June 13, 2023

Sitrep for Jun. 12-13, 2023 (as of 09:30 a.m.)

Strikes on Ukrainian and Russian Territory

On the night of Jun. 13, Kryvyi Rih was hit by the RuAF. According to Head of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Military Administration Serhiy Lysak, as a result of a strike on a residential building, 11 people were killed, and 28 more were injured.

On the same night, Kyiv was attacked with X-101 / X-555 cruise missiles, and in Kharkiv, Shahed loitering munitions hit a utility company and a warehouse.

The General Staff of the AFU reports that over the past day, 10 out of 14 cruise missiles and one out of four Shahed drones launched by the RuAF were shot down by Ukrainian air defense systems.

As a result of a strike with air-dropped bombs on Orikhiv, one person was killed, and another one was injured, and single-family houses and utilities were destroyed.

In Donetsk, the Kyivskyi district was reportedly hit with a BM-21 Grad MLRS. As a result of the strike on civilian infrastructure, a young woman was killed, and six more people were injured.

Vladimir Putin commented on the strikes on Donetsk, hypocritically saying that he did not understand the reasons for such strikes. (Let us recall that Russian forces regularly hit residential areas of Ukrainian towns and cities). In addition, the strikes on Donetsk, provided that they are carried out by the AFU, are presumably aimed at distracting the RuAF from the Zaporizhzhia axis, making them try to push Ukrainian artillery back from Donetsk.

In Krasnodar, an oil refinery caught fire. The reasons are still unknown, but we assume the fire could have been caused by a drone strike (as was the case, for example, with the Ilsky Oil Refinery).

Frontline Situation Update

Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Hanna Maliar summarized the week’s developments since the beginning of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. According to her, Ukrainian forces were able to advance 6.5 km and establish control over an area of 90 sq.km, liberating seven settlements.

Pro-Russian Telegram channels claim that Russian forces are attempting to drive out the AFU from these settlements. It is reported that they have succeeded in Makarivka, but there is no evidence yet. This is quite possible, as settlements near the line of contact are disputed territories and can regularly change hands.

Throughout Jun. 12, combat operations continued along almost the entire line of contact. Pro-Russian "war correspondent" Yury Kotenok reported this, as well as the death of a Russian general in a strike on the headquarters on the Zaporizhzhia axis in his Telegram channel. According to his information, the second-in-command of the 35th Combined Arms Army, Major General Sergey Goryachev, was killed (in the photo, he is still seen before his promotion). Whether he was killed near the frontline or if it occurred during a different strike (for example, in Berdiansk) is unknown.

The Zaporizhzhia Territorial Defense Brigade of Ukraine has published photographs from liberated Novodarivka, evidencing the progress of Ukrainian forces in this direction.

A video has appeared showing Ukrainian armored vehicles being hit by a Kamov Ka-52 attack helicopter using 9K121 Vikhr air-launched anti-tank missiles. The range of these missiles is up to 10 km [6.2 miles], which is quite a long distance, given the helicopter’s ability to hover in place at a low altitude where it is very hard to hit it by ground-based air defense. At the same time, a mid-range SAM system located about 20 km away from the frontline would fall within the zone of risk of being hit by a Lancet kamikaze drone having an operational range longer than 30 km [18.6 miles]. This problem could be resolved by supplying air-to-air missiles and fighter jets (either Soviet ones or F-16s).

Deliveries of Western Military Equipment

In connection with the recent Ukrainian losses, the United States announced a new $325 million military assistance package for Ukraine, which will include Bradley fighting vehicles and Stryker infantry carrier vehicles. However, it is not yet clear whether this equipment will be delivered in the near future.

Raytheon Technologies (Patriot surface-to-air missile systems manufacturer) CEO Greg Hayes said that Ukraine would receive five more Patriot systems by the end of 2024.

Mobilization Update

The situation around Russian Minister of Defense Shoigu's order continues to develop. The order has not been published yet. Most likely, on the one hand, the volunteer units are pushed to sign contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense before Jul. 1, and on the other hand, their members will be able to sign individual contracts directly with the Ministry of Defense.

It is reported that the first volunteer units, including the Akhmat battalion, signed professional contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense. The video shows head of the Russian Special Forces University in Grozny Baibetar Vaikhanov signing a contract with Deputy Defense Minister Colonel General Alexei Kim with State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] member Adam Delimkhanov and one of the commanders of the Akhmat regiment (Rosgvardia’s [the National Guard of Russia] special police unit), Apti Alaudinov, sitting nearby.

According to Colonel General Kim, volunteer fighters who sign a contract with volunteer units or with the Russian Defense Ministry will not be full-fledged professional (contract) soldiers, but they will be entitled to all the social support measures, as well as all the rights and obligations of contract soldiers nevertheless.

This statement sounds extremely ambiguous since one of the main duties of soldiers at the moment is to serve until the end of the mobilization period. However, we assume that this is precisely the difference between the so-called volunteer fighters and ordinary contract soldiers: volunteer units will probably have the right to release them after the end of the contract. As far as we know, such exceptions have been made before for members of the Akhmat battalion.

At the same time, Yevgeny Prigozhin [Russian oligarch, confidant of Vladimir Putin, and the owner of the Wagner Group] states that the Wagner Group will accept volunteer units that do not want to sign a contract with Russia's Ministry of Defense, and is ready to provide them with everything necessary for the successful completion of tasks, as well as air and artillery support.

Governor of the Belgorod region Vyacheslav Gladkov met with Adam Delimkhanov and representatives of the Ministry of Defense and Rosgvardia to discuss border security. Later, the Astra Telegram channel published a photo of Rosgvardia vehicles with the Akhmat tactical signs, which were driving through the Rostov region, probably towards Belgorod.

It is reported that Russian forces detonated a dam near Novodarivka to hinder the advancement of Ukrainian forces. Many media outlets and bloggers are drawing parallels between this event and the destruction of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant dam. However, there are no photographs of this dam or reports of flooding and evacuation in surrounding villages (the absence of which prevents categorizing the event as a man-made disaster). The size of this structure and the adjacent reservoir is significantly smaller, and if it weren't for the recent tragic dam collapse, this news would be framed as "road explosion," "bridge explosion," or "destruction of a river crossing" (similarly to how the road explosion in Khromove in the Bakhmut direction was described, even though it was also a dam).

Due to the draining of the Kakhovka reservoir, PDM-1 anti-landing mines, previously submerged underwater, have emerged along the riverside in Enerhodar.

According to the latest data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, as a result of the destruction of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant on the Ukrainian-controlled territory, 10 people died: eight in the Kherson region and two in the Mykolaiv region. Another 42 people are reported missing (there is currently no reliable information about the casualties on the left bank, which is controlled by Russia).

A video allegedly about the barrier troops of the Russian Armed Forces appeared on the Ishchi Svoikh [Look for Your Own] Telegram channel. We believe that it is staged. First and foremost, it appears unnatural that none of the soldiers pay attention to the relatively low-flying drone. Additionally, one of the "shot" soldiers after the fall adjusts his body to a more comfortable position.

Prigozhin published his memoirs about the battle of Khasham on Feb. 8, 2018. The only credible fact there is the death of a large number of Wagner Group mercenaries due to the strike of the US air force. We believe that the promise made by the Russian Ministry of Defense to provide air cover and air defense systems for protection against the "enemy," described by Prigozhin, was unrealistic, because it would have entailed a direct US-Russia encounter. Furthermore, the fantasies about American advisors supposedly controlling ISIS demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the regional specifics of the Middle East.

During the marathon in support of Russian political prisoners, held on Jun. 12 on the so-called Day of Russia, more than 34.5 million rubles [$415,000] were collected.