Ukraine’s summer offensive reportedly made small advances in three theaters while facing stiff resistance, its Deputy Defense Minister and senior Ukrainian commanders claimed.

The active areas were: around Bakhmut; in western Zaporizhzhia toward Mala Tokmachka, and; near the administrative border between eastern Zaporizhzhia and western Donetsk regions, including intense fighting around Makarivka.

New Ukrainian probing attacks were reported at Vuhledar (Donetsk), and Novodanilivka and Novopokrovky (regional border area).

The Ukrainian offensive is facing “fierce fighting, and air and artillery superiority of the enemy, which is holding on to its positions,” said a senior Ukrainian military officer.  


·      US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at Ramstein that Ukraine still has plenty of firepower left to conduct a counter-offensive, despite initial losses inflicted by Russia.


·      “We are definitely seeing a lot of tactical deception operations and can expect additional and larger such operations as the campaign progresses. That is one of the primary benefits of being on the attack –- you have the ability to choose the time and place to your advantage while keeping the adversary guessing.” – Dylan Lee Lehrke, an analyst with the British security intelligence firm Janes, told AFP.

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·      “Russian defense is organized in layers. It’s not sophisticated: the adversary must overcome its obstacles, one after another. The Ukrainians can break through, but not force this mass of Russian units to collapse.” – Alexander Grinberg, an analyst with the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS), said.

·      “It’s likely that Kyiv is targeting cities occupied by Russia like Melitopol and Tokmak in the south, and even Lugansk in the east. Operational hubs under Russian occupation such as these are likely a key objective of the ongoing counter-offensive.” – Ivan Klyszcz, a researcher for the International Centre for Defense and Security (ICDS) in Estonia, said.


Ukraine’s Claims

Advisor to the Ukrainian Presidential Office Mykhailo Podolyak said Ukrainian forces have yet to launch counteroffensives “as such,” but acknowledged that Ukrainian forces are conducting offensive actions – which may mean that the main efforts are yet to come.

Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar, a key spokesperson for the offensive, said:

·      In eastern Ukraine, Russia is concentrating forces and resources, and redeploying reserves from other areas, including airborne assault troops.

·      Advances of approximately one kilometer took place in the theaters of Bakhmut, western Zaporizhzhia and the border area between Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk.

·      Russian losses in the Bakhmut area are 8.7 times greater than Ukrainian losses and 5.3 times greater on the southern front.


Operational Overview

Area A. TO518 / Mokri Yaly River Axis - boundary of the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions.

·      Intense fighting at Makarivka at the southern end of the Ukrainian advance thus far – and 5 to 10 kilometers away from Russia’s “third” line of defense.

·      Ukrainian probing assaults near Novodanilivka and Novopokrovky to the east of the TO518.

·      A Russian Ka-52 assault helicopter and 14 tanks were claimed as destroyed by Ukrainian forces.

Area A on June 16. Blue asterisks – Ukrainian claimed; red octagons – combat.

Area B. Western Zaporizhzhia region.

·      Increased Ukrainian probing activity south and southwest of Orikhiv following improved weather, Russian sources reported.

·      Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Department of the Ukrainian General Staff Brigadier General Oleksii Hromov claimed that Ukrainian forces have advanced up to three kilometers in this district.

Area B on June 16. Blue arrows – Ukrainian movement; red octagons – combat.

Area C. Bakhmut

·      Ukrainian assaults on the northern flank (around Orikhovo-Vasilkivka) and southern flank (around Berehivka-Yahidne) of city reported with potential gains.


Map credit: @NoelReports on Twitter

D.    Other Theaters

·      Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavsky said Ukrainian forces are making progress near Vuhledar [of up to one kilometer] in eastern Donetsk Oblast. “Our troops are advancing near Vuhledar. The destruction of enemy forces continues,” Tarnavsky said.

·      Ukrainian partisans reportedly sabotaged a railway in occupied Melitopol, according to ISW.

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