June 14

Sitrep for June 12-14, 2024 (as of 8:30 UTC+3 a.m.)

Frontline Situation Update

Russian forces persist in their attempts to advance in the Kharkiv region, sometimes achieving minor successes. Notably, they have managed to occupy part of the Vovchansk aggregate plant, an advantageous position that allows them to control two destroyed bridges over the Vovcha River from relatively tall buildings. A third bridge, located further west, is also likely controlled by Russian soldiers stationed near the hospital. Consequently, the northern part of Vovchansk on the right side of the Vovcha River might effectively be contested territory, as the Armed Forces of Ukrainian are choosing to engage targets in that area with artillery and drone strikes rather than infantry troops.

Meanwhile, Russian forces are attempting to secure their newly gained positions. North of Vovchansk, fortifications are being constructed using engineering equipment, which Ukrainian soldiers from the 57th Brigade are targeting with UAV strikes.

The Ptakhy Madyara unit has relocated, either fully or partially, to the Kharkiv region from the Kherson region, where it had been providing drone support to Ukrainian forces on the left bank of the Dnipro River. This redeployment has resulted in a noticeable reduction of visual information coming from the Kherson region. Additionally, Russian forces are reporting that the bridgehead in Krynky no longer exists, a claim refuted by the Ukrainian side.

The Russian Armed Forces continue their slow advance in the Pokrovsk direction. A video has emerged showing soldiers planting a Russian flag on the ruins of the village of Novopokrovske, located south of the village of Sokil. While such “flag photo op” cannot serve as definitive evidence of the capture of a settlement, in this case, Novopokrovske is most likely under Russian control, as reported by the Ukrainian project DeepState.

We consider the Pokrovsk direction to be the main focus for the RuAF and foresee their further plans there as follows:

  1. occupying the area between the villages of Nevelske and Pervomaiske;
  2. the complete capture of the often-mentioned Umanske-Yasnobrodivka-Netailove triangle;
  3. “even out” the frontline between the villages of Novopokrovske and Umanske;
  4. expanding the flank of the Ocheretyne salient to the water barriers near ​​Novoselivka Persha, Skuchne and Yasnobrodivka.

These actions are necessary to cover the left flank of the Ocheretyne salient and further advance towards the highway connecting the towns of Pokrovsk and Kostiantynivka. At the same time, it is worth noting that fighting even for small areas of terrain can take a long time. In early April, we expected the RuAF to be able to relatively quickly achieve the second objective outlined in the above-mentioned plan, but they have failed so far. If the current pace of combat operations is maintained, Russian forces are likely to reach the Pokrovsk-Kostiantynivka highway no sooner than the end of summer. Furthermore, although Russia must have recently transferred additional forces to this direction, our prediction might prove wrong should the situation with weapons and personnel for the AFU improve.

At the conclusion of a meeting between Russia’s new Minister of Defense, Andrey Belousov, and pro-Russian military bloggers, propagandists and war correspondents, Alexander Sladkov stated that the influx of volunteer fighters into the RuAF is up to 1,400 people per day, or 45,000 per month. How such a large number of servicemen is being concealed remains a mystery. Even Putin’s previous figure  of 30,000 new recruits per month still seems like an exaggeration to us.

In the Belgorod region, during the filming of a report on a mined area near Shebekino, Rossiya 24 [Russia 24, government-owned federal TV channel] journalists approached an anti-personnel mine too closely, triggering its detonation. As a result, a cameraman and accompanying soldiers sustained shrapnel wounds. Notably, the supposedly Ukrainian anti-personnel fragmentation mine shown in the report turned out to be a Russian POM-3 mine, which has been supplied to the RuAF only since 2019, unlike the Soviet POM-2. These mines are deployed by the ISDM Zemledeliye remote-mining engineering system. Judging by the debris, the journalists triggered a similar mine. It is extremely reckless to approach an anti-personnel mine so closely without special sapper equipment, relying only on a bulletproof vest and helmet.

Ukrainian and Russian Strikes

According to the occupation authorities, on June 13 in the occupied city of Horlivka, Donetsk region, two correspondents from the NTV TV channel were injured in an attack, with one of them later dying in the hospital. Details of the incident are currently unknown.

Ukrainian attacks on air defense systems in Crimea continue. According to sources from the Astra Telegram channel, on the night of June 12, ATACMS tactical ballistic missiles destroyed two S-400 air defense systems and a radar vehicle near the Belbek airfield in Sevastopol as well as another radar vehicle near Cape Fiolent. The AFU General Staff reports the destruction of two radars from S-300 and S-400 systems. Satellite images of the aftermath of the strike show signs of fire in the locations where the systems were stationed. Pro-Russian Telegram channels have expressed outrage at the command’s neglect of the problem and its inaction.

Defective Russian air-dropped bombs continue to accidentally fall on Russian territory and the so-called DPR and LPR. According to a tally by Astra, in the past four months, the Russian Aerospace Forces have accidentally bombed the Belgorod region at least 93 times. We believe the reason for these accidents is the insufficient reliability of the Universal Gliding and Correction Module (UMPK), a situation deemed acceptable by Russian military leadership, as the few percentages of accidental releases have little impact on the practical effectiveness of air-dropped bombs equipped with UMPKs on the frontline. However, this has at times led to serious incidents and casualties. The recent collapse of a residential building in Belgorod on May 12 is believed to be linked to such an accident.

One possible cause could be the inadequate quality of the pyrotechnic initiators that are supposed to deploy the wings of the air-dropped bombs. However, we do not rule out other causes, such as mechanical issues or problems with the electronics. Design flaws or manufacturing defects could equally cause these falls. It is worth noting that, unlike Western precision weapons, which do not have such problems, UMPKs are relatively cheap and produced in large quantities using civilian electronics, which have lower reliability requirements than military-grade electronics.

On June 12, an OFAB-250-270 high explosive fragmentation bomb equipped with a UMPK fell in the Petrovskyi district of Donetsk. What makes this case unusual is that the bomb's wings were clearly deployed. The reason for its failure to explode in Donetsk remains unclear to us.

We suspect that a significant number of similar air-dropped bombs are also falling in the Zaporizhzhia region. However, due to its lower population density, reports about these incidents may not be reaching open sources. We intend to continue our investigation into this matter.

On the evening of June 13, an explosion occurred in Shebekino, Belgorod region, causing damage to several private houses. The Pepel [Ashes] Telegram channel suggested that a Russian air-dropped bomb had fallen on the city. Vyacheslav Gladkov, Governor of the Belgorod region, stated that the causes of the explosion are being investigated. Sources from Astra later reported that the explosion was actually caused by the spontaneous detonation of ammunition from a Russian TOS-1A Solntsepyok heavy flamethrower system, allegedly resulting in the death of three servicemen.

Western Assistance

Canada has delivered the first medical ACSVs to Europe for Ukrainian military personnel to familiarize themselves with. These vehicles are part of the LAV family and closely resemble the US-made Stryker armored personnel carriers. By fall, ten of these vehicles are expected to be supplied to Ukraine.

Reports from the frontline indicate a severe shortage of medical evacuation vehicles within the AFU. Evacuating wounded soldiers from the frontlines is particularly challenging due to the heavy use of drones, with both sides adopting the practice of dropping grenades on evacuation teams.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has confirmed that G7 countries will provide Ukraine with a $50 billion loan by the end of the year. This loan will be financed using the revenues from frozen Russian assets. This decision is likely aimed at ensuring continued support for Ukraine, even if Donald Trump becomes the next President of the United States.

On June 13, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and US President Joe Biden signed a bilateral security agreement for ten years. This agreement stipulates that the US will continue to train Ukrainian military personnel, enhance cooperation in the defense industry and expand intelligence sharing. However, the agreement does not include any US commitments to deploy American troops for the defense of Ukraine nor does it entail any financial obligations. Since the agreement does not require Senate ratification, it can be easily revoked by the next president.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that the promises of weapon supplies to Ukraine made by NATO members will now be treated as commitments under the alliance. These supplies will be centrally coordinated and overseen by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Christopher G. Cavoli. This move aims to streamline the process and ensure a more organized and efficient delivery of military aid to Ukraine.

On June 6, a man was detained in Moscow for shooting an acquaintance with an automatic weapon out of jealousy. We consider this incident a consequence of the increased circulation of weapons on the black market, which inevitably accompanies combat operations.

On June 11 in the town of Shebekino, Belgorod region, Daniil Pervushin, a 20-year-old soldier from the 1st Motorized Rifle Regiment, threw a grenade at the feet of a 54-year-old man. The victim was sent to a hospital with multiple injuries, while Pervushin was detained.

On June 12 in the Kaluga region, Andrey Dymovskikh, a 31-year-old soldier from the 128th Motorized Rifle Brigade who had gone AWOL, started shooting his automatic weapon. According to investigators, Dymovskikh stopped a passing car on the Kozelsk-Optina Pustyn road and opened fire in the air and on the ground, with a ricochet injuring one of the passengers—a female icon painter. She sustained a minor injury to her thigh. Additionally, the shooter attempted to rob the passengers of another passing car. Dymovskikh was only detained the next morning. He was found with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and four magazines. A criminal case has been initiated against him for robbery with violence. According to Astra, Dymovskikh had previously been convicted of theft and stealing or extorting weapons. The Ostorozhno, Novosti [Beware the News] Telegram channel reported that in the summer of 2019, he was sentenced to five years in a maximum security penal colony and was supposed to be released only in August 2024. However, he was released earlier, likely for participating in the war.