June 17, 2023

Sitrep for Jun. 15-17, 2023 (as of 9:00 a.m.)

Frontline Situation Update

We are still yet to see a surge in military operations on the battlefield. This could either be due to rainfall, or, perhaps, to the Ukrainian military command’s decision to regroup and perform a situation analysis.

Summarizing the first few days of Ukraine’s offensive, Rochan Consulting analyst Konrad Muzyka notes that the attacks have, thus far, been executed by relatively small amounts of troops, involving battalions rather than brigades. Only three out of the twelve freshly formed armored brigades (each consisting of 3.5-4 thousand people; with nine of them having received their training in the West) have been engaged in the offensive.

We have managed to geolocate a video showing the progress of Ukrainian forces around Berkhivka-Yahidne.

Strikes on Ukrainian Territory

On Jun. 16, there was another series of Russian strikes on Ukrainian territory:

  • according to Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak, as a result of a strike on Kherson, 23 people were injured;
  • as a result of a strike on the Kyiv region, six people were injured, and about 30 houses were damaged;
  • as a result of a strike on Nikopol, one person was killed, and another was injured.
Strike on Kherson.
Strike on the Kyiv region.
Strike on Nikopol.

According to the Air Forces of the AFU, during the attack on the Kyiv region, the air defense forces shot down six Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic aero-ballistic air-to-surface missiles, six 3M-54 Kalibr cruise missiles and two reconnaissance drones.

There is an update on the aftermath of the strike on a recreation center in the village of Shchaslyvtseve located on the Arabat Spit on Jun. 10, where, according to the Russian side, temporarily displaced civilians were staying. An obituary for the deputy head of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs for the Kherson region killed as a result of the strike has been published, however, we have not seen any reliable data on killed civilians.

A video shot by a drone appeared on pro-Russia Telegram channels, which shows Russian strikes during evacuations from the flooded part of Kherson. In response to comments asking about people in civilian clothes in the boats, it was said that those were disguised Ukrainian soldiers. A foreign volunteer recognized a scene in the video. His photos show relief workers evacuating civilians. British volunteer John Jones and one of the rescuers were injured in these strikes.

It has come to light that the Ukrainian strike near Kreminna did not hit a formation of soldiers waiting for a general, as some pro-Russia sources had stated, but a unit engaged in loading and/or unloading trucks in a forest clearing.

As claimed by pro-Russian Head of the Kherson region Volodymyr Saldo, the flooding of the Russian-controlled part of the Kherson region resulted in 25 persons dead and 17 more missing.

10 persons were reported dead and over 40 missing in the Ukrainian-controlled part of the Kherson region. Furthermore, two people were reported dead in the Mykolaiv region.

Deliveries of Western Military Equipment

Jens Stoltenberg has revealed that the F-16 training for Ukrainian pilots has already begun.

Sweden will be training Ukrainian pilots to fly Swedish JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets. It has been clarified that this would be “orientation training” for pilots and associated flight technicians. As a reminder, however, Jens Stoltenberg had said that the beginning of training for Ukrainian pilots in a certain fighter jet type could pave the way to the supply of such aircrafts.

The lower house of the Swiss Parliament has approved the write-off of 25 Leopard 2 tanks for their subsequent re-export to Germany. Swiss Defense Minister Viola Amherd has noted that the resale of these tanks (if the upper house supports the decision) will not affect the country's defense capabilities. She promised that if the deal is approved, the military department will take another 46 tanks from storage, modernize them, and transfer them to military units.

Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles announced that twenty armored personnel carriers, four Leopard tanks, and a field hospital were sent to Ukraine.

The legislation of Japan (as well as, for example, South Korea and Switzerland) prohibits supplying weapons to a belligerent country. However, it has become known that negotiations on the transfer of 155mm artillery shells from Japan to replenish US mobilization reserves, which would allow the United States to give its shells to Ukraine, are underway. Previously, it was reported that South Korea was using such a supply scheme.

A video of the Ukrainian Armed Forces using an M58 Mine Clearing Line Charge (MICLIC), which paves the way for infantry and vehicles to move without the fear of being blown up by mines, has appeared.

Anti-war activist Anatoly Berezikov died in a special detention center in Rostov-on-Don. He was arrested for 10 days on a petty hooliganism charge. According to lawyer Irina Gak, the reason for the prosecution was the distribution of leaflets of the I Want to Live Ukrainian project, which explains to Russian soldiers in Ukraine how to surrender. The lawyer also reports that Berezikov complained about pressure, violence, and threats from the security officers.

Meduza [international Russian-language online media outlet] published the story of a resident of the Russia's constituent republic of Buryatia, Vladimir Maraktaev, who fled to Mongolia, made his way through the Philippines and South Korea, where he had been living in an airport for four months, to the United States to avoid mobilization.

Valentina Tereshkova, a member of the State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] and the first woman ever to fly in space, has become the first recipient of the newly established Order of Gagarin. Lately, she has been better known for proposing to "reset" the two-term presidential limit in 2020, which allows Putin to remain President of Russia until 2036.

During his speech at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin touched upon the topic of war. In particular, he stated that NATO is being drawn into the war in Ukraine by supplying weapons and equipment. Putin also revealed that Russia still possesses the largest number of nuclear warheads, which concerns European countries. Additionally, he claimed that a portion of the planned tactical nuclear weapons has already been delivered to Belarus. Based on the comments from various US officials, it appears that the news of nuclear deployments is not perceived as a threat and does not cause concern. Furthermore, Putin claimed that Russian forces had been able to destroy five Patriot air defense systems, likely referring to five individual components of the system. It is worth noting that Ukraine received two Patriot systems, each consisting of several different components, and none of them were destroyed. One component sustained minor damage but was quickly repaired.

Our team has published the first part of a series of analytical materials on Russian mobilization. The article covers its initial stage, highlighting the challenges faced by both the authorities and mobilized soldiers, the principles behind the assignment of mobilized soldiers to training centers, and the actual training process.