Good morning, Kyiv Post readers. Air raid sirens are blaring in the capital at 7:10 a.m., the second alert of the morning. Here’s your Morning Memo for June 13 to get you up to speed on events in Ukraine:
· Top Headlines
· Military Situation Report (Day 475)
· President Zelensky’s Message of the Day
· FYI Kyiv Locals
· Infographic of the Day
Seven villages spanning 90 square kilometers of territory have been confirmed as deoccupied by Ukrainian forces, as their summer offensive enters its second week. Four are in the area of the TO518 road near the boundary between Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts – Neskuchne, Storozheve; Blahodatne and Makarivka; three are in Zaporizhzhia Oblast – Lobkove, Levadne and Novodarivka. Read more in the Military Situation Report below.
Kyiv, Kharkiv and Kryvyi Rih were the targets of Russian missile and drone attacks overnight. All projectiles aimed at Kyiv were reported as destroyed. In Kharkiv, Shahed drones hit a business site and an apartment building. In Kryvyi Rih of Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, both civilian fatalities and wounded have occurred, according to local authorities.
Humanitarian cargo from 12 of 19 donor countries has been delivered to help victims of the Kakhovka dam’s destruction, according to Ukraine’s Foreign Minister. Dmytro Kuleba also said that a UN mission has been formed and is ready to go to the Russian-occupied left bank of the Dnipro River, but security guarantees from the Russian side are needed. A total of 10 people were killed as a result of the dam explosion; another 20 people were injured, including five police officers and two search and rescue workers. Thirty-five people are missing, including seven children.
The United States will today announce a new package of $325 million in military aid for Ukraine. The new package will be directly from the military stocks of the US Army and is likely to include Bradley and Stryker infantry fighting vehicles, as well as ammunition for HIMARS and NASAMS.
At the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius, Ukraine will receive a “robust package” of support to send a signal to Putin that international unity remains strong, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. Blinken also said that Ukrainian success in its summer offensive “would strengthen its position at any negotiating table that emerges, and it may have the effect as well of actually causing Putin to finally focus on negotiating an end to the war that he started.”
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he is concerned that Russia could withdraw from the Black Sea grain agreement on July 17. Russia previously threatened to withdraw from the agreement if its demand to re-open an ammonia fertilizer pipeline – owned by a Putin associate – is not met. The UN has previously been sympathetic to the demand. Meanwhile, the members of the Group of Seven (G7) are preparing to combat the theft of Ukrainian grain by Russia, according to the UK’s Minister for Farming. A new scheme will involve using chemical identification of grain shipments’ origins, the minister said.
President Zelensky said new measures to improve air raid shelters in Ukraine’s cities will be announced Friday. This follows an audit of some 63,000 shelters which found that a third were closed or unsuitable. “The results are disappointing, to say the least,” Zelensky said.
New Zealand’s public broadcaster apologized for publishing “pro-Kremlin garbage” on its website after wire stories about the war on Ukraine were found to have been altered. Most of the stories were written by Reuters and were changed at Radio New Zealand to include Russian propaganda. Changes included the addition of pro-Kremlin narratives such as “neo-Nazis had created a threat” to Russia’s borders. A digital journalist from RNZ has been placed on leave pending the result of an employment investigation.
Military Situation Report
Ukraine has yet to commit the bulk of its newly trained and equipped forces to its summer offensive. Military experts consider the current activities as largely probing and reconnaissance attacks designed to reveal the whereabouts of Russia’s artillery and search out areas of vulnerability in their lines. That is in contrast to major movements of mechanized infantry; one armored brigade is likely to have 250-plus armored vehicles of different types. Ukraine is estimated to have eight such new brigades.
Ukraine also continues to conduct “shaping activities” behind Russian lines. See the Infographic of the Day below for an insight into May’s activities.
It is likely that current Ukrainian forays are encountering the first line of Russian defenses, such as minefields and some trench systems with infantry. Thereafter, according to satellite imagery, there are likely to be concentric lines of:
· Steel hedgehogs and concrete dragons-teeth obstacles to stop tanks and other armored vehicles.
· Anti-tank ditches that are often vast – up to five or six meters wide by five or six meters deep.
· Fortified personnel trenches and concrete bunkers at the rear of the defense, where defensive reserves are kept.
Tokmak is one of the occupied cities that is heavily fortified and in the final line of defense. It is a key hub on the only railway line between Russian forces in the east of the occupied land corridor and Kherson Oblast to the west.
The Russian forces’ physical defensive infrastructure, in addition to their improved drone and electronic/communications weaponry, has been built up in the last 16 months.
In this context, Ukrainian summer offensive activities continued to take place, largely in the form of probing attacks, in four sectors of the front: sector 1) near the administrative boundary between Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia Oblasts; sector 2) southwestern Zaporizhzhia; sector 3) northern Donetsk including Bakhmut; sector 4) central Donetsk including Avdiivka.
In Sector 1, Ukrainian forces continued to push south from four recaptured villages near the TO518 road toward Staromlynivka, a strategic point on the route to Mariupol. They appear to be moving along the Mokri Yaly River, over which Russian forces have blown a bridge. However, Russian sources reported that they recaptured Makarivka, the southern-most village along the axis. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar denied this and said that Ukrainian forces still control Makarivka.
In Sector 2, the villages of Lobkove, Levadne and Novodarivka were deoccupied. This may give Ukrainian forces there to go south toward Tokmak, which has been heavily shelled, and Melitopol, and thereby flank Russian forces on the land corridor between Russia and occupied Crimea. Or, they could turn east to link up via Rivnopil with the Ukrainian contingents and push along the TO518 route toward Mariupol. At the same time, Russian forces shelled the Ukrainian-controlled town of Orikhiv with guided aerial bombs. As a result one person was killed and another one was injured, the Zaporizhzhia Regional Administration reported
In Sector 3, the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) seized control of 16 square kilometers around Bakhmut, according to Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar. “Advancement of troops: left flank – 1.5 kilometers, right flank – 3.5 kilometers; the area of the territory taken under control – 16 square kilometers,” Maliar posted on Telegram in an unverified claim.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said least four civilians were killed and 16 others wounded by Russian shelling over the last 24 hours, including in Donetsk and Kharkiv. There are additional casualties from the bombing of Kryvyi Rih early this morning.
Ukrainian forces shot down a Russian Ka-52 attack helicopter yesterday.
Institute for the Study of War
The June 12 campaign assessment from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) had the following key take-aways:
General Staff Report
The update at 0600 on June 13 (Day 475) for the last 24 hours from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reflects a surge in military activities and reports:
· Russian missile and drone attacks consisting of 14 Kh-101/555 missiles (10 destroyed); 4 Shahed drones (1 destroyed); 2 Kalibr missiles.
· 31 Russian air raids;
· 47 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) attacks;
· 26 defensive firefights, including 14 around Mariinka;
· Russian air raids took place in locations in the following oblasts: Luhansk (1); Donetsk (14); Zaporizhzhia (1), and; Dnipropetrovsk (1);
· Russian artillery, rocket and mortar fire took place in locations in the following oblasts: Chernihiv (2); Kharkiv (16); Sumy (9); Luhansk (3); Donetsk (39); Zaporizhzhia (10), and; Kherson (9);
· Ukrainian air forces undertook 9 raids against Russian positions and equipment.
President Zelensky’s Message
“The battles are fierce, but we are moving forward, and this is very important. The enemy’s losses are exactly what we need. Although the weather is unfavorable these days – the rains make our task more difficult – the strength of our warriors still yields results.” – Volodymyr Zelensky
FYI Kyiv Locals
Kyivites are urged to take home animals rescued from the Kherson flood region.
A temporary animal shelter has been established to help the animals.
During the past weekend, the shelter managed to place almost 30 animals with Kyiv families. Further places have become available for nearly 40 more four-legged friends, whom veterinary specialists have cleared.
You can get to know the animals, be assisted in your adoption, and take a furry survivor home from the temporary animal shelter at Akademika Hlushkova Ave. 1, 16th pavilion. Advance registration: (093 540 1218) from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Infographic of the Day
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