Russo-Ukraine War - 26 June 2022 - Day 123
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 twenty-third days of the Ukrainian nation's heroic confrontation with the Russian military invasion continue.
Russian forces conducted a massive missile strike against the Schevchenkivskyi district of Kyiv on June 26, likely to coincide with the ongoing summit of G7 leaders, Institute for the Study of War reported. This is the first such major strike on Kyiv since late April and is likely a direct response to Western leaders discussing aid to Ukraine at the ongoing G7 summit, much like the previous strikes on April 29 during UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ visit to Kyiv. Ukrainian government sources reported that Russian forces targeted infrastructure in the Shevchenkivskyi district using X101 missiles fired from Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers over the Caspian Sea and noted the Russian attack was an attempt to “show off” their capabilities.
Open-source Twitter account GeoConfirmed stated that the strikes targeted the general vicinity of the Artem State Joint-Stock Holding Company, a manufacturer of air-to-air missiles, automated air-guided missile training and maintenance systems, anti-tank guided missiles, and aircraft equipment. GeoConfirmed noted that Russian forces likely fired the missiles from the maximum possible range, which would have interfered with GPS and radar correlation and resulted in the strike hitting civilian infrastructure, and additionally hypothesized some of the missiles may have been fired from Russian-occupied southern Ukraine. Russian forces likely targeted the Artem Plant as a means of posturing against Western military aid to Ukraine during the G7 summit and inflicted additional secondary damage to residential infrastructure.
Ned Price, StateDeptSpox, stated "The Lukashenka regime continues to allow Russia to use Belarus’ territory and airspace to attack Ukraine and kill civilians. We reiterate our condemnation of Belarus for enabling Russia to commit atrocities in Ukraine and will continue to hold the regime to account."
Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to transfer the "conventional and nuclear versions" of the Iskander-M missile systems to neighboring Belarus in the coming months. "In the coming months, we will transfer to Belarus Iskander-M tactical missile systems, which can use ballistic or cruise missiles, in their conventional and nuclear versions," Putin said in a broadcast on Russian television at the start of his meeting with Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko in St. Petersburg. Details and logistics of the weapons transfer would be discussed by the defense ministers of the two countries, Putin said.
Putin also said Russia would help Belarus upgrade its fleet of Su-25 fighter jets to make them capable of carrying nuclear weapons. "This modernization should be carried out in aircraft factories in Russia and the training of personnel should start in accordance with this," he added after Lukashenko asked him to "adapt" the planes.
The UK Ministry of Defence reported that most Ukrainian forces have likely withdrawn from their remaining defensive positions in the Donbas city of Sieverodonetsk. In April 2022, Russia revised its immediate campaign plan from aiming to occupy the majority of Ukraine, to a more focused offensive in the Donbas. Russia’s capture of the city is a significant achievement within this reduced objective. The settlement was a major industrial centre and it occupies a strategic position on the Siverskyi Donets River. However, it is only one of several challenging objectives Russia will need to achieve to occupy the whole of the Donbas region. These include advancing on the major centre of Kramatorsk and securing the main supply routes to Donetsk city.
Spokesman for the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Oleksandr Shtupun reported that in the Volyn and Polissya areas, on the territory of the Republic of Belarus, some units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are preparing sabotage and reconnaissance groups for their further actions on the territory of Ukraine. In the Seversky direction, in order to demonstrate the presence and restraint of the Defense Forces, the Russians held separate units of the Western Military District in the border areas of the Bryansk and Kursk regions. He fired on civilian and military infrastructure near Khrinivka and Yanzhulivka.
In the Kharkiv direction, the Russians fired from tanks and artillery of various calibers at the settlements of Ruski Tyshky, Chepil, Chuguiv, Zolochiv, and Mospanovo. He struck air strikes near Yavirsky, Dementievka and Zamulivka. He tried to improve the tactical situation in the area of the Dementiyivka settlement by assault, but was unsuccessful. Areas of the settlements of Nova Dmytrivka, Dibrivne, Virnopillya, Velyka Komyshuvakha, Dolyna and Ridne were shelled in the Slovyansky direction. Ukrainian soldiers successfully repulsed Russians assaults in the areas of Dolyna, Kurulka and Mazanivka.
In the Donetsk direction, the Russians, with the support of artillery, tried to block the city of Lysychansk from the southern direction. He fired on civilian and military infrastructure in the Lysychansk, Verkhnokamyanka and Loskutivka districts. He struck an air strike near Vovchoyarivka. To support the offensive, the Russians strengthened the artillery group.
In the Kramatorsk direction, the occupiers did not fight actively, but fired artillery at the area of the settlement of Mayaki. In the Bakhmut direction, the Russians fired mortars, barrel and jet artillery at Ukrainian positions near Mykolayivka, Berestovo, Pokrovsky, Kodema, and New York. Ukrainian soldiers inflicted heavy losses on the Russians near the village of Pavlivka. After an unsuccessful assault, the occupiers withdrew. In the Avdiivka, Kurakhiv and Zaporizhzhya directions, the Russians fired at the positions of Ukrainian troops with artillery and rocket artillery in the areas of the settlements of Vodiane, Pisky, Maryinka, Prechistivka, Huliaipilske, and Belogorye. He fired missile and artillery strikes at the civilian infrastructure of settlements in the rear areas of the defense forces.
In the South Bug area, the occupiers fired on civilian infrastructure from barrel and jet artillery in the areas of Osokorivka, Trudolyubivka, Dobryanka, Hannivka, Zorya, Blagodatny and Luch. He struck missile strikes on the infrastructure of the city of Nikolaev. With the support of army aircraft, the Russians tried to regain control of the settlement of Potemkin, was unsuccessful, withdrew.
The blockade of the north-western part of the Black Sea continues. In the temporarily occupied territories, the occupation authorities continue to carry out so-called "filtration" measures against local residents. Counterintelligence measures have been intensified at checkpoints. Ukraine's defense forces inflict losses on the Russians in all directions. Therefore, the invaders are trying in any way to avoid hostilities. Due to the refusal to return to the territory of Ukraine a significant part of the occupiers, who were taken away to restore combat capability, the command of some units banned any leave for personnel.
Over 720 nationalists were killed in a day as a result of Russian air strikes, missile forces and artillery. This was announced to journalists by the official representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov. "As a result of air strikes, missile troops and artillery, more than 720 nationalists, 12 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 16 special vehicles were destroyed," Konashenkov said.
The Russian Ministry of Defense in a daily briefing reported that Severodonetsk, Borovskoye, Sirotino and Voronovo had passed under the control of the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) the day before. According to the department, the successes of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the people's republics of Donbass reduce the morale and psychological state of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. So, for example, in the ranks of the 30th mechanized brigade, mass cases of drunkenness, drug use and unauthorized abandonment of combat positions are observed.
During the day, high-precision weapons of the Russian Aerospace Forces and Caliber missiles hit the territory of the 169th training center for ground forces in the Desna region (Chernihiv region), the 199th training center for airborne assault troops in the Teterevka region (Zhytomyr region), and the 184th training center Armed Forces of Ukraine in the area of Starichi (Lviv region). The 65th and 66th motorized infantry brigades and the 46th airmobile brigade, which completed training at these training grounds, completely lost their combat capability.
Aviation, rocket troops and artillery hit the manpower and equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in 286 districts, artillery and mortar units in 62 districts, 2 command posts in the districts of Visunsk and Barmashovo (Nikolaev region), 4 ammunition depots in the districts of Verkhnekamenka, Lisichanskoye and on the western outskirts of Lisichansk (LNR).
As part of the counter-battery combat, high-precision weapons of the Russian Aerospace Forces hit 10 platoons of multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) in the areas of the settlements of Avdeevka, Ukrainsk, Ivanovka, Novoselovka Pervaya and Vozdvizhenka (Donetsk People's Republic, DPR).
The Armed Forces of Ukraine made an unsuccessful attempt to strike with aircraft and MLRS on Snake Island. The Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missile and gun system shot down a Su-25 aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force and 12 rockets. There were no casualties among the personnel of the garrison and no destruction.
Russian Air Defense Forces destroyed 8 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the LPR, Kherson and Kharkov regions. 19 multiple rocket launchers were shot down in the Kharkiv region, the DPR and over Snake Island. In an air battle, a MiG-29 aircraft of the Ukrainian Air Force was shot down near the village of Zelenodolsk (Dnipropetrovsk region).
The people's militia of the DPR reported that since the beginning of the day, Ukrainian armed formations have fired over 170 shells from the BM-21 Grad MLRS, 152 and 122-mm barrel artillery, as well as 120 and 82-mm mortars across the territory of the republic.
The fire was fired in the direction of 10 settlements, as a result of the attacks, a civilian was killed, another 7 civilians were injured. Among the victims is a child born in 2013. 15 residential buildings and 3 civil infrastructure facilities were damaged.
Joint actions of units of the NM of the DPR and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation destroyed 2 MLRS BM-21 Grad, an armored vehicle over the current day. 2 Ukrainian firing points were suppressed in the areas of the settlements of Pervomayskoye and Kurdyumovka.
Fierce battles are being waged in the areas of Klinovoye and Pokrovsky. Clashes for Berestovoye also continue. According to local sources, the Russian Armed Forces attacked Mount Karachun, a dominant height in the vicinity of Kramatorsk, where the Armed Forces of Ukraine are based.
From the beginning of the day, Ukrainian armed formations fired on the territory of the settlements of Stakhanov and Kremennaya. During the attack on Stakhanov, the Armed Forces of Ukraine used the Tochka-U missile, 10 residential buildings and 23 garages were damaged. In Kremennaya, a civilian was killed as a result of the attack, and 2 more people were injured. Fighting continues on the southern outskirts of Lisichansk, as well as clashes for the village of Belaya Gora. The only road to the city from Seversk is still under fire control of the RF Armed Forces. The People's Militia of the LPR reported that several employees of the office of the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky are staying in Lisichansk , measures are being taken to detain them.
Ukraine's top general told his US counterpart during a phone call that Ukraine needed "fire parity" with Russia in order to "stabilize" the difficult situation in the country's eastern Luhansk region, according to his summary of the call. "We discussed the operational situation and the delivery flow of international technical assistance," Ukraine's General Valeriy Zaluzhniy wrote on the Telegram app after a phone call with US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. Ukraine has said Russia's artillery advantage on the Donbas frontlines is taking a significant toll on Ukrainian troops, and has called on its Western partners to supply more weapons to minimize the deficit.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the world faces “catastrophe” because of a growing food crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine. “There is a real risk that multiple famines will be declared in 2022,” he said in a video message to G7 officials gathered in Berlin. “And 2023 could be even worse.” Guterres noted that the war in Ukraine has added to the disruptions caused by climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic and inequality to produce an “unprecedented global hunger crisis” already affecting hundreds of millions of people. UN negotiators were working on a deal that would enable Ukraine to export food, including via the Black Sea, and let Russia bring food and fertiliser to world markets without restrictions, he added. Meanwhile G7 foreign ministers released a statement blaming Russia for exacerbating food insecurity with its blockades and bombing attacks on key infrastructure in Ukraine.