1) The Gains
Ukrainian forces on Tuesday captured the village of Urozhaine in the boundary area between the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions, which brings the total number of deoccupied villages during Ukraine’s summer offensive to eight.
The gain means that the summer offensive has recovered some 100 square kilometers (39 square miles) of Ukrainian territory from Russian occupation forces – a figure also given yesterday by Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin.
However, the offensive continues to take the form of probes by Ukrainian forces rather than major movements of large-scale mechanized infantry units at the brigade level.
On Wednesday afternoon, General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, Commander of the Tavria Operational-Strategic Grouping, claimed nearly 400 Russian troops had been killed or wounded on Tavria axis alone in a single day.
“In the Tavria direction, our Defense Forces continue to knock out the Russians from their positions,” he said.
“Over the last day, the enemy's losses in terms of killed and wounded amounted to almost four companies.”
You can read a full report on the latest battlefield developments here and we’ll have another report on today’s updates first thing in the morning.
While you wait, here's a video of Ukrainians hitting Russian positions with drones...
2) The Injured Chechen
A Ukrainian long-range strike targeted a close ally of Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov, severely injuring him, according to unconfirmed reports.
The missile also killed or injured dozens of members of his entourage, news reports and information platforms reported on Wednesday, June 14.
Adam Sultanovich Delimkhanov, a member of the Duma (Russia’s parliament) and longtime Kadyrov associate, was leading a delegation visiting a penitentiary in Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine’s Donbas region, when he and his party were hit by a salvo of long-range artillery shells or precision-guided missiles, the high-profile Ukrainian military reporter Yuriy Butusov reported.
Russian war-associated Telegram channels said Delimkhanov and his entourage had been inspecting the site for possible use by Kremlin forces, and waiting for the arrival of a senior Russian general, before the barrage hit.
Kadyrov himself later denied the reports that Delimkhanov had been injured, saying he was "alive and well and not even wounded". There has been no comment from Delimkhanov yet.
You can read a full report on the incident here.
The news comes just a day after reports emerged that Ukraine had managed to take out yet another Major General, Sergey Goryachev.
In a post on Telegram, a pro-Kremlin miliblogger reported that 52-year-old was killed in a Ukrainian attack in the Zaporizhzhia region on Monday.
3) The Russian Recruits
The lower house of Russia's parliament has given initial backing to new legislation that would allow the defense ministry to recruit suspected or convicted criminals as soldiers to fight in Ukraine.
Russia’s so-called “special operation” was, according to initial Kremlin plans, only supposed to last a matter of weeks and as it drags on into its sixteenth month, Moscow faces increasing manpower issues.
Last month, Ukraine’s General Staff claimed the total number of Russian troops killed or wounded during its full-scale invasion of Ukraine has surpassed 200,000.
The figure means Russia has lost a number of troops so large – 217,330 – it surpasses many countries’ entire serving armed forces.
Only three NATO armies have more total regular troops than that number – the US, Turkey and France, while the other 28 members all have fewer troops.
Even the bottom 16 countries between them do not have more.
The British Army ranks fourth with 194,000 regular soldiers, fewer than Russian losses.
4) The Wagner Chief
The head of Russia’s mercenary Wagner group has lauded the competence of the Ukrainian Armed Forces summer offensive in a video posted on social media, directly contradicting the assessment given by President Putin the day before.
"They are cutting off certain parts in the Zaporizhzhia direction,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said in a video shared on a propaganda Telegram channel on Wednesday June 14. “At the same time, they are covering their left flank – where all these battles are now, [the Ukrainian village of] Urozhaine, and so on.
“They estimate the area they have managed to occupy as 100 sq. km. According to my calculations, [it may be] even a little more.”
Terrorist Prigozhin confirmed that Wagner PMC will not sign contracts with Russian ministry of defense. He said Wagner would return to combat on 5th August.— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) June 14, 2023
Prigozhin also praised the Ukrainian Army. pic.twitter.com/xzrqIeHzJG
Prigozhin’s assessment of Ukraine’s summer offensive differs wildly from that coming from the Kremlin.
On Tuesday during a press conference, Putin claimed that Ukraine was suffering massive losses, saying that Kyiv's casualties were ten times higher than Moscow's.
“Their losses are approaching a level that could be described as catastrophic,” he said. “We have 10 times fewer losses than those of the armed forces of Ukraine.”
He also claimed that Ukraine has lost 160 tanks and more than 360 other armored vehicles in recent days’ but provided no evidence for his claims.
5) The POWs
The Red Cross said Wednesday it had visited 1,500 prisoners of war on both sides of the conflict in Ukraine, a practise that has drawn criticism from President Zelensky in the past.
The International Committee of the Red Cross stressed the importance of such access to both Russian and Ukrainian POWs, saying that are vital for checking detention conditions, offering support and sometimes books, hygiene items and other personal necessities, and also to relay information between the prisoners and their loved-ones.
"For the prisoners of war and their families who have been able to share news, the impact is ... immeasurable," Ariane Bauer, ICRC's regional director for Europe and central Asia, told reporters.
But the organisation has faced repeated criticism by President Zelensky on the ultra-sensitive subject of POW visits and he has accused the Red Cross of not pushing hard enough to gain access to Ukrainian troops captured by Russian forces.
Visiting POWs is core to the ICRC's mission enshrined in the Geneva Conventions, which define the laws of war.
The organisation sees it as a vital part of its mandate to "access prisoners of war on both sides", ICRC president Mirjana Spoljaric told reporters last week.
"We are progressing," he added.
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