In northern Ukraine, Ukrainian forces continue to demine areas previously held by Russia. The following settlements have been inspected and neutralised:
- Buchansky district: Lypivka, Nizhilovichi, Makariv, Sitniki, Borodyanka, Myrotske, Piskivka, Kotsyubynske, Bucha, Moshchun, Gostomel, Pochepen, Vorzel.
- Brovarsky district: Ploske, Pershe Travnia, Mykhailivka.
- Vyshhorod district: Khuhari, Teterivske, Zaprudka, Steshchino, Kozarovichi, Bogdani, Dimer, Cheremoshna, Rozvazhiv.
The Ukrainian Air Force are active in the skies above Kyiv and risk of Russian air attacks are deemed to be low. However, Russian troops continue to shell the most northern parts of Ukraine from Russia. As mentioned in previous reports, this is a way for Russia to fix Ukrainian troops and prevent them from moving to the frontline in eastern Ukraine.
In eastern Ukraine, Russian forces have made minor territorial gains north of Kharkiv. Furthermore, Russian forces continue to shell at Ukrainian troop positions in Kharkiv and surrounding towns. Due to the hot weather, forest fires are starting to break out as a result of the shelling. It is also believed that Russian forces have mined the areas of Bayrak, Peremoha, and Shestakovo.
In the Donbas, it is believed that Russian forces control most of Severodonetsk. Ukrainian forces and civilians remain in the Azot chemical plant in the city’s western parts, but Russia announced on 14 June that civilians will be allowed out, and so too Ukrainian forces if the surrender. All bridges between Severodonetsk and Lysychansk have been destroyed, thus making it harder for Ukraine to send reinforcements to Severodonetsk, or indeed for the remaining Ukrainian forces in Severodonetsk to retreat. However, this will of course inhibit Russian forces from easily crossing the Siverskyi Donets river once it has occupied Severodonetsk. Furthermore, it is believed that Russia has seized the town of Toshkivka, south of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, and, crucially, on the west bank of the Siverskyi Donets, thus enabling Russian forces to attack Lysychansk from the south.
Russian forces continue to prepare for an assault on Slovyansk from the north and east. Russian forces are attempting to consolidate its position in Bohorodychne – 20 kilometers north of Slovyansk. Furthermore, it is likely that Russia is preparing for an assault on Siversk. Seizing Siversk would facilitate Russia’s bid to encircle the remaining Ukrainian troops in Luhansk Oblast. Russia continue to conduct assaults east and south of Bakhmut, but have not made any significant gains. Seizing Bakhmut would limit Ukraine’s ability to send supplies and reinforcements to Ukrainian troops further east. It would also enable Russia to create a southern flank in its bid to seize Slovyansk.
In the south, there have been minor developments. Ukrainian forces continue to conduct counterattacks; however, it is unlikely that they have made any significant gains. Consequently, there have been reports that Russia is mining the area, in preparation for continued counterattacks. Russian forces continue to shell Ukrainian positions west of Kherson and shelling in Mykolaiv continues to occur.
The Russian army is turning Zmiiny Island (Snake Island) into a powerful base, probably in preparation for future attacks on Odessa. A recent satellite image from June 13 shows significant progress in building new fortifications on the island. Although, the likelihood of a Russian ground and or amphibious attack on Odessa is low at the moment.
In western Ukraine, Ukrainian forces intercepted a Russian missile fired from the Black Sea. The wreckage of the missile hit a brickyard in Zolochiv – injuring six people.
Developments in Russia
On 13 June, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated that the main goal of the “special military operation” is completely controlling and “protecting” the Donetsk and Luhansk peoples’ republics. Peskov also stated that the complete control over these two Oblasts is highly likely to represent the bare minimum of Russia’s military objectives. It is highly unlikely that Russia surrenders the control of the territories which has occupied so far. Moscow is likely to seek to absorb them into Russia, with the Russia-backed deputy head of military-civilian administration of Kherson stating that the region is ”already irrevocably the Russian Federation”.
On 14 June, sanctions against three major Russian banks come into force: Sberbank, Rosselkhozbank, and Moscow Credit Bank. These banks will be disconnected from the SWIFT system. It also became known that two of the world’s largest banks, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, have suspended operations from servicing Russia’s debt obligations and have withdrawn from handling trades of Russian debt. The move was in response to new guidance from the US Treasury prohibiting the purchase of new and existing debt and equity securities issued by a Russian Federation entity.
Gazprom has reduced natural gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline. Russian energy giant announced that Siemens Energy has not returned the gas turbines that Gazprom has sent for a repair. Siemens Energy stated that due to the sanctions imposed by Canada, it is currently impossible for the company to deliver overhauled gas turbines to its customer. Gazprom also added that currently they can supply 100 million cubic meters of gas per day through the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline although the normal amount is 176 million cubic meters per day.
Over the past three months, Russian oil prices have fallen by almost 35%. Urals oil has always been cheaper than Brent, but such a price divergence is unprecedented. The average daily volume of marine exports of Russian crude oil from 04 June to 10 June decreased compared to the previous week by 10 percent to 3.55 million barrels.
According to experts, the loss to the cinema industry in the Russian Federation will amount to 190 million US dollars by the end of 2022. Russia is also leaving the World Tourism Organization. According to Russian media, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed an order to this effect.
Exclusive business centres in Moscow have been emptied due to the exit of Western companies. In 2022, 800,000 square meters are expected to vacate this region, which has not been the case since 2012. Moreover, Western companies typically occupied the most expensive Class A premises. Now there is simply nothing to replace them in the vacated areas.
According to All-Russian Centre for Public Opinion Research reports, 80.8 percent of Russians believe Putin, and more than 78 percent approve of his actions.
On 16 June, French President Emmanuel Macron and the German and Italian leaders, Olaf Scholz and Mario Draghi, arrived to Kyiv to show their support for Ukraine’s resistance and discuss its EU candidature, following Ukraine’s accusations that the leaders of the three countries have not taken a strong enough stance against Russia. Emmanuel Macron visited Romania previously to hold bilateral talks and meet with French troops stationed in the country, as part of NATO’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Macron reiterated his call for negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.
On 15 June, Russian natural gas supplies to Italy have fallen by 15 percent. The situation was announced by the Italian oil and gas company Eni. Russian Gazprom has not made any statement regarding their decision yet. Italy imports at least 40 percent of its gas from Russia that corresponds approximately 29 million cubic meters.
On 14 June, European benchmark gas prices rose more than 15 percent, while UK gas contract for delivery in July climbed 25 percent amid Gazprom’s announcement to reduce the capacity of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany by about 40 percent, along with Freeport LNG’s announcement of reparations following an explosion at its plant last week. LNG will be able to resume partial operations in three months. LNG accounts for about one-fifth of US LNG exports and about 10 percent of Europe’s imports this year. These developments once again highlight Europe’s vulnerability to gas supply disruptions and put European unity at risk due to the given the rising inflation and energy prices. Therefore, European businesses should monitor the increase in energy risks, the rising inflation and include them in their business continuity plans and risk management processes.
On 13 June, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Sweden and stated that Sweden has taken important steps to meet Turkey’s demands for approving Sweden’s NATO membership application. Sweden has started to change its legislative framework on counter-terrorism and will have to ensure that the legal framework for arms exports reflects future NATO membership with new commitments to allies. However, on 15 June, Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed that until Sweden and Finland take clear, concrete and decisive steps Turkey will definitely not change their stance. Turkey also rejected invitations by NATO to participate in trilateral talks with Finland and Sweden. Therefore, Finland and Sweden adhesion to NATO is expected to be delayed.
Sweden banned Tetra Pak food and beverage packaging manufacturer from working in the Russian Federation. Currently, the company produces seven out of 10 packages of juice and milk sold in Russia. The Swedish National Trade Board made this decision as part of the European Union’s fifth round of sanctions, adopted on 08 April.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights reported on Wednesday that the UN is investigating the illegal adoption of Ukrainian children taken to Russia. Speaking at the 50th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Michelle Bachelet explained that her services were ”investigating allegations of forcible deportation of children from Ukraine to the Russian Federation”. She stated that according to the allegations, some children were abducted from orphanages and then offered for adoption in Russia.
According to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Ukraine officially had 91,000 children in orphanages and boarding schools and other organisations for young children without parents. Late UN announced that without unspecified number likely several thousand children have been moved to Russia since the invasion began in late February. UN human rights and children’s rights organisations has initiated a probe allegedly regarding the ‘forced deportation’ of such children especially from the eastern part of the country.
As of 16 June, the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 9,983 civilian casualties in Ukraine in total 4,452 killed and 5,531 injured. OHCHR stated in their report that actual figures are considerably higher, as they cannot receive information from some locations where the intense hostilities are currently taking place.
According to various intelligence reports, Russia’s war in Ukraine will highly likely continue for months. It is also stated that Putin is playing a ‘time game’ that will damage Ukraine greater while it continues.
The situation in eastern Ukraine remains hard to predict. It is likely that Russia will continue to grind Ukrainian forces down, and make slow advances and secure minor territorial gains. However, factors such as the delivery of Western arms to Ukraine, or a large influx of Russian troops to the Donbas, could change the status quo. In the short-term, however, what we can expect is that Russia will continue to launch its assault on Severodontesk and are likely to seize the city in the coming days. Following which we can expect that Russia will prepare for an assault on Lysychansk. At the same time, we can expect that Russia will continue to prepare for an assault on Sloviansk from the north and east of the city. It is also likely that Russia will continue to push towards Bakhmut in the coming days and weeks. All of this is part of Russia’s objective to secure and seize the entire Donbas area.
Following the US-led summit in Brussels on 15 June, the West have committed to additional military aid for supporting Ukraine. Even if the US announced 1 billion US dollars package of weapons and has by far committed the most amount of military aid to Ukraine, the amount of support still falls short of what Kyiv has been asking for. The military aid includes 18 howitzers, 36,000 rounds of ammunition and two Harpoon coastal defense systems among other equipment additionally the US is highly likely to continue to support Ukraine for the foreseeable future.