June 15, 2023

Sitrep for Jun. 14-15, 2023 (as of 8:00 a.m.)

Despite claims in some sources about new offensive actions by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, there is no objective evidence to support this. The frontline remains calm, but both sides continue to shell each other’s positions.

Strikes on Ukrainian and Russian Territory

On the night of Jun. 15, Russian forces once again attacked Ukrainian cities. Explosions were heard in Kharkiv, Odesa, and Kryvyi Rih during the night. In the Odesa region, it is claimed that all 13 launched Shahed drones were shot down. In Kryvyi Rih, one person was injured as a result of strikes on two industrial facilities.

According to the Russian side, the territory of Crimea was attacked by nine UAVs on the night of Jun. 15. Six of them were shot down by air defense forces, while the remaining three were disabled by electronic warfare systems. There is currently no confirmation of these claims.

According to the Donetsk Regional Military Administration, the RuAF hit Kramatorsk and Kostiantynivka early in the morning of Jun. 14. As a result of the strike on a single-family residential neighborhood, several houses were destroyed, and several dozen houses were damaged. There is information about two people killed, and two more injured in Kramatorsk, and about one person killed, and one wounded in Kostiantynivka.

Having studied the wreckage of one of Russian Kh-101 cruise missiles that hit Kryvyi Rih on Jun. 13, it was established that the missile was produced in 2023 with the use of foreign components. According to the Office of the President of Ukraine, about 50 missile components (mainly microelectronics) were made outside of Russia and were imported by roundabout routes (through parallel imports).

Several pro-Russian Telegram channels at once published reports that near Kreminna, the AFU hit a large group of Russian soldiers presumably from the 144th Guards Motor Rifle Division of the 20th Guards Combined Arms Army possibly lined up to meet General Sukhrab Akhmedov (he is known along with General Rustam Muradov for sending soldiers in suicidal attacks on Pavlivka in the Vuhledar direction). Data on KIAs and WIAs vary (from 50 to 100 KIAs and about 100 WIAs are reported). No photos, videos or satellite imagery of the aftermath, as well as obituaries, have been published yet, but since several major pro-Russian sources reported the incident simultaneously, we believe that it is very likely to have actually happened.

Deliveries of Western Military Equipment

The Netherlands will transfer four VERA-NG radar systems to Ukraine.

Photographs have emerged showing Mil Mi-35 attack helicopters in service of the AFU, with camouflage indicating that these helicopters were transferred from the Czech Republic. They underwent repairs and upgrades there before being handed over to Ukraine.

Ukrainian pilots will begin training to operate F-16 fighter jets in Denmark as early as August.

At the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum that started on Jun. 14, a new quadcopter was presented. The Patriot K30T drone is intended to be used by the Russian Armed Forces, and is almost identical to the EVO II Pro V3 model from Chinese company Autel Robotics, as pointed out by the Vyorstka media outlet.

The State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] adopted in the first reading a law that prohibits gender marker change and medical interventions related to transgender transition. Some Duma members justified the rushed adoption by the need to prevent evasion of mobilization through this procedure. This argument clearly does not stand up to scrutiny since the minuscule number of Russian citizens undergoing the gender transition is comparable to the number  of State Duma members. This law is a logical continuation of the transphobic and homophobic policy of Russian authorities.

On Jun. 14, Ukrainian military serviceman Kyrylo Sazonov reported the alleged death of Adam Delimkhanov, a close associate of Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov, in Primorske, Zaporizhzhia region. Following this, the Zvezda TV channel contacted Madina Shavlokhova, an assistant to Delimkhanov, who stated that he was alive but injured. Subsequently, Kadyrov published a sarcastic post addressing Ukrainian intelligence, while Apti Alaudinov, commander of the Akhmat special forces, announced that he was withdrawing all units from the frontline to search for Delimkhanov. Eventually, it was revealed that Delimkhanov was unharmed, uninjured, and hadn't even been in Primorske (as he had met with Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov in Belgorod a day before his alleged "death").

In response to Putin’s statement that Wagner Group mercenaries need to sign contracts with the MoD as soon as possible, Yevgeny Prigozhin [Russian oligarch, confidant of Vladimir Putin, and the owner of the Wagner Group] has stated that none of them will sign the contracts. We do not yet see how the Russian Ministry of Defense can make Prigozhin obey. At the same time, it is impossible to somehow disarm and dissolve the Wagner Group, as this is a large unit that is necessary at the frontline.

Despite statements by both sides, there has been no reliable information so far regarding the AFU’s losses. Judging from the available videos, most of which were shot by the Russian side, the AFU’s losses are much smaller than claimed by Russia.

How long the lull in hostilities will last is impossible to say with certainty, but there is hardly any reason to expect that should combat operations resume, momentum of the offensive will increase any time soon. We also believe that the Russian side will do its best to drag out the current phase of the war as long as possible in order to save its resources and capability by avoiding large-scale offensive operations and continue the war to such a time as Ukraine’s western partners will stop providing support. Yet by the end of last year its allies came to realize that the war would not be over any time soon and they had to increase their military production.