UAF: Kremlin Ground Attacks petering out, Severodonetsk sees no assaults

Russian Federation (RF) ground assaults have stopped across almost all of Ukraine and the attacks that are taking place are limited in scale, Ukraine’s Army General Staff (AGS) said in a Thursday, June 9 statement.

The June 9 AGS morning situation estimate said Ukraine Armed Forces (UAF) units observed RF “offensive and assault operations” only at a total of five locations in the Donbas sector. Two unsuccessful attacks took place near the villages of Bohorodychne and Dovhenke, the statement said.

Both villages are less than three kilometers from the M03 highway. The cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, both announced as objectives of an RF offensive in Donbas launched in late April, are either on or adjacent to the M03 highway.


Further south, the report added, the RF attempted to push towards the city of Bakhmut, launching limited attacks near the settlements of Roty, Mykolayivka and Komyshuvakha.

The AGS statement said that “Ukrainian defenders inflicted heavy losses on the occupiers and the enemy was forced to withdraw” with both the 1st and 100th motorized infantry brigades reportedly suffering heavy losses.

Both formations are, according to news reports, manned by Ukrainians living in RF-occupied Luhansk Region, who have volunteered or been conscripted into service to fight against Kyiv’s forces.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said on Wednesday, June 8 that over the past 24 hours UAF units deployed in Donbas claimed they destroyed three tanks and two armored combat vehicles. UAF air defense units claimed they shot down six Orlan-10 unmanned aerial vehicles, the statement said.

Two areas of intense and repeated RF ground assaults in recent weeks, the city of Severodonetsk and the town of Lyman, according to the AGS report, saw fire strikes by mortar, artillery and multiple rocket launchers, though aside from reconnaissance patrols, RF infantry and armor stayed under cover.


The independent Kyiv-based UNIAN news agency confirmed a distinct drop off in RF ground movements in Severodonetsk, a city which has for more than three weeks been the epicenter of RF attacks for the entire Donbas sector. An article from Thursday, June 9 by the agency said RF units in the city were not attacking but “probing for weak points.”

Even the pro-Russia Readovka Telegram news platform tacitly conceded that Kremlin ground assaults in Severodonetsk had come to an effective halt for the time being, saying RF units in Severodonetsk were “looking for a way to regain the initiative.”

Except for attempts to gain ground towards the M03 highway and the city of Bakhmut, according the AGS, over the last 24 hours RF forces avoided major ground fighting across the 1,000 kilometer front, instead firing artillery and launching air strikes against UAF positions and targets around them.

Reportedly, civilian homes and businesses located in Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Privillya, Ustynivka, Horske and Katerynivka, Komyshuvakha, Mykolayivka, Berestovo, Bilohorivka, Semyhirya and Mayorsky were hit by RF artillery.

The AGS statement said RF air strikes hit the villages Verkhnyokamyanka, Zolote, Berestove, Slovyansk and New York, and an RF surface-to-surface missile hit the city of Slovyansk.


Pundits on both sides of the fighting lines said the dramatic reduction in the scale of RF ground attacks in Donbas, and increase in RF reliance on artillery bombardments alone, were largely due to serious manpower shortages particularly in RF infantry units, and increasingly common flat refusals by Russian soldiers to risk attacking UAF positions.

Oleksiy Arestovych, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Presidential Administration, in a televised interview published on the evening of Wednesday, June 8, said the shift in RF tactics was likely to be long-term, because the RF command was unlikely in future to find a way to motivate many of its troops to attack into the teeth of Ukrainian defenses.

Igor Girkin, a Russian military commentator best known as a former mid-level commander of RF forces invading Ukraine in 2014, offered much the same opinion in televised comments, saying low morale and unwillingness to fight have devastated RF units that are needed for the war in Ukraine.

Girkin cited as an example a Rosgvardia paramilitary police battalion which, he said, lost half of its men overnight, because they quit instead of following orders to be deployed to Ukraine. More than 80 officers chose to face criminal charges and risk going to prison, rather than to go and fight, Girkin said.


The problem is widespread across the RF military, Girkin claimed.

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