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Ukraine intel: Russia to start offensive aiming at seizing Luhansk, Donetsk oblasts in July

As Ukrainian intelligence expects a major Russian offensive in June, the ISW warns of Russian battlefield gains due to ongoing Ukrainian military shortages, exacerbated by stalled US aid.
Ukrainian soldiers carry an artillery shell.
A Ukrainian soldier carrying an artillery shell. Credit: Ukraine’s General Staff
Ukraine intel: Russia to start offensive aiming at seizing Luhansk, Donetsk oblasts in July

In his remarks to The Washington Post, the Ukrainian Military Intelligence (HUR) chief, Lt-Gen Kyrylo Budanov, stated that Russia would launch a large-scale offensive in June attempting to seize all of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, Ukraine’s two easternmost provinces known as the Donbas region.

Budanov also stated that the Russians will aim to achieve battlefield gains to impact Western decision-making, focusing on the US November elections,

“Until the inauguration of your president, they will try to get as much as possible of the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk,” perhaps hoping that a reelected President Donald Trump can ratify their gains, according to WP.

The US-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) notes that Budanov had previously predicted a major Russian offensive to start between late May and early June 2024, but he has now refined this forecast to June specifically, pinpointing the likely objective of the Russian offensive. Similar to previous efforts, this offensive aims to capture the remainder of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

Recently, Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, have warned of the potential threat of a future Russian ground offensive targeting Kharkiv City.

Ukrainian officials have consistently emphasized that US security assistance stalled in Congress for over six months is crucial for Ukraine’s defense against potential Russian offensives in the summer of 2024.

ISW says it continues to assess that Ukrainian artillery and air defense shortages, stemming from insufficient US security assistance, are enabling marginal tactical advances by Russian forces. The report warns that without increased US support, future Russian assaults could achieve more significant gains.

Ukrainian forces have, however, previously demonstrated their ability to repel Russian assaults and inflict significant personnel and equipment losses on Russian forces when adequately provisioned,” the think tank notes.

The WP says that Budanov intends to escalate cross-border actions by “Russian volunteers” in Russia and expand drone attacks. He has outlined a plan to diminish Russian capabilities that targets the military industry, critical military sites, airfields, and command centers.

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