Northeast – Kharkiv Area of Operations
- The Russian Federation Armed Forces (RFAF) main effort on this axis has been preventing the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) from further advancing towards the international border, and retaking a buffer zone in this area, as well as retaining the ability to shell Kharkiv.
- On 19 June 22, RFAF were unsuccessful in their attempts to break UAF lines near Rubizhne, following last week’s success in Ternova. Daily reports of clashes reported throughout the last week.
- RFAF are supported by proxy elements, including from the Donetsk Peoples’ Republic (DPR) and Luhansk Peoples’ Republic (LPR), in the Rubizhne effort.
- RFAF continue to bombard locations across Kharkiv city, and surrounding urban settlements.
- Pro-Russian social channels suggested that UAF plan to attack RFAF ground lines of communication, supporting the Izyum front.
- Iskander missiles are reported to have been launched from Belgorod region, targeting Kharkiv city and its environs.
Image showing reported missile launch from Belgorod region. Source: @RALee85
East – Donbas Area of Operations (assessed RFAF Main Effort)
- Ukrainian officials stated that, as of 21 June 22, the UAF only control the Azot Chemical Plant in Sievierodonetsk. Fighting is ongoing within the industrial zone.
- RFAF have captured Myrna Dolyna and are reported to be advancing toward Bila Hora, approximately 15km to the south-east of Lysychansk.
- To the east of the Siverskyi Donets River, fighting ongoing in Borivske and Voronove.
- No notable RFAF gains have been reported along the Izyum front; UAF continue to defend Bohorodychne. Other urban settlements under UAF control remain under heavy bombardment.
- Russian social media sources indicate that the UAF have reinforced its defensive positions around Slovyansk, ahead of a planned offensive.
- RFAF continue to target Ground Lines of Communication (GLoC), notably the T1302 route connecting Bakhmut to Lysychansk.
- RFAF are also reported to have conducted partially successful assault of Hirske on 21 June 22. Reports suggesting that UAF have withdrawn from the area to prevent encirclement in Zolote. UAF also repelled assaults on Katerynivka.
- In Donetsk, RFAF continue to bombard locations across the line of contact, including Avdiivka and Marinka.
- Ukrainian officials stated that Russia has set the 26 June 22 as its goal to control the entirety of the Luhansk region.
Video showing damage to school building in Avdiivka, following RFAF strikes. Source: @EmineDzheppar
South – Kherson and Black Sea Coast Area of Operations
- RFAF remain focused on slowing down Ukrainian advances along the line of contact, notably to the north-west of Kherson along the Mykolaiv regional border. As a result, there has been an intensification in artillery strikes in the last 7-days.
- UAF sources indicate that the RFAF are bolstering their air defence capabilities in Kherson region, in response to UAF aviation attacks against its logistics nodes in the last couple of weeks.
- RFAF continue to consolidate weapons and personnel around Vasylivka, in Zaporizhia region, to defend positions to the north.
- Reports suggest that RFAF uplift is in preparation to defend against further UAF counteroffensives.
- On 17 June 22, UAF successfully engaged an RFAF vessel, Spasatel Vasily Bekh, likely using Western-donated Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The vessel was reported to be transporting weapons and personnel to Snake Island.
- On 20 June 22, Ukraine targeted three Russian offshore oil drilling platforms. Attacks resulted in the evacuation of these facilities. Several Russian employees remain unaccounted for. The Russian Government have claimed US- or UK-made missiles were used by the UAF in these strikes.
- On 21 June 22, UAF are reported to have conducted strikes on RFAF positions on Snake Island, primarily targeting logistics nodes – initial Battle Damage Assessments (BDA) are conflicting, however, it is likely that there was no major additional damage to the Island or its garrison.
- RFAF targeted Odessa city and Oblast on several occasions throughout the reporting period; one set of strikes were not intercepted by UAF air defence capabilities.
- On 22 June 22, Ukrainian UAV reported to have targeted the Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery in Rostov Oblast, Russia. The currently unidentified UAV is seen to be used as a kamikaze drone, crashing into the facility and detonating, causing a large secondary fire. Attribution is not yet confirmed, and the fire was reportedly extinguished relatively quickly.
- Explosions were also reported in Kryvyi Rih and Dnipro in the reporting period.
Tweet of a video alleging showing the moment that the Spasatel Vasily Bekh vessel was struck by a UAF missile. Source: @TpyxaNews
Video reported to show a probable Ukrainian UAV targeting the Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery, Rostov region. Source: @UAWeapons
- Ukrainian officials indicated that the RFAF Black Sea Fleet was positioning its vessels, on 20 June 22, to conduct a series of strikes against ‘decision-making centres’ in Kyiv in response to the UAF attacks on Russian oil infrastructure. Officials warned civilians to be on high alert for a period of 96-hours.
- On 17 June 22, Lithuania made the decision to prohibit the transit of Russian steel or iron ore to Kaliningrad using its rail network. This ban led to a reported panic in the Russian exclave, with social media footage showing civilians panic buying goods. In response Russia has threatened to retaliate, accusing Lithuania of breaking international law. Lithuania has reiterated its position, stating that there is no blockade and its actions are consistent with EU policy.
- Ukraine’s approval to EU candidate status is expected to be approved later this week, following an initial consensus from members on 20 June 22. EU leaders are scheduled to meet on 23 & 24 June 22, when the green light is expected to be given. Moldova and Georgia have also applied to join the union, and their respective candidate status is also expected to be on the agenda.
- US actor, Ben Stiller, visited President Zelenskyy in Kyiv on World Refugee Day (20 June 22). The main purpose of Stiller’s visit was to highlight the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, and the role of neighbouring countries – including Poland. During his meeting with Zelenskyy, Stiller mentioned that he had visited Irpin, speaking with civilians who had been impacted by the invasion.
Tweet with video showing Ben Stiller’s visit to meet President Zelenskyy in Kyiv. Source: @SkyNews
- Ukraine’s likely approval to candidate status is a positive step; however, accession to the union is still expected to take time. Some members have intimated that Ukraine should not receive preferential treatment despite its current situation. Plus, Ukraine should have to comply with identical criteria to all other candidates. To provide context on the accession process, last nation to join the EU was Croatia. Its application took in excess of 10-years. Whilst it is likely that Ukraine’s application won’t take this long, there is currently no precedent for expediting this process. Also, EU member states will remain concerned over the threat posed by Russia, who will likely intensify its activity in Ukraine in response to the EU’s impending decision.
- Ben Stiller’s visit to Ukraine was important as it strikes a reminder to the public that the war is ongoing; not only that, but that it has entered a critical phase. This was likely in response to a notable decrease in reporting on the war across mainstream media, particularly in the United States. This message was echoed by President Zelenskyy, who continues to accommodate high-profile visits to keep the situation in Ukraine at the forefront of public discourse. Immediate reaction to Stiller’s visit confirmed the merits of this approach, as his visit dominated both print, digital, and social media channels.
- Lithuania’s actions in the last 72-hours have caused Russia to react in an increasingly belligerent manner, which is highly likely to cause concern for EU leaders. Back-channel diplomacy is likely to be ongoing, as Moscow continues to threaten Lithuania with “serious consequences” if it doesn’t reverse its decision. Despite evidence to highlight Putin’s lack of reasoning in recent months, there is nothing to suggest that direct military action will take place. Russia may posture in the short-term, deploying assets along the Belarusian border, and in the Baltic Sea.
It is highly unlikely that the RFAF will meet its reported 26 June 22 objective to control the Luhansk region, due to the slow rate of advance in Sievierodonetsk, high levels of attrition, and the complexity of urban clearance and subterranean operations. It is highly likely that the RFAF will continue to make progress to the north of Toshkivka, along the P66 route. The recent capture of Myrna Dolyna, and Ustynivka in the last 48-hours is indicative of the RFAF’s momentum on the ground. It is a realistic possibility that Bila Hora falls under RFAF control in the next 72 - 96 hours without additional UAF reinforcement.
Similarly, UAF defences will be under increasing pressure in Bilohorivka and Berestove, putting additional pressure on the UAF to seek alternate GLoC to resupply its troops in Lysychansk. Evidence of RFAF gains in Hirske are likely to confirm a UAF withdrawal from the Zolote area, to prevent likely encirclement in the next 48-hours. This will likely enable the RFAF to regroup, before a likely push west to assault urban settlements near the T1302 route and north towards Lysychansk. It is imperative for the UAF to establish a new defensive line near Vovchoyarivka to slow down the current rate of the RFAF advance. Overall rates of RFAF advance are likely to be slow, and it is currently unknown if the RFAF have sufficient ground manoeuvre units available to maintain and increase momentum to meet the 26 June deadline.
The situation in Kharkiv is likely to remain unchanged, and strikes/shelling against military and infrastructure targets is likely to endure. It is unlikely that the UAF has sufficient artillery available to maintain the presence required supporting defenders in Luhansk whilst concurrently providing effective counter-battery fires near Kharkiv, and the priority is likely to remain with the defenders of the ‘Luhansk Pocket’. Rubizhne will continue to be the centre of fighting in the next 7-days; it is possible that the RFAF will gain control of this town, strengthening its position to protect its GLoC in the medium term. Kharkiv city and its environs will continue to be subject to daily bombardment, with further missile strikes from the Belgorod region a realistic possibility.
Fighting and artillery exchanges will continue to be reported on the Kherson/Mykolaiv border. An increase in RFAF bombardment activity will likely limit opportunities for the UAF to seize new ground, despite reports indicating that they are posturing for an offensive towards Kherson city. This is unlikely to take place over the next week, and the complete clearance of Kherson city is unlikely to occur in the short term. The Ukrainian Government have implored western analysts and commentators not to report details of UAF activity in Mykolaiv in order to retain surprise and maintain operational security. The massive RFAF commitment of men and materiel to offensive activity in Luhansk is likely to prevent experienced reinforcements from being available to support the defence of Kherson Oblast. It is however a realistic possibility that strikes launched from vessels in the Black Sea, alongside combat aviation based in the Crimea will disrupt UAF offensive preparations – particularly if assembly areas are struck when occupied. In Zaporizhia, the RFAF will continue to consolidate personnel and equipment in Vasylivka, supporting the fortification of existing defensive lines to the north where the UAF have had some success.