June 23, 2023

Sitrep for Jun. 22-23, 2023 (as of 08:30 a.m.)

On the night of Jun. 23, the Russian Aerospace Forces launched 13 cruise missiles targeting a military airfield in Khmelnytskyi. According to the AFU, they were all shot down.

Frontline Situation Update

Ukrainian forces continue to advance on different sectors of the front, but without much progress so far.

A video showing the AFU conducting counter-battery fire has been published: a battery of Russian D-30 122mm howitzers along with its ammunition was detected and destroyed by Ukrainian artillery.

According to the weather forecast, rain is expected again in the coming days, so the fighting is likely to slow down again along the frontline.

Russian forces showed debris of the Storm Shadow cruise missile that hit the Chonhar bridge on Jun. 22. Using the example of an algorithm for hitting bridges with a similar missile, the strikes are claimed to have been aimed at breaking through the roadbed of the bridge and damaging its support in order to bring down the span. One of the photos of the aftermath shows a damaged bridge support that can be seen through a hole in the roadbed.

Mykhailo Podolyak, Advisor to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, stated that Russian forces allegedly tried to hit a dam near Kryvyi Rih using Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missiles. One of the missiles fell in the village of Vilne, situated 1 to 2 kilometers from the dam (some reports suggest the involvement of X-22 cruise missiles in the attack). Given the substantial deviation of the missile’s trajectory, we question whether the dam was the intended target of this strike.

Pro-Russian war correspondents visited Russia’s border regions and covered the situation there. They did not see evidence of the arrival of the Akhmat unit (whose fighters had previously been noticed in Belgorod) at the border with Ukraine, however, they noted the presence of air assault forces.

It was also reported that entry and exit passes had been canceled in Shebekino (which is still regularly shelled) effective as of Jun. 21, so free movement is possible between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Russian forces again used a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED), which was this time an explosives-loaded armored multi-purpose tractor directed at Ukrainian positions outside Marinka. It is important to understand that terrorists (e.g., during the war in Syria) use VBIEDs because, when you have no aircraft, this is one of the few ways to deliver to enemy positions a charge comparable to an air-dropped bomb. As a reminder, the RuAF studied the methods of Asad’s enemies in the second half of 2010s in order to come up with ways to counter them.

It is reported that the Wagner Group is recruiting former police officers and Russian National Guard personnel to perform the functions of military police in the occupied territories. It is stated that their duties will include, among other things, monitoring volunteer fighters and RuAF soldiers. This function is not typical for the Wagner Group, and it is unclear on what basis they intend to engage in these activities.

The Fontanka online media outlet has published a photograph of the grave of the Chief of Staff of the 35th Combined Arms Army, Major General Sergey Goryachev. He is the fourth confirmed army general to have been killed since the start of the full-scale invasion. Previously, the deaths of Deputy Commander of the 41st Combined Arms Army Andrey Sukhovetsky, Deputy Commander of the 8th Combined Arms Army Vladimir Frolov, Commander of the 1st Army Corps of the so-called DPR Roman Kutuzov, as well as Wagner Group pilot retired Major General of the Russian Air Force Kanamat Botashev, were confirmed.

Deliveries of Western Military Equipment

French President Emmanuel Macron announced that SAMP/T air defense systems are already in service with the AFU.

On Jun. 9, in the latest package of military aid from the Pentagon, 203mm artillery rounds appeared. We speculated then that the AFU could use them for 2S7 Pion self-propelled cannons. It turned out to be true (the rounds are compatible due to the historical fact that both American and Soviet 203mm artillery rounds trace their origins back to ammunition for the same 8-inch British howitzer supplied by the UK to its allies during World War I).

Portugal will transfer fourteen M113 armored personnel carriers and a batch of 105mm howitzers to Ukraine.

Germany has delivered a new package of military aid to Ukraine, including:

  • 1000 155mm projectiles;
  • 155mm precision guided ammunition;
  • 2 8x8 HX81 truck tractor trains and 2 semi-trailers;
  • 6 border protection vehicles.

The transfer of missiles for the Patriot air defense system is also planned.

The US has announced a non-military aid package to Ukraine amounting to up to $1.3 billion, of which $520 million will go towards repairing energy infrastructure, and $657 million will be used for modernizing border posts, ports, and other critical infrastructure facilities.

European media reported that a Ukrainian soldier, Valery K., from the Dnipropetrovsk region, is suspected of being involved in the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline. One of the media outlets published a photo of a man with a blurred face. Bellingcat researcher Aric Toler found the original photo and determined the man's full surname—Kolesnik. However, it is not certain that this is the same suspect, as the source of the published photo is unknown, and there are at least three soldiers named Valery Kolesnik from the Dnipropetrovsk region.

The Danish TV 2 News channel used an underwater vehicle to film the damage to the Nord Stream pipeline. Bends in its edges show that the explosion occurred from the outside.

The Wall Street Journal and Reuters used an analysis by the Ukrainian military officer Tatarigami without permission or attribution. Unfortunately, it is not a rare occurrence.

We once again addressed our questions to the authors of The New York Times article regarding the destruction of the Kakhovka dam:

  • Is there a strict order for opening the sluice gates, and what are the dangers resulting in violation of this order?
  • Could the hydraulic jump have formed incorrectly because the sluice gates were only opened from one side of the dam for eight consecutive months?
  • What could be the consequences of systematically exceeding the non-eroding velocity of water flow in a specific section of the dam?

Unfortunately, we have not yet received any substantive answer.

Please share the following information about the Kakhovka dam with our team if you have it:

  • Design documents (section: “reinforced concrete structures”, archival materials, ideally dam’s drawings);
  • Archive data of geotechnical surveys;
  • Design documents for reconstruction and repair of reinforced concrete structures;
  • Results of engineering surveys/engineering certifications for any given year.