June 12, 2023

Sitrep for Jun. 10-12, 2023 (as of 08:30 a.m.)

Frontline Situation Update

As a result of offensive actions, the AFU managed to liberate the settlements of Lobkove and Levadne on the Zaporizhzhia axis, southwest of Velyka Novosilka, where the pro-Russian war correspondents had already confirmed that the RuAF "had withdrawn to the heights to improve their positions."

South of Velyka Novosilka, the AFU managed to liberate Neskuchne, Blahodatne, Makarivka (no visual evidence yet) and Storozheve, near which the video showing Russian soldiers fleeing during the shelling filmed by the 37th Marine Brigade of the AFU was geolocated.

Ukrainian forces were also confirmed (there are videos showing Ukrainian military vehicles hit by Russian Lancet loitering munitions and the AFU attacking Russian positions) to have entered the outskirts of Novodonetske east of Velyka Novosilka (over the past few days it used to be a contested area).

It is important to note that the AFU are still about 15 km away from the main Russian fortifications and have not reached them yet.

There is evidence of the use of EW equipment during fighting on the Zaporizhzhia axis: judging by the video filmed by a Russian FPV kamikaze drone, it faced strong interference while attacking Ukrainian military vehicles there.

Also, note that rainfall is expected in this region of Ukraine in the coming days, which could seriously hinder UAV operations.

A footage shot from a Bradley IFV has been published, showing the fight (the consequences of which we covered last time) where the AFU lost several armored vehicles. The footage shows smoke grenades being used to cover soldiers retreating from a hit IFV, which is rare in this invasion.

It has been revealed that the AFU lost four tracked armored mine-clearing vehicles (namely, three Leopard 2R HMBVs and one WiSENT 1 mine-clearing tank).

A video from the Bakhmut direction has appeared, showing freely moving Ukrainian vehicles outside Mayorsk (south of Ozarianivka) on the eastern bank of the Siverskyi Donets-Donbass Canal. The AFU would probably move next towards Ozarianivka and Kurdiumivka, and then probably towards the road connecting Bakhmut and Horlivka. Cutting this road may worsen the situation for the Russian forces staying in Bakhmut.

Some progress of the AFU is noted outside Yahidne in the Berkhivka direction.

Strikes on Ukrainian and Russian Territory

As reported by Volodymyr Saldo, Russian-appointed head of the occupied part of the Kherson region, a woman was killed by a strike on the temporary accommodation in a recreation center on Arabat Spit. Judging from a video, the hit caused a massive fire.

An attack on the Kharkiv region on Jun. 10 resulted in one person killed and two more wounded. The attack was involving Shahed loitering munitions, which is not typical, as UMPK [Universal Gliding and Correction Module] bombs or S-300 missiles are typically used to strike the Kharkiv region.

The Kakhovka Dam Breach

The water is gradually receding, however some people still remain in the flooded areas. Volunteers have confirmed the death of over 20 civilians in the flooded areas on the Russian-occupied left bank of the Dnipro. More than 150 people are reported missing, while volunteers still have nearly 2,000 evacuation requests to process (each request typically contains more than one person).

As a result of the previously reported shelling of the evacuation zone on the right bank of the Dnipro (as of Jun. 11), three people were killed and ten more were injured. The moment of the strike was captured on video.

The Russian side also reported strikes on an evacuation bus, resulting in the reported deaths of two individuals.

A video has emerged showing the shallowing of the North Crimean Canal. As many had anticipated, the water situation in Crimea has returned to the state observed between 2014 and 2022, prior to the full-scale invasion.

Independent OSINT intelligence analyst and journalist Ryan McBeth spoke with a number of experts and recorded a video titled How Russia Destroyed the Kakhovka Dam. He put forth the version that there was no explosion, and the dam collapsed due to criminal negligence on the part of the Russian side. According to experts, the gradual deterioration of the road near the main generator hall (powerhouse) over several days prior to the dam's collapse contradicts the explosion theory. Commenting on the seismic data from the NORSAR observatory, Eric Dunham, Associate Professor in the Department of Geophysics at Stanford University, pointed out that without amplitude scale and access to the raw data of both the vertical and horizontal waves, it is impossible to understand what their graph represents. However, if there was seismic data, the explosion and subsequent collapse should come in as two different kinds of waves separated in time.

In March 2023, photos were released showing the damaged first sluice gate (closest to the main generator hall) of the Kakhovka HPP.

On Apr. 28, 2023, the Ukrainian Center for Investigative Journalism published drone footage of the Kakhovka HPP, revealing uncontrolled water discharge. According to the sources of the Center in Nova Kakhovka, this could have resulted in further destruction of the hydroelectric power plant, particularly the underwater part of the main generator hall. (In mid-May, they released a second video showing the continued uncontrolled water discharge).

The pro-Wagner Telegram channel Grey Zone published nighttime drone footage showing the already destroyed dam and an intact main generator hall.

As reported by the Rossiya-1 [Russia-1] government-owned federal TV channel, a soldier with the callsign "Krasnoyarsk" recounts that at the moment of the dam’s collapse, he and his soldiers were in the main generator hall. He describes how the already damaged first sluice gate gave way, followed by the third, fourth, and fifth gates. Twenty minutes later, the building developed a crack and a wall collapsed. The report also states that Russian military personnel were responsible for the security and safety of the Kakhovka HPP, and despite their lack of expertise, they "handled repairs and maintained the plant's operation." Civilian personnel were evacuated from the HPP premises in September 2022.

A resident of Novaya Tavolzhanka village in the Belgorod region recorded a video of the consequences of clashes between Russian forces and the Russian Volunteer Corps [paramilitary unit of Russian citizens fighting for Ukraine]. According to him, one morning a Russian tank arrived, damaged the front garden, and started engaging in combat near residential houses. As a result of the return fire, a neighboring house burned down. It should be noted that the deployment of military vehicles in a non-evacuated residential area without urgent military necessity is considered a war crime, as well as the shelling of such areas.

The Russian Ministry of Defense claims that on Jun. 11, Ukrainian forces attempted to attack the Russian Pryazovye warship using six unmanned surface vessels, which the Russians allegedly managed to destroy without any harm to the warship.

An obituary has appeared for Major Oleg Chertovikov, an air defense forces officer who was killed on Jun. 2 during an attack on the port in Berdiansk. This implies that either the headquarters or the air defense facility where the major served was hit during the attack.

The confrontation between Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and Yevgeny Prigozhin [Russian oligarch, confidant of Vladimir Putin, and the owner of the Wagner Group] continues. After the publications of their supporters' appeals, it was claimed that the conflict was "put on hold." However, later Prigozhin criticized the current situation with national minorities in Russia, and Kadyrov responded by stating that Chechens constitute the third largest ethnic group, but refused his supporters' demands for a personal meeting with Prigozhin, and this presumably ended the conflict.

There are also reports of a conflict between the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Wagner Group. Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu signed an order to volunteer units to sign contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense and to grant all volunteer fighters the right to enter into direct contracts either with volunteer units or the Ministry of Defense.

Previously, Russian law has mentioned volunteer units that were equated in rights with contract soldiers, but it is not exactly about regional volunteer battalions, which are already part of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The exact meaning of this term is still not entirely clear; however, it was assumed that it refers to the Wagner Group (or the creation of separate volunteer units). Prigozhin took this news as an order for his mercenaries to sign contracts with the Ministry of Defense and said that this wouldn't happen because, as he claims, the Wagner Group is integrated into the Russian Army quite organically as it is.

General Viktor Sobolev, member of the Defense Committee of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia], says that this order has nothing to do with Wagner mercenaries (earlier, he called them an illegal armed group), and the mentioned volunteer fighters, in his opinion, are the separatists.

Anyway, in the document published by Prigozhin, that had allegedly been received from the Russian Ministry of Defense, some "Wagner brigade" is mentioned, along with the "volunteer assault corps" and the "state border covering forces" (which are probably meant to defend the border against saboteurs).

Besides, it has been announced that the Akhmat West battalion will be transferred to Belgorod.

A video appeared, which we think to be staged: unlike other video addresses of mobilized men, where the participants film each other, this one looks as if an outside camera crew came for a story and an interview. The mobilized say that, as long as Wagner Group mercenaries were present in Bakhmut, everything was fine and quiet, but after they had left, the Ukrainians started to push and the mobilized soldiers were being sent into meaningless suicide attacks. Recall that Prigozhin said that, as soon as the Wagner Group would leave Bakhmut, everything would start to "crumble" and it was unclear whether the Russian Ministry of Defense would be able to hold their ground.

Another exchange of prisoners of war has taken place: 95 soldiers have been returned to the Ukrainian side, while from 93 to 95 soldiers (according to different sources) have been returned to the Russian side. The Russian Volunteer Corps has published a video showing one of the captives, Vladislav Izmaylov from Samara, previously affiliated with the Wagner Group. In the video, Izmaylov expressed his desire to join the Russian Volunteer Corps instead of returning to Russia.

Yevgeny Prigozhin confirmed that Izmaylov was recruited into the Wagner Group from a penal colony in Samara and was captured in November 2022. He expressed confidence that Izmaylov would receive a "punishment befitting a traitor."

Putin posthumously awarded the Hero of Russia title to the commander of the Somali battalion from the so-called DPR, Roman Vorobyov. Previously, an SS Totenkopf Skull patch was seen on his uniform.

Kazakhstan prevented an attempt to transport 14 DJI AgrasT30 drones worth about 16 million rubles from China (the route lay through Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to Russia) without a proper license.

Photos of an MT-LB multi-purpose armored vehicle surfaced with a Soviet-made A-22 Ogon’ 140mm naval MLRS installed on it.

Russian servicemen began attaching corner reflectors to cheap UAVs launched as decoys. This is done to display such a drone as a large object on a radar screen.

The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $10 million in humanitarian aid for victims of the dam flooding and a new $370 million military aid package for Ukraine. The package includes:

  • 287 AIM-7 air-to-air missiles;
  • 76 Roshel Senator APCs;
  • 10,000 artillery shells;
  • Training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter aircraft.