Northeast – Kharkiv Area of Operations
- Russian Federation Armed Forces (RFAF) are reported to have had success in Ternova, where the RFAF have made attempts to advance towards Rubizhne to the south-east.
- RFAF also reported to have made ground towards Stary Saltiv on 12 June 22 and remote mining activity was carried out near Petrivka.
- Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) counterattacks were reported on 14 June 22 near Starytsya and Izbytske.
- RFAF continue to bombard UAF positions; air, artillery and rocket strikes continue to be observed in Kharkiv city and environs.
- On 14 June 22, there was a reported explosion in Klintsy, western Bryansk region, approximately 50km from the Russia-Ukraine border. Six people were reported to have been injured.
East – Donbas Area of Operations (assessed RFAF Main Effort)
- The battle for Sievierodonetsk continues, with reports now suggesting that the majority of the city is now under RFAF control.
- The current focus for the RFAF is the encirclement and capture of the Azot Chemical Plant. An estimated 500 civilians (including 40 children) are reported to be trapped, alongside elements of the UAF including the Foreign Legion.
- Russian officials indicated on 15 June 22 that Russia was willing to open a humanitarian corridor to facilitate the safe extraction of civilians from the plant to Russian-controlled territory to the north.
- On the Siverskyi Donets River, RFAF have reportedly destroyed all rail and road bridges acting as Ukrainian ground lines of communication (GLoC) supporting Sievierodonetsk. Ukrainian officials, however, claim that they are still able to conduct resupply and evacuation operations.
- Unconfirmed reporting indicates that the RFAF have an approximate 10:1 advantage in terms of tube and rocket artillery, and associated ammunition.
- RFAF are reported to have captured most of Toshkivka, and have advanced towards Ustynivka – two areas of intense battles in the last few weeks.
- RFAF artillery strikes continue to be observed across other key urban settlements near the main front, including Bakhmut.
- On 14 June 22, RFAF were reported to be building up forces ahead of offensive operations around Yampil and south of Lyman.
- UAF have reportedly repelled several attempted assaults on Bohorodychne, towards Slovyansk. Clashes have also been reported in Krasnopilia; however, there has been no change in territorial control.
- In Donetsk, RFAF continue to focus on use of artillery to bombard UAF and civilian locations in Avdiivka and Marinka - no notable ground assaults were conducted in the reporting period.
French media report on the planned humanitarian corridor in Sievierodonetsk. Source: @France24_en
South – Kherson and Black Sea Coast Area of Operations
- RFAF continue to prioritize defensive operations, as the UAF reported to have made advances towards Kherson city. Reporting indicated that the UAF have had success in Oleksandrivka on 11 June 22.
- To counter these advances, RFAF deployed MLRS and Howitzers to harass and slow-down UAF rate of advance on 13 & 14 June 22.
- RFAF are reported to be mining locations near Davydiv Brid following UAF successes and likely avenue of approach toward Kherson.
- UAF have also had ground successes in southern Zaporizhia region, pushing RFAF back towards Melitopol.
- To support its defensive reinforcement, RFAF have deployed additional artillery batteries to the Kherson region on 14 June 22.
- UAF destroyed a RFAF ammunition warehouse in Nova Kavkohva on 14 June 22.
- RFAF continue to move reinforcements towards Vasylivka and Tokmak.
- RFAF shelled urban settlements across the Kherson-Mykolaiv border region throughout the reporting period.
Video posted on Telegram showing smoke coming from a reported fire at an RFAF ammunition warehouse. Source: @censor_net
- Russia has barred several prominent United Kingdom (UK) journalists from entering its territory in response to western sanctions. According to Russian officials, the journalists included on the list have been “involved in deliberate dissemination of false and one-sided information about Russia”. This list includes Clive Myrie from the BBC and Stuart Ramsay from Sky News; both of whom have reported from front-line locations during the conflict.
- Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, visited Kyiv last Friday two months after the visit of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. The agenda for the visit was reported to be focused on the UK’s commitment to delivering further military aid, including the provision of advanced weaponry to support the front-line effort. Training for the UAF was also discussed. A statement from the MOD following the meeting stated that its support for the UAF would continue to evolve to the situation on the ground.
- There has been a notable increase in Ukrainian government reporting of losses of both men and materiel on the eastern front. This has occurred concurrent to requests for additional military support from the west. Advisor to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Mykhailo Podolyak, stated that Kyiv needs 1000 155mm howitzers, 300 MLRS, 500 tanks, 2000 armoured vehicles, and 1000 drones to win the war. This request comes at a time when the UAF are taking significant losses, as well as emphasising the RFAF numerical advantage in indirect fire systems.
- Russia has reportedly begun to establish additional Battalion Tactical Groups (BTGs) from regiments and brigades that have already generated two BTGs. Traditionally RFAF have only created two BTGs per regiment/brigade due to the limited number of organic combat service support (logistics, medical, recovery and repair) units in their structures. Third BTGs devolved from formations are likely to be staffed by less competent and combat-ready personnel, with mixed and reduced levels of equipment, and may be ‘composite’ BTGs made with units from alternative parent-organisations to generate combat power (and support). This is unlikely to produce BTGs with sufficient combat power to make a difference at the front. Additionally, this is a short-term fix, as the parent Regiments are likely to be stripped of any medically-fit personnel; this will degrade their ability to train and integrate new recruits and replacements for combat losses in the medium to long term – effectively “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.
Tweet regarding the challenges facing Zelensky and the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Source: @jcokechukwu
- It is likely that the RFAF will be able to repel any further counterattacks in Kherson Oblast and may make limited gains pushing the UAF back towards the city. This is likely to require RFAF reinforcements and supporting units that could be used around Sievierodonetsk instead, thus slowing the RFAF offensive Main Effort (ME).
- It is a realistic possibility that the UAF will not withdraw from the Azot Plant and will instead become encircled and trapped by the RFAF. It is likely that the UAF will wish to withdraw units from Azot/Sievierodonetsk towards Lysychansk as part of a manoeuvre defence designed to attrit and stymie Russian forces. It is a realistic possibility that politics and optics will play a role in keeping the defenders in Azot to garner additional support from the west (in a similar vein to the massive international support that surrounded the Azovstal siege in Mariupol). Following the destruction of the bridges in Sievierodonetsk, it is unlikely an orderly withdrawal can be successfully carried out by the UAF. Additionally, following the trials (and subsequent sentencing to death) of foreign nationals captured fighting for Ukraine in Mariupol, it is unlikely that Foreign Legion fighters in Azot will be willing to surrender, thus prolonging the defence.
- The (Russian-)proposed humanitarian corridor from Azot is likely proposed to head into Russian-controlled territory and will highly likely lead to a ‘filtration’ camp where civilians will be interrogated and processed prior to being relocated to Russia, or pro-Russian Republics like Chechnya. It is likely that this outcome would deter civilians and military personnel besieged in Azot from evacuation or surrender. Due to the destruction of the bridges to the west of Sievierodonetsk it is unlikely that all 500 civilians will be able to be extracted by the UAF across the river without being struck or interdicted by the RFAF.
- Russia has concentrated manoeuvre units and artillery systems in order to capture Sievierodonetsk, at a cost to other axis of advance. The prioritisation of Sievierodonetsk is likely due to the potential propaganda ‘victory’ - Putin can declare all of Luhansk Oblast under Russian-control after the city falls, one of his stated objectives. The massing of artillery places a strain on the RFAF logistic chain to the front; however, this is unlikely to stop the incremental progress made on the ground, as the relatively static Front Line of Own Troops (FLOT) allows the creation (and dispersion) of ammunition storage facilities. Without a significant increase in ammunition and gun availability, it is unlikely that the UAF will be able to prevent further Russian advances or conduct sufficient counter-battery fires to disrupt the offensive.
- Force generation of third BTGs from regiments already committed to the conflict is likely to produce sub-standard fighting units, that will have a limited (but positive) short-term impact and a negative medium/long term impact on RFAF combat effectiveness. It is a realistic possibility that Russia will also continue to change laws and conditions for volunteers and reservists to fight in Ukraine to replace combat losses
It is a realistic possibility that the RFAF will continue to make small gains on the Kharkiv axis, forcing the UAF to withdraw back towards defensive positions on the outskirts of the city. This is likely to occur concurrently with continued bombardment to lower civilian morale and increase the national burden of Ukraine to support their population centres, as well as fixing UAF elements and preventing the reinforcement of the defence of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk.
Fighting is ongoing in Toshkivka, and once the town falls it is likely that the RFAF will continue to push north along the west bank of the river to isolate Lysychansk, as well as push west from Orikhove to control the GLoCs from the south and isolate the UAF in Zolote. This is likely shaping activity to prepare for the clearance of Lysychansk subsequent to the defeat of the UAF in Sievierodonetsk.
The presence of civilians and foreign fighters alongside the UAF in Azot is likely to cause a painful attritional defence for the UAF which may well prolong the siege beyond the next reporting period (to 22 June). It is unlikely that the UAF will be able to counter-attack or clear the city in the face of the Russian numerical advantage of personnel and artillery. Russia is unlikely to have the doctrinal 5:1 ratio required for urban clearance, and therefore is likely to sustain further heavy losses, which is likely to hamper or delay subsequent phases of the operation, such as territorial control of the entirety of Donetsk Oblast.
The UAF are likely to continue to conduct limited offensive activity near the Kherson/Mykolaiv Oblast border. It is likely that the RFAF deployment of additional artillery systems working in conjunction with deliberate and layered area-defences will prevent significant UAF territorial gains. This reinforcement, and likely additional requests for air support, will almost certainly prevent the deployment of additional forces to the ME in Luhansk Oblast.
It is highly likely that President Zelensky will hold further international talks and make public statements about Ukraine’s depleted ability to hold off RFAF advances to increase western training and material support. It is a realistic possibility that the defenders of Azot will be lionised yet sacrificed in order to delay the RFAF advance and allow time for more western weapon systems (with trained crews) to make their way to the eastern front.