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Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 477: Ukraine makes territorial gains

Article by: Zarina Zabrisky

Ukraine makes gains and continues the counteroffensive in Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts. Russia loses five times more troops than Ukraine on the southern front – Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister. Russian air attack kills six.

Daily overview — Summary report, June 15

War Mapper.
War Mapper.

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 18.00 pm, June 15, 2023 is in the dropdown menu below:

Situation in Ukraine. June 14, 2023. Source: ISW.

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During the day June 15, the enemy conducted 5x missile strikes, using cruise missiles X-101/X-555 and X-59. In addition, more than 40x airstrikes and more than 20 MRLS attacks on Ukrainian settlements and Ukrainian Defense Forces were recorded.
Unfortunately, there are dead and wounded among the civilian population, industrial facilities in Kryvyi Rih, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, residential buildings and administrative infrastructure in Kherson Oblast have been damaged.
The threat of missile and air strikes remains high across Ukraine.
The enemy continues to focus its main efforts on the Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Mar’inka axes, heavy battles continue. During the day, 26x combat clashes took place.
Volyn’ and Polissya axes: the operational situation has not changed significantly. There are no signs of the formation of offensive groupings. The republic of belarus continues to support the armed aggression of the russian federation against Ukraine – the training of separate units of the enemy continues on its training grounds.
Luhansk Battle Map. June 14, 2023. Source: ISW.
Sivershchyna and Slobozhanshchyna axes: the enemy carried out airstrikes at Yanzhulivka and Galaganivka in the Chernihiv Oblast. russians shelled with mortars and artillery the settlements of Karpovychi, Yanzhulivka, Halaganivka, Chernihiv Oblast; Seredyna-Buda, Rozhkovichi, Demyanivka, Baranivka, Fotovizh, Budivelne, Stukalyvka, Iskriskivshchyna, Yastrubyne, Basivka of the Sumy Oblast, as well as Veterinarne, Alisivka, Staritsya, Ohirtseve, Hatyshche, Pletenivka, Bochkove, Budarky, in the Kharkiv Oblast.
Kup’yans’k axis: the enemy forces carried out airstrikes in the Vesely and Berestovo areas of the Kharkiv Oblast. Novomlyns’k, Masyutivka, Zapadne, Lyman Pershiy, Kislivka of the Kharkiv Oblast and Novoselivs’ke of the Luhansk Oblast were shelled by artillery and mortars.
Donetsk Battle Map. June 14, 2023. Source: ISW.
Lyman axis: the enemy forces conducted unsuccessful offensives near Stelmakhivka in the Luhansk Oblast and Vyimka, Vesely, and Rozdolivka in the Donetsk Oblast. They carried out an airstrike in the Raigorodka area of the Luhansk Oblast. Stelmakhivka, Nevs’ke, Belogorivka of the Luhansk Oblast and Yampolivka, Tors’ke, Dibrova, Verkhnokamianske, Spirne, Serebryanka of the Donetsk Oblast were shelled by artillery.
Bakhmut Battle Map. June 14, 2023. Source: ISW.
Bakhmut axis: russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations near Orihovo-Vasylivka, Donetsk Oblast. Carried out airstrikes near Bila Hora, Severny and Mayorsk of Donetsk Oblast. Vasyukivka, Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Chasiv Yar, Kalynivka, Ivanivs’ke, Ozaryanivka, Bila Hora, Kostyantynivka, Kramators’k, Katerynivka and Pivdenne of the Donetsk Oblast were shelled by enemy artillery.
Avdiivka axis: the enemy carried out airstrikes in the area of the city of Avdiivka. He carried out artillery shelling of the areas of Keramik, Orlivka, Avdiivka, Vesele, Semenivka, Vodyane, Severne, Tonenka, Pervomaiske, Yasnobrodivka, Karlivka, Zhelane Pershe, Novokalynove, and Nevelske settlements in the Donetsk Oblast.
Mar’inka axis: our defenders repelled all enemy attacks in the vicinities of Mar’inka, Krasnohorivka, and Novomykhailivka. The enemy carried out airstrikes near the settlements of Novomykhailivka, Velyka Novosilka, Malynyvka, Mala Tokmachka and Blagodatne in the Donetsk Oblast. At the same time, the enemy shelled with artillery fire Krasnohorivka, Mar’inka, Maksimilianivka, Pobyeda and Katerynivka in the Donetsk Oblast.
Shakhtars’k axis: the enemy forces conducted offensives in the vicinities of Novomykhailivka and Vodyanyi, Donetsk Oblast, albeit without success. They shelled the settlements of Blagodatne, Vugledar, Bogoyavlenka, Novoukrainka, Zolota Niva, Shakhtars’ke, Velyka Novosilka, and Novy Komar in the Donetsk Oblast.
Zaporizhzhia Battle Map. June 14, 2023. Source: ISW.
Zaporizhzhia and Kherson axes: russian forces are on the defensive. They carried out an air strike with guided air bombs in the Kozatskoght district of the Kherson Oblast. occupiers shelled the settlements of Olhivs’ke, Chervone, Zatyshsha, Hulyaipole, Zaliznychne, Biloghirya, Novoandriivka, Preobrazhenka, Mali Shcherbaki, Kam’ians’ke of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast; Osokorivka, Mykhailivka, Respublikanets, Beryslav, Vesele, Kozats’ke, Olhivka, Odradokamyanka, Lviv, Tyaginka, Tokarivka, Inzhenerne, Antonivka, Zelenivka, Stepanivka, Chornobayivka, Kherson, Zymivnyk, Bilozerka, Kizomys of the Kherson Oblast and Ochakiv of the Mykolaiv Oblast.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. June 14, 2023. Source: ISW.
Ukrainian Air Force conducted 13x strikes on enemy manpower concentrations.
Ukrainian Defense Forcese destroyed 20x Iranian strike UAVs of the “Shahed” type, as well as “Orlan-10” operational-tactical UAVs.
Ukrainian missile and artillery units hit 2x control points, the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system, the enemy’s manpower concentration area, 3x ammunition depots, and 5x artillery units at firing positions.
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Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Russian army falls back to defensive positions along entire front line in Zaporizhzhia Oblast – Ukraine’s General Staff. Within the last 24 hours, Russian troops have been forced to conduct strictly defensive operations along the entire front line in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson directions, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported in its daily frontline update on 14 June 2023. Ukraine’s Air Force carried out 12 strikes on the areas of concentration of Russian personnel and military equipment over the day, according to the General Staff.

Russia loses five times more troops than Ukraine on the southern front – Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister. Russia lost 5.3 times more troops than Ukraine on the southern front (in Zaporizhzhia and Berdiansk directions) over the past week, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister, Hanna Maliar, wrote on Telegram. According to Hanna Maliar, the ratio of casualties in the two operationally strategic groups of Ukrainian troops currently advancing in eastern and southeastern Ukraine has not been in Russia’s favor within the last week.

Ukraine liberates 3 km², advances 200-1,400m in “some directions” in three days – military. On 14 June, at a briefing in the Military Media Center, the representative of the Ukrainian Army’s General Staff, Andrii Kovaliov, said that Ukrainian forces had partial success in their offensive in some directions over the past three days, advancing in some areas from 200 meters to 1.4 kilometers and liberating about 3 square kilometers of territory. “In the Berdiansk sector, fighting continues in the area of Makarivka village. Fighting is also taking place in the area of Novodanylivka and Novopokrovka villages,” he said.

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

British Intelligence Map.

  • On 10 June 2023, the Russian MoD demanded that members of ‘volunteers formations’ such as Wagner Group sign contracts directly with the MoD, a move explicitly endorsed by President Putin on TV on 13 June 2023.
  • For several months, Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin has been aiming vitriolic criticism at the MoD hierarchy but deferred to Putin’s authority.
  • However, despite Putin’s comments, on 14 June 2023 Prigozhin said that, ‘none of Wagner’s fighters are ready to go down the path of shame again. That’s why they will not sign the contracts’. Prigozhin’s rhetoric is evolving into defiance of broader sections of the Russian establishment. 01 July 2023, the deadline for the volunteers to sign contracts, is likely to be a key way-point in the feud.

Losses of the Russian army 

Losses of the Russian Army. Source: Euromaidan Press.

Humanitarian 

Russian air attack kills six, Ukrainian air defenses destroy three Kalibr missiles, nine Shaheds (updated). Overnight into 14 June 2023, the Russian forces launched several air attacks against Ukraine, employing air- and sea-based missiles, and Iranian-made Shahed-series “kamikaze” drones. The Russian strikes killed three civilians in Odesa and at least three more in Donetsk Oblast.

Luxembourg recognizes Holodomor famine in Ukraine as genocide. Luxembourg’s parliament has recognized the “Holodomor,” an “artificial” famine in Ukraine in the early 1930s caused by the policies of the Soviet government as genocide, said Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba. “I commend Luxembourg’s Chamber of Deputies’ historic vote to recognize Stalin’s Holodomor of 1932-1933 as genocide against Ukrainians. This step honors millions of victims and restores historic justice. The international acknowledgment of the Holodomor genocide continues to rise,” he tweeted.

Environmental

It makes no sense for Ukraine to blow up its Kakhovka dam, despite Tucker Carlson’s rant

It makes no sense for Ukraine to blow up its Kakhovka dam, despite Tucker Carlson’s rant. Despite Tucker Carlson’s rant, Ukraine blowing up the Kakhovka dam is akin to shooting itself in the foot. A more plausible theory is that Russian bungling led to a larger-than-expected explosion, triggering a catastrophe. The destruction of the Russia-occupied Kakhovka Hydroelectric Plant on 6 June unleashed a humanitarian and environmental cataclysm in southern Ukraine.

SBU busted Kyiv company’s scheme used to help sanctioned Rosatom build five nuclear plants. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) says it has exposed the Kyiv Central Design Bureau of Reinforcement Engineering’s large-scale scheme to circumvent anti-Russian sanctions. The SBU press service reports that the company is a monopolist in developing, mass-producing, and supplying pipeline valves for nuclear power plants. According to SBU, the Bureau exported its products to Russia through its own dealer in Moscow. Its main customer was the Russian state corporation Rosatom, which uses Ukrainian pipeline fittings to build power units at five nuclear power plants in several countries.

Support

Netherlands to provide Ukraine with radar systems worth 150 million euros – Dutch Defense Ministry. The Netherlands will provide Ukraine with four VERA-EG radar systems worth €150 million, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren announced. VERA-EG radar systems are designed to detect, locate, identify, and track air, land, and sea targets.

New Developments

Former NATO Secretary General: I want to invite Ukraine to join NATO in Vilnius

NATO needs Ukraine as an ally, not just a privileged partner, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister says. On 14 June 2023, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, discussed the preparations for the NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, with Germany’s Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, Yevropeiska Pravda reported. Dmytro Kuleba thanked his German counterpart for her support. He expressed hope that a decisive step towards Ukraine’s membership in NATO would be made during the upcoming NATO Summit in Vilnius, scheduled for 11-12 July 2023.

Russia deploys the first batch of nuclear weapons to Belarus – Reuters. Russia started to deliver nuclear weapons to Belarus, a country bordering Ukraine to the north, according to Reuters. On 14 June 2023, Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko announced that Belarus started taking delivery of Russian tactical nuclear weapons, Reuters reported. In his interview with a Russian state-run TV channel Rossiya-1, which was published by the Belarusian state-owned news agency Belta, Lukashenko said that some nuclear weapons Russia delivered to Belarus were three times more powerful than the atomic bombs the US dropped on Japan’s cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of  June 14, 2022:

Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in at least three directions and made gains on June 14. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar stated on June 14 that Ukrainian troops have advanced between 200 to 500 meters in unspecified sectors of the Bakhmut front and 300 to 350 meters in unspecified parts of the Zaporizhzhia direction.[1] Russian milbloggers reported that Ukrainian forces are continuing counterattacks on the northwestern, northeastern, and southwestern outskirts of Bakhmut.[2] Ukrainian and Russian sources additionally reported that fighting continued in western Donetsk Oblast, particularly around Makarivka (directly south of Velyka Novosilka), and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast south of Orikhiv.[3] Russian milbloggers speculated that heavy rain and poor weather in southern Ukraine may have decreased the tempo of Ukrainian attacks, but Maliar emphasized that weather conditions do not always have an impact of Ukrainian offensive actions.[4] Ukrainian Tavrisk Group of Forces Spokesperson Valery Shershen noted that Ukrainian forces in the Tavrisk (Zaporizhzhia) direction are prioritizing strikes on Russian electronic warfare (EW) systems, and ISW has previously assessed that Russian EW capabilities have been critical in complicating Ukrainian attacks on this sector of the front.[5] US Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh affirmed the United States’ commitment to partially replacing Ukrainian losses of the US-provided equipment used in counteroffensive operations but noted that there may not be a one-for-one replacement ratio.[6]

Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces struck a division of the 20th Combined Arms Army (Western Military District) near Kreminna, Luhansk Oblast while they were waiting for the commander of the 20th CAA to give a speech, prompting typical discontent among milbloggers about Russian commanders. ISW has observed both of the 20th CAA’s divisions, the 144th and 3rd Motorized Rifle Divisions, operating in the Kreminna area for the past several months and could not confirm which division was struck by the Ukrainian forces.[7] Russian sources claimed that the division waited two hours in one location while waiting for 20th Combined Arms Army Commander Major General Sukhrab Akhmedov to arrive and deliver a speech before the division conducted offensive operations.[8]One milblogger suggested that the reported Ukrainian HIMARS strike killed around 100 Russian personnel and wounded another 100, although ISW has not observed any visual confirmation of the strike or its aftermath.[9]

Milbloggers rightfully criticized the poor decision to concentrate a large number of Russian forces within range of Ukrainian fire for such a long time and used the situation to reiterate longstanding critiques of ineffective Russian command.[10] The outrage is reminiscent of previous instances of notable irresponsible Russian military actions resulting in dramatic losses, particularly the December 31, 2022, Ukrainian strike on a large Russian force concentration in Makiivka, Donetsk Oblast.[11] Russian milbloggers previously urged for Russian officials to hold the Russian military leadership accountable for the Makiivka strike, and milbloggers have routinely attempted to place the blame for large scale Russian military failures on individual commanders.[12] Milbloggers complained that Akhmedov and similar commanders continue to occupy key positions instead of being held accountable, a longstanding complaint that is indicative of widespread disdain for the traditional Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) establishment.[13] One milblogger even called for the responsible commanders to be shot in front of their formations, whether they are colonel or generals.[14]

Russian sources disseminated conflicting reports about the condition of Russian Duma Deputy and Commander of the Chechen Rosgvardia branch, Adam Delimkhanov, on June 14. ISW has not observed any visual evidence to confirm or deny the contradictory claims about Delimkhanov’s condition. Some Russian sources claimed on June 14 that Delimkhanov was dead or wounded, and some claimed a Ukrainian strike killed or wounded him in an unspecified location.[15] Other Russian sources including Chechen Republic Head Ramzan Kadyrov, Akhmat Special Forces Commander Major General Apti Alaudinov, and Russian Duma Deputy Andrey Kartopolov later claimed that Delimkhanov was alive and unharmed.[16] Kadyrov published a video on June 14 of himself with Delimkhanov on an unspecified date after rumors began circulating about Delimkhanov’s condition.[17] Kadyrov then claimed that Ukrainian media was circulating reports of Delimkhanov’s death (ignoring that many of the reports originated from Russian sources) as part of an information operation, but did not elaborate on the intent of the supposed information operation.[18]

Russian forces conducted missile and drone strikes across Ukraine on June 14. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces launched six Kh-22 cruise missiles, four Kalibr cruise missiles, and 10 Shahed 131/136 drones and noted that Ukrainian forces destroyed three Kh-22 missiles and nine Shaheds.[19] Ukrainian General Staff Spokesperson Andriy Kovalev reported that Russian forces targeted infrastructure facilities in Kharkiv, Donetsk, Kirovohrad, and Odesa oblasts.[20]

Key Takeaways

  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in at least three directions and made gains on June 14.
  • Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces struck a division of the 20th Combined Arms Army (Western Military District) near Kreminna, Luhansk Oblast while they were waiting for the commander of the 20th CAA to give a speech, prompting typical discontent among milbloggers about Russian commanders.
  • Russian sources disseminated conflicting reports about the condition of Russian Duma Deputy and Commander of the Chechen Rosgvardia branch, Adam Delimkhanov, on June 14. ISW has not observed any visual evidence to confirm or deny the contradictory claims about Delimkhanov’s condition.
  • Russian forces conducted missile and drone strikes across Ukraine on June 14.
  • Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks in the Kupiansk direction and south of Kreminna.
  • Ukrainian and Russian forces continued ground attacks in the Bakhmut area.
  • Russian forces continued limited ground attacks on the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line.
  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations near the administrative border of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts and reportedly made gains in this area as of June 14.
  • Ukrainian forces continued limited ground attacks in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast on June 14.
  • Satellite imagery suggests that Russian helicopters defending against Ukrainian counteroffensive operations in southern Ukraine are likely deployed to an airfield in Berdiansk, Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
  • A Russian State Duma bill aimed at raising the conscription age suggests that the Kremlin may be aiming to shield specific generations from the demographic and social impacts of the war in Ukraine.
  • Russian occupation authorities continue efforts to consolidate economic control of occupied territories.
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