dispatches
June 8

Sitrep for Jun. 7-8, 2023 (as of 10:30 a.m.)

Frontline Situation Update

We continue to receive contradictory information on the situation in the Zaporizhzhia direction. The Russian Ministry of Defense claims that the large-scale Ukrainian counteroffensive has begun, while Ukrainian officials deny it.

On Jun. 7, pro-Russian sources began to post information about a massive Ukrainian offensive on Russian positions south of Orikhiv, but there has been no evidence of this fact yet.

There are photographs showing damaged or destroyed AFU military vehicles as a result of the fighting for Novodonetske: a T-64BV tank and other armored vehicles (e.g. Mastiff MRAPs). It does not mean that the Ukrainian offensive has failed, as it is a common occurrence for this kind of military operations.

There is also a video filmed with a drone showing fighting in the area of Novodarivka: a large AFU armored group is advancing, while some of their MRAPs hit mines. In this regard, questions arise as to why an engineering reconnaissance survey of the mined territory was not carried out, and why tanks with minesweepers, followed by armored vehicles, were not used.

A video filmed by the 37th Marine Brigade of the AFU partly explains this situation. Ukrainian servicemen claim that their command sent them to "mop-up" the territory in the area of Novodonetske which the RuAF had allegedly left. However, when the marines approached the settlement, without preliminary reconnaissance or drone support, they came under enemy fire, and therefore had to retreat.

It is too early to make a conclusive assessment of the Ukrainian offensive’s effectiveness solely based on these local engagements; a comprehensive evaluation of its results can only be made after some time has passed.

Reports suggest a powerful explosion took place after a projectile hit in the vicinity of a locomotive manufacturing plant in Luhansk. There is currently no information available regarding the target or any casualties.

Destruction of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station

The New York Times has published an article, citing anonymous engineers and demolition experts, which explains that to cause such a breach, the dam would have needed to have been detonated from the inside using a substantial quantity of explosives. It could not have been destroyed by dropping air bombs or launching missiles. Additionally, according to them, had the breach occurred because of excessively high water levels, the destruction would have started from the sides (where the dam meets the banks), as water would have gradually eroded the surrounding soil, eventually leading to the collapse.

We fully agree that it is possible to destroy the dam from the inside with an explosion; however, there is no evidence to support the claim that the explosion actually occurred. As for the argument regarding the gradual erosion of the dam by water, it is likely that potential damages resulting from military operations were not taken into account by the experts.

Romanian researcher Richard Cordaro published on Twitter a diagram from a magnetometer located in Bucharest, showing an anomaly in the magnetic field on the night of Jun. 6. He believes this indicates a dam explosion (although there were two anomalies during the analyzed time period, and he only associates one of them with the accident, while the other could have been any event on the front. Furthermore, in the comments, he adds that such magnetic activity could have been caused by anything). Apparently, he ties his conclusion to Zelenskyy’s statement that the explosion occurred at 2:50 a.m. local time.

However, this is in contradiction with, first, the video from Russian military’s thermal goggles, which shows that the dam had already been breached at 2:46 a.m., second, the comments in a local Telegram channel, where the first reports of explosions had been posted 30 minutes earlier (we covered all of it in our yesterday’s sitrep).

There was no report of seismic activity typical for a large-scale explosion in the vicinity of Nova Kakhovka.

Besides, infrasound oscillations were recorded in Bucovina. If they are associated with some explosions in Nova Kakhovka, that also was around 3 a.m. Then these could quite possibly be explosions of mines carried away as a result of the dam breach. Note that one such explosion is seen in the above-mentioned Russian thermal video.

In his interview to the German Bild newspaper Volodymyr Zelenskyy admitted that in spite of his confident statements that Russia is involved in blowing up the dam there is still no proof of it. He added that such evidence could be collected only in situ.

Bild. KRAINE-PRĂ„SIDENT SELENSKYJ EXKLUSIV IM BILD-INTERVIEW. Das bedeutet der Dammbruch fĂĽr die Gegenoffensive

Saboteurs in the Belgorod Region

  • On 7 June at 6:11 p.m. (Moscow time), the Telegram channel of the Russian Volunteer Corps posted an address by the Corps’ commander Denis Nikitin (Kapustin) who claimed that his fighters had been in control of the village of Novaya Tavolzhanka for seven days and there were no other authorities there. The video was taken in a strip of wood with the sound of explosions in the background. It is impossible to identify the site and time of the footage.
  • At 8:34 p.m. Belgorod region Governor Gladkov in a video taken during his trip to Novaya Tavolzhanka, informed that the village was fully under the Russian forces’ control and no saboteurs could be spotted there.
  • The Russian state-owned RIA Novosti news agency has also published a report from Novaya Tavolzhanka which shows an empty village. The correspondent claims that it is controlled by Russian forces. No background shooting can be heard.

We believe that the Russian Volunteer Corps has left that village.

A photograph made by Russian troops, who claim that another sabotage group has been destroyed in Novaya Tavolzhanka, shows two captured Black Hornet Nano reconnaissance UAVs, which were provided by the UK and have not been seen in the war so far.

A video has appeared showing Russian forces hitting a TRML-4D radar (part of IRIS-T air defense system) with a Lancet kamikaze drone. The radar antenna is seen being hit in the drone footage, and the footage of the consequences shows the same vehicle with no antenna on it, so the system was actually damaged to some extent. As a reminder, there is no such thing as invulnerable equipment, so this situation, although disturbing, is quite expectable.

Aleksandr Khakonov, former member of the Taseyevsky District Council, Krasnoyarsk region, killed his wife in a quarrel on Mar. 28, 2022. He was sentenced to 9 years and 8 months in a maximum security penal colony but, while still in the detention center, was recruited by the Wagner Group and then departed to the frontline. He may already have his certificate of pardon and is likely to avoid any punishment for the murder of his wife.

In Tambov, the former leader of the Russky [Russian] military-patriotic club, Oleg Borisenko, is facing criminal charges for “discrediting” the Russian Armed Forces. He spoke out against the war and recorded video appeals, including one where he urged former club members not to go fight in Ukraine, calling the war a crime.

It is reported that Germany has delivered a new military aid package to Ukraine which includes:

  • 8 Bandvagn 206 (BV206) tracked all-terrain vehicles;
  • 2 8x8 HX81 truck tractor trains;
  • 16 border protection vehicles;
  • 14 VECTOR reconnaissance drones;
  • 3 drone detection systems;
  • 2,000 rounds of ammunition for GEPARD self-propelled anti-aircraft guns.