Key Takeaways from the ISW:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin published an article in North Korean state-owned newspaper Rodong Sinmun praising Russian–North Korean cooperation on the eve of his visit to North Korea, likely to frame any future support that North Korea will lend to Russia as part of a common struggle against the West.
  • Ukrainian forces struck Russian oil depots in Rostov Oblast and Krasnodar Krai overnight on June 17 to 18, using domestically produced Neptune missiles against a ground target in Russia for the second time.
  • Ukrainian forces have now conducted two strikes with its own Neptune missiles against areas in Russian territory that are within range of US-provided ATACMS but that are also protected by US policy that has established a vast sanctuary in Russian territory.
  • The Russian government is charging Ukrainian servicemen and military officials with crimes in absentia as part of its efforts to enforce Russian federal law outside of its jurisdiction and insinuate that Ukraine should not exist as an independent state.
  • Founder of the Kremlin-linked Rybar Telegram Channel, Mikhail Zvinchuk, gave his second uncharacteristically public interview within a month in which he criticized the state of Russia's war effort in Ukraine and acknowledged that Western sanctions are negatively affecting Russia's industry and economy.
  • Russian forces recently marginally advanced near Vovchansk, Svatove, and Avdiivka
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin continues efforts to groom Russian military personnel for positions in the Russian government through the Kremlin's "Time of Heroes" program.
  • Russian occupation officials continue their efforts to militarize Ukrainian youth in occupied Ukraine.

Authors: Nicole Wolkov, Angelica Evans, Kateryna Stepanenko, Grace Mappes, and George Barros.

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