Good morning, Kyiv Post readers. Here’s your Morning Memo for June 6 to get you up to speed on events in Ukraine:

Top Headlines

Ukraine’s military activity surged as part of its offensive actions to retake Russian occupied territories. This included ramped up “combined arms” assaults – using artillery strikes and tank-based ground attacks – on many parts of the contact line in the Donetsk region. This includes around Bakhmut where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his troops were “moving forward.” A high number of Ukrainian air strikes – 24 – also reportedly occurred.

After Russian forces blew up the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant, Ukraine’s National Security Council has been convened. Evacuation of local residents from the right bank of the Kherson region has begun.

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All 35 missiles fired by Russia against Ukraine early this morning were intercepted, according to the Ukrainian Air Force. According to the military, the Russians again attacked from the Caspian Sea area with six Tu-95s strategic bombers armed with Kh-101/555 cruise missiles. The majority were targeting Kyiv.

Ukraine has enough weapons for its counteroffensive, said Ukraine’s Foreign Minister. Dmytro Kuleba did not comment on whether the counteroffensive had begun. According to him, the most important thing is not when it will start, but that it will end with Ukraine’s victory, which will make Kyiv’s membership in NATO possible, the minister added.

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Anti-Putin forces said they killed a colonel of the Russian regular army in ongoing firefights in the Belgorod Region in Russia.

Not one Ukrainian pilot has gone abroad to start training yet as part of allies’ “jet coalition,” according to Ukraine’s Air Force chief. Colonel Yurii Ihnat, spokesperson of the Air Force said “the first groups of aviation specialists have left to study the possibility of further deployment of training for Ukrainian pilots.”

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Australia, the United States and Ukraine are discussing sending 41 Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornets to Kyiv, according to the Australian Financial Review.

In the UN’s highest court, Ukraine will today accuse Russia of backing pro-Moscow rebels for years before last year’s full-scale invasion. Kyiv and Moscow will give their arguments to judges at the International Court of Justice in The Hague in a case that was originally started by Ukraine back in 2017. The accusation alleges that Russia breached UN conventions on financing terrorism and on racial discrimination and is seeking damages. About 13,000 people died in the eight years of violence before the 2022 full-scale invasion.

Military Situation Report

Russia’s claims that its military had inflicted massive casualties on advancing Ukrainian troops are "wild fantasies,” Prigozhin, [boss of Russian mercenary group Wagner] said. Moscow’s defense ministry said Monday it had thwarted a Ukrainian offensive, killing a total of “1,500 servicemen” and destroying more than 100 armored vehicles.

Prigozhin also said Kyiv’s troops had made gains near the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. Russian troops, he said, were “slowly” leaving the village of Berkhivka near Bakhmut, which he said was a “disgrace.”

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Two civilians were killed and nine were injured as a result of Russian shelling or missiles strikes in the Kherson and Kharkiv regions.

The June 5 campaign assessment from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) had the following key take-aways:

·      Russian and Ukrainian officials are signaling the start of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.

·      Ukrainian forces conducted limited successful offensives north and southwest of Bakhmut.

·      The Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) claimed it continues to operate in a Russian border settlement in the Belgorod region.

·      The Russian Black Sea Fleet is attempting to mitigate complications with logistical support in occupied Crimea by shifting resources to mainland Russia.

·      Russian forces reportedly conducted unsuccessful reconnaissance-in-force operations northeast of Kharkiv City and continued limited ground attacks northeast of Kupiansk and along the Svatove-Kreminna line.

·      Russian forces continued limited offensive operations on the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line.

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·      Ukrainian forces continued ground attacks in the western Donetsk and eastern Zaporizhzhia regions and made further limited tactical gains.

·      Ukrainian forces continue to target rear Russian positions throughout southern Ukraine.

The update at 06:00 on June 6 (Day 468) for the last 24 hours from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reflects a surge in military activities and reports:

·      68 Russian air assaults, including an assault with 35 Kh-101 missiles – all of which were destroyed – and an assault with three S-300 directed at Kharkiv;  

·      64 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) attacks;

·      40 firefights resulting in 230 Russian KIA and 330 Russian wounded, and 45 military vehicles and a Ka-52 helicopter destroyed.

·      Russian artillery, rocket, mortar and/or airborne fire in the following regions: Kharkiv (29); Sumy (15); Luhansk (three); Donetsk (39); Zaporizhya (15), and Kherson (6), and;

·      Ukrainian air forces undertook 25 raids against Russian positions.

President Zelensky’s Message

“Russian terrorists. The destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam only confirms for the whole world that they must be expelled from every corner of Ukrainian land. Not a single meter should be left to them, because they use every meter for terror.

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“It’s only Ukraine’s victory that will return security. And this victory will come.

“The terrorists will not be able to stop Ukraine with water, missiles or anything else. All services are working. I have convened the National Security and Defense Council.” – Volodymyr Zelensky

FYI Kyiv Locals

The funeral of young Ukrainian soldier Ostap Onistrat will take place at St. Vasyl the Great’s Church at 11:30 a.m. today.

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