Snapshot

  • Ukrainian forces have taken the village of Pyatyhatky in western Zaporizhzhia region, Deputy Defence Minister Ganna Maliar said on social media on Monday.
  • British intelligence said that Russian forces in southern Ukraine “often conduct relatively effective defensive operations,” but are experiencing loss levels not seen since the peak of the Bakhmut battle in March.
  • A Ukrainian advance of up to 1 kilometer was claimed near Avdiivka in Donetsk, and further pushes were reported on the flanks of Bakhmut.
  • Potential behind-the-lines activity continued with explosions at: an ammo dump in Rykove in the occupied Kherson region; a military hospital being constructed in Bryansk, Russia; and, an apartment building in Belgorod, Russia.

Analysis

CNN’s Tim Lester writes:

“Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian forces has not yet gained the momentum that some overly optimistic observers anticipated. So far it feels like the prelude to a more expansive act.

“Offensive operations so far have yielded modest gains in the southern regions like Zaporizhzhia with multi-layered Russian defenses proving tough to crack. The area is seen as a major target for Ukraine as it would mean breaking Russia’s land-bridge between annexed Crimea and eastern Donetsk.

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“But there are also signs that Ukrainian forces are spreading their bets, looking to pare back Russian gains around Bakhmut and exploiting what they perceive as vulnerabilities elsewhere in the east.

“Rather than a display of overwhelming force that concentrates newly formed brigades in one direction, the Ukrainians appear to be trying to pull Russian units in different directions, working out which might be weak or exploiting lines separating different battalions.”

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Ukraine’s Claims

·      President Zelensky denied Russia has destroyed any Patriot missile systems, following Vladimir Putin’s allegation that five had been destroyed near Kyiv.

·      Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavsky, Commander of the Tavria Group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which covers southern Ukraine, stated that Russian losses in this area amounted to over four companies and 77 units of enemy military vehicles in the last 24 hours.

The Need for a War Strategy
Other Topics of Interest

The Need for a War Strategy

Lamentations, condemnations and international court rulings are all well and good, but Ukraine needs a victory, and right now it needs shells and F16s.

·      Ukrainian military authorities said they destroyed two Russian Ka-52 attack helicopters, including one by Ukrainian Marines serving on the Zaporizhzhia/Donetsk administrative boundary area, and 12 drones over the course of June 17-18.

Operational Overview

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

·      ISW noted that Ukrainian forces continued their offensive operations south, southwest and southeast of Velyka Novosilka close to the administrative border between the two regions.

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Area B: Western Zaporizhzhia

·      Ukrainian forces have recaptured the village of Pyatykhatky on the southern front, Deputy Defence Minister Ganna Maliar said on social media on Monday. Maliar said "eight settlements have been liberated" in total this month since the start of a counteroffensive, with 113 square kilometres of territory recaptured.

·      Russian military officials later denied that Pyatyhatky was under Ukrainian control, but Russian milbloggers, such as WarGonzo, indicated that Russian forces had been pulled out. Ukrainian officials maintained their policy of not commenting on operational matters.

·      Ukrainian forces also conducted offensive actions southwest and southeast of Orikhiv in the western part of Zaporizhzhia Oblast. There was intense combat near Robotyne, and a Russian ammo dump near Rykove was destroyed.

·      Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar claimed that Ukrainian forces advanced up to two kilometers on several fronts in southern Ukraine.

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·      There was an uptick in Russian combat aviation strikes in the Zaporizhzhia region (and the boundary of Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions) following the deployment of additional helicopters to an airfield near Berdyansk. 

Area C: Bakhmut

·      Deputy Defense Minister Malyar confirmed Ukrainian forces are continuing offensive operations near Bakhmut, while Russian sources said Ukrainian forces attacked the northern and southern outskirts of Bakhmut.

·      On Friday, the commander of Ukrainian Land Forces, Oleksandr Syrsky, said the Russians “continue to move some of the most combat-ready units to the Bakhmut direction.”

·      A soldier with a Ukrainian unit claimed that a strategic ridge near the Berkhivske Reservoir has been taken. 

Other Theaters/Activity

·      Local military officials claimed that Ukrainian forces advanced more than one kilometer in the vicinity of Avdiivka.

·      Russian media outlet MediaZone said it has confirmed that, in the last four weeks, the Russian army has lost one general, five colonels and four lieutenant-colonels in combat. The confirmed number of high-ranking officers to have died during the full-scale war is now 251, according to the independent service.

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General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine update at 0600 on June 19 (Day 481) reports:

·      59 Russian air raids; 

·      100 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) attacks;

·      24 defensive firefights;

·      Russian air raids took place in locations in the following oblasts: Donetsk (10); Zaporizhzhia (4), Kharkiv (4), and Kherson (1);

·      Russian artillery, rocket and mortar fire took place in locations in the following oblasts: Chernihiv (1), Kharkiv (20), Sumy (27), Luhansk (4), Donetsk (46), Zaporizhzhia (10), Kherson (17) and Mykolaiv (1);

·      Ukrainian air forces undertook 10 raids.

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