June 14, 2023

Sitrep for Jun. 13-14, 2023 (as of 8:00 a.m.)

Frontline Situation Update

We are observing a certain lull in the offensive at this moment in time. One reason for this could be a desire to revise tactics (taking into account the lessons learned from the first week of the counteroffensive). Another reason could be the onset of rain, which greatly hampers aerial reconnaissance.

Tom Bullock (formerly an expert at Jane’s Information Group) has created a map of the Zaporizhzhia axis, indicating the frontline, terrain features, and Russian fortifications. The map shows the distance Ukrainian forces have yet to cover to reach the first line of fortifications (the shortest distance being around Lobkove).

Strikes on Ukrainian and Russian Territory

According to Ukraine’s Operational Command South, Odesa was attacked on the night of Jun. 14, with Kalibr cruise missiles launched from the Black Sea. A business center, an educational institution and a residential complex all suffered damage in the city center, as well as a warehouse belonging to a retail chain, where a large fire broke out. There have been three deaths and thirteen injuries reported thus far.

On Jul. 13, a strike was carried out on the Luhanskspetstekhkomplekt plant in Luhansk; it had, reportedly, been serving as a base for Russian forces.

Photos of the wreckage of an AGM-88 HARM anti-radar missile found in the Zaporizhzhia region have been published, but it is unclear how relevant these photos are.

There has been confirmation of the statement by mayor of Melitopol Ivan Fedorov that on Jun. 12, Ukrainian forces attacked the Sonyachna recreation center in Primorsk, Zaporizhzhia region, where the RuAF base was allegedly located.

A number of European and American media have published information received from anonymous sources about undermining the Nord Stream pipelines (unfortunately, we cannot independently verify it). The operation was allegedly prepared in Ukraine under the leadership of Commander-in-Chief of the AFU Valerii Zaluzhnyi, and due to the fact that information about it reached the CIA through Dutch intelligence, it was postponed from June to September 2022. The involvement of the Ukrainian special services, as stated, was established on the basis of the analysis of traces of explosives on a blown up pipeline and on a yacht rented by Ukrainians (through third parties), which was near the place of the explosion.

On Jun. 13, Russian president Vladimir Putin met with so-called war correspondents. During this meeting, he said that Russia was considering withdrawing from the grain deal, likely due to the ongoing attacks on Russian warships by Ukrainian surface naval drones.

Also, Putin stated that since January 2023, over 150,000 contract soldiers and approximately 6,000 volunteer fighters have been recruited, so a new mobilization is not required. These figures still appear greatly exaggerated to us, as we do not see any evidence of such a significant increase in the size of the Russian Armed Forces.

According to the president, the commander of the battalion involved in combat actions in the Belgorod region informed Putin that the unit consisted only of conscripts (there were no mobilized soldiers), who allegedly had performed very well during the engagements. Previously, the authorities, including the president, stated that conscripts would not participate in the war.

Russian Senator Andrey Klishas [member of Russia’s Federation Council—upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia], together with the members of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia], Pavel Krasheninnikov and Irina Pankina, introduced a draft law on an exemption from criminal liability for minor and moderate offenses for individuals who have signed contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense (according to Russian legislation, such a law will automatically have retroactive effect). According to this draft law, after leaving the service, criminal liability will only apply in the event of discharge on defamatory grounds (for example, going AWOL).

A similar scheme is already successfully used by corrupt officials, who allegedly leave for the front, but in reality, they take photographs in the rear for reports and do not participate in combat actions.

It became known that three more brigades and four detachments from a certain "volunteer assault corps" have signed contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense. We are hearing about this corps for the first time, and we do not know what kind of units they are.

Additionally, Putin ordered the situation with the Wagner Group to be brought in line with the laws. Previously, draft laws for its legalization have been rejected during the discussion stage. He also demanded that all "volunteer units" sign contracts with the Ministry of Defense.

Kyrgyzstan launched a facial recognition system, similar to the existing one in Moscow, that searches for individuals wanted in the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] countries. Currently, there is information about 57 individuals identified by the CCTV cameras, who have been registered, and four people who have been detained. Russian law enforcement agencies have provided data for this system on more than 85,000 individuals wanted in Russia. Previously, Kyrgyzstan seemed like a safer place for activists and independent journalists oppressed in Russia.

The U.S. presidential administration intends to approve supplying Ukraine with depleted-uranium rounds together with the Abrams tanks.

Putin has responded by stating that Russia reserves the right to use equivalent rounds, as a response. He seems to still fail to understand that these are merely heavier self-igniting armor-piercing rounds.

Besides, Putin has claimed that Ukraine lost 160 tanks in the course of the counteroffensive, while Russia lost 54. Either he has got lost in the timeframes or Russia lost many more tanks than it has been visually confirmed.

Thus, the Oryx project has reported that Russia lost 88 equipment units after combat activities had intensified, while Ukraine lost 83. These include 18 Russian tanks and 13 Ukrainian tanks, one Leopard 2А4 and two Leopard 2A6 tanks, inclusively.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said that Germany would not be able to replace every tank lost by Ukraine but would continue to work on the repair and supply of Leopard 1A5 tanks. Thus, by the end of the year, Ukraine will have more than 100 of them.

A video of the evacuation of a damaged Leopard 2A6 tank on the Zaporizhzhia axis has appeared.

Deliveries of Western Military Equipment

The U.S. presidential administration has published a more detailed description of a new military aid package for Ukraine, announced yesterday, worth up to $325 million. It will include:

  • Additional munitions for NASAMS;
  • Stinger anti-aircraft systems;
  • Additional ammunition for HIMARS;
  • 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds;
  • 15 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles;
  • 10 Stryker armored personnel carriers;
  • Javelin anti-armor systems;
  • Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles;
  • AT-4 anti-armor systems;
  • Over 22 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades;
  • Demolition munitions for obstacle clearing;
  • Tactical secure communications support equipment;
  • Spare parts and other field equipment.

The International Fund for Ukraine (IFU), managed by the British Ministry of Defense, which is donated by several European states, announced an aid package of £92 million intended to support Ukraine’s air defense.

The Skhemy [Schemes] project (part of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty) based on satellite images from Planet Labs found out that since the start of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, Russian forces have transferred about 20 helicopters to Berdiansk airport. Currently, there are a total of 27 aircraft on the runway: 5 Kamov Ka-52 (we discussed their successful use in yesterday's sitrep), 9 Mil Mi-8 or Mil Mi-24, and 13 Kamov Ka-29 helicopters. Recall that Berdiansk is located in the range of Storm Shadow missiles.

Yevgeny Prigozhin [Russian oligarch, confidant of Vladimir Putin, and the owner of the Wagner Group] visited the Muromteplovoz factory, which is known for its work on the modernization of MT-LB armored multi-purpose tractors. In previous years, he had already placed orders for the production of military equipment at various enterprises: for example, Schuka MRAP based on Ural vehicles was made specifically for the Wagner Group and is used only by it. During the visit, Viktor Bout, who was sentenced in the United States to 25 years for arms trafficking and supporting terrorism, and later exchanged for basketball player Brittney Griner, was seen next to Prigozhin.