Russo-Ukraine War - 18 June 2022 - Day 115
On 24 February 2022, Ukraine was suddenly and deliberately attacked by land, naval and air forces of Russia, igniting the largest European war since the Great Patriotic War. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" (SVO - spetsialnaya voennaya operatsiya) in Ukraine in response to the appeal of the leaders of the "Donbass republics" for help. That attack is a blatant violation of the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. Putin stressed that Moscow's goal is the demilitarization and denazification of the country. The military buildup in preceeding months makes it obvious that the unprovoked and dastardly Russian attack was deliberately planned long in advance. During the intervening time, the Russian government had deliberately sought to deceive the world by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
"To initiate a war of aggression... is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." [Judgment of the International Military Tribunal]
One hundred and fifteen days of the Ukrainian nation's heroic confrontation with the Russian military invasion continue. The Russians continue to suffer significant losses during hostilities on the territory of Ukraine.
the purges of officers further worsen the command capabilities of the Russian army, estimates the US Institute for War Studies (ISW) in a new report. In Ukrainian sources, information about the removal of General Andrei Serdyukov from the position of the commander of the Russian airborne forces was published. The spokesman for the Military-Civil Administration of the Odessa Oblast, Sergei Bratchuk, announced that the Kremlin had appointed the current chief of staff of the Central Military District, General-Colonel Mikhail Teplinski, as Serdyukov's successor, and appointed Anatoly Koncewoj as the deputy commander of the Russian airborne forces. The ISW has not been able to independently confirm these reports, but if they are true, it means Serdyukov was blamed for the poor performance and huge losses among Russian paratroopers, especially at the beginning of the invasion. Layoffs and possible internal purges among high-ranking Russian officers are likely to further worsen the weak command capabilities of the Russian army, experts from the ISW said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said it was no longer possible for Ukraine to return to its previous borders. "The Ukraine that you and I had known, within the borders that used to be, no longer exists, and will never exist again. This is evident," the diplomat said in an interview to Sky News - Arabia, published in her Telegram channel.
The head of the Lugansk People’s Republic, Leonid Pasechnik, said the country may hold a referendum on accession to Russia. The head of another Donbass republic, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), said the issue on joining Russia will "become the number one issue" once the republic restores its constitutional borders. Besides, officials of the military-civilian administration of the Kherson Region, an area that has been under Russia’s control since mid-March, have repeatedly stressed that the region was seeking to join Russia as well. Also, a senior official with the military-civilian administration of another region, Zaporozhye, said the territory hopes to join Russia and become a part of its Southern Federal District.
The Ukraine artillery in a precise strike annihilated the command center in occupied Kharkiv province with all high-rank commanding officers of the 20th Russian Army (detachment #89425, Voronezh city, Russia), reports UkrInform state news agency.
The UK Ministry of Defence reported that in the last 48 hours, Russia renewed its efforts to advance south of Izium, with the goal of advancing deeper into the Donetsk Oblast, and to envelop the Sieverodonetsk Pocket from the north. Since 14 June, Russian and separatist officials have claimed they are attempting to establish humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to evacuate Sieverodonetsk. Russia has precedent, both earlier in the Ukraine campaign and in Syria, of using unilaterally-declared ‘humanitarian’ corridors as a mechanism to manipulate the battlespace and impose the forced transfer of populations. Ukrainian civilians trapped in Sieverodonetsk are likely to be suspicious of using the proposed corridor. Options to leave the town are limited by the destruction of bridges, but Russia’s proposed route would take them towards the town of Svatova, deeper inside Russian-occupied territory. If trapped civilians don’t take up the offer of exiting via a corridor, Russian will likely claim justification in making less of a distinction between them and any Ukrainian military targets in the area.
Russian troops have dropped all their reserves into the Severodonetsk and Bakhmut areas, Luhansk Regional Military Administration Chief Serhiy Haidai said. "Hundreds of vehicles pass through Luhansk region in these directions every day," he said on the national telethon. Gaidai explained that the enemy even withdrew reserves from some places and sent them to two directions of Luhansk region - Severodonetsk and Zolote-Komyshuvakha-Popasna. According to Gaidai, attempts by Russian troops to establish full control over Severodonetsk and cut the Lysychansk-Bakhmut route continue. "They have no success, they are dying en masse," he commented in a text summary. The head of the region claims that the people who are in the shelters of the Azot plant refused to evacuate.
Units of the 11th Separate Motorized Rifle Regiment of the 1st Army Corps of the Russian Federation suffered significant losses and were withdrawn from the area of combat operations to restore combat capability, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a morning report. "The enemy continues to suffer losses in manpower and equipment. According to available information, during the past 24hrs, units of the Defense Forces have destroyed at least 30 units of various equipment and weapons of the enemy. The information is currently being clarified and will be published shortly. Explosions of enemy ammunition depots continue. There is an increase in the number of desertions of the Russian occupiers, "the statement read.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported the situation in the Volyn and Polissya areas remained without significant changes. In the northern direction, the Russians continues to demonstrate the presence of its troops in the border areas of Bryansk and Kursk regions. In the Slobozhansky direction, the Russians are holding back the defense of the previously occupied borders, using the available means of fire destruction and trying to prevent the advance of units of the Uktsinr Defense Forces in the direction of the state border of Ukraine.
In the Kharkiv direction, the Russians carried out artillery shelling in the areas of the settlements of Dementievka, Pecheniga, Korobochkine, Bayrak, Verkhniy Saltiv, Kharkiv, Kapitolivka and Tsyrkuny. In the Slavic direction, the Russians used mortars, artillery and rocket-propelled grenade launchers in the areas of the settlements of Hrushuvakha, Dolyna, Morosivka, Pryshib and Chepil. It is trying to create favorable conditions for the continuation of offensive operations in the direction of Izyum - Slavyansk. In the area of Krasnopillya, Ukrainian soldiers inflicted heavy losses on the Russians when they tried to conduct reconnaissance in battle. In the Lyman direction, the occupiers used artillery near the lighthouses.
In the Severodonetsk direction, the Russians continued to fire from artillery and jet artillery in the areas of the settlements of Metolkine, Bila Gora and Ustynivka. They tried to carry out assault operations in order to establish full control over the city of Severodonetsk, but was unsuccessful. As a result of fire damage and assault, the Russians had partial success in the village of Metolkine, trying to gain a foothold. Ukraine soldiers repulsed the assault in the direction of Sirotyn.
In the Bakhmut direction, the Russians launched an air strike near Berestovo. In the Avdiivka, Novopavlivska and Zaporizhzhya directions, the Russians continued systematic shelling in order to prevent the regrouping of units of Ukrainian troops in other directions. They used tube and rocket artillery in the areas of Zhelanne, Orlivka, Opytne, Vodiane, Novodanylivka, Shcherbaky, Malynivka and Temyrivka. In the South Buz and Tavriya directions, the Russians fired artillery at the districts of Oleksandrivka, Novohryhorivka, Shiroky, Kvitnevy, and Pervomaisky.
In the waters of the Black and Azov Seas there is a relocation of the ship-boat composition of the Black Sea Fleet.
Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov stted "There is no doubt that the Kerch bridge should be destroyed. This is a prerequisite for bringing the liberation of Ukraine in general and Crimea in particular closer. This is a military necessity."
Briefing of the Russian Ministry of Defense reported that the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continue a special military operation in Ukraine. High-precision air and ground-based weapons in the regions of Kremenchug and Lysichansk destroyed technological facilities for refining oil and fuel storage facilities intended to supply Ukrainian military equipment in the Donbass. High-precision air-launched missiles hit 12 firing positions of artillery and mortar units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, including four platoons of multiple launch rocket systems "Grad" in the areas of Avdiivka, Keramik, Zhelannoye and four platoons of 155-mm howitzers M777 in the areas of Lastochkino, Ocheretino, Vodiane, Desirable of the Donetsk People's Republic.
Operational-tactical and army aviation hit 62 areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine per day. As a result of air strikes, more than 160 nationalists, the Buk-M1 anti-aircraft missile system near the settlement of Kamyshevakh in the Lugansk People's Republic, five combat vehicles of the Grad multiple launch rocket system, six tanks and other armored combat vehicles, eight field artillery pieces, six special vehicles and three ammunition depots in the districts of Tsapovka, Kharkiv region and Lisichansk, Luhansk People's Republic.
Russian air defense systems shot down: a Ukrainian Su-25 aircraft near the village of Kamyshevakh and a Mi-24 helicopter of the Ukrainian Air Force in the Arkhangelsk region of the Donetsk People's Republic. Also, during the day, eight Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles were shot down in the areas of the settlements of Borovenki, Luhansk People's Republic, Chernobaevka, Kherson region, Sukhaya Kamenka, Malaya Kamyshevakha, Zabavnoye, Kharkiv region, Gulyaipole, Zaporozhye region, including the Bayraktar-TB2 strike unmanned aerial vehicle near Kherson.
In addition, four Ukrainian Tochka-U ballistic missiles were intercepted in the areas of Stakhanov, Kalinovo, Almaznaya of the Donetsk People's Republic, as well as 24 missiles of the Uragan multiple launch rocket system over the settlements of Donetsk, Yasinovataya, Verkhnetoretskoye, Luganskoye, Novoaleksandrivka Donetska People's Republic, Zolote, Popasnoye of the Luhansk People's Republic, Raisins, Russian Tishki and Small Passages of the Kharkov region.
Rocket troops and artillery hit: 180 areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment, 16 command posts, as well as 32 firing positions of artillery and mortar units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. As a result of the strikes, more than 310 nationalists, 10 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, three combat vehicles of the Grad multiple launch rocket system, nine field artillery guns and 14 special vehicles were destroyed.
Private U.S. companies are collecting visual and radar data to provide Ukraine with the information it needs to target missiles, Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin said on Rossiya 24. As Rogozin said, the leading operators who are engaged in algorithms for creating seamless, highly detailed images of the earth's surface today work mainly for the Pentagon. “Today, the Pentagon uses not only its resources, not only its orbital military group for this, but is already connecting private companies,” the head of the state corporation said. According to him, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing, and other companies that are “also private”, like Space X, are all connected to a specific task: to ensure the collection of information in real time.
“As a visual one, through infrared radars, through conventional surveillance, in order to provide an opportunity in the data cloud for the Armed Forces of Ukraine to use this data cloud for target designation, for guiding their ballistic missiles or for operating a multiple launch rocket system,” Rogozin said. “We see where, in principle, the world of Western astronautics is moving: it is moving towards war,” said Rogozin.
He recalled that this applies to communications groups, including Starlink. “She promptly, according to the task set by the Pentagon, the US military department, imported subscriber equipment ... and this subscriber equipment is distributed among the units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the national battalions, it receives a broadband signal, including Internet access is provided, and thus unmanned systems there is a management, and there is a management of divisions, ”said the head of Roscosmos.
The Pentagon is inclined to send four more missile launchers to Ukraine as the next tranche of military aid. So far, four have been agreed. This was reported by Politico with reference to officials of the United States Department of Defense. If approved by the White House, the move will double the number of highly mobile artillery missile systems sent to Ukraine. But the Department of Defense is still considering all options, and the decision to send an additional four HIMARS is not final, said a ministry official, noting that the US contribution to Ukraine's struggle is being consulted with allies and partners. According to the official, the decision will be "based on the urgent needs of Ukraine."
Kazakh President Kasim-Jomart Tokayev, one of the few high-ranking officials at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, said in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin that his country was not going to recognize the so-called "people's republics" of Donbass and considered them "quasi-states." This statement by the Kazakh president was not just another slap in the face for Vladimir Putin , whose "achievement" no one in Ukraine is going to recognize and approve of. This statement by Kasim-Jomart Tokayev once again demonstrated the collapse of Russia's entire foreign policy, including in the post-Soviet space. The introduction of CSTO troops into Kazakhstan in 2022 helped Tokayev not only to stop the popular uprising, but also to win the clan struggle with his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev. And the motive for this resistance to Putin's foreign policy adventures is obvious. The "self-determination" of West Kazakhstan region is no different from the "self-determination" of the Donetsk or Luhansk regions.
Lithuania's ban on rail transit of EU-sanctioned goods to Russia's Far West exclave in Kaliningrad has come into force, the Baltic transport authorities said on June 18. The EU sanctions list includes coal, metals, building materials and high-tech products. The governor of the Russian region Anton Alikhanov said earlier that the ban would cover about 50% of goods imported by Kaliningrad. Alikhanov said the region, which has an ice-free port on the Baltic Sea, would call on Russian federal authorities to take action against Lithuania over the ban. He said he would look for ways to supply more goods to the region by sea.