Ukrainian forces continued limited assaults in three theatres of the front with potentially small territorial gains in western Zaporizhzhia and near Bakhmut, while Russian troops heavily counterattacked in the area of Makarivka near the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk boundary.
Russian forces have stepped up unilateral ground and artillery attacks and air raids in eastern Ukraine.
Western military officials, speaking anonymously to Sky News, said:
· Russian forces have generally put up a good defense and have been falling back between tactical lines.
· This maneuver defense approach is proving challenging for the Ukrainians and also costly to attacking forces.
· The first counteroffensive actions are more than ‘probing operations.’ These are full-scale movements of armor and heavy equipment into the Russian security zone.
· Progress is slow because of minefields and obstacles, but this is as expected.
A key spokesperson for the offensive, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar, said on national television:
· Ukrainian troops are “conducting offensive operations, as well as defensive ones, in various parts of the front”;
· In the south, troops are facing mine fields impeding progress and increased Russian use of anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and kamikaze drones;
· Increased Russian assaults in Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Marinka in Donetsk region, including some 40 firefights in last 24 hours.
· “A very serious confrontation is ongoing.”
In a briefing on Thursday afternoon, Maliar reported progress despite contending with strong resistance from Russian troops, including on the southern front.
"There is a gradual but steady advance of the armed forces... At the same time, the enemy is putting up powerful resistance" on the southern front, she said in a briefing, adding the troops had advanced in the east as well.
Area A. TO518 / Mokri Yaly River Axis – boundary of the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions.
· Heavy rain and poor weather;
· Combat around the villages of Makarivka, Urozhaine, Staromayorske, Rivnopil, Novodonetske and Novomayorske;
· Russian counterattacks on positions claimed by Ukrainian forces in the last week around Makarivka and Urozhaine;
· Ukrainian de-mining activity between Levadne, Pryvutne and Makarivka to potentially, according to one milblogger, “even out the front line before conducting another deep penetration of the Russian defenses”;
· Four Ukrainian aerial strikes geolocated with destruction of tanks and military hardware in Staromaiorske, Zavitne Bazhannya, and Staromlynivka;
· Uptick in number of tactical combat air sorties over southern Ukraine, according to British Defense Intelligence;
· strikes on Russian electronic warfare (EW) systems prioritized according to Ukrainian Tavrisk Group of Forces Spokesperson Valery Shershen, and;
· Claims of major Russian casualties (up to four companies) and military hardware losses (56 units) by Ukrainian regional commander.
Area A on June 15. Blue asterisks – Ukrainian claimed; red octagons – combat.
Area B. Western Zaporizhzhia region.
· Renewed Ukrainian probing activity west of Orihiv toward Lobkove and Verkhna Krynytsya, reported by Russian sources.
· Ukrainian claims of gains of between 300 and 350 meters, but of undefined territory.
Area B on June 15. Blue arrows – Ukrainian movement; red octagons – combat.
Area C. Bakhmut
· Ukrainian assaults on the northern flank (around Orikhovo-Vasilkivka) and southern flank (around Yahidne) of city reported with potential gains of 200 to 500 meters, and;
· Russian counterattacks reportedly repelled.
Map credit: @NoelReports on Twitter
Other Theatres & Activity
· Russian VKS (Air Force) increased the rate of tactical combat sorties, especially in Donetsk where 9 sorties were recorded.
· Krasnodar in Russia experienced a series of explosions last night.
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