit daily by ballistic missiles coming from the territory of the Russian Federation — “as if on a schedule,” said prosecutor Serhiy Shevtsov. They cover the distance from Belgorod in a matter of minutes and intercepting them is a difficult task.
Russia’s combat losses in Ukraine.
Photos of a makeshift “mortuary” near a shopping center in Mariupol are published online. The bodies are stored on the pavement under the sun, without refrigeration, and are decomposing. According to eyewitnesses, there are hundreds of bodies of the dead. The occupiers demolish buildings and destroy evidence of their war crimes. “The number of improvised graves is increasing. Even after exhumation, they are instantly filled with new dead. The death rate remains extremely high,” said the adviser to the Mariupol mayor Petr Andryushchenko.
All children born in the Kherson region after February 24 2022, will automatically receive Russian citizenship, according to the so-called “deputy head” of the CAA of the region Stremousov.
All children born after Feb 24 in the occupied by Russia Kherson Oblast will automatically receive Russian citizenship, head of occupation administration said according to Russian media.
He also said that orphans have already received Russian citizenship https://t.co/yxUYL2gA8D
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) June 16, 2022
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights recorded 4,481 deaths and 5,565 injuries to Ukrainian civilians following a full-scale Russian invasion.
The Russian Federation, due to Ukraine’s foreign policy successes, is increasing gas pressure on Europe, said Zelensky. Meanwhile, the EU, Egypt, and Israel signed a Memorandum on the export of natural gas to Europe. Natural gas from Israel, Egypt, and other sources in the Eastern Mediterranean region will be supplied to Europe through Egypt’s LNG export infrastructure, according to the European Commission’s website.
Germany says Gazprom’s cuts to gas supply are aimed at sowing uncertainty and pushing up fuel prices. Gazprom’s second cut in two days means Nordstream 1 runs at 40% capacity. Gazprom blamed the cut on Siemens equipment undergoing maintenance in Canada.
Germany says Gazprom's cuts to gas supply aimed at sowing uncertainty and pushing up fuel prices
Gazprom's 2nd cut in 2 days means Nordstream 1 runs at 40% capacity. Gazprom blamed cut on Siemens equipment undergoing maintenance in Canadahttps://t.co/GAL2chCu3E
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) June 16, 2022
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Türkiye Mevlut Cavusoglu said that it might not be necessary to remove mines placed in the Black Sea near Odesa and Mykolaiv to unblock grain exports.
According to him, it takes time to neutralize them, which the starving countries of Asia and Africa do not have. Mines protect Ukrainian ports from the penetration of the Russian fleet. The mines’ locations are known to both the Ukrainian and Russian sides. A special safe navigation corridor will be laid. The UN suggests that commercial vessels will move along safe lines, accompanied by Ukrainian ships. No agreement with Ukraine and Russia currently exists and the plan is only the idea of the UN, which Türkiye is trying to implement.
The Russian occupiers plan to transfer control of the Zaporizhzhia NPP to Rosatom from September 1, Energoatom reports.
The Seimas of Lithuania recognized the abductions and illegal export of Ukrainians to the Russian Federation as deportation and called on other states to assess the illegal deportation of Ukrainians and work together to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The SBU has evidence of the use of banned cluster shells by Russia on the civilian population of Kharkiv. All collected evidence of war crimes of the Russian Federation will be transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
More than 40 countries provide defense assistance to Ukraine, stated the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. This contributes to ensuring Ukraine’s victory on the battlefield, as well as strengthening its position at the negotiating table. Earlier, US President Joe Biden announced the allocation of a new package of military assistance to Ukraine in the amount of $1 billion.
US is preparing a new package of military assistance to Ukraine with Harpoon missiles – Bloomberg
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) June 15, 2022
The UK will give Ukraine more than twenty M-109 self-propelled guns that fire 155mm projectiles, said Defense Minister Ben Wallace. According to him, the UK has acquired the self-propelled guns from a Belgian company, will repair them, and send it to Ukraine. He added that the allies “are giving Ukraine enough weapons to be able to win the war and pointed out that “dozens, if not hundreds” of anti-ship missiles and long-range artillery and missile systems are beginning to enter the country.
France will supply Ukraine with six additional 155mm Caesar artillery mounts, President Emmanuel Macron said. Previously supplied French CAESAR howitzers, loaded onto the Ukrainian An-124 Ruslan, are already heading to the front line.
Slovakia handed over five helicopters to Ukraine: four Mi-17s and one Mi-2, as well as ammunition for the Grad multiple launch rocket system, as stated by the Minister of Defense of Slovakia Yaroslav Nagy.
Greece will send up to 30 BMP-1s to Ukraine, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.
The M113 tracked armored personnel carriers transferred to Ukraine by Lithuania are already participating in the battles.
Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov spoke about the results of the meeting of the Ramstein-3 Contact Group. According to him, the US will provide Ukraine with 155-mm cannons, HIMARS, and Harpoons. Slovakia will supply helicopters. Canada, Poland, and the Netherlands supply artillery, and Germany will provide MLRS. “Within the framework of Ramstein, Britain and Denmark announced a special donor conference in Copenhagen in August. 14 states are preliminarily involved,” President Zelensky informed.
According to Reuters, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis visited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnkyy in Kyiv to express solidarity. “We handed over to the leaders of states the full package of sanctions proposals against Russia, which were prepared by the international McFaul-Yermak group,” Andriy Yermak, head of the Presidential Office, wrote.
Macron, Scholz & Draghi have arrived in Kyiv by special train to meet with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, as was expected according to multiple media reports, Ukrainian railways manager wrote. https://t.co/NN938qcOYZ pic.twitter.com/5Yml7je5BK
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) June 16, 2022
France, Germany, Italy, and Romania are in favor of immediately granting Ukraine the status of an EU candidate.
- Russian propagandists began to actively throw in fakes in order to “provoke despondency in Ukraine,” according to Zelenskyy.
- Zelenskyy convened the National Security and Defense Council about a possible threat of an invasion from Belarus, Security Council Secretary Danilov said. The President instructed to start checking forces in four regions bordering Belarus. Mobilization exercises have begun in Belarus.
Assessments by the Institute of Study of War. Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, June 16
The leaders of Germany, France, Italy, and Romania committed to Ukrainian officials that the West would not demand any concessions from Ukraine to appease Russia and will support Ukraine to the end of the war during a visit to Kyiv on June 16. French President Emmanuel Macron declared that France, Germany, Italy, and Romania are “are doing everything so that Ukraine alone can decide its fate.” Macron added that Ukraine “must be able to win” and pledged to provide six more self-propelled howitzers. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated that Germany will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, and weapons assistance for “Ukraine’s war of independence.” Macron, Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis additionally vowed to back Ukraine’s bid to become an official candidate for European Union membership. Sustained Western military support to Ukraine will be essential to enable Ukrainian forces to liberate Russian-occupied territory.
Ukrainian defense officials explicitly requested Western heavy artillery, unmanned aerial vehicles, and multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) ahead of a protracted war. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Denys Sharapov and Land Force Command Logistics Commander Volodymyr Karpenko stated that Ukrainian forces need hundreds of artillery systems, including infantry fighting vehicles and tanks, as Ukrainian forces have suffered 30% to 50% equipment losses in active combat. Sharapov and Karpenko noted that Ukrainian forces need Predator drones and loitering munitions to accurately strike Russian forces. Sharapov and Karpenko also asked for long-range precision weapons such as MLRS to defend the entire 2,500 km frontline in Ukraine.
Ukrainian officials stated that Russian forces have already committed about 330,000 servicemen to their invasion of Ukraine without conducting partial or full-scale mobilization in Russia. Ukrainian General Staff Main Operations Deputy Chief Oleksiy Gromov stated that Russian forces grouped 150,000 servicemen into battalion tactical groups (BTGs) and other formations and involved additional 70,000 troops from air and sea elements, with the remaining personnel staffing non-combat support units. Gromov noted that Russian forces committed more than 80,000 servicemen of the mobilized reserve, up to 7,000 reservists of the Russian Combat Army Reserve (BARS-2021), up to 18,000 members of the Russian National Guard (Rosguardia), and up to 8,000 troops from private military companies. Gromov did not specify if Ukrainian officials included information about forcibly mobilized servicemen in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR) in these numbers. Gromov noted that the Kremlin may still increase the number of Russian military personnel in Ukraine by executing covert or full mobilization. Gromov noted that while it is unknown if the Kremlin will declare mobilization, Russian forces will still need time to execute the deployment and training of the new personnel whether or not the Kremlin announces full mobilization.
- Russian forces continued to launch ground assaults on Sievierodonetsk and settlements along the Ukrainian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Lysychansk. Ukrainian military intelligence reported that Russian forces are no longer operating as concrete battalion tactical groups (BTGs), as ISW previously assessed.
- Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations northwest of Sloviansk, while Ukrainian forces reportedly resumed preparations for counteroffensives west of Izium.
- Russian and Ukrainian forces engaged in clashes north and northeast of Kharkiv City, though no significant territory changed hands.
- Russian forces continued to fortify fallback positions in northwestern Kherson Oblast, likely in anticipation of Ukrainian counteroffensives in the region.
- Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) Denis Pushilin continued to discuss and sign patronage agreements with Russian regional officials.
We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because those activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We will continue to evaluate and report on the effects of these criminal activities on the Ukrainian military and population and specifically on combat in Ukrainian urban areas. We utterly condemn these Russian violations of the laws of armed conflict, Geneva Conventions, and humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.
- Main Effort — Eastern Ukraine (comprised of one subordinate and three supporting efforts);
- Subordinate Main Effort — Encirclement of Ukrainian troops in the cauldron between Izium and Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts
- Supporting Effort 1 — Kharkiv City;
- Supporting Effort 2 — Southern Axis;
- Activities in Russian-occupied Areas
Main Effort — Eastern Ukraine
Subordinate Main Effort — Southern Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk Oblasts (Russian objective: Encircle Ukrainian forces in Eastern Ukraine and capture the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)
Russian forces are prioritizing operations to disrupt Ukrainian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Lysychansk from several directions. Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Valeryi Zalyzhnyi said that Russian forces are simultaneously launching assaults in Donbas in nine directions, presented as a two-part direction including the main location Russian forces are attacking from and their intended objective: Popasna-Komyshuvakha, Popasna-Mykolaivka, Popasna-Berestove, Bohorodychne-Sloviansk, Izium-Sloviansk, Popasna-Svitlodarsk, Sievierodonetsk-Lysychansk, Sievierodonetsk-Metolkino, and Komushuvakha-Toshkivka. Ukrainian General Staff Main Operations Deputy Chief Oleksiy Gromov noted that Russian forces are committing smaller elements (company or platoon-sized assault groups) rather than full-fledged battalion tactical groups (BTGs) for offensive operations. Gromov added that Russian forces are not conducting offensive operations at night. The UK Defense Ministry also stated that Russian forces are operating in “increasingly ad hoc and severely undermanned groupings” in Donbas that typically advance by foot.
Russian forces conducted ground assaults in Sievierodonetsk in a grinding effort to establish control over the city. Gromov reported that Ukrainian forces continue to resist Russian attacks in Sievierodonetsk and are halting Russian operations to capture Metolkino and Syrotyne, just southeast of Sievierodonetsk. Russian forces likely intend to capture Metolkino and Syvrotyne, rather than strictly concentrating on Sievierodonetsk, to push back Ukrainian forces on the western bank of Siverskyi Donets River and secure access to the eastern riverbank. Gromov clarified that Ukrainian forces retain several logistics routes to Sievierodonetsk despite the destruction of four bridges over the Siverskyi Donets River, pushing back on recent media reports and Russian claims that Ukrainian forces in the city are completely cut off. Head of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) Leonid Pasechnik stated that Ukrainian forces still control the territory of the Azot Chemical Plant but that Russian and proxy forces entered the premises of the facility on June 16.
Russian forces continued to attack Ukrainian GLOCs around Popasna on June 16. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repulsed Russian assaults on Berestove, situated on the T1302 Bakhmut-Lysychansk highway. Pro-Russian milblogger and Russian military journalist Yevgeniy Poddubnyi claimed that Russian forces control unspecified segments along the T1302 and have interdicted transfer of Ukrainian reserves from Bakhmut but ISW cannot independently confirm this claim. The Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) Territorial Defense additionally claimed to have established control over Novoluhanske, Luhanske, Rozsadky, and Shakhtarsk, southeast of Bakhmut.
Russian forces launched unsuccessful assaults northwest of Sloviansk and made incremental territorial advances southeast of Izium. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces failed to seize Dolyna (on the E40 highway to Sloviansk) and retreated to previously occupied positions. Geolocated footage shows Ukrainian forces targeting Russian heavy artillery attempting to advance from the east and the northwestern outskirts of Bohorodychne, approximately 25 km southeast of Izium. Ukrainian forces may be resuming counteroffensive operations west of Izium. Pro-Russian Telegram channel Rybar claimed that Ukrainian forces established a pontoon bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River, approximately 26 km west of Izium, on June 15. Continued Russian artillery fire west and northwest of Izium is also likely an indicator of Ukrainian counteroffensives in the area. If confirmed, this Ukrainian counteroffensive is likely intended to sever Russian lines of communication to the Izium and Lyman areas.
Supporting Effort #1 — Kharkiv City (Russian objective: Withdraw forces to the north and defend ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Izium)
Russian forces reportedly continued to engage in localized clashes with Ukrainian elements to maintain their occupied positions near the international border on June 16. Pro-Russian Telegram channel Rybar claimed that Russian forces fought Ukrainian units in Dementiivka and Ruska Lozova along the Belgorod-Kharkiv City highway and in Rubizhne and Ternova, approximately 45 km northeast of Kharkiv City. NASA FIRMS data observed significant high-temperature anomalies in Dementiivka but did not confirm any anomalies in Ruska Lozova.
[Source: NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System over Dementiivka for June 16]
Supporting Effort #2 — Southern Axis (Objective: Defend Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts against Ukrainian counterattacks)
Russian forces continued to fortify fallback positions in Kherson and Mykolaiv oblasts, likely in response to local Ukrainian counterattacks. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian engineering elements improved defensive positions around Bezvodne and Ishchenka, just southeast of the contested town of Davydiv Brid on the Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) in northwestern Kherson Oblast. Ukrainian General Staff Main Operations Deputy Chief Oleksiy Gromov noted that Russian forces are also dismantling concrete irrigation structures in Kherson Oblast to conceal heavy artillery from Ukrainian strikes. Russian forces reportedly shelled Ukrainian positions on the Kherson-Mykolaiv and Kherson-Dnipropetrovsk Oblast borders, likely in a counter-battery attempt to hinder Ukrainian advances. Odesa Oblast Civil-Military Administration Spokesperson Serhiy Bratchuk claimed that Ukrainian forces had unspecified successes on the Southern Axis, but ISW cannot independently verify this claim.
Russian forces may be staging false flag attacks around Kherson City to discourage civilian support for Ukrainian counteroffensive operations. The Ukrainian Southern Operational Command reported civilian casualties during an explosion on June 15 at a local market in Chornobaivka, a settlement just north of Kherson City known for Ukrainian strikes against Russian ammunition depots in the area. The Ukrainian Southern Operational Command stated that Russian forces seek to destabilize public opinion in Kherson City and blame Ukrainian forces for launching strikes on civilian infrastructure.
Russian forces reportedly performed demonstrative assaults on settlements in eastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast to fix Ukrainian units in place. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces eliminated a Russian sabotage and reconnaissance group operating on the Zaporizhzhia-Donetsk Oblast border on June 16.
Activity in Russian-occupied Areas (Russian objective: consolidate administrative control of occupied areas; set conditions for potential annexation into the Russian Federation or some other future political arrangement of Moscow’s choosing)
Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) Denis Pushilin continued to pursue ad hoc cooperation arrangements with Russian regional officials at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum on June 16. Pushilin signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with Moscow Oblast Governor Andrey Vorobyov under which Moscow Oblast will offer patronage to Tel’manivskyi and Novoazovsk districts, just east of Mariupol. Pushilin signed another memorandum with Tula Governor Alexei Dyumin for the restoration of Mariupol’s Left Bank district. Pushillin also discussed patronage over occupied Khrestivka (northeast of Donetsk City) with the Republic of Sakha Head Aisen Nikolaev and unspecified Donetsk Oblast settlements with the Tver Oblast Governor Igor Rudenya. Pushilin is likely attempting to secure Russian financial assistance to restore occupied settlements in Donetsk Oblast, but his cooperation agreements with Russian local officials further indicate the DNR‘s lack of coherent annexation policies.
The Kremlin is introducing more measures to establish permanent societal control over occupied Ukrainian territories. Self-proclaimed Deputy Head of the Kherson Military-Civil Administration Kiril Stremousov announced that all children born in Kherson Oblast after February 24 will automatically receive Russian citizenship. The Russian Internal Ministry also announced that Ukrainian “refugees” (many of whom were likely forcibly relocated to Russia) from occupied territories must receive proper documentation before August 17 to remain in Russia. The Kremlin likely seeks to coerce illegally deported Ukrainian citizens in Russia to accept Russian citizenship or return to Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine.