Ukraine War, 25–26 June 2022

Hello everybody!

Slightly late today, another ‘quick and dirty’ review of most important developments in Ukraine.

AIR

In the aftermath of the missile strike on Kyiv and western Ukraine, yesterday — for which Zelensky said included a total of 45 Kh-22s, Iskanders, and Oniks missiles — the Russians have fired another volley of….unknown missiles…this morning. The Russians say they fired 14, Ukrainians have reported only 4. Two targeted Rivne: both came through and, according to local authorities, ‘hit civilian infrastructure’ in Sarny, killing three and wounding four. Two other missiles approached Kyiv: one was shot down, the other hit a nine-storey residential building. Number of casualties is unclear as of now.

In similar fashion, the Russians have targeted the Neutron Science and the National Science Centre of Physics and Technology, in Kharkiv. Not for the first time. Why’s that important? Because both are full of radioactive materials, and one of conspiracy theories spread by Kremlin was that Ukraine would be working on the development of a nuclear bomb. Thus, how about causing a release of some radioactivity in this fashion…? At least according to Ukrainian authorities, this didn’t happen.

Bottom line, seems, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are back to what they do the best: destroy whatever they can…

BATTLE OF DONBASS: Severodonetsk Cauldron

Severodonetsk… Ukrainians have completed their withdrawal from the town, from Borivske and Syrnove too, and the Russians and Separatists are in the process of securing the area. LPR-Separatists have taken the Azot Works, for example. The Russians claim to have destroyed the entire 34th Battalion, 57th Motor Rifle Brigade in Myrna Dolyna (according to them: 150 KIA, 450 WIA in the last 3–4 days).

Lysychansk…Ukrainians have re-grouped part of troops withdrawn from Severodonetsk to bolster the defences of this town (the rest was withdrawn all the way down to Bakhmut). The Russians are claiming that a ‘concentration of about 7,000 Ukrainian militants’ Lysychansk is ‘in operational encriclement’. Physically, not yet the case, but there’s no doubt that their artillery is shelling the road to Serebianka with whatever it can.

That said, and like in the case of Severodonetsk, crucial is what is going on south of it, and where is the Wagner PMC (for those keen to follow it, check this Telegram account).

The last two days, one of Wagner BTGs has secured Vovchoyarivka. Sure, Ukrainians have claimed to have pushed it out of that village, but as of this morning word is that this Wagner BTG is already pushing into Maloryzantseve, south of centre Lysychansk. Check the map and it’s going to become obvious why — and why is this important.

The second Wagner BTG has secured Bilohorivka, perhaps Berestove — both on the T1302. One way or the other: this road is now lost.

The third Wagner BTG — which is fighting for Klynove for few days already — was reinforced and then attempted assaulting Pokrovske (NE of Bakhmut) yesterday, but was repelled with some loss. The Russians claim to have destroyed about 50% of the 30th Mech (according to them: 170 WIA in the last 3–4 days).

Wagner PMC

…talking about Wagner: Yevgeny Prigozhin (ex-Putin’s chef, and meanwhile….ahem… ‘administrative head’ of Wagner PMC) was decorated with the Hero of Russia Medal — for performance of the Wagner PMC in Popasna and Soledar-Bakhmut area.

Prigozhin (right) as seen in the Donbass, back in March.

Ironically: while much of the Russian social media is in a sort of delirium over this news listed above and the ‘capture’ of Severodonetsk (‘mercenaries are always so romantic’…), Wagner PMC is actually illegal in Russia — and that according to Putin’s own laws….and Prigozhin hasn’t been seen in the public since one of Wagner’s bases was hit by Ukrainian Tochkas, over a week ago (see my earlier reports).

In similar fashion, nobody in Russia — or within ranks of Putin-fans abroad (and there are lots of these, from Mexico and Argentina, via South Africa, to much of South East Asia….and in Austria, too) — seems to mind that the military operations of Wagner PMC are run by this lovely character, reacting to the name Dmitry Utkin, the body of whom is full of quite obvious tattoos…

….or that many of his troops are decorated in this style:

For further reading into this ‘wonderful’ story, I cannot but recommend the following lecture:

‘Ah, never mind’…More important is the fact that there seems to be a fourth Wagner BTG, ‘somewhere north of Sloviansk’. This is as important because — according to RUMINT - the RFA there is in the process of preparing for what it meanwhile does the best: providing artillery- and tank-catering-services for the Wagner PMC.

Reportedly, the HQ of the 36th CAA was re-deployed to Studenok, and a BTG each of the 1st Guards Tank Division and the 2nd Guards Motor Rifle Division moved to the area north of Bohorodychne. Both are equipped with T-90s. Now, military logic says, that there’s not much use of such tanks in the local terrain. But, combined, this might mean they might serve as ‘operational reserve’ for an eventual breakthrough of Ukrainian lines in the Dolyna-Bohorodichne area by the Wagner PMC.

Wagner PMC ‘mercenaries’ in the Sloviansk area, around 20–21 June.

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