Russo-Ukrainian War, Day 116: Russia fails to establish full control of Sievierodonetsk. “5 for 5” prisoners exchange successful.

Russo Ukrainian War, Day 116: Russia fails to establish full control of Sievierodonetsk. “5 for 5” prisoners exchange successful.

Russia's War against Ukraine: Day 116  

Daily review

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Fierce fighting in Donbas continues. Russian troops are concentrating their efforts in three directions: Sloviansk, Sievierodonetsk, and Bakhmut. Their attempts to establish full control over Sievierodonetsk fail. Russian troops launch several attacks at oil and gas depots and infrastructure structures in several regions in Ukraine. Ukraine and the Russian Federation exchanged prisoners according to the “5 for 5” formula.

Summary report, June 18

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 06.00 am, June 19, 2022 is in the dropdown menu below.

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In the Volyn and Polissya areas, certain units of the Armed Forces of the republic of belarus continue to carry out tasks to cover the belarusian-Ukrainian border in the Brest and Gomel regions. The threat of missile and air strikes from the territory of the republic of belarus continues.

In the northern direction, in order to restrain the actions of the Defense Forces, in the border areas of Bryansk and Kursk regions, the enemy continues to hold units from the Western Military District. The enemy continues to improve the engineering equipment of the positions and conduct air reconnaissance.

In the Kharkiv direction, the enemy’s main efforts are focused on maintaining the occupied borders and shelling the positions of our troops. It struck air strikes on the settlements of Tymofiyivka and Tsapivka. The supply of weapons, military equipment, and material resources from the territory of the Russian Federation continues.

Not far from Rubizhne, the enemy tried unsuccessfully to conduct reconnaissance. Conducted remote mining of the area near the village of Cherkasy Tyshky.

In the Sloviansk direction, the enemy fired on the positions of our units near Dibrivne, Vernopilla, Kurulka, Bohorodychne, and Dolyna.

The enemy did not take active action in the Lyman direction. It fired at our units in the areas of Donetsk and Mykolayiv. It struck an air strike near Pryshyb and a missile strike in the village of Mayaki.

In the Sievierodonetsk direction, the occupiers are carrying out shelling in the areas of the settlements of Lysychansk, Borivske, Bila Hora, and Ustynivka. Air strikes were carried out near Bila Hora, Myrna Dolyna and a rocket attack near Verkhnyokamyanka.

In order to correct the fire in the area of ​​Sivierodonetsk, the enemy conducts round-the-clock air reconnaissance with the use of UAVs “Orlan-10”. Fighting continues for full control of the city.

Our units repulsed the assault in the area of ​​Toshkivka. The enemy has retreated and is regrouping.

In the Bakhmut direction, the occupiers are firing on the positions of our troops in the areas of the settlements of Mykolaivka, Bilohorivka, Yakovlivka, and Pokrovske. Missile strikes were recorded near Zaitseve and New York.

The enemy is storming in the direction of Orikhove — Hirske, and fighting continues.

Our defenders successfully repulsed the assault in the directions of Orikhove — Zolote, and Pervomaisk — Zolote.

In order to expose the fire positions of the defense forces by assault groups, the invaders are trying to conduct reconnaissance in the direction of Nyrkove — Mykolayivka, and the fighting continues. Our soldiers stopped the attempt to advance in the direction of Vrubivka — Mykolayivka with accurate fire. The enemy retreated.

The enemy did not take active action in the Avdiivka, Kurakhiv, Novopavliv, and Zaporizhzhia areas. It fired missiles at the settlements of Myrolyubivka and Hrodivka.

In the South Buh direction, the occupiers are focusing their efforts on maintaining their former positions.

In the Mykolayiv direction, the enemy fired on the units of the Defense Forces with barrel and jet artillery in the areas of the settlements of Pravdyne, Posad-Pokrovske, and Blahodatne. It conducted air reconnaissance of the positions of our troops with the use of UAVs in the area of ​​the settlement of Tavriyske.

In the Kryvyi Rih direction, the enemy fired artillery and rocket-propelled grenade launchers into the areas of Chervonyi Yar and Kobzartsi.

Ukrainian defenders inflict losses on the enemy in all areas where active hostilities continue.

In order to justify the destruction of civilian objects on the territory of Ukraine, the Russian occupiers continue to spread information about the location of military units in schools, hospitals, and churches.

We urge you to trust information only from verified sources and not to spread russian fakes and misinformation.

Military Updates 

Map of Donbas offensive. June 19, 2022. Credit: WarMapper. ~

Map of Donbas offensive. June 19, 2022. Credit: WarMapper.

In the Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast, the Russian troops continued the offensive, attempting to encircle the Armed Forces of Ukraine and establish full control over the territories, as well as maintain a land corridor with temporarily occupied Crimea. In Donetsk Oblast, 1 killed and eleven wounded.

In the Luhansk Oblast, the Russian invaders pulled in all the reserves an offensive should be expected in the coming days, according to the head of the Luhansk OVA Serhiy Gaidai. In Bakhmut, 1 wounded and 1 dead were reported (on the territory of the Luhansk Oblast.)

In Sievierodonetsk, fierce fighting continues and the invaders are storming the city from several directions. The nearby villages of Syrotyne and Metolkino are significantly damaged by the ongoing shelling. The Russians have thrown all their reserves into the Sievierodonetsk and Bakhmut directions and are trying to establish full control over the regional center and cut off the Lysychansk-Bakhmut highway, but the efforts are not successful and they are suffering massive casualties.

In Izium — Sloviansk’s direction, the Russian army is attempting an offensive and used mortars, cannon artillery, and multiple launch rocket systems in several settlements near Sloviansk.

In Kharkiv Oblast, in the Izium district, the Russians shelled the gas processing plant. Private houses were also damaged. A large-scale fire was extinguished. No casualties reported. The head of the Kharkiv Oblast Military Administration Syniehubov announced the liberation of the village of Dmytrivka in the Izium district during the counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Note: the General Staff reported that the Armed Forces of Ukraine “forced the enemy to leave the village of Dmytrivka, Izium district, Kharkiv Oblast” on June 17. Clarification: the Russian troops left but the Armed Forces of Ukraine had not yet entered Dmitrovka at the time of the General Staff brief reporting.

In Kharkiv Oblast, the Armed Forces of Ukraine destroyed the command center of the 20th army of the Russian Federation, (military unit 89425, Voronezh of the Western Military District), killing more than 40 military personnel, according to Ukrainian journalist Roman Tsymbalyuk.

In Sumy Oblast, the Russian Army fired on civilian infrastructure near and struck two villages.

In the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Kryvyi Rih, there were multiple hits by Russian missiles, causing destruction and casualties. 3 Russian missiles hit the oil depot in the Novomoskovsk region, 11 people were injured, 1 in critical condition. The shelling caused strong fires in the suburbs of Dnipro.

In Poltava Oblast, 6–8 rockets launched from Russian territory hit a non-operational oil refinery and other infrastructure objects in Kremenchuk. Two rockets fell on a thermal power station. No casualties reported. Fires at both sites were localized and eradicated.

In Kherson Oblast, the head of the Kherson Regional Council Oleksandr Samoilenko called on local residents to leave the region in order to make it easier for the Armed Forces of Ukraine to liberate the Kherson Oblast. Ukrainian resistance made an attempt and wounded a Russian collaborator, the head of the Penitentiary Service Department of the Kherson Oblast, Yevhen Sobolev.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1538125623670935552

In Odesa Oblast, two Onyx missiles launched from the territory of annexed Crimea were intercepted and destroyed by air defense. The grouping of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation, consisting of 1 submarine, 2 missile ships, and 3 large landing ships, is still in the Black Sea, according to the Operational Command South. The enemy continues to block the northwestern part of the Black Sea. The threat of missile strikes remains very high, but the likelihood of an amphibious landing is minimal. Previously, the Ukrainian Armed Forces destroyed the tug “Rescuer Vasily Bekh” with the “TOR” anti-aircraft missile system on board.

According to British Defence Intelligence, (last 48 hours): 

In recent days, both Russia and Ukraine have continued to conduct heavy artillery bombardments on axes to the north, east, and south of the Sievierodonetsk pocket, but with little change in the front line.

Combat units from both sides are committed to intense combat in the Donbas and are likely experiencing variable morale. Ukrainian forces have likely suffered desertions in recent weeks, however, Russian morale highly likely remains especially troubled. Cases of whole Russian units refusing orders and armed stand-offs between officers and their troops continue to occur.

The Russian authorities likely struggle to bring legal pressure to bear on military dissenters, hampered by the invasion’s official status as a ‘special military operation’ rather than as a war. Drivers for low Russian morale include perceived poor leadership, limited opportunity for rotation of units out of combat, very heavy casualties, combat stress, continued poor logistics, and problems with pay. Many Russian personnel of all ranks also likely remain confused about the war’s objectives.

Losses of the Russian army:

As of Saturday 19 June, the approximate losses of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces from the beginning of the war to the present day:

The enemy’s total combat losses from February 24 to June 18 amounted to approximately:

Russo-Ukrainian War, Day 116: Russia fails to establish full control of Sievierodonetsk. “5 for 5” prisoners exchange successful. ~~

  • Personnel — almost 33,350 people (+200)
  • Tanks — 1,465 (+9)
  • Armored combat vehicles (APC) — 3,573 (+10)
  • Operational tactical missile systems — 4 (0)
  • Artillery systems — 739 (+5)
  • Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) — 233 (0)
  • Anti-aircraft warfare systems — 98 (+1)
  • Vehicles and fuel tanks — 2,513 (+17)
  • Aircraft — 216 (+1)
  • Helicopters — 180 (0)
  • UAV operational and tactical level — 594 (+1)
  • Intercepted cruise missiles — 129 (0)
  • Boats / cutters — 14 (+1)

Humanitarian 

Ukraine and the Russian Federation exchanged prisoners according to the “5 for 5” formula. 5 Ukrainian citizens have returned home. All those released are civilians illegally detained by the Russian occupiers. A body of one of the fallen defenders was also returned.

https://twitter.com/EuromaidanPress/status/1538265294845595648

Russia unilaterally announced so-called “humanitarian” corridors for the deportation of the population from Sievierodonetsk. 

In Mariupol, people collect technical water from puddles and use it for drinking. The mayor of Mariupol Petr Andryushchenko said that the problem with drinking water is gaining momentum.

Environmental 

The US will help Ukraine with the heating season, according to the Ministry of Energy. The increase in the supply of nuclear fuel by the American company Westinghouse is being discussed. Ukraine will then abandon nuclear assemblies of the Russian Federation at nuclear power plants.

Legal 

Germany is examining hundreds of evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine. The Federal Office for Criminal Affairs of Germany is investigating not only the cases of the military who carried out the crimes but also the top military and political leadership of Russia, according to Welt.

Support 

American weapons under Lend-Lease have not started to enter Ukraine. Deliveries are expected in July-August 2022, according to Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov.

The Pentagon has published a complete list of weapons provided to Ukraine. The US Department of Defense reported on the allocation of weapons and military equipment to Ukraine, as well as ammunition and other equipment as part of defense assistance, the total cost of which is $6.3 billion.

Norway has imposed new sanctions against Russia and supporters of the Putin regime. They are aimed at limiting the ability of the Russian Federation to finance the war against Ukraine, in particular, a ban on the import of crude oil and other petroleum products delivered by sea from Russia.

Lithuania bans the passage of transit from the Kaliningrad and Kaliningrad region of goods by rail.

Slovenia has exhausted the military stocks it can transfer to Ukraine, according to RTV Slovenia. In the last batch, Slovenia delivered Kalashnikov assault rifles, helmets, body armor, and 35 infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine. Deliveries of weapons are still ongoing. In the future, Slovenia may offer Ukraine assistance with demining and training for Ukrainian troops on Slovenian soil.

The sanctions Action Plan of the McFaul-Yermak group has been implemented by 48 percent. So far, there has been no progress in sanctions in the energy and transport sectors. “We are also waiting for Russia to be recognized as a country sponsoring terrorism,” said President of OP Andriy Yermak.

The USA imposed new financial restrictions, Switzerland joined the EU 6th sanctions package, and the UK sanctioned Patriarch Kirill. 

FINANCE 

  • US banned the purchase of Russian securities on the secondary market. However, the license for energy financing through Russian banks has been extended until 5 December. 
  • Switzerland banned 3 Russian and 1 Belarusian bank, as well as 26 entities connected with the armed forces.

TRADE

  • Switzerland added 91 Russian and 24 Belarusian entities to the list of companies banned from buying dual-use goods and technologies. Imports from Russia are also restricted. 
  • Japan banned the export of many goods that strengthen the industrial base.

INDIVIDUAL

  • The UK imposed sanctions on 12 individuals, including Patriarch Kirill. “We are waiting for the same decision from other allies. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church actively supports Putin’s war in Ukraine,” the group commented.

STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISES 

  • Switzerland imposed sanctions on 10 SOEs and partly state-owned companies. 3 Belarusian companies were also affected by the restrictions.

There was no progress on sanctions in energy, transport, recognition of Russia as a sponsor of terrorism, secondary sanctions.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin continues to blackmail Europe. Russia has cut gas supplies to Germany by 60% via Nord Stream & to Italy by 15%.

New developments 

Russia grapples with its manpower problem in the army due to heavy losses in Ukraine, writes The WSJ. The leadership of the Russian Federation does not announce a general mobilization, so as not to worsen its situation. The Kremlin has introduced short-term contracts instead. The Russian army in the Donbas region is actively using artillery to compensate for the lack of troops for a breakthrough.

Assessment

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of Saturday 18 June, 2022:

Russian forces made marginal gains on the outskirts of Sievierodonetsk on June 18 but have largely stalled along other axes of advance. Russian troops are likely facing mounting losses and troop and equipment degradation that will complicate attempts to renew offensive operations on other critical locations as the slow battle for Sievierodonetsk continues. As ISW previously assessed, Russian forces will likely be able to seize Sievierodonetsk in the coming weeks, but at the cost of concentrating most of their available forces in this small area. Other Russian operations in eastern Ukraine — such as efforts to capture Sloviansk and advance east of Bakhmut — have made little progress in the past two weeks. Russian forces are continuing to fight to push Ukrainian troops away from occupied frontiers north of Kharkiv City and along the Southern Axis, but have not made significant gains in doing so, thus leaving them vulnerable to Ukrainian counteroffensive and partisan pressure.

The Russian military continues to face challenges with the morale and discipline of its troops in Ukraine. The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate released what it reported were intercepted phone calls on June 17 and 18 in which Russian soldiers complained about frontline conditions, poor equipment, and overall lack of personnel.[1] One soldier claimed that units have been largely drained of personnel and that certain battalion tactical groups (BTGs) have only 10 to 15 troops remaining in service.[2]

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces secured minor gains on the outskirts of Sievierodonetsk and likely advanced into Metolkino, but Russian operations remain slow.
  • Russian forces continued efforts to interdict Ukrainian lines of communication along the T1302 Bakhmut-Lysychansk highway and conducted ground and artillery strikes along the highway.
  • Russian forces seek to push Ukrainian forces out of artillery range of railway lines around Kharkiv City used to supply Russian offensive operations toward Sloviansk.
  • Russian forces did not take any confirmed actions along the Southern Axis and continue to face partisan pressure in occupied areas of southern Ukraine.

 

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