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Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 479: Kyiv under attack during the African leaders’ visit

Russo-Ukrainian War. Day 479: Kyiv under attack during the African leaders’ visit

Ukraine continues to make gains. Russian forces targeted Kyiv and Kryvyi Rih as the leaders of seven African countries met Zelensky in Kyiv. Russian shelling injures 23 civilians in flooded Kherson City, including three children.

Frontline report: Ukrainian forces break through Russian lines in Bakhmut

Daily overview — Summary report, June 17

Source: War Mapper.

The General Staff’s operational update regarding the Russian invasion as of 18.00 pm, June 17, 2023 is in the dropdown menu below:

Situation in Ukraine. June 16, 2023. Source: ISW.

 
Day 479 of the full-scale russian military aggression continues.
During the day of June 16, the enemy carried out 37x airstrikes, launched 19x MLRS attacks.
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 and heavy battles continue. During the day, 22x 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. On the training grounds of the republic of belarus, combat training and coordination of units of the russian troops are underway after which they are sent to the frontlines on the territory of Ukraine.
Luhansk Battle Map. June 16, 2023. Source: ISW.
Sivershchyna and Slobozhanshchyna axes: the enemy forces maintain an enhanced military presence in the border areas with Ukraine. They carried out an airstrike on Yanzhulivka, Chernihiv Oblast. Russians shelled with mortars and artillery Yanzhulivka, Kostobobriv, Gremyach of the Chernihiv Oblast, Chuykivka, Bachivs’k, Svarkovo, Atyns’ke, Starykovo, Boyaro-Lezhachi, Stari Virky, Sosnivka, Iskristivshchyna, Volfine, Basivka, Myropyllya, Stepok, Krasnopillya, Novodmytrivka, Velika Pisarivka, Ponomarenki of the Sumy Oblast, as well as Guryiv Kozachok, Udy, Chervona Zorya, Kozacha Lopan, Strelecha, Staritsa, Ogirtsevo, Pletenivka, Vovchanski Khutory, Pokalane, Okhrimivka, Krugle, Budarka, Zemlyanki, Loshakovo, Potikhonovo and Komisarov in Kharkiv Oblast .
Kup’yans’k axis: russians carried out offensive operationss in the vicinities of Novoselyvskyi, Luhansk Oblast, and Berestovoy, Kharkiv Oblast, without success. Figolivka, Dvorichna, Zapadne, Kam’ianka, Kislivka of Kharkiv and Novoselivs’ke of Luhansk Oblasts were sshelled by artillery and mortars.
Donetsk Battle Map. June 16, 2023. Source: ISW.
Lyman axis: the adversary carried out offensives in the direction of Bilogorivka, Luhansk Oblast, without success. Stelmakhivka, Nevs’ke, Belogorivka of the Luhansk Oblast and Tors’ke, Verkhn’yokam’ians’ke, Rozdolivka, Spirne, Serebryanka of the Donetsk Oblast were shelledby artillery.
Bakhmut Battle Map. June 16, 2023. Source: ISW.
Bakhmut axis: the areas of Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Bohdanivka, Khromov, Chasiv Yar, Ivanivs’ke, Ozaryanivka, Bila Hora, Kostyantynivka, Pivdenne settlements of the Donetsk Oblast were shelled by enemy artillery.
Avdiivka axis: the enemy forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations in the vicinities of Stepovoy and Avdiivka. They carried out airstrikes near Sukhoi Balka and Avdiivka. Shelled the settlements Stepove, Tonenke, Pervomais’ke, Avdiivka, Vesele, Karlivka of the Donetsk Oblast.
Mar’inka axis: our defenders repelled all enemy attacks in the vicinities of Marinka. The enemy launched an airstrike near Krasnohorivka, Donetsk Oblast. At the same time, the adversary shelled Krasnohorivka, Heorgiyivka, Mar’inka, Pobyeda, Maksimilianivka, Kostyantynivka of the Donetsk Oblast.
Shakhtars’k axis: the enemy forces carried out offensives on the Novomykhailivka and Vodyanyi axes, Donetsk Oblast, albeit without success. They carried out airstrikes near Zolotaya Niva and Blagodatny. russians shelled the settlements such as Shakhtars’ke, Prechistivka, Novomykhailivka, Vugledar, Storozheve, Novosilka, Novopil’ of the Donetsk Oblast.
Zaporizhzhia Battle Map. June 16, 2023. Source: ISW.
Zaporizhzhia and Kherson axes: russian forces are on the defensive. They launched an airstrike near Mala Tokmachka, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, and Kozatskyi, Kherson Oblast. The occupiers shelled the settlements of Olhivs’ke, Hulyaipole, Zaliznychne, Hulyaipils’ke, Novodarivka, Levadne, Malynyvka, Chervone, Novoandriivka, Stepove, Lobkovo, Stepnohirsk, Kam’ians’ke of Zaporizhzhia Oblast; Nikopol’, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast; Mykhailivka, Novodmytrivka, Chervnoi Mayak, Shlyakhove, Beryslav, Vesele, Kozats’ke, Mykolaivka, Burgunka, Olhivka, Tyaginka, Novotyahinka, Poniativka, Sadove, Molodizhne, Antonivka, Kherson, Chornobayivka, Romashkovo, Dniprovs’ke, Berehove, Veletens’ke, Kizomys, Sofiivka of the Kherson Oblast and Ochakiv, Mykolaiv Oblast.
Kherson-Mykolaiv Battle Map. June 16, 2023. Source: ISW.
The russian occupiers continue to commit ecocide on the Dzharylgach island, where they have set up a training ground and conduct military training for the mobilized, in particular, with the firing of artillery units.
Ukrainian Air Force conducted 9x strikes on enemy manpower concentrations.
Ukrainian Defense Forces destroyed an enemy anti-aircraft missile system.
Ukrainian missile and artillery units hit 2x control points, 2x ammunition warehouses and 1x artillery unit at a firing position.

Military Updates

Shelling by Russian Troops. Icelandic Data Analyst.

Maj-Gen Goryachev is first Russian general confirmed killed in Ukraine in 2023 – UK intel. British Defense Ministry’s intelligence update confirms the death of Russian Major General Goryachev in southern Ukraine, revealing potential implications for the command hierarchy within Russia’s 35th Combined Arms Army.

Ukraine destroyed all 12 Russian missiles sent in morning attack on Kyiv. Ukrainian air defenses shot down six cruise missiles, six Kinzhal aeroballistic missiles, and two reconnaissance UAVs in a Russian attack on 11:00 on 16 June, the Air Force command reported. Two people were injured by missile wreckage: one 82-year-old woman and a car driver, the Office of the Prosecutor General said. It added that in one of the raions of Kyiv Oblast, residential buildings and stores are damaged. (UPDATE: wreckage from the destroyed missiles injured six, including a child, destroyed three homes, damaged 30 more, Kyiv Oblast Administration says.)

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

  • Since the start of Ukrainian counter-offensive operations in southern Ukraine, Russia has re-enforced its attack helicopter force in the region.

 

  • Imagery shows that over 20 extra Russian helicopters deployed to Berdiansk Airport, approximately 100km behind the front line.

 

  • In the constant contest between aviation measures and counter-measures, it is likely that Russia has gained a temporary advantage in southern Ukraine, especially with attack helicopters employing longer-range missiles against ground targets.

Losses of the Russian army 

Losses of the Russian Army. Source: Euromaidan Press.

Humanitarian 

Russian shelling injures 23 civilians in Kherson City, including three children – President’s Office. Massive Russian fire attacks on Kherson City’s center and the districts of Tavriyskyi, Korabelnyi injured 23 civilians, including three children, according to President Zelenskyy’s Office Head Andrii Yermak. “The shelling damaged a medical facility, a kindergarten, a supermarket, residential buildings, cars, and power lines,” he wrote.

Croatia recognizes Holodomor famine in Ukraine as genocide. The government of Croatia has recognized the “Holodomor,” an “artificial” famine in Ukraine in the early 1930s caused by the policies of the Soviet government led by Joseph Stalin, as genocide, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has announced, according to Nova. The Holodomor famine was deliberately orchestrated by the communist regime, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Croatia has concluded.

Russian troops destroy 184 medical facilities in Ukraine since beginning of war. Since 24 February, Russian forces have destroyed 184 medical facilities and damaged 1,370, according to Ukraine’s Health Ministry.The medical infrastructure in Kharkiv, Kherson, Donetsk, Mykolaiv, and Kyiv regions incurred extensive damage. On 26 May, Russian troops launched a missile strike on a hospital in Dnipro city, destroying a three-story building, killing two civilians, and injuring 30.

Environmental

Kakhovka dam flood: volunteers continue rescue mission, Russian occupation authorities steal their boats, aid

Kakhovka dam flood: volunteers continue rescue mission, Russian occupation authorities steal their boats, aid. Volunteer humanitarian aid will now be distributed in the name of the Russian authorities in the towns devastated by the Kakhovka dam flood in occupied Ukraine. Meanwhile, residents who put up with Russian occupation to at least keep their homes now have lost their life belongings. Ten days following the demolition of the Kakovka dam by Russia in the Kherson Oblast of southern Ukraine, a volunteer rescue team continues to be the primary force rescuing civilians and delivering food and water. The Russian authorities are not only in no hurry to help those in need, they intimidate the volunteer rescuers, confiscate their equipment, and steal humanitarian aid to distribute it under their own name.

US Congress proposes to freeze Russia’s Central Bank assets to rebuild Ukraine: why it matters. On 15 June 2023, a bipartisan group of US senators introduced a draft act known as the Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity for Ukrainians Act (REPO), which significantly expands the possibility of confiscating Russian assets and their transfer in favor of Ukraine. This act, if passed, would provide additional assistance to Ukraine at the expense of assets confiscated from the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and other sovereign assets of Russia. The REPO act also calls for increased coordination between the US and its allies for similar confiscation of Russian sovereign assets in other countries.

Support

Germany to supply Ukraine with 64 Patriot missiles “without delay” – media. Germany will immediately provide Ukraine with another 64 guided missiles for the American-made NIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile systems, N-TV reports referring to the German Defense Minister. This was announced by Defense Minister Boris Pistorius on the second day of the meeting of NATO heads of department in Brussels, according to N-TV.

Canada, Italy announce new aid packages for Ukraine. Canada and Italy announced new aid packages during the meeting with Ukraine Defence Contact Group, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said. “Canada has pledged to allocate an additional $500 million to support Ukraine, including the provision of 200 critically important missiles for air defense systems to assist in the protection of Ukrainian sky,” noted Austin. Moreover, Italy has also announced the latest assistance package, which includes “the most important weapon systems for the defense of Ukraine.”

New Developments

Polish parliament adopts a resolution supporting Ukraine’s accession to NATO. The Sejm of the Republic of Poland has adopted a resolution supporting Ukraine’s accession to NATO, Ukrinform reports. 443 MPs favored the document, two voted against it, and seven abstained. “Given the commitment of the Ukrainian people and their sovereign right to choose their own path of development, the Sejm of the Republic of Poland fully supports the European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations of Ukraine,” the resolution reads.

Russians in the West should be “monitored,” says the president of the Czech Republic. Czech President Petr Pavel says that security services should monitor Russians who live in the West “because they are citizens of a nation that leads an aggressive war.” According to him, a strict monitoring regime is needed, but it’s “simply the cost” of the war, RFE/RL has reported. In addition, the Czech President says he can’t imagine peace negotiations with Russian leader Vladimir Putin as he “lies cynically almost every day.” Moreover, in his opinion, the argument that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should be considered as Putin’s war rather than a Russian national war “does not withstand criticism.”

Assessment 

  1. On the war. 

The Institute for the Study of War has made the following assessment as of  June 16, 2022:

Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive actions on at least three sectors of the front on June 16 and reportedly made gains. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that the Ukrainian forces conducted successful counteroffensive operations southwest of Bakhmut near Stupochky (about 12km southwest of Bakhmut); in western Donetsk Oblast near Vuhledar; in the western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast border area along the Levadne-Staromaiorske line; and in western Zaporizhzhia Oblast along the Novodanlylivka-Robotyne line.[1] Geolocated footage posted on June 15 indicates that Ukrainian forces have made marginal gains on the northwestern outskirts of Bakhmut west of Yahidne, and Russian milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian troops continued counterattacks northwest, west, and southwest of Bakhmut.[2] Russian milbloggers additionally claimed that Ukrainian forces continued attacking Russian positions south of Velyka Novosilka in western Donetsk Oblast, made gains in central Zaporizhzhia Oblast just south of Hulyaipole, and mounted offensive operations southwest of Orikhiv.[3]

Russian forces targeted Kyiv and Kryvyi Rih with cruise missiles and kamikaze drones on June 15-16. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted five missile strikes with Kh-59, Kh-101, and Kh-555 cruise missiles on June 15 and that Ukrainian forces also shot down two Shahed drones.[4] Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Head Serhiy Lysak reported that Russian missiles had targeted two industrial facilities in Kryvyi Rih on June 15.[5] Ukrainian officials also reported that Ukrainian air defenses intercepted six Russian Kinzhal and six Kaliber missiles that targeted Kyiv Oblast during the day on June 16, coinciding with the visit of several African heads of state in Kyiv.[6]

The heads of state of seven African countries met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on June 16 in Kyiv as part of joint peace mission. President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, President of Zambia Hakainde Hichilema, President of Comoros Azali Assoumani, President of the Republic of the Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso, Prime Minister of Egypt Mostafa Mabdouly, President of Senegal Macky Sall, and a Ugandan representative met with the Ukrainian leadership in Kyiv.[7] Russian forces conducted a missile strike on Kyiv during the visit, forcing the African leaders to take shelter in bunkers during their meetings.[8] Some Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces did not conduct missile strikes on Kyiv during the African leaders’ visit, while another absurdly claimed that it was the Ukrainian forces that staged the attack.[9] The African leaders will continue their trip onward to St. Petersburg on June 17 to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.[10] ISW will assess this trip in total following readouts from the delegation’s visit to Russia.

The Kremlin claimed Russia has begun transferring tactical nuclear warheads (under Russian control) to Belarus, in line with previously announced plans. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on June 16 that Russia has moved the first deployment of tactical nuclear warheads to Belarus.[11] Putin stated that Russian forces will deploy the entirety of planned tactical nuclear warheads shipments to Belarus by the end of 2023.[12] ISW previously assessed that the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus is part of a longstanding effort to cement Russia’s de facto military control over Belarus and is highly unlikely to presage any Russian escalation.[13]

Select current and former Russian municipal officials signed an open letter calling on the Russian forces to return to the “universally” recognized Russian borders due to the crisis caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (KHPP) dam. Municipal officials from Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as Moscow and Leningrad oblasts signed the document, which argued that the destruction of the KHPP dam will affect the ecosystem of the planet, health issues, and the economy for many decades.[14] The letter stated that Putin’s actions since February 24, 2022 have caused unspecified catastrophic events but did not cite continued Russian military operations in Ukraine as a reason for the withdrawal of Russian forces.[15] Non-Kremlin aligned Russian officials may be using public concern about the environmental and humanitarian situation associated with the destruction of the KHPP dam to voice opposition to the war in Ukraine without directly criticizing the war effort itself. The Kremlin has widely set the conditions for crackdowns against anti-war dissent. Russians who hold anti-war sentiments may use the destruction of the KHPP to voice their opposition to the war in a very limited fashion.[16]

Key Takeaways

  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive actions on at least three sectors of the front on June 16 and reportedly made gains.
  • Russian forces targeted Kyiv and Kryvyi Rih with cruise missiles and kamikaze drones on June 15-16.
  • The heads of state of seven African countries met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on June 16 in Kyiv as part of a joint peace mission.
  • The Kremlin claimed Russia has begun transferring tactical nuclear warheads (under Russian control) to Belarus, in line with previously announced plans.
  • Select current and former Russian municipal officials signed an open letter calling on Russian forces to return to “universally” recognized Russian borders due to the crisis caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (KHPP) dam.
  • Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks along the Svatove-Kreminna line.
  • Russian and Ukrainian forces conducted ground attacks near Bakhmut and along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line.
  • Ukrainian forces continued ground attacks in the Vuhledar area.
  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations near the administrative border of Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts and reportedly made gains in this area.
  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) is attempting to monetarily incentivize the destruction of Ukrainian military equipment, likely to bolster ongoing recruitment efforts.
  • Russian and occupation authorities are attempting to strengthen Russian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) between Russia and occupied Ukraine.

 

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