A siege similar to Mariupol could happen as “Russian forces conducted offensive operations in Severodonetsk and pushed Ukrainian forces away from the city center on June 13 but did not fully capture the city.” Artillery warfare continues and the destruction of bridges will mean even more brutality. Materiel continues to be delivered even as Ukraine continues to ask for more.
- Russian forces pushed Ukrainian defenders from the center of Severodonetsk and reportedly destroyed the remaining bridge from Severodonetsk to Lysychansk on June 13, but Ukrainian officials reported that Ukrainian forces are not encircled in the city.
- Russian forces carried out unsuccessful ground assaults in an attempt to sever Ukrainian ground lines of communications (GLOCs) near Popasna and Bakhmut.
- Russian forces launched unsuccessful offensive operations southeast of Izyum and north of Slovyansk, and are likely setting conditions for an assault on Siversk and northwestern Ukrainian GLOCs to Lysychansk.
- Russian forces are likely conducting a limited offensive directly northeast of Kharkiv City in a likely attempt to push Ukrainian forces out of artillery range of Russian rear areas and secured some successes.
- Russian and Ukrainian forces are engaging in ongoing fighting for Davydiv Brid in northwestern Kherson Oblast.
- Russian occupation authorities likely staged terrorist activity in Melitopol and Berdyansk for Russia Day on June 12.
Subordinate Main Effort—Southern Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk Oblasts (Russian objective: Encircle Ukrainian forces in Eastern Ukraine and capture the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)
Russian forces conducted offensive operations in Severodonetsk and pushed Ukrainian forces away from the city center on June 13 but did not fully capture the city. Ukrainian Defense Ministry Spokesperson Oleksandr Motuzyanyk noted that Russian forces did not entirely clear Severodonetsk of Ukrainian resistance due to Russia’s reluctance to commit its (likely understrength) infantry units and overreliance on artillery and assault aviation for offensive operations. The Ukrainian General Staff added that fighting is still ongoing in Severodonetsk. Luhansk Oblast Administration Head Serhiy Haidai reported that Russian forces destroyed the last remaining bridge from Severodonetsk to Lysychansk and retain a significant artillery advantage over Ukrainian forces. Deputy Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) Militia Eduard Basurin blamed Ukrainian forces for destroying the bridge (though it is highly unlikely Ukrainian forces would willingly destroy the bridge while any of their forces remained in Severodonetsk and this claim is likely false) and claimed that Russian forces are entirely encircling remaining Ukrainian troops in Severodonetsk. Haidai denied Basurin’s claims of encirclement, noting that Ukrainian forces still have limited military channels for the evacuation of wounded troops and reinforcements despite the destruction of all three bridges. Haidai specified that Ukrainian authorities could not conduct civilian evacuations and humanitarian efforts because Russian forces damaged the third bridge prior to its destruction on June 13. Geolocated footage showed that Ukrainian forces continued to hold defensive positions around the Azot Chemical Plant on June 12. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces also conducted unsuccessful offensive operations on Metolkino, approximately 4km east of Severodonetsk.
All three bridges to Severodonetsk have been destroyed following days of Russian shelling in the last remaining major city in the Luhansk region of the Donbas still under Ukrainian control, the local governor said Monday.
The big picture: Severodonetsk has become the epicenter for the battle of the Donbas, and Russian forces now control 70% of the eastern Ukrainian city, Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said in a Telegram post. "Evacuation is impossible," he added.
- Fresh humanitarian supplies were also not possible now, according to Haidai.
Context: The Donbas comprises the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, which Russian-backed separatists now claim.
What they're saying: President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an address late Monday that the battle for Donbas "will surely go down in military history as one of the most brutal battles in Europe."
- "The price of this battle for us is very high," Zelensky said. "It's just scary.
- "And we draw the attention of our partners on a daily basis to the fact that only a sufficient number of modern artillery for Ukraine will ensure our advantage," he added.
Ukraine’s war with Russia is heading towards its fifth month amid increasing local concern that dwindling media attention could lead to a gradual loss of western support just as Moscow is making slow but steady gains on the frontline.
The anxiety reflects a growing normalisation of the conflict in which large parts of the country feel distant from the war in eastern Donbas – as it becomes clear that casualties are mounting and economic costs soaring. “It’s a very real threat, that people get tired psychologically,” said Lesia Vasylenko, an opposition MP with the liberal Holos party.
International media coverage has dropped markedly in the past two months, she added, and “as that number goes down further, there’s a very high risk of the support from the west going down”.
Ukraine has become increasingly dependent on western help as the war has continued, both in terms of weaponry and humanitarian support, and will need international aid money to help rebuild towns and cities destroyed by the Russians in the early phase of fighting. Its treasury is bare.
Russia, meanwhile, appears close to taking the shattered Donbas city of Sievierodonetsk, after a failed counterattack by Ukraine’s forces.
Ukraine's armed forces were now using more ammunition in a day than Europe's arms industry could produce in a month.
"This year is all about Ukraine. War is good for business, but it's not something I am happy about," one eastern European manufacturer said speaking on condition of anonymity.
Returning after a COVID-19 pandemic hiatus, the exhibition bristles with weaponry from about 60 countries, including tanks, armoured vehicles, riot gear and display cases crammed with guns and ammunition.
This year, the world's second largest arms exporter is absent: three Russian manufacturers were set to come but pulled out. Meanwhile, among the 1,700 exhibitors, the numbers of stands from some Baltic and eastern European countries have doubled or tripled.
Several manufacturers told Reuters there was a shortage of capacity, notably in Europe, which has for years depended on imported - especially American - arms. Some providers said they would not be able to catch up to the demand to arm Ukraine until 2024-2025.
Elie Tenenbaum, Director of the Security Studies Centre at the Paris-based Institute of International relations, said Ukraine's armed forces were now using more ammunition in a day than Europe's arms industry could produce in a month.