Key Takeaways

  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) continues to respond disproportionately to limited raids into Russian territory, likely to project confidence and competence in the MoD’s ability to respond to perceived threats.
  • Select Russian milbloggers continue to use the situation in Belgorod Oblast to criticize Russian leadership while others downplayed the recent raids.
  • Russian forces conducted another series of strikes against Ukraine using cruise missiles and Iranian-made drones on the night of June 1-2.
  • Head of the Russian Main Organizational and Mobilization Directorate of the General Staff Colonel General Yevgeny Burdinsky announced that the Russian military will form two new military districts and other new formations by the end of 2023. Budinsky's statements likely aim to reintroduce and reamplify Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s standing proposals to significantly expand the Russian military.
  • Russian sources appear to be reorienting the debate about the attribution of responsibility for small-scale tactical gains in the Bakhmut area to an ongoing offensive operation to capture Marinka, a small, almost leveled settlement where Russian sources have struggled to advance since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. These discussions about responsibility coincide with the reported arrival of Chechen forces to assume responsibility of the Donetsk front and complete the capture of Marinka and other settlements in the area.
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on June 2 that calls for a ceasefire are unacceptable because they will freeze the current lines in place and enable Putin to consolidate control of occupied areas and prepare for future attacks on Ukraine.
  • Russian forces continued ground attacks in the Kupyansk and Kreminna directions.
  • Russian forces conducted ground attacks in Marinka.
  • A Russian source claimed that Ukrainian forces made territorial gains during limited counterattacks in western Donetsk Oblast.
  • Russian sources claimed that Ukraine struck the port area in occupied Berdyansk, Zaporizhia Oblast, with Storm Shadow missiles.
  • Ukrainian sources continue to report that Russian cadets from higher military academies are deploying to areas near the Ukrainian border within Russia.
  • Russian occupation authorities continue to forcibly transport Ukrainian children to Russia under the guise of medical rehabilitation schemes.

Authors: Layne Philipson, Riley Bailey, Grace Mappes, Karolina Hird, and Fredrick W. Kagan

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