“The overall slower than expected pace of Ukrainian counteroffensive operations is not emblematic of Ukraine’s wider offensive potential, and Ukrainian forces are likely successfully setting conditions for a future main effort despite initial setbacks,” the ISW said in its latest update.
In commenting on the alleged “slowness” of Ukraine’s offensive, analysts yesterday said that current limited Ukrainian assaults are likely designed to draw Russian artillery fire. Once that fire is revealed, it is targeted with counter-battery fire by Ukrainian forces.
This tactic to draw fire also exposes Russian ammo depots and logistics routes. The tactic is apparently less about taking territory than destroying Russian artillery and logistical operations prior to potential further advances by Ukrainian mechanized infantry units.
Ukraine’s and Other Claims
Zelensky stated that Ukrainian counteroffensive progress has been “slower than desired” and will take time.Zelensky noted that Ukrainian advances are not easy because Russian forces have mined 200,000 square kilometers of frontline territory.
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said it was unproductive to measure the success of Ukraine’s offensive “solely by kilometers or the number of liberated settlements.”
The chief of Russian mercenary army Wagner accused Moscow’s top brass of deceiving Russians about the course of Ukraine’s offensive and pointed to Kyiv’s progress on the battlefield.
Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin accused his own defense ministry of not telling the truth and losing territory to Ukrainian troops. “Huge chunks have been handed over to the enemy,” he said, according to an AFP report, and added that Ukrainian troops have already sought to cross the Dnipro River.
❗️Prigozhin accuses the Russian MoD of hiding facts about the Ukrainian offensive and Russian losses.— WarTranslated (Dmitri) (@wartranslated) June 21, 2023
In a 4-minute audio message, Prigozhin declares there are areas where no military reporters are allowed to hide the truth about casualties Russia is taking during the… pic.twitter.com/yuUXSZRLYA
Brigadier General, Commander of the Tavriia Operational and Strategic Group of Forces in Ukraine’s south, said that “our army has been systematically driving the enemy out of their positions and advancing. The progress of the Armed Forces is noticeable. Units of Ukraine’s rocket forces and artillery carried out 1,119 firing missions over the past 24 hours.” The commander claimed. Russian losses of almost three companies and 68 pieces of military equipment.
Zone A. TO518 / Mokri Yaly River Axis - boundary of the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions
Ukraine’s General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces continued offensive operations in the western Donetsk-eastern Zaporizhzhia border area, and Russian sources continued to discuss Ukrainian attacks in this area, including near Rivnopil and Urozhaine. The southern-most village that Ukraine has claimed in this area remains Makarivka. ISW also said there was action in this zone.
Russian forces shelled the reclaimed Ukrainian villages of Neskuchne, Storozhyve and Makarivka, according to Ukraine’s General Staff.
Zone B. Western Zaporizhzhia
Ukrainian military reported the downing of a Russian Mi-24 helicopter in the Zaporizhzhia region.
A well-known Russian propagandist and milblogger cited by ISW claimed that the “Surovikin Line” constructed in occupied Zaporizhzhia region consists of a forward line of defense with several dozen platoon and company strongholds, and a main defensive line roughly 25 kilometers back with minefields, anti-tank ditches, and other defensive structures in between, though the extent of these defenses along the entire front line is unclear.
According to ISW, “these Russian defensive lines are likely arrayed to enable a first echelon of Russian forces, deployed to the forward defensive line, to slow advancing Ukrainian forces while a second echelon of forces deployed closer to the main defensive line launch counterattacks against any Ukrainian breakthroughs, as well as providing prepared fallback positions for frontline Russian units.”
Independent satellite imagery showed new revetments for helicopters at the Berdyansk airfield in occupied southern Zaporizhzhia region.
Russian helicopters and new revetments are visible in recent satellite imagery of Russian-occupied Berdyansk airport. pic.twitter.com/uK7WptzZKY— Brady Africk (@bradyafr) June 21, 2023
Zone C. Bakhmut
Other Zones & Activity, including Northern Donetsk, Avdiivka and Marinka.
Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar stated Ukrainian troops had partial success during offensive operations near Bilohorivka and Dibrova (about 10 kilometers south of Kreminna in the Luhansk Region).
A Russian milblogger [Ed. - and propagandist] claimed that Ukrainian forces are counterattacking in the areas south and west of Kreminna.
Explosions were reported at Sevastopol in occupied Crimea; images were released of a vehicle bridge near Chonhar, also in occupied Crimea, that appears to have sustained heavy damage, but the situation is unverified.
Ukraine’s General Staff said that Russian assaults occurred at Avdiivka and Pervomaisk.
In the Mariinka area, Ukraine’s General Staff said that Russian assaults occurred at Marinka, Pobyeda, and Novomykhailivka, as well as at Vuhledar. Russian sources said Ukrainian forces counter-attacked at Novomykhailivka.
An intense artillery duel continued in the Kherson region, where Ukraine’s General Staff reported 21 population settlements as shelled by Russian forces.
The daily 06:00 update of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported:
- 44 Russian air strikes;
- 47 Russian Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) strikes;
- 40 defensive firefights around Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiika and Marinka areas;
- Russian air raids took place in locations in the following oblasts: Chernihiv (two), Sumy (one), Donetsk (12); Zaporizhzhia (five), Kharkiv (one), Luhansk (two), and Kherson (three);
- Russian artillery, rocket and mortar fire took place in locations in the following regions: Chernihiv (four); Kharkiv (27); Sumy (14); Luhansk (five); Donetsk (52); Zaporizhzhia (eight), Kherson (21), and Dnipropetrovsk (one); and,
- The Ukrainian Air Forces made 12 air strikes against Russian positions and equipment.
- Two Ukrainian civilians in Kyiv were killed by overnight Russian missile strikes.
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