June 26

Sitrep for June 24-26, 2024 (as of 9 a.m. UTC+3)

Frontline Situation Update

The independent researcher Naalsio concluded his tally of military equipment losses in the village of Krynky on the left bank of the Dnipro River, where there have been no confirmed reports of combat operations in recent weeks. Earlier, Ukrainian forces were reported to have withdrawn from Krynky.

Fighting continues in the Kharkiv direction. According to the map, the situation at the Vovchansk Aggregate Plant remains tense. Russian soldiers still occupy positions inside the plant, unable to fully supply their troops across the contested area between the plant and the main part of the town controlled by the Russian Armed Forces due to the threat of enemy fire.

One way to resolve the supply issue using drones was observed near the town of Chasiv Yar, where Ukrainian servicemen for the first time intercepted an enemy drone carrying a package with canned food, cheese, cookies, coffee and medicine. In recent months, both sides have been regularly reported to be actively developing ground-based drones for evacuating the wounded, however, we are yet to see any evidence of their use in this capacity.

In the Toretsk direction, the only Russian success remains the capture of the village of Shumy, which had a population of two people in 2018. While the RuAF have approached the village of Pivnichne, they have not yet been able to advance to the town of Toretsk.

In other sectors of the frontline, fighting continues without any significant changes. In the area of Chasiv Yar, for example, the Kanal neighborhood has still not yet been completely captured.

In recent weeks, reports have consistently indicated that the RuAF are advancing in the village of Karlivka, located west of Netailove, in the Pokrovsk direction. However, they have not yet captured the village of Yasnobrodivka. Therefore, Russian forces have not yet occupied the area shielded by water barriers in this direction.

Ukrainian and Russian Strikes

The relaxation of restrictions on the use of Western precision weapons against targets on Russian soil has yielded its first significant results. On June 22, the Armed Forces of Ukraine hit a Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery system near Belgorod. According to our sources, the system was completely destroyed, although the crew reportedly remained unharmed despite conflicting statements. Another Pantsir-S1 was destroyed on June 20 near the village of Borisovka in the Belgorod region, reportedly resulting in three injured Russian soldiers. The destruction of these systems was made possible by the authorization to use Western precision weapons, specifically high-precision rockets for HIMARS MLRS. Conventional rockets would likely not have achieved such effectiveness. The destroyed Pantsir-S1 systems had been crucial in aiding Russian aircraft operations near the Russia-Ukraine border and the interception of Ukrainian drones. According to the Dos’ye Shpiona [Spy Dossier] Telegram channel, one more Pantsir-S1 system was hit on June 25 in the Donetsk region.

Pro-Russian propagandists and bot networks are actively engaged in an English-language campaign aimed at discrediting the AFU. They are linking the recent approval to strike Russian territory with Western weapons to the ATACMS tactical ballistic missile intercepted over the Uchkuyevka beach in Sevastopol. However, it is worth noting that strikes on Crimea were always allowed, as it is internationally recognized as part of Ukraine.

A CCTV recording has emerged capturing the moment when submunitions from the intercepted ATACMS missile detonated near the beach in Sevastopol. The footage reveals that most of the bomblets fell into the sea, which explains the relatively low number of casualties among beachgoers. The wide area of dispersion of the submunitions is likely due to an abnormal release sequence; as under normal circumstances, the affected area would have been much smaller. Similarly, the intervals between submunition explosions in videos from the scene further indicate that the missile did not function as intended; typically, the intervals are much shorter and sound more like continuous machine-gun fire.

Fragments of what is reported to be a TOR-M2 SAM system missile were found in the village of Uchkuyevka near the beach. Although the shape of the missile does resemble reference images, we believe that it is currently impossible to make a definitive identification.

Reference images.

Some pro-Ukrainian sources have drawn from this discovery to conclude that it was the detonation of the Russian anti-air missile that caused the casualties on the beach. However, even if the debris found indeed belongs to a TOR missile, it would only further support our main version of events: the interception of an ATACMS missile by a Russian air defense system. Traces and debris from submunitions or missile fragments have also been documented beyond the beach itself.

On the morning of June 24, the RuAF struck a warehouse of the Tavria V supermarket chain in the city of Odesa, injuring three people who were subsequently hospitalized. Videos of the aftermath of the strike show various food products and beverages scattered amid the wreckage. At the same time, the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed to have targeted a large AFU logistics center used for the stockpiling, storage and redistribution of weapons, including missiles provided by Western countries. According to the Ukrainian Air Force, two 9M728/9M729 Iskander-K cruise missiles were used in the attack. The use of these two scarce missiles on a site devoid of any military assets indicates poor reconnaissance by Russian forces.

On the night of June 25, a Ukrainian drone attacked an ammunition storage facility near the village of Olkhovatka in the western part of the Voronezh region. Secondary detonations could be heard in a video from the scene. According to the region's governor Aleksandr Gusev, two drones were shot down, and their falling debris caused a fire (though it is unclear how the debris could have started the fire). The presence of the two drones is confirmed by satellite images showing two distinct fire sources.

On June 25, news emerged about a 90-for-90 PoW exchange. This time, the Russian side was the first to announce the exchange, claiming the return of 90 Russian servicemen. This is quite unusual, as in the past, information about such exchanges has predominantly been provided by Ukrainian authorities.

The pro-Russian Telegram channel Fighterbomber [associated with the Russian Air and Space Force], published a series of posts that stirred significant activity among pro-war Telegram channels. In the first post, the author cryptically hinted at the downing of an American reconnaissance drone over the Black Sea, stating that "it is the beginning" and anticipating a reaction from the US about "unprofessional actions." An hour later, the blogger denied the downing without any explanation. Some time later, he once again hinted at a response from the Americans, suggesting the drone had indeed been downed. Following this, he expressed outrage at propagandist channels discussing the non-existent incident.

Later, on Vladimir Solovyev's [Russian propagandist] program, Fighterbomber explained that no drone was downed. A Russian MiG-31 fighter jet, flying at high altitude, spotted a US Global Hawk drone. The fighter jet flew very close to the drone twice at high speed, creating turbulence that caused the drone's sensors to malfunction. As a result, it lost altitude but managed to turn around and return to base. Fighterbomber also stated that the MiG-31 pilot and navigator were recommended for the Order of Courage due to their actions involving the American Global Hawk drone incident.

After the suicide of Andrey "Murz" Morozov, a Russian military blogger, State Duma [lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia] member Mikhail Delyagin filed requests with the Russian MoD, the Military Prosecutor's Office and the Investigative Committee to investigate potential incitement to suicide. All responses received stated that the facts mentioned by "Murz" in his final posts were not confirmed, and there was no evidence that anyone had driven him to suicide.

Similar to "Murz," the pro-Russian Telegram channel Trinadtsatyy [the 13th] of “DPR” serviceman Egor Guzenko frequently complains about the mistreatment of soldiers in the Russian Army. In one of his recent posts, he calls for wounded soldiers held in the rear in the Donetsk region to be demobilized rather than redeployed to the frontline. He threatens to send letters to Putin and Russia’s Minister of Defense Andrey Belousov within a week if his demands are not met. However, we do not expect this story to develop further.

Aleksey Voevoda, a Russian Aerospace Forces helicopter pilot and pro-Russian blogger, while discussing the missile explosion over a beach in Sevastopol during a stream with pro-Russian milblogger Kirill Fyodorov, suggested that Russians vacation in the occupied cities of Mariupol and Berdiansk. He then boasted about reporting a gas station female employee in the Zaporizhzhia region for speaking to him in Ukrainian. According to Voevoda, he reported her at the nearest checkpoint, after which she was sent to "rest in a basement jail."

Journalist and blogger Ivan Filippov, author of the Na Zzzzzapadnom fronte bez peremen [All Quiet on the Wezzzzztern Front] Telegram channel has begun publishing weekly summaries of pro-Russian Telegram channels in collaboration with Holod [independent Russian media outlet].