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*** Official Russia vs. Ukraine Discussion - Invasion has begun *** (1 Viewer)


The US Treasury is expected to roll out a big expansion of its secondary sanctions programme on Russia this week, treating any foreign financial institution transacting with a sanctioned Russian entity as though it is working directly with the Kremlin’s military-industrial base.
The measure will widen a White House executive order that in December gave the Treasury the authority to apply secondary sanctions on foreign financial institutions if they were found to have acted for, or on behalf of, any of about 1,200 entities deemed by the US government to be part of Russia’s defence sector.
After this week’s change, that number will rise to more than 4,500 and will encompass almost all Russian entities that have already been sanctioned, even if this was for reasons other than direct support of the war in Ukraine. They include banks such as Sberbank and VTB, the country’s largest lenders.
The expansion of secondary sanctions reflects the US view that the Kremlin has transformed Russia into a war economy two years after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
US officials believe that as a result of December’s executive order banks in third countries have become reluctant to deal with high-risk Russian customers.
The flow of war-related imports into Russia declined at the start of 2024 as financing cross-border trade in those goods became riskier, even for banks with no links to the US.
“Secondary sanctions are intended to expand the US’s ability to pursue circumvention by actors who do not have any legal nexus with the US. It means the US can, in effect, enforce its sanctions on people who aren’t otherwise subject to US law,” said Emily Kilcrease, a trade and sanctions expert at the Center for a New American Security think-tank.
Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed statist technocrat Andrei Belousov defence minister last month in a surprise shake-up of his security bosses. The Kremlin has said the reshuffle was aimed at making Russia’s record Rbs10.8tn ($120bn) defence spending more efficient and less vulnerable to western sanctions.
By broadening the scope of secondary sanctions, the US will threaten financial institutions in other countries doing business with Russia — particularly China, which has drawn closer to Moscow since the invasion of Ukraine.
I need more people to understand that sanctions and giving Ukrain aid is the only way we will have stability in Europe, we also need to motivate Europe to act more like us
 

Ukrainians could face up to 20 hours of blackouts a day under a “worst-case” scenario if the country cannot repair and properly defend its energy infrastructure from Russian attacks, Executive Director of Ukraine’s largest privately-owned energy company DTEK Dmytro Sakharuk told the Kyiv Independent in an interview on June 9.

The company has assessed various scenarios, with the worst being based on a continuation of the status quo — a dearth of air defenses to protect critical infrastructure and the financing to make repairs.

Even if the country makes repairs, without missiles for air defense systems, Russia can easily keep targeting the energy system as it wants.

Under what it considers the worst-case scenario, DTEK itself would continue to run with around 10% of pre-war levels of thermal power generation, and deficits would be around 2-4 gigawatts (GW) a day. The deficit across the whole system will be around 25%, undoubtedly leading to long blackouts.

A Russian attack on April 11 destroyed state-owned Centrenergo’s Trypillia Thermal Power Plant in Kyiv Oblast, leading to the destruction of 100% the company's generation capacity. Russia earlier destroyed the company's Zmiiv Thermal Power Plant during a March 22 strike on Kharkiv Oblast and another plant has been under occupation since 2022.
In this scenario, large plants could start feeling the absence of electricity in November, defense enterprises could feel the squeeze in December, and crucial infrastructure like water and sewage systems in January 2025, the company has assessed.

“This is very close to realistic right now. Regarding what will happen this winter, we are heading very quickly to this (scenario),” Sakharuk said.


Russia has stepped up its attacks against Ukraine’s energy facilities since March, completely destroying thermal power plants around the country. Companies have had to schedule blackouts, leaving consumers without power for several hours a day at times.

Even the best-case scenario DTEK has determined — one in which there are no new attacks, air defense can properly defend critical assets, imports increase, and both DTEK and state-owned energy company Centrenergo can make repairs — would still come with pains.

Big enterprises, like metallurgical and defense production facilities, would have the power to work, but there would still be a deficit of up to 12% in the energy system. Blackouts would likely still be anywhere up to 10 hours a day, although they could be shorter depending on the severity of the attacks.


Ukrainian forces destroyed two radars of S-300 and S-400 air defense systems in several areas in occupied Crimea overnight on June 12, Ukraine's General Staff reported.

Explosions were reported in multiple towns across the peninsula, as well as in Russia's Krasnodar Krai at night.

One Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missile system near the Russian Belbek military airfield and two S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems near Belbek and occupied Sevastopol came under Ukraine's missile strike, the military said.
Information on the scale of damage to the third radar is being specified, according to the General Staff.

"In addition, further detonations of ammunition were spotted in all three areas where Russian anti-aircraft missile divisions were deployed," the military said.


Russia deployed the largest number of assault units from eight strike brigades in the Pokrovsk and Kurakhove sectors in Donetsk Oblast, Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine's Armed Forces Oleksandr Syrskyi said on June 12.


The Netherlands will deliver its first F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine already this summer, shortly after Denmark, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said in an interview with European Pravda published on June 12.
 

Distance to H32, the main road linking Pokrovsk with Kostyantynivka,
is now under ~7km.


Satellite imagery of ATACMS strike on Russian S-300/400 (said to be S-400) near Dzhankoy, Crimea.

(45.596310,34.440900)


Russian Ground Forces (RGF) have likely achieved a limited break-in of an eastern suburb of Chasiv Yar, a town located approximately 8km to the west of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. They have also likely taken control of Ivanivske, a village southeast of Chasiv Yar. Heavy fighting is reported in the urban areas, with the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) contesting RGF advances. Russian forces likely remain on the east side of a canal that runs through the city which presents an obstacle to their advance.

It is highly likely that the RGF is employing a dismounted infantry approach to clearing the suburbs, and that the Russian casualty rate is high. The UAF report an artillery-centric assault on the city with thermobaric munitions in use. Chasiv Yar is likely of value to Russia due to its strategic position on a plateau, as well as its historic use as a logistics hub for the UAF.


The Ukrainian Air Force says it shot down 29 of 30 missiles and Shahed UAVs launched last night, including a Kinzhal. They say a single Iskander-M ballistic missile launched from Crimea was not intercepted.


Ukrainian SSO SOF operator armed with a suppressed M249 SAW, at a training range in eastern Ukraine.


The Ministry of Defence reported that the ratio of volunteers to conscripts who joined the Ukrainian forces is 1 to 3.

Source: Nataliia Kalmykova, Deputy Minister of Defence, at the conference The Ministry of Defence and Partnership with the Public: Cooperation, Achievements, Challenges

Quote: "We are implementing systemic changes in the defence forces, creating a new personnel policy system and developing a network of enlistment offices. There are already 22 of them. This week, we plan to open three more.

The results are impressive. As of May, the ratio of volunteer soldiers to mobilised people who joined the forces was 1 to 3. This means that we still have the potential to defend Ukraine."
 
Russian barrage leaves Kyiv residents without power and water

In scenes reminiscent of the winter of 2023, streets are frequently plunged into darkness, the hum of private generators can be heard again across Kyiv streets and people carry flashlights to get around.
"The main challenge is the lack of water," said Valeriy Tkalich, 34, speaking to Reuters at his Kyiv home where water pumps can't reach the higher floors without electricity.
"For cooking, we also had to adjust and purchase a small gas camping stove to heat stuff up," said the IT product manager. "With the baby, it seriously complicates our reality."
Many Ukrainians fear things will get worse as winter approaches, with Russian forces seizing the initiative on the battlefield and intensifying missile and drone attacks on thermal and hydropower stations.

Ukrainian authorities say the spring attacks have taken out about half of the country's generation capacity - 9,000 out of 18,000 Mwh - and that they have caused long-term damage that may mean power cuts for years to come.
Some Kyiv residents went without power more than five hours a day last week due to deficits in the energy system, the worst situation in the capital since last winter.


Residents in the capital Kyiv, with a population of three million, are facing some of the most significant power shortages. The hum of generators reverberates though the city, while at night streets are now often coated in darkness.
Families with young children living on the top floors of apartment blocks have been left without working lifts, leaving them to walk up dozens of flights of stairs.
Ukraine is buying energy from the European Union to try to cover its shortfall. Its energy ministry said it was planning on Wednesday to import its largest amount of power to date. However, this is not enough to make up its deficit, meaning nationwide power cuts have been planned during an eight-hour window, from 3pm to 11pm, in order to protect critical infrastructure such a hospitals and military facilities.
The situation is expected to worsen as summer temperatures climb and people turn on their air-conditioning units.


Britain will pledge nearly £250 million to rebuild Ukraine’s critical energy infrastructure, as Rishi Sunak vows to do “whatever it takes” to beat Russia.

US expands Russia sanctions, targets chips sent via China

The United States on Wednesday dramatically broadened sanctions on Russia, including by targeting China-based companies selling semiconductors to Moscow, as part of its effort to undercut the Russian military machine waging war on Ukraine.
Among the steps, the U.S. Treasury said it was raising "the risk of secondary sanctions for foreign financial institutions that deal with Russia's war economy," effectively threatening them with losing access to the U.S. financial system.
It also said it was moving to restrict the Russian military industrial base's ability to exploit certain U.S. software and information technology (IT) services and, with the State Department, targeting more than 300 individuals and entities in Russia and beyond, including in Asia, Europe and Africa.
Separately, the Commerce Department said it was targeting shell companies in Hong Kong for diverting semiconductors to Russia, taking steps that would affect nearly $100 million of high-priority items for Moscow including such chips.
 

New @USTreasury sanctions on MOEX stop FX trading of the dollar. Transactions will be on the inter-exchange market, rates will become wider. Commissions for storing currency will rise. It will become more difficult and expensive to work with currency in Russia. But not impossible


Real (inflation-adjusted) wages in #Russia: The labor shortage is showing more and more. Russia's economy is overheating due to the relentless spending on the war.


As shown here, Russian forces are fortifying the territory they captured in northern Kharkiv Oblast. The Russians have shown themselves to be pretty good at quickly digging in after they gain ground.


The Ukrainian analytical project DeepState reported that Russia made further incremental gains on the Avdiivka-Pokrovsk axis over the last couple days, including the capture of Novopokrovske.


In addition to different tail fins, another interesting thing about the Russian UMPB D-30SN glide bombs seen recently (example: first photo) is their noses differ from those on UMPBs previously recovered in Ukraine (second, third, and fourth photos).


We spoke with the Bradley commander in the viral video engaging a Russian BTR at point blank range. He discussed what happened next, and why the mission of using solo Bradleys as hunter-killers is an emerging tactic. w/ @serhiikorolchuk

‘Ram him’: How Ukraine is pushing U.S. combat gear to the extreme

The Ukrainians’ radio crackled with an urgent announcement: A Russian vehicle stacked with infantry troops was lurking in a forest and had to be taken out.
The mission went to Viktor, the 40-year-old commander of an American-made Bradley Fighting Vehicle, whose crew roared down the main road in the village of Sokil, in eastern Ukraine, where the Kremlin has gained ground this year.
The Russians emerged from the trees, and for a few chaotic seconds, the two vehicles barreled toward each other while firing their heavy guns — as if they were jousting. A soldier fell from the speeding Russian vehicle. Viktor’s took a catastrophic hit to its targeting system, disabling the main weapon.
“Ram him,” Viktor recalled instructing his driver.
The May 31 exchange, captured on drone video that subsequently went viral online, underscores how Kyiv has used U.S.-provided Bradleys in unique and extreme ways to work around its depleted artillery stocks and manpower shortages, soldiers and analysts said. Edited video of the incident was published by the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.
After being provided to Ukraine last year, the U.S. Bradleys, each weighing about 28 tons, were first used as battering rams to punch through Russian defenses during last year’s failed counteroffensive. But now they are being dispatched to hunt and kill other armored vehicles, to rescue wounded troops and as a mobile gun to rake enemy positions, observers said.
In the fall, Viktor’s unit, the 47th Separate Mechanized Brigade, and its Bradleys moved east to Donetsk to fight back against the Russians in the strategic town of Avdiivka, which Moscow’s forces ultimately captured. His team has undertaken all of these missions and more, he said, recounting, too, how they employed the Bradley’s firepower to destroy a Russian tank and shred a scout vehicle.
“It blew up very beautiful,” he said. “It burned fast, like a match.”
Viktor spoke with The Washington Post on the condition that only his first name be published, in accordance with Ukrainian military protocol. In an interview from a hospital where he was recovering from wounds suffered in a separate incident, he praised the Bradley’s armor and the training he received from U.S. troops in Germany this year.
He singled out the vehicle’s armaments, including guided missiles and its 25mm cannon, which can fire armor-piercing rounds about the size of a hot dog. When the rounds strike Russian infantry soldiers, he said, “nothing is left.”

U.S. doctrine commonly calls for Bradleys to operate in groups and alongside other vehicles such as tanks, and to typically engage targets at long distances to avoid enemy fire. That strategy is complemented with the added protection of a strong air force. But Ukraine’s limited supply of ground vehicles and combat aircraft, and the persistent threat of armed Russian drones, has forced its commanders to mobilize just one or two vehicles at a time to avoid detection.
Ukrainian commanders, struggling with ammunition shortages, for instance, have used Bradleys to attack enemy trenches and other fighting positions, said Rob Lee, a senior fellow with the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute who has closely followed the war. He said that such flexibility can help to preserve infantry soldiers whose units are stretched thin.
From close range, Bradleys can also target buildings housing Russian troops and lighter fortifications — a dangerous job better left to artillery units firing from a safe distance away, but one that’s been undertaken because howitzer shells are being rationed.
In one extraordinary moment, a Ukrainian drone spotted a wounded soldier who was holding up his military ID to identify himself as a friendly. Within an hour, a Bradley was dispatched to retrieve him.


Head of the GUR Kyrylo Budanov said that Russia has placed elements of its most modern air defense system S-500 Prometheus in occupied Crimea.

"The latest elements of the S-500 have appeared. This is, in principle, an experimental application. Well, they have already appeared there," he said.

He added that the Kerch Bridge is still being used by Russia, mainly for personnel transportation.
 

Breaking - French presidency says G7 leaders have agreed to provide Ukraine with $50 billion via frozen Russian assets by the end of the year, @AFP in Paris reporting. US said earlier that talks were ongoing to thrash out specifics


Concern about use of Western satellite imagery from Airbus and other companies by the Russians for target development and BDA in Ukraine:

"We see this pattern: (satellite) photo, attack by the Russians, photo - I mean, who else could be behind it?”


Photos of barges deployed by the Russians in the area of the Crimean Bridge for protection against Ukrainian attacks with unmanned surface vessels (USVs).


European countries will transfer over 100 additional PATRIOT missiles to Ukraine, supplied by a German-Danish-Dutch-Norwegian partnership.

Ukraine will also soon deploy another German-supplied PATRIOT battery, currently finalizing crew training in Sanitz.


"The Dutch are investing €400 million (U.S. $430 million) in a Swedish fund to build the CV90s for Ukraine ... That amount is the Dutch share and will pay for 'several tens' of vehicles, Netherlands MoD spokesman Kaj Leers told Defense News in an email."


🇱🇹 Lithuania is sending 14 armored vehicles M113 to Ukraine this week to enhance demining capabilities. This is part of our unwavering support within the framework of the Demining Coalition.
 
Ukraine says without more air cover there won't be enough power for winter

Ukraine needs more air defences within weeks to allow repairs to the half of its power infrastructure destroyed by Russian attacks, or it will not be able to meet demand in the winter, the country's energy minister told Reuters.
German Galushchenko said Russia was intensifying its attacks on power systems, making repairs difficult and choking supplies.
Russian missile and drone attacks on Ukraine's energy sector have intensified since March, cutting out half of its generating capacity, resulting in rolling blackouts, including in the capital Kyiv.
"We have five months before the winter. If we won't be able to protect now ... we cannot do repairing. 50% alone is not enough to get through the winter," said Galushchenko.
"They still have time to attack us again and again before the winter," he added. "Even to repair something or to restart some units without air defence, it doesn't help you a lot because they will destroy it again."

The winter is when power demand in Ukraine is at its highest as temperatures drop far below zero.
Ukraine has been lobbying in particular for U.S.-made Patriot missile defences which have proved vital for Kyiv's chances of shooting down Russia's ballistic and hypersonic missiles.
Galushchenko said Ukraine needed seven to nine such systems and they were needed within weeks.
"We're living with restrictions now, even in the summer, because we cannot cover ... this destroyed generation," he said. "We cannot cover this by imports."
Galushchenko said Russia had also struck renewable energy sites, including a solar station.


Ukrainian drone attacks in the Black Sea are forcing Russian ships to bounce from port to port and the Russian Navy to build harbor defenses, all of which complicates naval operations, according to new satellite imagery and analysis.

Real time, space-based intelligence company BlackSky has been collecting images over the Black Sea since January 2022. Making up to 15 passes a day, the company’s imagery and AI-enabled analytics platform has accumulated 70,000 ship detections.

One analyst with access to the imagery and accompanying BlackSky data said that after Ukrainian missiles struck warships and the naval base at Sevastopol last September, ship traffic dropped 18 percent at the Crimean port—and increased by more than 20 percent in Feodosia (100 miles away, on the other side of Crimea) and Novorossiysk (more than 200 miles away on Russia’s Black Sea coast) between September and December 0f 2022. In December of last year, many of the Feodosia-stationed vessels moved on to the base at Novorossiysk. And just last week, the ships departed again for unknown ports further away from Ukraine, the analyst said.

Poland says US Patriot battery to be replaced with one from elsewhere

A U.S. Patriot air-defence system in Poland will be replaced by another battery from elsewhere in the world, a Polish deputy defence minister said on Thursday, after a media report that it would be sent to Ukraine.

NATO reports "astronomically high" Russian losses in Kharkiv Oblast

A NATO official has said that Russian forces suffered tremendous losses during an offensive in Kharkiv Oblast in May.

Source: NATO official, speaking on condition of anonymity, as reported by European Pravda from Brussels

Details: The official stated that 1,000 Russian soldiers were being killed in action daily in May.

"I would also add that the gains in Kharkiv Oblast seem to have come at a rather high price for Russia. Russia likely suffered losses of almost 1,000 people a day in May, which is quite an astronomical figure," the official said, noting that he was referring to the number of fatalities.

Speaking about the situation in Kharkiv Oblast, the NATO official stated that Russia has failed to create a buffer zone, as Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin has claimed.

The front in this area has been stabilised, and the territories controlled by Russia are fragmented.

"Therefore, in the long run, Russia's victories in this area will be limited," he added.


Moscow’s military has moved its most advanced air-defence system to Crimea to protect the peninsula’s Kerch bridge, after Kyiv stepped up its attacks in the area and in Russia itself.
The deployment of the road-mobile S-500 Prometheus, with a range of 370 miles, has been confirmed by Lieutenant-General Kyrylo Budanov, chief of the Ukrainian defence intelligence directorate.
The arrival in Crimea of this weapon system, which was only supposed to be in full production next year, underlines the changing priorities adopted by Ukraine in the 28-month war.
Judging by the year-on-year increase in attacks by Ukraine on Russian-annexed Crimea and inside Russia since Moscow’s invasion in February 2022, the focus of the war is dramatically changing, and escalating, aided by the supply of longer-range weapons from the US, Britain and other European countries.


The UK has imposed sanctions on Russian insurer Ingosstrakh, a key player in the operation of the Kremlin’s “shadow fleet” of oil tankers, as part of a push to tighten measures designed to restrict Moscow’s energy revenues.
Ingosstrakh, a large Russian insurer, has become a significant provider of insurance for vessels in the so-called shadow fleet — the 100 or so mostly ageing tankers Moscow has acquired to transport and sell its oil for more than the $60-a-barrel limit western powers have attempted to impose.
The price cap is intended to allow Russia to keep exporting oil so as to avoid global price spikes that would harm western economies, while squeezing the Kremlin’s revenues. Insurers have been an important lever for enforcing the policy as ships can be required to show adequate insurance, when entering ports in particular.
The FT reported in March alongside Denmark’s Danwatch that Ingosstrakh was insuring shadow fleet vessels, but that the insurance it was providing could be voided if the shipments were breaching the cap. This could potentially saddle coastal states with huge clean-up bills in the event of an oil spill.
Craig Kennedy, an expert on Russian energy based at Harvard, said: “Sanctioning insurers which help the shadow fleet is a way to make it harder for these vessels to operate. But the most important thing for all the G7 countries is to target ships, by name, which we know are part of this evasion network.”
 
U.S. and Allies Scrounge for Patriots—or Any Air Defenses—to Help Ukraine

Ahead of this week’s meetings in Brussels, U.S. officials in Washington said they would provide one Patriot battery, and Germany recently said it would also supply one. The second U.S. Patriot battery is expected to arrive within weeks, one official said. The first U.S.-provided Patriot arrived in Kyiv just over one year ago.
The U.S. made the decision to send that particular Patriot, in part, because a unit assigned to the Patriot was planning to return home from a deployment near the Polish-Ukraine border. Pentagon officials decided that the troops would return home but the Patriot assigned to them would stay in the region and move to Ukraine. There, Ukrainian-trained forces will operate the system, the officials said.
Despite the decision to send a battery to Ukraine, “there will be no change in our Patriot coverage in Poland,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters Thursday in Brussels, suggesting the U.S. would transport another battery to Poland.
President Biden approved the move, the officials said.

A Patriot battery usually requires 90 people to operate, and Ukrainian personnel have received training, U.S. defense officials said. NATO countries’ equipment varies.
“When you look at what countries have in their inventories, some of them have the battery but not the interceptors. Some of them have the batteries for training but not for deployment. Some of them have the batteries but don’t have the personnel to man the batteries,” said a senior Defense Department official.
“The host of issues with just pulling them from allies and handing them over to Ukraine…is really complicated and a lot of hours are spent trying to piece these systems together,” the official said.
As a result, the official said, the U.S. is urging Ukraine and NATO allies to look at giving Kyiv European-made systems and older U.S. air-defense equipment.
“It’s a combination of systems and if we—and they—rely only on Patriot, I think we will come up short,” the official said. The current U.S. modernization “requires us to pull systems back from the field,” the official said, explaining that even in the U.S. “it’s extremely complicated.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said this week that in addition to the additional Patriot system Berlin will deliver—its third to Ukraine—it would offer German-made Gepard and Iris-T systems.
Iris-T, U.S.-Norwegian Nasams systems and the European Samp/T are ground-launch interceptor systems roughly similar to Patriots. But the cutting-edge U.S. system is Ukraine’s most valued because its range is longer than any of the other systems and it can tackle ballistic and hypersonic missiles in a way the others can’t.

Pentagon Deal With Musk’s Starlink in Ukraine Extended Six Months for $14 Million

The Pentagon renewed a contract with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to provide Starlink internet services in Ukraine for another six months, a fresh sign that the two sides have moved past a dispute over how the terminals were being used in the conflict zone.
US Space Force has extended a contract with SpaceX until Nov. 30 at a cost of $14.1 million, Space Systems Command spokeswoman Bonnie Poindexter said in a statement. “The contract provides access to the Starlink constellation, hardware, and customer support under negotiated terms and conditions,” she said.

Ukraine to receive 152-mm shells worth €350 million from Netherlands

The Netherlands has announced the shipment of 152-mm shells to Ukraine, costing more than €350 million, which will be funded by the International Fund for Ukraine (IFU).

Source: Ministry of Defence of the Netherlands, as reported by European Pravda

Details: The Dutch Defence Ministry stressed that the exact number of 152-mm shells and delivery time will not be reported for security reasons.

"But this is one of IFU's largest orders from the international arms industry," it added.

According to the Dutch Ministry of Defence, Ukraine acquired primarily 155-mm howitzer ammunition within the boundaries of earlier deliveries, but it also has a large number of 152-mm cannons.


Early Wednesday morning, Ukrainian forces successfully struck another Russian S-400 battery in occupied Crimea with at least one MGM-140 ATACMS tactical ballistic missile.

The strike destroyed the unit's engagement radar, a 92N6 Grave Stone, generator unit, and one 51P6 TEL.

Thread: https://x.com/sambendett/status/1801280478277722508

1/ QUICK TAKE on a Russian deliberation about the UAV/drone evolution influenced by the war in Ukraine - main points below: "The (Ukraine war) became a triumph for small UAVs. Previously, everyone was afraid of Bayraktars, but now everyone hides when FPV drones appear."
2/ "Modern air defense systems have made low-speed, medium-altitude UAVs practically useless. Evolution has turned the Bayraktar drones from a superweapon into an expensive reconnaissance aircraft. (Smaller) fixed-wing, “Baba Yagas” and FPV drones currently rule the battlefield."
3/ "The most dangerous and promising (UAVs) are FPV drones. The number of UAVs on the battlefield is growing rapidly. The apogee of their use will be autumn/winter 2024. The number of FPV drones will become such that a motocross motorcycle..."
4/ "...will become an extremely dangerous means of transportation, and there is almost nothing to say about other equipment. The Zelenka (typical military vehicles) will fail and the infantryman will have nowhere to hide. But is an FPV drone the ideal weapon?"
5/ "No, although it does cause a lot of problems. The effectiveness of any weapon resembles a parabola. And now we can predict the further evolution of drones. It is important to note that the FPV drone has evolved into an air defense weapon. First, it will mow down the ranks of Baba Yaga drones."

6/ "This clumsy and slow-moving bomber is already shot down by experienced FPV drone crews. It is more difficult to fight reconnaissance (fixed)“wings,” but the Ukrainians have proven that it is possible. FPV already flies at 20 km, which is greater than the range of many air defense systems."

7/ "Reducing the number of reconnaissance UAVs such as Mavics and fixed-wing drones will eventually make the use of FPV drones less ubiquitous and it will be a little easier to be on the battlefield. The FPV fighter concept will evolve and with the help of automated systems..."

8/ "...FPV drones will begin to destroy each other. In a confrontation between equal opponents, this will further reduce the effectiveness of the UAV. Then tanks with lasers and active protection against drones will appear on the battlefield. This will allow military leaders..."

9/ "...to once again plan tank breakthrough tactics. In a few years, the FPV drone will transform from a "superweapon" into a weapon equal in effectiveness to an ATGM. But this is a glance into the future. For now, dropping a shell/munition from a drone is more effective than protective armor."

10/ "This state of affairs will last for several years. This is the window of opportunity for China. Only our neighbor can produce drones by the millions. Hundreds of tanks cannot resist a swarm of UAVs. And if the Chinese do not realize their advantage, then they will have to wait for the next “window of opportunity” for several more decades."

11/ Correction to point 4/ - "Zelenka" in this context is vegetation, not vehicles.

Russians used starvation as method of warfare in Mariupol, experts say

Russian forces deliberately used starvation of civilians as a military tactic during the 85-day siege of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, international legal experts said in a report published on Thursday.
Human rights organisation Global Rights Compliance, whose experts also assist Ukraine's Prosecutor General, said Russian forces "systematically attacked objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population" such as food, water, energy and access to healthcare.
 

Mine clearance machine tested in Ukraine, serial production to be launched​


Ukrainian enterprise A3tech has conducted certification tests at the training ground for the DOK-ING MV-10 heavy mine clearance machine, assembled and partially localised in Ukraine.

Details: After receiving the certificate, the manufacturing company will be able to establish serial production and provide higher-quality maintenance services, as the necessary base will be in Ukraine.

Quote: "Heavy mine clearance machines significantly accelerate the demining of territories and enhance the safety of personnel working in the field. They have proven their effectiveness in Kharkiv Oblast and the south of Ukraine.

Currently, 40% of the working parts for these machines are manufactured in Ukraine, and by the end of the year, this figure is planned to reach 100%," said Yuliia Svyrydenko, the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of Ukraine.

The press office also reported that the MV-10 passed performance tests under conditions of compacted soil and sand. The mine clearance machine was also tested for its ability to clear areas of vegetation up to two metres high with a boot diameter of over 10 centimetres. During the durability test, the MV-10 withstood five detonations under the working organ equivalent to the TM-62M anti-tank mine.

The ministry also noted that A3tech has a preliminary order for the production of eight MV-10 mine clearance machines. Overall, the production capacity can reach up to 60 machines per year.

Currently, 17 DOK-ING MV-10 heavy mine clearance machines are operating in Ukraine.

For reference:

The DOK-ING MV-10 is a heavy mine clearance machine equipped with a dual working set: a chain mechanism and a milling cutter. It is capable of withstanding the detonation of an anti-tank mine. The machine is used for clearing areas of various types of mines and explosive devices. The MV-10 can clear up to 3,000 square metres of area per hour and can operate both on flat surfaces and slopes.

Background: The participating countries of the Ukraine Recovery Conference had increased their commitments to support humanitarian demining in Ukraine by over US$35 million.
 

Rouble plummets: bankruptcy of Russian economy?​


Following new US sanctions, the rouble is plunging on the interbankmarket and long queues of people wanting to withdraw their money can be seen at banks in Moscow.

The rouble fell to its lowest level in almost three weeks against the dollar on the interbankmarket on Thursday, in a context of very low liquidity in premarket trading. New US sanctions against Russia led to the immediate suspension of dollar and euro trading on the country's main financial market, the Moscow Stock Exchange. 

The Russian stock exchange and the Russian central bank issued swift statements, barely an hour after Washington announced new sanctions. Those sanctions aim to cut off the flow of money and goods meant to support Russia's war in Ukraine.

As a result, Muscovites want to withdraw their money in cash, resulting in long queues outside Moscow banks. 

General Michel Yakovleff, former deputy chief of staff of SHAPE (NATO), posted on X: "The rouble will soon not be worth a kopeck".

Rouble swings to opaque trading territory after new US sanctions​

MOSCOW (Reuters) -New U.S. sanctions that forced Russia's leading exchange to halt dollar and euro trading led to a range of varying prices and spreads as trading moved over-the-counter (OTC) on Thursday, obscuring access to reliable pricing for the Russian currency.

The Russian central bank set its official rouble-dollar rate for Friday at 88.21, implying a strengthening of about 0.9% from the previous close. But the sanctions caused confusion in how to determine accurately the currency's exact value.

On the interbank market, the rouble traded between a 10-day low of 90.25 and a near one-year high of 86.28, eventually settling 0.4% higher at 88.62.

The central bank calculated its official rate based on OTC trading, instead of its previous method of mostly using trades on Moscow Exchange, Russia's leading financial market place.

Washington's sanctions on MOEX, and crucially its clearing agent, the National Clearing Centre (NCC), have been expected since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, but the move still took the market by surprise.

The sanctions led to a suspension of trading in U.S. dollars, euros and Hong Kong dollars on MOEX. The U.S. said it was aiming to cut the flow of money and goods used to sustain Russia's war in Ukraine.

MOEX is part of Russia's critical financial infrastructure, but the latest sanctions are seen having limited impact on Russia's ability to continue selling its oil and gas internationally as Moscow has already diverted much of its trade flows towards China and other Asian countries.

"Over the past two years, the role of the US dollar and the euro in the Russian market has been consistently declining," the central bank said on Thursday.

The yuan has surpassed the dollar to become the most traded currency with the rouble in Moscow, accounting for a 54% share of the FX market in May.

The rouble steadied at 12.22 against the yuan and touched a near one-year high of 11.8430 earlier in the session.

Russia's rouble-based MOEX Russian index plunged to a near six-month low in early trading, before paring losses to close unchanged at 3,171.7 points. Shares in MOEX slumped around 15%, before settling around 3.1% lower.

VOLATILITY, WIDE SPREADS

"The sanctions against the key institutions of the Russian financial sector are the most serious in the last 1-1/2 years after the introduction of the oil embargo and oil price cap," said BCS World of Investments analysts.

About 60% of FX trading from January to April had been on the OTC market, BCS said, so it offers a sufficient basis for forming the official exchange rate.

"At the same time, the lack of a single trading floor will lead to an increase in spreads on FX operations from banks."

Banks, companies and investors are no longer able to trade either the U.S. dollar or the euro via the central exchange, which provides benefits such as liquidity, clearing and oversight.

Instead, the opaque OTC market, where deals are conducted directly between two parties, will dominate.

"The new sanctions should not affect the rouble rate in the medium term," said Yuri Popov, SberCIB Investment Research strategist. "In the short term, there may be high volatility and wide spreads at exchange counters."

Some major brokers blocked accounts in dollars, euros and Hong Kong dollars, with deposits and withdrawals unavailable.
Sberbank, Russia's dominant lender, said it was not seeing increased demand for foreign currency at its branches and its FX rates had not changed since yesterday.

 

G7 Takes Aim At Small Chinese Banks To Combat Russian War Economy​


With Western officials looking to hamper Beijing's support for a Russian economy reoriented around the war in Ukraine, China’s smaller banks have emerged as a new target.

How to deal with the small Chinese financial institutions that are helping Moscow evade Western sanctions will be a top agenda item at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Italy on June 13-15. U.S. officials have said that going after booming Chinese-Russian trade -- particularly the supply of nonlethal but militarily applicable dual-use products -- is a priority.

“We will address [China’s] support for the Russian defense industrial base,” White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby told reporters on June 11. “We’re going to continue to drive up costs for the Russian war machine. And this week we will announce an impactful set of new sanctions and export control actions.”

Western officials have not commented publicly about plans to target smaller Chinese banks, but Reuters reported that the United States and other members of the G7 bloc of wealthy democracies -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan -- are set to focus on how to respond to the issue during their private meetings but are not expected to issue any immediate sanctions against the banks.

China has emerged as a top partner for Russia since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine with analyses of Chinese customs data showing that in 2023, 90 percent of dual-use goods deemed “high priority” and used to make Russian weapons came from China.

Worried about being targeted by U.S. secondary sanctions, China’s big banks have begun to limit their cross-border transactions involving Russia and Russian firms, with Chinese companies that trade with Russia instead moving to smaller banks or underground financing channels that are difficult to track and have less exposure to the international financial system.

“This is what I call the ‘burner bank’ strategy,” Tom Keatinge, director of the Center for Financial Crime and Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute, told RFE/RL. “If the United States or other G7 countries sanction these banks, there is likely to be very limited contagion and the impact on the bank will likewise be limited as the bank has no need for access to the international banking system.”

What Kind Of Response?

Growing concern over how to handle Russia and China dominated meetings in April and in May when G7 ministers met in Italy to try and forge a united front on critical matters and leverage their combined economic power.

That will carry over to the upcoming G7 leaders’ summit, where they are expected to tackle a range of issues, from leveraging profits from Russian assets frozen in the West for Ukraine to the Israel-Hamas war and growing tensions in the Indo-Pacific.

On the eve of the summit, the United States issued new sanctions targeting hundreds of individuals and companies for helping Moscow circumvent Western blocks on obtaining key technology, including seven Chinese-based companies.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry had already preemptively hit back over Western pressure, saying on June 11 that it will take all necessary measures to “firmly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises,” in response to warnings from Washington and its partners about the links between smaller Chinese banks and Russia.

The United States and its partners have so far been reluctant to go after Chinese financial institutions over their Russian links, particularly the major banks because sanctions could have ripple effects across the global economy and increase tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Senior U.S. officials have said Beijing is providing Moscow with drone and missile technology, satellite imagery, machine tools, and other dual-use goods, and stepped up their criticism of Beijing in recent months.

U.S. Treasury officials have repeatedly warned financial institutions in Europe, China, and elsewhere that they face sanctions for helping Russia skirt Western sanctions. In December, Washington said it is prepared to use sanctions and tighter export controls to reduce Russia's ability to navigate sanctions, including imposing secondary sanctions that could be used against banks and other financial institutions.
Those warnings appear to have yielded some results, with large Chinese banks stepping up scrutiny of their transactions with Russian entities and other institutions, even halting processing deals with some companies. Trade flows between China and Russia have also slowed amid renewed warnings from the West, with Chinese data for March and April showing that exports to Russia are declining, reportedly due to concerns by Chinese banks of being hit by secondary sanctions from Washington.

But the renewed discussion set for the G7 indicates that Western officials are concerned that some Chinese financial institutions are still facilitating trade in civilian goods with military applications at significant levels.

Keatinge says the United States and its G7 partners risk making empty threats without taking action against Chinese banks or other entities helping fuel Russia’s war effort against Ukraine.

“The risk is rising given the lack of overt action since December 2023,” he said. “Put simply, without action, there is no reason for foreign financial institutions to genuinely fear consequences.”

Sanctions Proofing

Calls for a tougher approach on China over its support for Ukraine have also exposed divisions within the West and even among G7 members.

While the grouping has managed to stay largely united in support of Kyiv and has taken other measures against Chinese overcapacity in trade, including the European Union recently unveiling new tariffs against Chinese electric vehicles, targeting Chinese banks is less straightforward.

Some members have stronger trade relationships with China and are cautious to jeopardize their bilateral ties -- and curbing Beijing’s support for Russia may be difficult to do with sanctions.


The United States has hit smaller Chinese banks in the past, such as when it sanctioned the Bank of Kunlun in 2012 over various issues -- including working with Iranian institutions -- but many of China’s smaller banks involved in dual-use trade also have limited or no exposure to the Western financial system.

Added to that, China and Russia have worked to generate more trade using China’s yuan instead of the dollar in the wake of the Ukraine war, potentially shielding their economies from any U.S. sanctions.

Agathe Demarais, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, says it’s unclear how G7 countries intend to tackle China’s growing support for Russia and that any action would be “ineffective if Chinese banks handling sensitive transactions between Beijing and Moscow had no ties to Western financial instruments.”

“Imposing ineffective sanctions would likely backfire by boosting Chinese and Russian false claims that such measures are useless,” she said. “This conundrum illustrates how China is gradually sanctions-proofing its economy, which is becoming increasingly immune to Western economic statecraft.”
 

Ukraine is poised to get its first F-16 fighters in the next few months, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. confirmed June 13, in a move that would bolster Kyiv’s air capabilities against Russia.

“We’re working diligently to make sure that the Ukrainians have what they need, and the goal is to get them those F-16s this summer,” Brown said at a press conference following a Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting in Belgium.

Brown’s remarks come just a few days after Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren reportedly said the Netherlands would deliver some of its F-16s to Ukraine this summer.

“From this summer, I expect that the first F-16s will actually be delivered to Ukraine, and from there on, in a constant flow, by increasing the number and strengthening the Ukrainian Air Force,” Ollogren said in an interview with an Ukrainian media on June 12. “Denmark will be the first country to provide airframes and we will follow after Denmark.”

The exact number of F-16s that will arrive in Ukraine this summer remains unclear, but the timeline marks a major update after assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs Celeste Wallander told reporters in January that the Pentagon expects the Ukrainian Air Force to achieve “initial operating capability” on F-16s by the end of 2024.

Norway, the Netherlands, and Denmark are also all in varying stages of buying the F-35 and may deliver up to 22, 24, and 19 F-16s, respectively, according to media reports. That could mean Ukraine would ultimately have a fleet of 95 jets, but the four European nations’ delivery schedule is also contingent upon the completion of pilot and maintainer training programs.

“It’s not just the pilots you have to have,” said Brown. “But maintenance is also a key part of that, and training the maintainers.”

While the U.S. just wrapped up training for its first batch of Ukrainian F-16 pilots last month, those aviators are set to undergo additional training overseas. The Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing in Tucson, Ariz. is training a total of 12 Ukrainian pilots by the end of fiscal 2024. Additional pilot training by the European coalition is taking place in Denmark and Romania.

However, details regarding maintainer training have been scarce, although U.S. officials previously said that maintainer capability would be established before the end of this year.


But almost a year later, and only weeks before the next NATO summit, in Washington, those F-16s have yet to arrive. In fact, despite a commitment that those planes will start reaching Ukraine by the end of this summer, issues with their delivery are becoming clearer — from the number of pilots who will be able to fly them to crews ready to keep them working.
“The training pipeline on the F-16s is pretty meager,” said a senior U.S. defense official, speaking with reporters on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly.

That said, there have been multiple kinks in the process to deliver them, and make sure they’re useful.

The first is training. Between Europe and the U.S. there are only a dozen or so Ukrainian pilots learning to fly the planes right now, said the American defense official.

“That’s just a handful of pilots, and that’s just the pilots,” the official said.

Almost as crucial are the other members of the crew, such as maintainers, who keep the plane working. Brown made a similar point in the interview, saying that Ukraine will only be able to use as many planes as it has crews.

Training at Morris Air National Guard Base in Tucson, Arizona began last fall, and the first round of Ukrainian pilots graduated only weeks ago in late May. But finding spots for new ones has been difficult. There’s a small pool of Ukrainian pilots eligible for the training, which requires deep experience, and there’s already a queue of non-Ukrainian pilots in line as well.

A week before the meeting, Ukrainian officials told Politico that they had 30 or so pilots waiting for spots to start training but that none were available.

In a later press conference at NATO, Brown pushed back on the argument that European and American trainers are capped out.
“There is capacity,” he said.


The other issues are the length of the course itself — made more difficult by the highly technical English language training required — and finding a place to store them. Their usefulness will also depend on the stocks of munitions available to fire, which for other large weapons has been an issue throughout the war.

These issues aside, some analysts and defense officials are optimistic about what the jets could do for Ukraine’s force.

In a recent paper for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, U.S. military officers temporarily at the think tank argued that F-16s would threaten more Russian targets and help make Ukraine’s air force operate on standards similar to NATO’s — one of many goals as Kyiv pursues a spot in the alliance.

George Barros, who leads the Russia team at the Institute for the Study of War, told Defense News that the jets could be more useful considering the recent, if limited, policy change that allows Ukraine to fire across the border with Russia.

“We’ve written off the possibility of Ukrainians using air power in any meaningful way” to this point in the war, Barros said.

That could change, he argued, especially if the U.S. loosened its policy on striking into Russia even further.

In the interview on the way to Brussels, Brown was more cautious.

He, like other senior leaders in the Pentagon, urges people to think about how weapons and tactics work together rather than the effect of any one new piece of equipment.

“Just because they have the F-16s it’s not going to all of a sudden magically make things successful,” he said.

And that certainly won’t be the case, the other defense official argued, if the process moves faster than Ukraine can keep up with. Asked whether any planes would arrive by the Washington summit in July, the official said it would be better to wait if that meant they were more useful upon arrival.

“I wouldn’t want to rush it,” the official said.
 

Germany has updated the list of military aid already delivered to Ukraine, changes:

• 20 MARDER infantry fighting vehicles + ammunition;
• 10 Leopard 1A5 + ammunition;
• 1 air defense system IRIS-T SLM;
• 1 air defense system IRIS-T SLS;
• 3 HIMARS MLRS;
• 21000 155-mm shells;
• 128 smoke/lighting shells;
• 4 anti-drone sensors;
• 2 BEAVER bridge pavers;
• 2 DACHS engineering vehicles;
• 1 Bergepanzer 2 evacuation vehicle;
• 4 WISENT 1 demining vehicles;
• materials for disposal of explosive ammunition;
• 3 AMPS systems for protecting helicopters;
• 100 night vision glasses;
• IT equipment;
• 16 Zetros tanker trucks;
• 100 MK 556 assault rifles;
• 85 high-precision HLR 338 rifles;
• 100 CR 308 rifles;
• 4 million small arms ammunition;
• rescue boats.


Putin spoke about the "end of the war" and voiced conditions for the start of negotiations with Ukraine

▪️ Ukrainian troops must be completely withdrawn from "L/DPR", Kherson and Zaporizhzhia within the administrative borders.

▪️ As soon as the real withdrawal of troops begins and Kyiv refuses to join NATO, Moscow will order a ceasefire and the start of negotiations, Putin said.

▪️ According to him, Russia needs Ukraine's neutral, non-aligned and nuclear-free status for a peaceful settlement.

▪️ "The status of Crimea, "L/DPR", Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions as regions of the Russian Federation should be fixed in international treaties."

▪️ All Western sanctions against Russia should be lifted
"If Kyiv and the West refuse the new peace proposal, further conditions will be different," he added.


Ahead of the peace summit in Switzerland, Putin again sets conditions for Ukraine:
👉cede Crimea & four oblasts (including territories RUS does not even control) to Russia
👉abandon NATO accession
👉change Ukrainian law according to Russian demands
No willingness to negotiate
 
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Kim Sent Russia Millions of Artillery Shells, South Korea Says

North Korea has sent containers to Russia that could hold nearly 5 million artillery shells and Russian President Vladimir Putin will likely seek even more when he soon visits Pyongyang, South Korea’s defense minister said.
Shin Wonsik said in an interview with Bloomberg News that Seoul has detected at least 10,000 shipping containers being sent from North Korea to Russia, which could hold as many as 4.8 million artillery shells of the likes that Putin has used in his bombardment of Ukraine.
“Putin is expected to seek closer security cooperation with North Korea, especially military supplies such as artillery shells that are necessary to seize a chance to win,” Shin said. He also said North Korea has sent dozens of ballistic missiles to help Putin’s attack on his neighbor.
In return for the munitions, Russia has sent to North Korea technology to help in its plans to deploy an array of spy satellites as well as conventional arms such as tanks and aircraft.
Putin is set to visit North Korea as early as next week, the DongA Ilbo newspaper of South Korea has reported. The trip would be his first there since July 2000 and it’s set to stoke concerns from the US and its partners of arms transfers that have helped the Kremlin in its assault on Ukraine in exchange for aid propping up Kim Jong Un’s regime.


Reports about Ukrainian drone attack on the Morozovsk Air Base in Rostov Oblast of Russia.

Morozovsk is a home-base of the 559th Bomber Aviation Regiment (в/ч 75392) from 4th Air and Air Defense Army, operating Su-34s.

Russia Ramps Up Sabotage Operations in Europe

All flash, no bang? From a 30,000-foot view, these attacks are sporadic and extremely limited in their effectiveness. They haven’t made a dent in Western countries’ or their defense industries’ abilities to supply Ukraine, officials said. (Those supply lines are already strained, even without any Russian sabotage.)
But they reflect how the Kremlin has become increasingly brazen in its efforts to stem the flow of Western aid to Ukraine, part of a worrying trend that could increase the probability of a military confrontation between Russia and NATO.
Russia has warned that several NATO countries’ recent decisions to allow Ukraine to use their weapons to strike Russian territory could escalate the conflict, and President Vladimir Putin suggested that Moscow could supply long-range weapons to enemies of the West in response (though he didn’t offer specifics). NATO allies say the decision is necessary for Ukraine to be able to defend itself, particularly in vulnerable Ukrainian cities near the Russian border.
Cheap wins. One of the reasons that Russia engages in such sophisticated gradations of hybrid warfare is because it’s a relatively low-risk, low-cost, and potentially high-reward strategy, multiple European officials who spoke to SitRep said. These officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive security issues. The campaign in Europe is being run primarily by the Russian military intelligence branch, known as the GRU, officials said. Moscow has arranged this campaign through proxies—Russian diaspora groups and criminal gangs it has links to—to make it harder to trace specific acts directly back to the Russian government.
Even if the attacks fail, top European officials say they are clearly aimed at intimidating Western countries and imposing higher costs on them for continuing to support Ukraine in its over two-year-long war against the Russian invasion.
Another advantage for Russia: It’s easy (at least in theory) to deter conventional military attacks but much harder for Western countries to deter hybrid attacks. Such operations also fall below the threshold of an overt military attack that could trigger NATO’s Article 5 collective-defense clause. (Despite Moscow’s gloves-off onslaught in Ukraine, it still clearly wants to avoid a military showdown with NATO.)

No quick and easy solution. The surge in new sabotage and espionage cases has alarmed Western national security officials, who concede there’s no silver-bullet strategy to halt Russian hybrid attacks.
The best counter-strategy is one that is costly and diffuse, spread across all aspects of society. Western countries’ current counter-strategy amounts to a combination of heightened vigilance, beefing up national resilience by hardening critical and cyber infrastructure, increasing public awareness of these threats, and doubling down on the types of police and counterintelligence work they’re already doing. On that last front, Western governments have clearly been busy, with headlines of suspected Russian spies being arrested across Europe cropping up almost weekly.
 
Putin spoke about the "end of the war" and voiced conditions for the start of negotiations with Ukraine

▪️ Ukrainian troops must be completely withdrawn from "L/DPR", Kherson and Zaporizhzhia within the administrative borders.

▪️ As soon as the real withdrawal of troops begins and Kyiv refuses to join NATO, Moscow will order a ceasefire and the start of negotiations, Putin said.

▪️ According to him, Russia needs Ukraine's neutral, non-aligned and nuclear-free status for a peaceful settlement.

▪️ "The status of Crimea, "L/DPR", Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions as regions of the Russian Federation should be fixed in international treaties."

▪️ All Western sanctions against Russia should be lifted
"If Kyiv and the West refuse the new peace proposal, further conditions will be different," he added.

I think this may be something that flies under the radar for many but to me this is a huge development. Of course the conditions set out are ridiculous and would never be considered on the Ukrainian side unless there was an imminent collapse of their military.... and even then, I would be doubtful about that. But the fact the Russians have floated this out there is significant. To me, it signals that Putin is starting to look at an exit. In Russia, there is no way he can immediately end the war and look like he lost. It would mean the end of his regime. The only way he can do that is by slowly laying the groundwork for peace proposals..... then, as pressure mounts, they likely will modify their terms to begin negotiations. To me, this indicates that Russia is feeling the pressure of this war.
 
Exclusive: ICC probes cyberattacks in Ukraine as possible war crimes, sources say

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court are investigating alleged Russian cyberattacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure as possible war crimes, four sources familiar with the case have told Reuters.
It is the first confirmation that attacks in cyberspace are being investigated by international prosecutors, which could lead to arrest warrants if enough evidence is gathered.
The probe is examining attacks on infrastructure that endangered lives by disrupting power and water supplies, cutting connections to emergency responders or knocking out mobile data services that transmit air raid warnings, one official said.
ICC prosecutors are working alongside Ukrainian teams to investigate "cyberattacks committed from the beginning of the full-scale invasion" in February 2022, said the official, who declined to be named because the probe is not finished.
Two other sources close to the ICC prosecutor's office confirmed they were looking into cyberattacks in Ukraine and said they could go back as far as 2015, the year after Russia's seizure and unilateral annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.


"The main area of combat activity continues to be concentrated on the Pokrovsk offensive in the Ocheretyne region and around the Karlovsky reservoir, as well as on pressuring Chasiv Yar.

The Russian Federation's armed forces have succeeded in expanding the territory under their control via small tactical advances. In the Ocheretyne region, the enemy has managed to advance nearly two kilometers in a week and enter the settlement of Novooleksandrivka," said Col. Märk.

Col. Märk believes Russian troops are likely to maintain heavy pressure in this area in order to control a seven-kilometer-long road junction on the highway linking Pokrovsk and Kostiantynivka setting the stage to then cut this link.

The EDF colonel also said that the armed forces of the Russian Federation had succeeded in expanding their presence in the settlements around Chasiv Yar. However, despite this heavy offensive pressure, Ukraine's defense has remained effective.

Col. Mark said that Ukraine is trying to regain the initiative with counter-attacks in the direction of Kharkiv in the settlement of Vovchansk. "The Russian Federation's forces have suffered heavy losses there and had to regroup. However, Russia is bringing additional troops to that area in order to hold the positions it has gained and possibly expand its offensive to other border areas."

In the southern part of the front, in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Col. Märk said there have been no major changes on the front line. The Ukrainians are also holding the bridgeheads they have established over the Dnipro River.


European Union countries failed Friday to agree on fresh sanctions against Russia’s lucrative liquefied natural gas sector, according to six EU diplomats, with Germany torpedoing a deal on the eve of an international peace conference on Ukraine on Saturday.

The crux of the package was to ban countries from re-exporting Russian LNG from EU ports and financing planned Arctic and Baltic LNG terminals.

“Once upon a time, it was said that we should always blame … Hungary — and now it’s Germany,” said one diplomat familiar with discussions on the package, referring to Hungary’s habit of blocking earlier packages of sanctions.
 

Greece is not ready to hand over its Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets to the Ukraine.


Vladimir Putin has proposed his “peace plan” to Ukraine, purportedly to halt the war. Here are several thoughts on this manoeuvre.
1. This is not a peace plan but a series of maximalist demands directed at the West and Ukraine in exchange for ending hostilities. Moscow offers no concessions; there is no scope for compromise.

2. The "plan" is timed to coincide with the Swiss conference starting tomorrow with the intention of devaluing it. One might wonder why Putin would focus so much on an event that is turning out to be less successful than anticipated and is, frankly, failing. Contrary to the popular belief that "Putin has time," he urgently needs to consolidate Russia's military advantage in Ukraine through a "peace process" to render this superiority irreversible, as Russia may lose its military advantage in the coming year. Thus, Moscow views the Swiss conference as an escalating action against Russia, an effort to solidify an anti-Russian stance globally, and the Kremlin is determined to thwart this.

The proposal itself essentially demands Ukraine’s capitulation: Putin offers to end the war if Ukraine relinquishes the four regions annexed in 2022 (within their administrative borders, representing significant territory currently beyond Russian control) and Crimea, assures its neutrality, and commits politically to prevent “nationalists” (read any anti-Russian forces) from gaining power. This arrangement excludes President Zelensky.

For a long time, Putin avoided explicitly stating these demands to maintain a semblance of flexibility. Now, the mere announcement of these demands complicates the potential for future negotiations.

It is doubtful that anyone in Russia genuinely believes these demands will be met soon. However, if there is a significant reciprocal move from Ukraine, Putin may cease hostilities. As I have mentioned multiple times, Putin wants Ukraine to surrender without Russia having to exert significant military effort.

But Putin's immediate goal is to create conditions that would compel Zelensky to step down and draw Ukraine into "negotiations" that would destabilise the state, thereby coercing Kyiv to acquiesce to Russian demands in the future.This strategy would relieve Russia of the need to continue military action and reduce the necessity for the West to arm Ukraine. At the same time, the "proposal" is designed to sow discord in the West and appeal to those who desire immediate peace, encouraging support for the Russian “proposal." Once again, Putin needs Ukraine to cease resistance, which, in his view, would be a significant step toward a Russian "victory."


In effect, Vladimir Putin is saying: I’ll keep the territory I’ve occupied, plus some territory I’m not occupying, plus Ukraine won’t join Nato, plus the West will drop all the sanctions against Russia. This is what he’s calling “a real peace proposal.”


"If Kyiv refuses to accept Putin's conditions, Russia will in any case liberate the territory of the new entities. This is the last peaceful proposal from our side. The next one will be a surrender offer," Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Pyotr Tolstoy said.


Worth emphasizing that Russia is not seeking to end the war with the current front line, and its *minimum* objectives include occupying much more Ukrainian territory than it currently occupies.


According to a recent survey 57% of Russians expect a new world war, while 36% do not. 64% expect Russia to win, while 6% expect for Russia to lose and 18% said no one would win. 58% named China as the likely supporter of Russian in the even of a war.


Another Russian #AI claim: "Belousov was shown the work of a UAV group equipped with automation tools and a tablet for visualizing the operation/data exchange. Operators receive information from the UAV in real time and process the video using AI to detect and recognize enemy objects."
 
Ukraine's older recruits await help from younger fighters

Huddling in the dark with his automatic rifle, 50-year-old Ukrainian soldier "Bell" said he wished more of his younger compatriots would join the fight against Russia's invasion.
Facing a bigger and better equipped enemy, Ukrainian forces are heavily reliant on older soldiers like him to defend the country against relentless Russian assaults.
"They should understand that no one other than us and them will do this," he said at a training ground in eastern Ukraine, identifying himself by his call sign.
Ukraine is under pressure to call up more troops as the 27-month-old war grinds on and fewer volunteers line up than in the first months of the war.
Authorities recently tightened mobilisation rules and lowered the draft age to 25. Men up to 60-years-old are eligible for call-up. Some Ukrainian officials have estimated the average age of the Ukrainian soldier is more than 40-years-old.
Reuters was granted access to a training session of the 33rd Mechanised Brigade in the Donetsk region, where Moscow's forces are slowly advancing in several areas.
Troops were being instructed in a variety of skills, ranging from trench-clearing to operating truck-mounted machine guns. Some had been mobilised while others had joined up.
The brigade's chief sergeant, call sign Deputy, said many of the men currently training are over 50 years-old but that they are more motivated than younger troops.
"They understand why they're here: for the sake of their kids and grandchildren," said Deputy, 44.

Moscow, having seized the initiative after a failed Kyiv counteroffensive last year, is gradually making inroads that could threaten key cities and roads in the east.
Ukrainian officials say they want a full withdrawal of Russian troops and to regain all of their internationally recognised territory - a task many experts said will be difficult as the war grinds on and saps more resources.
Another commander in the 33rd Brigade, call sign Canada, 40, said older troops could be trained to hold defensive positions as Ukraine seeks to build up its forces.
"But if it's about performing other combat duties - assaulting fields, trenches, returning our land - then of course we need younger boys who are more resilient," he said.

Ukraine's call-up effort has been bolstered by government and military PR campaigns aimed at attracting more volunteers by offering candidates a choice of where and how to serve.
Bell, the 50-year-old infantryman, appealed to compatriots with families.
"The need to be defended now, not whenever you're given a draft notice."


Satellite images obtained by The War Zone confirm that the Morosovsk Airfield in Russia, about 150 miles from the front lines, was hit by a Ukrainian attack. It's claimed that the operation was carried out via a mass drone attack. Ukrainian defense and intelligence units used at least 70 drones to strike the base Thursday, Ukrainian Lt. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, head of the Defense Intelligence Directorate, told us exclusively.

The airfield, located in the Rostov region of Russia, is home to dozens of Su-34 Fullback fighter-bombers that have been a key weapon in the war, and serves as a forward operating base for other Flanker derivatives.


Comparison of the @planet satellite images taken today and on June 6/May 29, suggesting damage to at least 7 Su-34 fighter-bombers (5 outside and 2 inside the hangar) as a result of the Ukrainian drone strike + the damage to the substation at 48.356200, 41.795870.


Drawing lessons from the ongoing war in Ukraine, several Eastern European allies are aiming to buy new tanks after years of neglect in this capability area.

German, South Korean and American producers are intensively competing for orders from the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, among others, amid a spike in demand for tracked platforms across the region.
 
This is the last peaceful proposal from our side. The next one will be a surrender offer," Deputy Speaker of the State Duma Pyotr Tolstoy said.
I've worried about what Russia will do when it starts losing.
A tactical nuke on the frontline might be one response. And I'm sure they would follow up its use with "Surrender in 24 hours or we are firing off more"
 
I'm sure Russia would love it if Ukraine agreed to give Russia lands the Russians haven't been able to win in 2.5 years of fighting, and then just went home and left countless Ukrainians to their doom. That's basically what Russia's "peace proposal" is offering.
 
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Visiting a German Army base in the vicinity of Berlin, we watch five Ukrainian infantrymen assault a neatly arranged trench, again and again. It’s two o’clock in the afternoon, and they have been practicing this skillset for five hours that day already. Tired and hurried faces, we watch this small group of Ukrainians practice a trench assault, with an energetic German noncommissioned officer shouting out corrections and coaching the troops alongside a German soldier translating it into Ukrainian. We walk around the densely forested training site watching other similar small groups repeat the same trench assault maneuver, seeing signs of exhaustion among some as they move past the halfway mark of the required eight hours of training for the day.

This exercise is part of a forty-day basic infantry course meant to convert Ukrainian soldiers into assault teams capable of confidently taking over Russian trenches. The course constitutes the European Union Military Assistance Mission to Ukraine (EUMAM), the first ever EU training mission organized on EU territories. Since November 2022, the EU has trained over fifty-two thousand Ukrainian troops, with twenty-four EU member states providing military personnel and training modules to Ukrainian forces. EUMAM is one of three multilateral training programs for Ukrainians. Collectively, over 130,000 Ukrainians have been trained by the international community at eighty locations around the world. The US-led Joint Multinational Training Group–Ukraine (JMTG-U), including rotational US forces, has trained over nineteen thousand Ukrainians since 2022. The British-led Operation Interflex and its predecessor Operation Orbital have trained over sixty thousand Ukrainians since 2015. The disparity in the number of trained Ukrainian soldiers between the US training mission and those led by the UK and EU is a function of US prioritization of military readiness requirements, training exercises, and deployments across eastern Europe to deter Russia and reassure NATO allies.

During our travel, we visit several other training locations around Berlin. We arrive at a Bundeswehr urban training ground with modified trench systems to watch an eight-man Ukrainian trench assault team clear fifty meters of trenches. It’s a slow, tough slog, as the lead Ukrainian throws a training grenade about every two to three meters to clear each corner. The observing group of training officers share that each Ukrainian soldier should carry ten grenades for this type of an assault. In the harsh reality of the Russo-Ukrainian war, an experienced Ukrainian soldier laments that they’re lucky to have two grenades for trench clearing operations. The soldier declares they wouldn’t assault a trench without a supporting drone to surveil, allowing them to conserve grenades.

If things weren’t bad enough for Ukrainians assaulting trenches, the trainers mention that the Russians intentionally abandon booby-trapped trenches to wipe out Ukrainian assault teams. They recommend Bangalore torpedo explosives to preemptively clear Russian trenches due to the possibility of booby-trapping. In other cases, Russian forces use tunneling techniques to breach Ukrainian trenches. The trainers shrug about how to adapt their trench warfighting curriculum for these emerging trends. One says, “No doctrine or manual exists in NATO for this type of war.”


The training we observe near Berlin involves military advisors from various European countries. Training modules include Ukrainians being taught on Leopard 1A5 tanks and various infantry tactics for trench and urban warfare. We meet three US National Guard troops who are helping teach the EUMAM advanced assault sapper course. We see and talk to Ukrainian troops as young as nineteen and as old as sixty-nine. According to one German training officer, the average age of Ukrainians in training cohorts was thirty-four when training began in earnest in 2023, but in 2024 they report that the average age now varies around mid-forties.

We have found in our field visits there are numerous challenges and adaptations going on across Europe to properly train and equip Ukraine for the emerging “cyberpunk form of warfare” that “is blending old fighting styles with new technology.” Speaking to dozens of different European military advisors, we ask about how trainers keep the curriculum current as battlefield conditions in Ukraine change—something most of the trainers have never experienced firsthand. Some trainers respond that they watch open-source videos on social media on a regular basis to observe Russian and Ukrainian battlefield adaptations. Other advisors visit museums and libraries to dust off old doctrine and tactical manuals from World Wars I and II to understand how to provide appropriate techniques for trench warfare training. Most EUMAM personnel tell us that as teachers, they are now being trained by the trainees when it comes to understanding what modern warfare looks like.

There are other serious challenges in the current efforts to train Ukrainian soldiers. The most consistent among those EUMAM trainers cite are language and culture issues. We find the same is true based on our other visits with American, British, and Canadian military trainers. Some of the older German officers mention that their knowledge of East German military institutions helps them understand most of the organizational and doctrinal issues the Ukrainians face due to their shared Soviet legacies. The other common problem is a lack of Ukrainian transparency. Western trainers and apparently Ukrainian military leaders do not have adequate mechanisms to assess the effectiveness of specific training efforts, in terms of direct battlefield effects or on training efforts inside Ukraine. In other cases, Ukrainian authorities do not send soldiers that are appropriate for training programs across Europe. One Ukrainian soldier enrolled in the sapper course complains about how he was randomly thrown on a bus for this course even though he is a trained FPV (first-person view) drone operator with a year and a half of experience. These conversations are a common feature in all of our visits.

Visiting the training base for Leopard tanks, we are greeted by the Danish commanding officer that tells us all about the twelve Ukrainian tank crews his combined Danish-German unit is training. He shows us across the training compound, to include the virtual tank training facility where we observe dozens of highly motivated Ukrainian soldiers sitting at computers with Leopard gunnery wheels attached. Using an upgraded version of the commercially available Steel Beasts, we watch Ukrainian crewmembers fight enemy tanks on their digital battlefield. Elsewhere, we see the Ukrainian tank drivers receiving basic maintenance training.

As the day with the Danish commanding officer wraps up, he tells us how the Ukrainians want to integrate drones into the Leopard tank training. He laments that the six-week course is about mastering tank maneuver and tactics, and the addition of drones would further complicate Ukrainian training. However, without drones, Ukrainian soldiers, trained in Europe to quickly maneuver these tanks in formation, return home to continue using their tanks mainly as artillery. The Danish commanding officer hopes the Ukrainians will use the Leopard tank for its speed, boasting that “these tanks are meant to purr quickly across the battlefield.” Yet, this degree of maneuver has been absent from battlefields in Ukraine since the end of Ukraine’s fall 2022 counteroffensive and the onset of Russian defense in depth. Those of us who have visited Ukraine can confirm that indeed tanks are used more as fixed artillery: as these expensive pieces of equipment are vulnerable to attack from relatively cheap drones, Ukrainians are seeking to preserve Western military kit to avoid testing their allies’ generosity.

In speaking with numerous European military personnel, most admit that their own training and readiness has gone way down, as their militaries have made it their highest priority of assisting and equipping the Ukrainians. A British Army officer at Land Operations Command estimated that the UK’s landpower service had sacrificed up to 75 percent of its own training and readiness to assist the Ukrainians. Most European military personnel we speak to mention that their leaders have decided to focus largely on them teaching and equipping the Ukrainians at the expense of their own military preparedness, in part because they believe they are applying their comparative advantages in training and advising to advance the common effort to support Ukraine’s resistance against Russian aggression. In the early months of the Russo-Ukrainian war, some European militaries decided to sacrifice their military readiness, preparedness, training, weapons, and ammunition stocks because they believed that the United States will aid them in a crisis under the NATO Article 5 umbrella. Political uncertainty in the United States, however, is forcing Europeans to develop security policies flexible enough to either leverage US assistance or manage without it.
 

Ammunition provided under the Czech-led initiative is now arriving in Ukraine and will continue to flow, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky told RFE/RL on June 13.

The idea for the initiative was launched in February, as Ukrainian forces faced a critical ammunition shortage.

Czech President Petr Pavel said that Prague had identified 500,000 155 mm shells and 300,000 122 mm shells outside Europe that could be bought and sent to Ukraine after the necessary funds were allocated to the initiative.

Several countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Poland, France, Denmark, and Slovenia, joined the initiative, which may deliver as many as 1.5 million rounds to Kyiv.

Over one-third of combat clashes in past day took place on Pokrovsk front

Since the beginning of the day, most of the combat clashes have taken place on the Pokrovsk front, with 24 recorded in total. The overall number of clashes at the front has risen to 71.


A Russian channel warns of the increased threat posed by Ukrainian FPVs to ISR UAVs at altitudes of 1,200-2,500 meters and recommends avoiding establishing patterns. 9/
 
Thread: https://x.com/sambendett/status/1801961861287473587

1/ QUICK TAKE - Russians are worried that Ukrainian military is targeting their fixed-wing ISR drones: "This is an extremely alarming development. While people do not directly die from such actions, the consequences may be more serious than from the delivery of dozens of Abrams (tanks)."
2/ "Many units/actions depend on such ISR drones (Zala, Supercam, Orlan). Destroying our "eyes" in the sky will set us back a generation, forcing us to fight in 2D while the enemy continues to wage war in 3D. FPV drones are cheap, but big ISR UAVs are not."
3/ "If previously Ukrainians were waiting for supplies of scarce Western missiles for air defense, now they can also use interceptor drones with great effect. FPVs can already fly at speeds of up to 500 km/hour. All our slow-flying drones, including Geran (loitering munition) are at risk."
4/ "In addition, the Ukrainians plan to shoot down our attack helicopters that come close to the front line. Fortunately, there were no such cases, but the enemy is working on this. Another advantage of interceptor drones is their mobility and stealth."
5/ "Their use does not require multi-ton vehicles, which in modern conditions cannot be hidden. Two people on motorcycles is already an air defense weapon that is extremely difficult to detect. But the most dangerous thing here is that the Ukrainians..."
6/ "...were able to establish a system for detecting and destroying our fixed-wing drones. Building such a system is the key to successful (interceptor drone) application. Without it, an FPV drone will not find a target at an altitude of several thousand meters."
7/ We urgently need to pay attention to this. There is nothing to protect our fixed-wing UAVs in the sky, so the only answer is to destroy the enemy’s fixed-wing drones in exactly the same way. Whoever is the first to clear the sky of the enemy's ISR UAVs will get amazing benefits (in combat)."
8/ For reference, this is what Russians are worried about.
9/ Some background to point 3/ about drones reaching 500km/h - that may have been an exaggeration by the Russian commentator - the fastest FPV-type drone reached around 400km/h and it was not weighted down by a munition/mortar.


Donetsk Oblast, a Ukrainian HIMARS-launched GMLRS rocket slams into a Russian 2S4 Tyulpan 240mm self-propelled mortar, causing a catastrophic ammunition detonation.


Vovchansk, Kharkiv Oblast, a Ukrainian Air Force fighter drops a quartet of US-supplied GBU-39 SDBs on the (reported) surrounded group of Russians at the aggregate plant.
 
Good read:


Ukrainian firepower has been improving since U.S. lawmakers approved a much-needed military aid package this spring, though not quickly enough to halt the Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine.

Although the influx of Western munitions has shrunk Kyiv’s glaring artillery disadvantage, Moscow’s forces are still gaining ground along the snaking front line and will likely continue to do so through the summer, when the drier ground and longer days will only aid their push.

Ukraine is still on the defensive in the Donetsk region, enabling Moscow’s forces to inflict heavy losses during Ukrainian troop rotations and bringing them closer to crucial Ukrainian supply routes.

Kyiv has turned to a bend-but-don’t-break strategy to buy time until it can get more Western weapons and ammunition to the front. By ceding some territory, Ukraine has been able to fight from better defended positions, according to interviews with senior Ukrainian military leaders, soldiers and officers in the field, and analysts.

New weapons and ammunition have been trickling to the front line since U.S. President Joe Biden signed off on the massive aid package in April. But it will take weeks, if not months, for Ukraine to fully replenish its depleted stocks.

“It takes time to load ships that must then cross the Atlantic,” Ivan Havryliuk, Ukraine’s first deputy minister of defense, told The Associated Press. “But we’re already seeing the (results). Russia’s artillery advantage was 7-to-1 at the start of the year, but is down to 5-to-1 now.”

Havryliuk said that to neutralize Russian airpower, Ukraine needs at least 130 F-16 fighter jets, which he expects to arrive later this year and early next.


“With time, when we set everything up, we will reach an advantage in our airspace,” he said.

The 110th Brigade, which has been fighting near the Russian-occupied village of Ocheretyne, began receiving a trickle of new shells less than a month ago, said Ivan Sekach, a brigade press officer.

The new arrivals have improved the unit’s stocks by 75% compared to last winter, when supplies were so low that the military had no choice but to give up ground to save soldiers’ lives, he said. But they aren’t nearly enough to hold off Russia’s advances and often aren’t the large calibers that are most needed, said Sekach.

“We need four times this amount to operate without counting each shell and prioritizing what to hit,” he said.

Oleksandr, a deputy battalion commander for 47th Brigade who spoke on the condition that only his first name be used in line with his unit’s protocols, said the brigade needs more anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.


“We can’t take all the ammunition our partners give us at once — we receive it in portions. And right now, we can’t accumulate what we need,” said Oleksandr, whose brigade has been fighting on the outskirts of Avdiivka, a city in the Donetsk region that Russian troops overwhelmed in February after a grueling campaign.

Ukraine has deployed an elastic defensive strategy to buy time until it’s better armed and provisioned. By making painful choices to pull back to better-defended positions, Ukrainian troops are able to fight more efficiently and save personnel, military officials said.

“Time is in the favor of Ukraine and thus the rationale of an elastic band: You can cede a little territory and gain a little time. And then by the end of this year, Ukraine will have advantages that it’s never had before,” said Dylan Lee Lehrke, an analyst with military intelligence think tank IHS Jane’s.

The strategy stands in contrast to the nine-month-long battle for the salt-mining city of Bakhmut, where Ukrainian troops suffered heavy casualties in an ultimately futile attempt to not cede ground.

Sekach said the improved flexibility has helped Ukrainian forces combat the Russian offensive.

“We had to spread out our positions and our logistics, too. We are doing it a lot smarter now,” he said before adding, “But don’t jinx it,” reflecting Ukraine’s anxiety about Russia’s current battlefield advantage.
Russia’s main offensive in the Donetsk region is focused on the areas around the captured Avdiivka and the town of Chasiv Yar, and it is making small but steady gains. Should Chasiv Yar fall, it would put nearby cities in jeopardy, compromise critical Ukrainian supply routes and bring Russia closer to its stated aim of seizing the entire Donetsk region.

Russia now has about 650,000 troops in Ukraine, which is nearly five times the 140,000 it had there two years ago. And Russian tactical changes have proven effective, sending waves of soldiers from different directions to force Ukrainian forces to expend more shells, attacking more frequently at night to exploit Ukraine’s weaknesses and inability to effectively counterattack, and even having soldiers don blue-striped Ukrainian helmets to confuse enemy drone operators.
Dense Russian signal jamming along the front line has reduced the effectiveness of Ukrainian strike drones, Ukrainian commanders said, blaming superior Russian capabilities but also poor communication between Ukrainian electronic warfare and drone units.

“Russians will definitely continue to have minor successes in the next while,” said Sekach.

Russia’s improved targeting of Ukrainian supply routes is having its intended effect, Ukrainian commanders said.

“They understand that we are supplied with new aid and they have increased their (drone) strikes and it influences our logistics,” said Ninja, a soldier with the 28th Brigade in Bakhmut who spoke using his call sign per his unit’s policy.

So frequent were the attacks on supplies feeding troops in Ninja’s unit’s area that drivers had to change schedules constantly. “You need to know the road perfectly, every crater, to allow a driver with night vision to drive quickly, come in, unload and get out,” he said.

Brigades have had to employ new tactics to supply the front. Regular trucks can be used to deliver ammunition in other combat zones, but in the Chasiv Yar and Avdiivka areas, armored vehicles, smartly plotted routes and supply-carrying drones are necessary.

“Now the delivery is significantly complicated, we are forced to use drones,” said Oleksandr. “If before armored vehicles would deliver ammunition two or three times per day, now they generally do so only once a day.”

Improved Russian targeting is also exacting a heavy cost in Ukrainian blood, especially during the fragile hours between troop rotations.

Russia has become more adept at striking during these windows, when defensive lines are at their weakest, commanders said. One unit in the Chasiv Yar area said a quarter of its casualties happen while transporting troops to and from front-line positions.

Tor, the commander of the Kotyky unit in Chasiv Yar, said Russia’s ever-present drones have made it impossible to mask especially large troop movements.


“All day and night they are flying in the sky and observing us, it’s impossible to move without being seen,” he said.

Tor, who goes by his call sign in keeping with his unit’s protocols, said his soldiers have nowhere to hide and change positions because of constant Russian bombardment. Often, they have to run half a kilometer (a third of a mile) or more in the open air to find cover.

“When you’re in a basement, you’re safe. The minute you come up, you become an easy target,” he said.
 

Another video of Russia's "Wall-E" UGV designed to protect assault groups with electronic warfare.


Norway has allocated millions of dollars to Ukraine to repair the energy sector

This was announced by the Prime Minister of Norway at the Peace Summit.

The Norwegian government will provide Ukraine with 1.1 billion kroner (about $74 million) to help repair its energy infrastructure. It has already been decided that 120 million kroner will be used to repair the energy sector in Kharkiv.

Russian forces advance near Sokil and in Novooleksandrivka, Donetsk Oblast – DeepState analysts

DeepState analysts have reported that Russian troops have advanced near the settlement of Sokil and in the village of Novooleksandrivka, Pokrovsk district (Donetsk Oblast).

Zelenskyy: Danish F-16s will arrive in Ukraine very soon

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on the sidelines of the Global Peace Summit in Switzerland, where, amongst other things, they discussed the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.

Source: Zelenskyy on Twitter (X), as reported by European Pravda

Details: A number of Western countries have united in a fighter jet coalition led by Denmark and the Netherlands with the aim of supplying Kyiv with modern aircraft, and training pilots and support personnel.

Quote: "During our meeting, we discussed preparations for the transfer of Danish F-16 aircraft, which will be delivered to Ukraine shortly," Zelenskyy said.
 
Major Ukraine summit ends with fresh plea for peace but key powers spurn final agreement

A two-day summit in Switzerland dedicated to forging a path forward to end the war in Ukraine concluded with key powers spurning a joint communique agreed to by more than 80 other countries and international organizations.

India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, all of whom have important trading relationships with Russia as members of the BRICS economic group, attended the weekend meeting but did not agree to sign the joint statement.

The document reaffirmed the signatories commitment to “refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, the principles of sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all states, including Ukraine, within their internationally recognized borders.”

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky told journalists at a news conference alongside the leaders of the European Union, Ghana, Canada, Chile and Switzerland that it was “important that all participants of this summit support this Ukraine’s territorial integrity because there is will be no lasting peace without territorial integrity.”

Short on troops, Ukraine is freeing criminals to fight

To fill a critical shortage of infantry on the front line, Ukraine has embraced one of Russia’s most cynical tactics: releasing convicted — even violent — felons who agree to fight in high-risk assault brigades.
More than 2,750 men have been released from Ukrainian prisons since the parliament adopted a law in May authorizing certain convicts to enlist, including those jailed for dealing drugs, stealing phones and committing armed assaults and murders, among other serious crimes.
Now — seeking revenge against Russia, or in pursuit of personal redemption and freedom — they are trading their prison jumpsuits for Ukrainian army uniforms and deploying to the front lines.
Senya Shcherbyna, 24, who is serving six years for dealing drugs, is waiting to be interviewed by military recruiters and hopes to deploy as soon as possible. “I think I can redeem myself,” Shcherbyna said in an interview, “and seem more useful to my society than if I’m just sitting here.”
Fellow prisoner Serhii Lytvynenko, who has served 11 years of a 14-year sentence for deadly assault, said he was still deliberating. “I’m not sure they’re really going to treat us as normal fighters,” he said. “We don’t know right now if they’re going to take you and just throw you in like meat.”
Recruiting criminals — a common practice in Russia, where tens of thousands were freed to fight in Ukraine — is the latest sign of Kyiv’s struggle to replenish its forces, which are depleted and exhausted after more than two years of virtually nonstop fighting.
Although the Ukrainian parliament approved a new mobilization law aimed at widening the draft pool, the legislation has yet to yield enough new troops. In the meantime, the Ukrainian general staff is trying to find able-bodied fighters wherever it can, reassigning some soldiers from rear positions to combat roles and recruiting prisoners.
Under the new law, prisoners qualified to join the amnesty program can be assigned only to assault brigades, which can mean face-to-face combat with Russian troops.
That restriction reflects Ukraine’s most urgent needs, said Justice Minister Denys Maliuska, adding that he expects at least 4,000 men to volunteer in this first round of recruitment. For now, the convicts will serve only in units made up entirely of former prisoners, commanded by a regular soldier.

“The motivation of our inmates is stronger than our ordinary soldiers,” Maliuska said in an interview at one of the prisons where nearly 100 have already been freed to fight. “Their release is only one part of the motive. They want to protect their country and they want to turn the page.”
Ukrainian officials granted a request by The Post to interview several new soldiers freshly released from prison on the condition they be identified only by first names in keeping with military rules.
Dmytro, 28, was sentenced to 4½ years behind bars in 2021 for stealing a phone. He was married with two children when his sentence began, but was released last month with no family left: his wife and kids, ages 2 and 7, were killed in an airstrike on their apartment house in Izyum in April 2022.
The memory is still so painful that in the interview he could not bring himself to speak their names.
Avenging their deaths by fighting in the war “motivates me,” Dmytro said. “The Russian Federation is responsible for this.” He was released from prison several weeks ago and is now training at a military base, where he has already learned to handle a rifle.
Edward, 35, who was sentenced in 2019 to seven years and seven months for armed assault, said he dreamed of joining the military as a young boy but grew up in poverty and fell into crime.
Since Russia’s invasion in 2022, Edward said, he had hoped the law would change to allow men like him to fight. He was first in line when the law passed and is now in training.
Edward’s hometown knows him only as a criminal, he said. He wants to show them — and himself — that "I still have some humanity left in me.”

Not all criminals qualify. Those who murdered more than one person, committed acts of sexual violence or violated national security laws are ineligible. Any prisoner signing up to fight must be physically fit, pass a psychological exam and be no older than 57, allowing him to serve at least three years before hitting the exemption age of 60.

Some commanders are eager to have them. “There is a competition between military commanders to hire” from prisons, Maliuska said. “There is a lack of manpower, so they really want to get access.”
But not everyone is convinced.
“No one has trust in this, but we need it,” said one military official involved in the process who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the plan candidly. This official said he fears that prisoners will cause disorder on the front line or desert their positions. “They’re all going to run like Forrest Gump,” he said.

The official said he would prefer that Ukraine lower the draft age to 18 and allow brigades to recruit younger, fitter men rather than convicts. But he said he does not expect Zelensky to change the draft rules again any time soon, out of fear that he could lose support if young men are forced to take up arms.
“When people see young men die, it’s political,” the official said.
 

Production in some military-related sectors of the Russian economy has more than doubled over the past three years. The chart compares production in January-April of 2020-2024 with January-April of 2019. (Source is Rosstat data/own calculations)

Probably the most in depth read I've seen so far on the bridgehead in Krynky:


The marines hiding in trees on the shoreline watch the boat race towards them. They know their brothers in arms will have less than a minute to get ashore and find cover before the Russian drones strike.
“Our band is coming,” Sergeant Yaroslav Stefak of Ukraine’s 35th naval infantry brigade says to the camera as the small inflatable reaches the riverbank. Five marines leap over the sides and into the muddy shallows, passing the burnt-out remains of similar vessels hit during previous missions. “Let’s go,” Stefak shouts to them in the footage, which he showed me on his phone this month. “Run, run, run!”
The last man off the boat cracks a wide smile as he struggles up the bank through the mud and towards the relative safety of the treeline. After nearly a month fighting on the Russian-occupied side of the Dnipro River, he and his comrades have just returned from one of the hardest battles of the war.
Unlike in the doomed defensive actions at Mariupol and Bakhmut, the Ukrainian military has not yet made this a symbol of defiance to rally national and world opinion. Few concrete details have emerged.

The battle began in October, when Ukrainian special forces gained a bridgehead on the far bank of the Dnipro at the village of Krynky. Perhaps the plan was to use the position as a launchpad to drive deeper into Russian-held territory.
Any hope of that evaporated when western supplies dried up in the autumn, but high command refused to give up the position, which was tying down a large number of Russian troops.
So, for the past nine months, thousands of Ukrainian marines — many of them trained in Britain — have been rotating in and out of a nightmare, enduring abject conditions and terrible losses to hold on to a bleak sliver of land 500m deep and 3km wide. The land is all sand or sucking mud, ridden with mosquitoes, snakes and the decomposing corpses of animals killed by stray shells or drowned when Russia blew up the Nova Kakhovka dam last summer.

The Russians are to their front and to their sides, and the Konka River is at their back. Further back is an archipelago of marshy islands, then the wide waters of the Dnipro itself.
“The Russians don’t understand how we’re holding this shoreline,” said Major Serhiy Pedenko, 27, deputy commander of 503 Battalion, 38th Marine Brigade, speaking in a Ukrainian forward base beyond artillery range. “They bomb and then go in, but our guys are still holding on there, they are fighting, they’re pushing them back and they can’t figure it out. But it’s really hard there.” He drew a parallel with one of the most calamitous amphibious campaigns in military history, the attempt in 1915 to seize the Dardanelles in modern-day Turkey, when an Allied force of almost 500,000 suffered 220,000 casualties. “This is not like Normandy, this is like Gallipoli.”
Pedenko and his men were trained for amphibious assault by the Royal Marines at Portsmouth, but no exercise could fully prepare them for a reality where dozens of enemy drones buzz like mosquitoes over their small patch of contested territory, persistently scouring the cratered earth for signs of life.

The Russians have kept up a nearly constant assault from above with grenades, drones, shells and heavy glide bombs dropped from fighter jets, punctuated by brief infantry sallies that lead to ferocious firefights.
The village of Krynky was once home to hundreds of people but has now been completely destroyed. Some of Pedenko’s men have been trapped there for months, holed up in the basements of bombed-out cottages.
They are supplied by air drops from heavy Ukrainian quadrocopter drones that can carry loads of up to 30kg. Evacuation by boat is attempted for only the most severe casualties. Those merely concussed or suffering flesh wounds are asked to fight on. Combat medics have had to become proficient at field amputations due to delays in evacuating soldiers with tourniqueted limbs.

“It’s so dangerous to cross the river, if we want to send in boats to rotate troops or evacuate the wounded we have to wait for fog or rain to interfere with the drones,” Pedenko said. “The Russians will use maybe 15 drones to destroy one boat. So the hardest part of the combat here is logistics.”
All along the front line, the US weapons flowing into Ukraine since the US Congress approved $60 billion worth of military aid in April are at last beginning to have an impact. New batches of US-provided ATACMS missiles are pounding Russian airbases in occupied Crimea with lethal efficiency, and Patriot anti-aircraft missiles are holding at bay those that make it into the air over Ukraine’s south.
For the marines at Krynky, that means the number of glide bombs hitting their positions has fallen from 80 a day to four, Pedenko said. The problem is that there is no longer much cover left.

Buildings are beginning to collapse into the basements the men use to shelter from the artillery storm around them. Wet sand seeps into makeshift beds. The troops must defecate in bags and keep them in their bunkers to avoid leaving a heat signature outside that can be spotted by thermal imaging cameras.
They sleep in the stench alongside spent ammunition casings, water bottles and other rubbish that would give them away if left outside. Yet even the most careful soldiers can be undone by neighbourhood dogs, who reveal their positions by coming to beg for food and shelter.
When the barrage pauses, the men are ordered to clamber out through the rubble of the buildings above them to engage Russian reconnaissance teams. Even then, the enemy infantry are not their only worry. The land lies so close to sea level that marines have drowned in the 6m-deep craters left by glide bombs.

The Russians can jam the signals of their reconnaissance and attack drones and also have large electronic warfare devices mounted on Orlan reconnaissance drones, which have accessed marines’ private phones by simulating a Ukrainian mobile network’s internet connection.
Now the marines rely only on coded communications via their Motorola radios. It is not safe to use their phones, denying them a last creature comfort and connection to the outside world.
Despite being pinned down and heavily outnumbered, the marines boast that they have inflicted many times more casualties on their enemy, who are forced to use a single road within artillery range of the opposite bank to resupply.
“We’ve destroyed two Russian divisions here. They need to drive us out, so they attack with armoured personnel carriers, which our drones destroy. We kill maybe 30 Russians here for every one of our dead,” Pedenko said. It was not possible to verify his claim.
What is clear from those who return from the front is that the scars of Krynky will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Platoon commander Sergeant Stefak and his platoon grenadier, Andriy Baumann, father of the Manchester United youth player Zach Baumann, are the only marines still alive from the boat that brought them across the river and the group of marines that guided them from the shore into the village.
A deeply religious man, Stefak worries that, should they talk about the Russians they killed, “you will not think we are nice people”.
In 2014, Stefak was wounded and invalided out of the military after fighting Putin’s initial attempt to seize the Donbas. In 2022, he returned from Poland to Kyiv to fight the full invasion.
After three days in Krynky, he was badly concussed by a Russian glide bomb that struck a village well, depriving the marines of a key source of drinking water. “The pressure wave was huge. He started screaming that he had no teeth and his eyes were popping out,” Baumann recalled.
“I had to hold him by his teeth and say, ‘Look, you have them!’ They sent him back [away from the fighting] because he was making no sense and couldn’t understand anything. He was vomiting a lot and there was foam all around his mouth.”
Baumann reluctantly described a time when an enemy tank was moving into the village and they were sent out to move a mine into its path. The tank struck the mine, but the crew managed to disembark alive and began firing their assault rifles at the Ukrainian positions. Guided by their eyes in the sky, Baumann and a neighbouring unit flanked the crew and killed them all.
For this and several other actions defending Krynky over 24 days, he was awarded the Order of the Gold Star, Ukraine’s highest award for valour. Many of his comrades received honours posthumously.

Baumann spent ten years living in Bolton before returning to Ukraine after separating from his wife. He is no longer able to speak to his sons in Britain but wanted to send them a message. “Tell them their father is fighting for their country,” he said. “I just want them to know, so they can be proud of their dad.”
 

Maps from the Ukrainian analytical project DeepState showing incremental Russian advances on the Avdiivka-Pokrovsk axis over the past few days, most notably in/around Novooleksandrivka. The Russians are now ~7.5 km from the Pokrovsk-Kostyantynivka highway.


🐢🇺🇦First captured Russian turtle tank along with its crew. By the 22nd Mechanized Brigade of Ukraine.


Video of a fixed-wing FPV strike by Ukrainian SSO on a Russian truck.


FPV bomber strikes on Russian positions by Ukraine’s 501st Marine Battalion.


Videos of FPV strikes on three Russian Msta-S howitzers, a BM-21 Grad MLRS, and a TOS-1A thermobaric MLRS by Ukraine’s 24th, 109th, and 63rd brigades as well as video of a likely HIMARS strike on a 2S4 Tyulpan mortar.


Footage likely of Russian TOS MLRS or UMPK glide bomb strikes in Vovchansk.


Footage reportedly showing two FAB and two ODAB UMPK glide bomb strikes on a tree line.


Early this morning, Ukrainian drones reportedly attacked the Novolipetsk Metallurgical Plant, the largest steel plant in Russia.

Ukrainian attack drones, explosions, and air raid sirens could be heard over the city around dawn.
 

Destroying the Kerch Bridge in occupied Crimea now would not have the same effect now because Russia barely uses it for military purposes anymore, Navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk said in an interview with RBC-Ukraine published on June 17.

The bridge accounts for less than a quarter of the total transiting cargo, and for the rest, Russia uses a ferry crossing in Kerch, which the Ukrainian military struck in late May, Pletenchuk said.

"Therefore, this bridge is no longer of such tactical and strategic importance after the damage it sustained as a result of a joint operation by the SBU (Ukraine's Security Service) and the Navy with a drone attack," the spokesperson said.


The Ukrainian military has repeatedly said that the Kerch Bridge is a legitimate target and that Ukraine aims to destroy it.

An analysis of satellite imagery by investigative group Molfar, shared with The Independent in May, showed that over a three-month period this year, only one military freight train carrying around 55 fuel cars crossed the bridge.


Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said the first shipments procured under a Czech initiative to increase supplies of badly needed ammunition in Ukraine are now arriving and will continue to flow.

"This year we will be able to procure and continuously deliver quite a lot of ammunition -- Czech-supplied through different channels -- more than a million of shells to Ukraine so far," Lipavsky said on June 13 in an interview with RFE/RL.

Russian defence conglomerate claims to have delivered batch of Su-34 fighter-bombers

Rostec, a Russian state firm, stated that it had delivered the Russian Ministry of Defence with another batch of Su-34 fighter-bombers.
 

Anton Andreev, a Russian soldier from the fifth company of the 1009th regiment, painted a bleak picture of Russia’s offensive in the Ukrainian northern region of Kharkiv.

His unit had been decimated, he said, with only 12 out of 100 soldiers still alive as they came under constant Ukrainian fire and drones in Vovchansk, a prime target of Russia’s advances.

“They just chop us up. We are sent under machine guns, under drones in daylight, like meat. And commanders just shout ‘forward and forward’,” Andreev said in a video message.

In the first week of the offensive, Russian troops seized about 99 sq miles of Ukrainian territory – some of its biggest gains in 18 months – raising serious questions about Kyiv’s ability to defend itself.

But Ukraine has been largely able to stabilise the front, alleviating immediate fears in the west that Moscow might be able to encircle Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second biggest city.

“I don’t know if I will get out of this or not, but I need to say this to honour the memory of those who died like meat here because of certain individuals,” Andreev said in the clip, which was first published by the Russian outlet Astra and verified by the Guardian.

“You walk through the street, and everything seems to be fine,” he continued. “But then you get caught up in a massacre. During the first night, half the company immediately died.”

Russian state media and senior officials continue to say its troops are on the advance in the direction of Kharkiv. Putin has claimed that Russian losses were “of course several times less than on the Ukrainian side” and the Kremlin has also gone to great lengths to ensure that accounts such as Andreev’s are kept from the public.

Ever since Yevgeny Prigozhin’s aborted mutiny in the summer of 2023, Moscow has purged some of the leading nationalist voices who had been allowed to criticise the country’s war efforts. It has jailed Igor Strelkov, a popular nationalist blogger and former FSB officer who had become a vocal critic of how the Kremlin has handled the invasion, and last month authorities arrested Maj Gen Ivan Popov, a widely respected commander in Russia who brought up problems on the battlefield, including deaths and injuries the army was suffering from Ukrainian attacks.

The cohort of influential military bloggers now largely toe the government line, painting an upbeat picture of Moscow’s advances while predicting Ukraine’s immediate collapse.

But on social media, dozens of posts have sprung up with Russians searching for their missing relatives in the Kharkiv offensive, hinting at the staggeringly high number of losses Moscow continues to suffer.

Some relatives have criticised the minimal training troops reportedly received before the offensive.

“I haven’t heard from my brother since the 12 May when they were sent to Volchanks,” wrote Yevgeni, in one post on the social media platform VK. “I am concerned that the training was only a week. Is that even legal?” Yevgeni added.


Nothing can be ruled out if Russia finds itself on the verge "of a catastrophic defeat," including the use of tactical nuclear weapons by Moscow, Oleksandr Lytvynenko, the National Security and Defense Council secretary, said in an interview with The Times published on June 16.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly made nuclear threats against Ukraine and the West since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in February 2022. The threats have failed to materialize, and Russia continues to wage its all-out war without using its nuclear arsenal.

Lytvynenko was asked if there were any circumstances under which Putin could turn to the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

"We can't rule out anything, if Russia is on the verge of a catastrophic defeat," he answered, adding that such a defeat could trigger the collapse of Russian front lines, army desertions, and protests in Moscow.

At the same time, the official said that Russia's defeat on the battlefield would not automatically lead to the use of nuclear weapons, as Putin could try to convince his people that the ongoing course of events is "a victory."

The official said that there is no possibility that Putin will deploy nuclear weapons as long as Russia has the upper hand in the full-scale war against Ukraine.

"He wants to live," Lytvynenko added.
 
Fierce fighting in Vovchansk as Ukrainian troops try to isolate invading Russian units

Heavy combat is underway at an aggregate plant on the northern edge of Vovchansk, according to military bloggers on both sides of the conflict.

One Ukrainian squad commander, Stanislav Buniatov, known as Osman, described the situation in Vovchansk, east of Kharkiv and a few miles from the state border, as “difficult but controlled” and said Russian troops are “surrounded”.
“Our guys are not losing their positions, occasionally conducting successful assaults, liberating positions and pushing the enemy back,” Buniatov said in a post on Telegram on Sunday.

DeepState – a Ukrainian monitoring group – says small groups of Russian soldiers have repeatedly attempted to secure the aggregate plant, but have been repelled by Ukraine forces.

Suggesting that resupply to the Russian soldiers has become difficult, DeepState says that food and water are being delivered to them by drones.

Russian military blogger WarGonzo said on Telegram that fighting in the area is “fierce” as “Ukrainian troops are carrying out counterattacks, trying to dislodge the Russian Armed Forces from their occupied positions” but did not mention troops being surrounded.

Denmark seeks to limit shadow tanker fleet carrying Russian oil

Denmark is considering ways to limit a so-called shadow fleet of tankers from carrying Russian oil through the Baltic Sea, the Nordic country's foreign minister said on Monday, in a move that could heighten tensions with Moscow.
Russia sends about a third of its seaborne oil exports, or 1.5% of global supply, through the Danish straits that sit as a gateway to the Baltic Sea, so any attempt to halt supplies could send oil prices higher and hit the Kremlin's finances.

Since Western nations imposed a price cap on Russia's oil in an attempt to curb vital funds for its war in Ukraine, Russia has relied on a fleet of often ageing tankers based and insured outside the West.
Denmark has brought together a group of allied countries evaluating measures targeting this shadow fleet, Foreign Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen told Reuters in an emailed statement.
He did not say what measures were being considered.
"There is broad consensus that the shadow fleet is an international problem and that international solutions are required," Lokke Rasmussen said.
"It's important that any new measures can be implemented in practice and that they are legally sound with regards to international law," he added.
Countries involved in the talks included other Baltic Sea states and European Union members, the minister said.
Denmark is concerned that old tankers transporting oil through its straits represent a potential danger to the environment.
Russia's embassy in Denmark did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The news was reported by Danish daily Information and online media Danwatch.


Europe’s gas imports from Russia overtook supplies from the US for the first time in almost two years in May, despite the region’s efforts to wean itself off Russian fossil fuels since the full scale invasion of Ukraine.
While one-off factors drove the reversal, it highlights the difficulty of further reducing Europe’s dependence on gas from Russia, with several eastern European countries still relying on imports from their neighbour.
“It’s striking to see the market share of Russian gas and [liquefied natural gas] inch higher in Europe after all we have been through, and all the efforts made to decouple and de-risk energy supply,” said Tom Marzec-Manser, head of gas analytics at consultancy ICIS.

Flows in May were affected by one-time factors, including an outage at a major US LNG export facility, while Russia sent more gas through Turkey ahead of planned maintenance in June. Demand for gas in Europe also remains relatively weak, with storage levels near record highs for this time of year.
The reversal was “not likely to last”, said Marzec-Manser of ICIS, as Russia would in the summer be able to ship LNG to Asia via its Northern Sea Route. That was likely to reduce the amount sent to Europe, while US LNG production had picked up again, he said.
“Russia has limited flexibility to hold on to this share [in Europe] as demand [for gas] rises into next winter, whereas overall US LNG production is only growing with yet more new capacity coming to the global market by the end of the year,” he added.
 

Ukrainian air raid on Crimea reported this evening.

The Crimean Bridge has been closed, and multiple Russian warnings have gone out for Ukrainian drones and missiles.
Ukrainian UAV reportedly over the Simferopol area, Russian occupied Crimea


“Ukrainians may have electricity for 6-7 hours per day in the upcoming winter if the electricity deficit remains at 35%, Serhiy Kovalenko, the CEO of energy supplier Yasno (DTEK), said on June 17 on national television…
The CEO of Yasno, a subsidiary of DTEK, called on residential customers and businesses to prepare for a ‘significant’ electricity shortage. Kovalenko advised switching to using various batteries, generators, solar panels, and inverters, among other options.”


For the first time, footage has been released showing a Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 Fulcrum conducting a standoff strike with a US-supplied JDAM-ER glide bomb.

The Ukrainian MiG launches the glide bomb while climbing at high altitude behind the front.


The Russians troops in the few areas in north Vovchansk are literally getting hammered by AASM Hammer bombs. This building is getting precisely hit.

Coordinates:

50°17'46"N 36°55'58"E

Source of video: Telegram / OperativnoZSU


🗞️ Lt. Gen. Arthur Horbenko, the commander of 125th Territorial Defense Brigade, has resigned. The reason wasn't disclosed, but it might be connected to the ongoing investigation by the State Bureau, where the brigade is suspected of abandoning their positions in Kharkiv Oblast.


The newly formed 128th Motor Rifle Brigade (в/ч 41772) of 44th ArmyCorps, Northern grouping, was committed to Vovchansk, Kharkiv, in early June.
 

Hiring citizens of other states to carry out crimes is a new Russian tactic, the head of the Czech counterintelligence service, known by the acronym BIS, said on Monday. In an interview with the news site Hlidacipes.org, Michal Koudelka gave the example of the Colombian man recently caught trying to set buses on fire at a Prague depot.

Mr. Koudelka said the attacker in such cases did not even need to know they were working for Moscow.


The war in Ukraine has highlighted new tactics and technologies used on the battlefield. From France’s perspective, what are the biggest surprises or confirmations about modern warfare revealed by this conflict? Consequently, what adjustments is the French Army making to training doctrines and equipment priorities?

Let’s remain modest at this stage in the analysis of lessons learned from this conflict. We should try to discriminate the elements that are situational from what is structural. The extensive use of UAVs, like that of civilian technologies adapted for military use, has changed the dynamics of combat. The vital importance of electronic warfare, intelligence superiority, and the need to control information to influence both national and international public opinion has been confirmed.
Four structural priorities can be identified. The first priority is connectivity. To outclass the adversary, it is necessary to understand the tactical situation, design a plan, give orders, and carry out the maneuver by controlling and reorienting this cycle. Ensuring a smooth and rapid functioning of this cycle makes it possible to be quicker than the enemy and keep one’s freedom of action. The network-enabled combat developed in the framework of the Scorpion program has enabled us to be ahead in this area.

The second priority is the transparency of the battlefield. The use of UAVs and satellites increasingly makes it possible to pierce the fog of war. It makes it more difficult [for adversaries] to conceal intent, setups and movements. To enhance its in-depth detection capabilities, the Army is developing its UAV range, developing its means to analyze the images from all the sensors and is focusing its effort on electronic warfare.
The third priority is lethality. In the context of high-intensity warfare, lethality is characterized by tactical targeting through the use of increasingly powerful, accurate and sophisticated means of destruction — and in sufficient numbers to be able to cause considerable damage in a very short amount of time.

The fourth priority is protection. Hyper-lethality puts increased pressure on the survival and resilience capacity of high-value targets, including command posts, which are particularly easy to detect due to their electromagnetic footprint. Their protection must be enhanced; the command methods must be diversified to ensure their operational continuity in case of attack.

For the Army, this translates into the use of armor in the framework of the Scorpion vehicles; the entry into service of the ARLAD armored personnel carriers as of this year; and the development of ground-air defense through the modernization of the PAMELA vehicles.
 

There were only 10 Ukrainian pilots present for the time being, according to the Air and Space Force. Some have never flown before, while others have experience on the L-39 Albatros, a Czech-made jet trainer. Since their arrival in France after several months in the UK, mostly to learn English, these Ukrainian soldiers have been placed "in a bubble," as one French officer put it. Even during this day's media visit, they were not allowed to talk to the press. Only their age – "between 21 and 23" – was communicated.

Most of the French instructors present were reservists in their 50s, often seasoned veterans, who had been recalled. The air base where the Ukrainians are being trained had to expand in order to re-accommodate "60% of its activity," according to its managers, toward training these new recruits. Until then, it had specialized in "plastron" missions – i.e., playing the role of the adversary in flight training.

The French army has committed itself to training "26 Ukrainians over two years," according to an air force spokesperson on site. This is a significant effort, given that the French Air Force normally certifies around 30 pilots a year, after four or five years worth of training. The first class of Ukrainian pilots is due to be certified in September. "We've made choices," said the base commander, Colonel Pierre, modestly.

These choices include shortening learning times. In agreement with Kyiv, the content of the training was condensed and trimmed. Training for Ukrainian pilots in France is expected to last six months, compared with the normal 18 months. The program includes learning to fly in patrols – i.e. with two aircraft, an unusual practice in Ukraine – training in "tactical" navigation (i.e. at a very low altitude of 150 meters) and also firing a 30 mm cannon.

On the other hand, there will be no time for up to 150 hours of real-life flying, as required by the usual standards: 80 hours on an Alphajet and 50 hours on a simulator. No in-flight refueling or long-range missile training either: "The idea is not to replicate the situation in Ukraine," said Colonel Pierre. "We train operational pilots, not squadron leaders," explained Captain Benjamin, 44, head of operations.
After their time in France, the Ukrainians are due to move on to a base in Romania, where they will learn how to really handle the F-16s. The 65 F-16s promised to Kyiv by several countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Norway, will be stored for some time in bases "outside Ukraine," as a senior Ukrainian air force officer indicated on June 10, in an interview on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.


The United States is making “excuses” over its failure to train sufficient numbers of Ukrainian F-16 fighter jet pilots, the head of Ukraine’s special parliamentary commission on arms and munitions has claimed.
The hold-up means that Ukraine will probably have only 20 pilots who have been fully trained to fly F-16s by the end of the year, Oleksandra Ustinova said. “So far we’re going to have fewer trained pilots than fighter jets,” she added.
Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway have pledged to transfer more than 60 F-16s to Ukraine. The first jets are expected to arrive later this year, but it is unclear when they will begin combat missions.
However, Ustinova said that so far only eight Ukrainian pilots were being trained in Tucson, Arizona, while another twelve were being put through their paces at an air base in Denmark. A third training programme in Romania has yet to begin. Ustinova said that Kyiv had asked Washington to provide at least another ten places on the training programs, but its request was rebuffed.
Kyiv has long sought F-16s. Washington initially refused to allow the jets to be sent to Ukraine for fear that doing so could draw Nato into direct conflict with Russia. President Biden eventually granted permission for their deployment in August after appeals from Kyiv. Ukraine has said some of the jets will be kept at bases in Nato countries to ensure that they are not targeted by Russia.
Washington has told Kyiv that other countries are ahead of Ukrainian pilots in the line for training spots and that it cannot break its commitments to them, Politico reported last week. A US defence department official also told the news website that Ukrainian pilots were struggling with English language skills, as well as the flying programme. “The training pipeline on F-16s is pretty meagre,” the unnamed official said. Ustinova described such claims as “ridiculous”.
 

Russian forces have likely taken control of the village of Novooleksandrivka, located approximately 20km north of Avdiivka, Donetsk oblast. The area has seen heavy fighting throughout 2024 and Russia has been gradually advancing since capturing Avdiivka in February 2024.

By taking control of Novooleksandrivka, Russia moves closer to threatening the T-05-04 road, one of the main supply routes for Ukrainian forces further east. It is highly likely that the village of Vozdvyzhenka will be Russia’s next objective as it seeks to sever the road and disrupt Ukrainian logistics.


Interesting analysis: The "overall output of T-90Ms amounts to at least 231 built and modernised since April 2020; but it could be as high as 267 if all batches included 15 tanks."

"This would suggest an increase in annual output from about 40 before February 2022 to a wartime output of 60–70 for 2023, with possibly even more to be produced over the course of 2024. Based on this pattern, the production rate from 2025 could be more than 90 annually."


‘Despite increases in production of newly built tanks relative to peacetime output, supplying enough tanks to offset current attrition rates is likely to become more challenging, especially as the number of stored tanks that do not require significant refurbishment is dwindling’


Early this morning, at least one Ukrainian attack drone hit the Russian Azovprodukt fuel storage terminal in the port city of Azov, Rostov Oblast, causing a severe blaze.

The fuel terminal continued to burn into the morning.

If I recall correctly, the initial claim out of Russia was that it was by friendly fire. Looks to no longer be the case: https://x.com/RALee85/status/1802751852456415387

Russia’s investigative committee is pursuing criminal charges against the commander of Ukraine’s 138th Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade for shooting down the Russian Air Force A-50 aircraft on February 23, 2024.
 
What does Putin want from Kim and will he get it?

Firstly, Putin needs ammunition to sustain his war machine in Ukraine.

“We have to remember that he started this relationship based upon his need for artillery, ammunition and rockets for his invasion of Ukraine and he will retain these needs for some time,” says Bruce Bennett, a senior defence analyst at RAND Corp in the US.

Jeffrey Lewis, a North Korea expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, agrees saying: “Russia gets lots of cheap weapons, including ballistic missiles."

Beyond defence, strengthening relations with North Korea also plays into Putin’s efforts to undermine international sanctions, analysts say.

“Strengthening ties with its old Cold War partner allows Russia to undermine the international sanctions regime, counter any suggestion that the US and its allies have been able to isolate Moscow, and also add to concerns in Washington that it may have to deal with a materially strengthened North Korea,” says John Nilsson-Wright, head of the Japan and Koreas Programme at Cambridge University’s Centre for Geopolitics.

Putin set to arrive in N. Korea in rare trip amid deepening concerns about military cooperation

Experts said North Korea and Russia are expected to highlight cooperation in the economic sector, as their arms deals and military cooperation constitute a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions banning Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

In an article contributed Tuesday to the Rodong Sinmun, the North's main newspaper, Putin said Russia has a plan to build trade and settlement systems with North Korea that will not be controlled by Western countries.

He also said the two nations will pump up exchanges and cooperation in such areas as education, tourism and culture.

Experts said Russia is not expected to transfer sensitive weapons technology to North Korea, such as a nuclear-powered submarine, in return for Pyongyang's arms supplies.

"What Russia could give the most to North Korea would be to assist its space development program, such as with satellites," Park Won-gon, a professor at Ewha Womans University, said.

10,000 personnel and 450 weapons: Russians build up a striking fist in Luhansk Oblast – DeepState

DeepState analysts report that the Russians have amassed up to 10,000 troops and 450 pieces of military equipment in the area between Raihorodka to Novovodiane, which is about 20 km from the village of Borova, Kharkiv Oblast.

Source: DeepState on Telegram

Quote from DeepState: "The enemy has built up a striking fist to attack Borova. In the area from Raihorodka to Novovodiane, the Russians have amassed up to 10,000 personnel and about 450 weapons, including 200 artillery systems. The goal is obvious – an attempt to repeat last year's attack on Borova."

Details: Analysts reiterate that currently, a long defensive line on this front is held by the 3rd Assault Brigade, but the forces remain disproportionate: the Russians outnumber Ukrainian forces, use additional units and conduct intense assault operations along the entire offensive line.

It is reported that the Russians have deployed the 3rd and 144th Divisions of the 20th Army, represented by the 236th Artillery Brigade and 11 regiments: 7 motorised infantry regiments, 2 tank regiments and 2 artillery regiments. In addition, mercenaries from irregular army units are involved. Among them, Storm V, Black Mamba, Fixies and Patriot PMC are known to be present. A BARS-14 unit has arrived to maintain order.
"Over the past three weeks, the enemy has been conducting preparatory activities in the form of probing weaknesses in the defence of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. There are continuous assaults on the positions of the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade. The enemy is losing personnel, but every week, 200 to 400 freshly mobilised occupiers arrive. This is enough to replenish and build up the group. So far, the tactics of meatgrinder assaults have not yielded significant results only because there is a strong brigade in the area. But we emphasise that the forces are far from equal," DeepState writes.

Analysts report that the Russians want to repeat last year's strategy of first reaching the Nadiia-Novoiehorivka line and then the Pershotravneve-Cherneshchyna line.

Ukrainians will be cut off from electricity for at least next two winters

If Ukraine had succeeded in reconnecting the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) to the power grid, there would have been virtually no need for power restrictions. However, without the plant, Ukrainians will be guaranteed to have power restriction schedules for two winters.

Source: Oleksandr Kharchenko, Director of the Energy Research Centre, during a broadcast on the TV channel Kyiv24

Quote from Oleksandr Kharchenko: "The state of Ukraine's energy system currently stands at three working maximum capacity points out of 12. If we could somehow get back to managing the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant and put at least two to three units into operation, it would be a huge factor that would change the situation in the energy system. Restrictions would be practically unnecessary or would be needed very rarely."

Details: Kharchenko explained that without Zaporizhzhia NPP's help, Ukrainians would be guaranteed to face power restriction schedules for two winters.

Quote: "If this does not happen, it will take us about two years to restore our capacities. That is, we will have restrictions for two winters, which is almost guaranteed. They will be minimised for the second winter of 2025-2026, but it is likely that they will be."
 
Fewer Ukrainians Oppose Compromises in Talks with Russia, Survey Shows

Ukrainians’ opposition to concessions in talks with Russia has diminished in the last two years, though most people believe that Volodymyr Zelenskiy should remain president until the end of martial law, a new poll shows.
A majority of Ukrainians still rules out making compromises in negotiations with Russia, but the share has decreased to 58% from 80% in May 2022, according to the survey, which was conducted May 26 to June 1 by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology. A total of 30% of respondents didn’t agree with the idea of opposing compromises, the study showed.
While Kyiv has secured billions of dollars in fresh Western aid to repel Vladimir Putin’s invasion, Kremlin forces have been battering Ukraine’s energy sector, and an effort by Zelenskiy to gain more international support at the weekend fell short of its aims. The Ukrainian leader has consistently rejected calls made by Moscow to surrender territories since the war began in February, 2022.

A total of 65% of respondents indicated that they favored a referendum on any possible terms of an accord with Russia, according to the survey, which polled 2,011 Ukrainians by phone.
Russia has sought to question the Ukrainian leader’s legitimacy since his elected term of head of state officially expired in May. Although support for Zelenskiy’s decisions dropped to 56% from 77% in September, a total of 70% said he should remain president until the end of the period of martial law, the survey showed.
A minority of 34% backed a recent law tightening the rules for conscription, according to the study.
 

Russian forces increased their attacks on the border of Kharkiv and Luhansk Oblasts of Ukraine, the Ukrainian 3rd Separate Assault Brigade informed on Tuesday.

According to available information, the Russians are attempting to capture the settlements of Pershotravneve & Cherneshchyna, and later reach Borova and Oskil river in Kharkiv Oblast.

The advancing Russian forces consist of the elements of the 3rd and 144th Separate Motor Rifle Division from the 20th Combined Arms Army, the Ukrainian side said.


From our @JakeSullivan46 interview:
US agreement with Ukraine allows Ukraine to fire US weapons into Russia across from Sumy:
"It extends to anywhere that Russian forces are coming across the border from the Russian side to the Ukrainian side to try to take additional Ukrainian territory... That's happened in Kharkiv. We have seen initial indications that Russia has made exploratory moves across in Sumy. And so it would apply there as well."
F-16s will be based inside Ukraine:
"The plan is to put the F-16s in Ukraine. And the Bilateral Security Agreement that @POTUS and @ZelenskyyUa signed reinforced this point, that we want to help Ukraine have this capability. It should be a capability based in Ukraine."


The Russian Azovprodukt fuel storage terminal in Azov continues to burn tonight, nearly 24 hours after a successful Ukrainian drone strike.

Russian fire crews have been unable to get the blaze under control.


Possibly the first documented case of a Russian ZALA Lancet loitering munition being downed by a Ukrainian FPV drone.

Earlier, there were occurrences of Russian reconnaissance UAVs being intercepted by Ukrainian FPV drones.

Also, first time seeing an FPV drone operated by the Ukrainians with such high quality camera.


Fighterbombs complains about low supply of new Su-34s:


American defense manufacturer Northrop Grumman plans to set up an ammunition production line in Ukraine.

The facility, bankrolled by Ukraine, will produce medium caliber ammunition, potentially expanding into 155mm artillery shells and tank ammunition.
 

Russia is scouring China for second-hand machine tools using shadowy networks of buyers, as the Kremlin races to secure vital equipment to increase arms production.

Moscow’s covert strategy for obtaining precision machinery, uncovered by researchers, attempts to sidestep increasingly restrictive western sanctions and export controls that aim to stunt manufacturing for the military.

The operations, run through networks of opaque companies, tap a stock of older high-end machine tools made by western companies that remain in China after decades of sales to local factories.

The Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), a Washington-based think-tank that identified the shadow trade, said the complex sourcing arrangements suggest Moscow’s claims about high-precision tools being produced in Russia were probably “exaggerated”.

Allen Maggard, the C4ADS analyst who led the report on the machine tools, said Russia’s arms manufacturers were “scrambling to expand their production capabilities using whatever they can get”.


Ukrainian forces struck Russian oil depots in Rostov Oblast and Krasnodar Krai overnight on June 17 to 18, using domestically produced Neptune missiles against a ground target in Russia for the second time.[6] Sources in the Ukrainian Navy told Ukrainian media outlet Suspilne on June 18 that Ukrainian forces used Neptune anti-ship missiles, presumably modified to strike ground targets, to strike an oil terminal of the Yugneftekhimtransit LLC in the port town of Chushka, Krasnodar Krai overnight.[7] Russian opposition outlet Astra reported locals witnessed explosions near Chushka overnight and that a fire damaged the pipeline and areas with engineering or technical equipment.[8] Russian authorities did not confirm the strike, but the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed on June 18 that Russian forces intercepted a Ukrainian Neptune missile in an unspecified area on June 17.[9] Sources in the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) told Ukrainian media outlets that Ukrainian forces conducted drone strikes against the Azovskaya and Azovnaftoprodukt oil terminals in Azov, Rostov Oblast, and geolocated footage shows that the resulting fire burned overnight on June 17 to 18 and well into the day on June 18.[10] Rostov Oblast authorities reported that the strikes set the oil tanks on fire.[11] The SBU sources stated that these depots combined have 22 fuel tanks, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) Crimean service reported that up to 60 tons of petroleum products pass through these depots per month and that the storage tanks can hold up to 30 thousand cubic meters of petroleum products simultaneously.[12]
 

U.S.-made missiles for the Patriot air defense system manufactured for Switzerland are to be delivered to Ukraine despite contractual obligations, the Swiss outlet Blick reported on June 19, citing undisclosed sources.

According to Blick, Bern has an order totaling $340 million with Washington for the PAC-3 variant of the missile.

Sources told the outlet that the U.S. has decided to delay delivery to Switzerland and send them instead to Ukraine, which is in dire need of the weapons to protect against Russian aerial attacks.


Denmark on June 18 announced its 19th assistance package for Ukraine, including financial support for Ukraine's defense industry, equipment for F-16 fighter jets, and donations from Danish military stocks.


Only 11% of Russians say that sanctions have personally affected them or their family, according to a poll released on June 18 by the independent Russian polling firm the Levada Center.

The figure has been steadily declining since a high of around 30%, shortly after the beginning of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine in March 2022. At the same time, a higher percentage of Russians said that sanctions had personally impacted them or their families in 2015, about 34%.

Despite widespread sanctions, Russia's economy has remained surprisingly resilient, which may be connected to a decrease in the level of concern from average Russians.

The poll found that only 29% of respondents were very or somewhat worried about the sanctions, down from 45% who said they were worried in March 2022.
 
Kim Pledges to ‘Unconditionally’ Support Putin on War in Ukraine

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged to “unconditionally support” Russia in its invasion of Ukraine at talks with President Vladimir Putin in Pyongyang that emphasized deepening ties amid US concerns about arms supplies to the Kremlin’s war machine.
The two leaders said relations are headed to new levels when they met Wednesday to start formal discussions in the Russian leader’s first visit to North Korea in 24 years. Kim said Russia is playing a critical role in keeping a strategic balance in the world, while Putin said he hopes Kim will visit him in Moscow.
 

Ukrainian commander warns: 'We are losing this war now'​


Dmytro Kucharczuk argues that the situation for Ukrainians on the front is becoming increasingly difficult despite momentary stabilization. "We are losing territories; we are losing the best people," says the commander of the Ukrainian II Battalion of the 3rd Assault Brigade.

According to the military, this is the "most critical stage" of the war for the Ukrainian army.

"People observed the events in Avdiivka. After Avdiivka, the enemy almost broke through the front. The situation remains critical, but people like to update the DeepState map and draw their own conclusions. It seems to them that it is stabilized. And then they relax again," Dmytro Kucharczuk explains.

"We are losing this war"​

Kucharczuk has no doubt that the Russians have taken the initiative, and the situation for Ukraine is becoming dire. "Yes, we are losing this war now. It's obvious. We are losing territories, we are losing the best people," he said.

The commander also emphasizes the drastic change in public sentiment. He pointed out that more and more Ukrainians are beginning to accept the necessity of reaching an agreement with Russia, even if the price is the loss of some territories.

"I don't separate the military world from the civilian world. I divide it into the world of Ukrainians and the world of 'Khakhly,'" he stated. 'Khakhly' is a derogatory term for Ukrainians.

"Unfortunately, there are far more 'Khakhly' today. The 'Khakhly' in Dnipro will agree to give away the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The 'Khakhly' in Kyiv will agree to give away left-bank Ukraine, and the 'Khakhly' in Lviv will agree to give away Ukraine along the Zbruch River," the military man said.
 

North Korea has released the full text of its new treaty with Russia. The part that got everyone’s attention? A return to Cold War-era mutual defense pledge


Hmmm. Very interesting. It's very similar to Article 1 of the Soviet-North Korean treaty of alliance.

S. Korea hints at potential arms supply to Ukraine in response to N.K.-Russia treaty

The South Korean government said Thursday it will reconsider its stance on arms supply to Ukraine after North Korea and Russia signed a treaty that involves a mutual pledge to provide immediate military assistance if one of them is attacked.

National Security Advisor Chang Ho-jin also expressed regret over "the comprehensive strategic treaty" signed during the summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang on Wednesday.

"The government expresses grave concern and condemns the signing of the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement between North Korea and Russia, which aims to strengthen mutual military and economic cooperation," Chang said in a press briefing at the presidential office.

Chang said any cooperation that directly or indirectly aids North Korea's military enhancement is a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and will be subject to international scrutiny and sanctions, and vowed to take corresponding measures.

"We plan to reconsider the issue of arms support to Ukraine," Chang also said, suggesting a shift in South Korea's policy of not providing lethal aid to Ukraine.

A presidential official said South Korea will maintain strategic ambiguity regarding the types of weapons.

"Specific measures will be revealed later, and it will be interesting to see how Russia responds, rather than revealing our plans in advance," the official told reporters.


🧵 An interesting data set from a group of Western aviation experts, one of whom I'll quote in this short thread. Between May 3 and June 15, Russia dropped no fewer than 64 FAB glide bombs on… Belgorod, Russia.

In other words, almost every day for a month and a half, Russia has been bombing itself. Not intentionally, of course. But why? There are several reasons.

Aviation expert: "The kit that makes the FAB a 'smart' bomb is often faulty. Most likely it's not hermetic and made out of the wrong type of metal, i.e. something other than duraluminium. This means the electronic components are open to humidity and cold temperatures. Hence the failures."

"Another factor is the tendency for 'just filling the plan.' The Russian Air Force is using bombs they know perfectly well are dysfunctional. They just don’t care because everything is in order according to the paperwork: the FAB was loaded and dropped. Check."

And: "Russian pilots are using Indian and Chinese-made GPS devices and these may sometimes prove faulty."

"We also assess that Russian pilots are afraid. They are worried about Ukraine’s air defense capabilities and are releasing FABs from as far as possible, which results in some bombs landing in their own territory."

Note that FAB glide bombs have otherwise been devastating for Ukraine. In the same time period, May to mid-June, Russia launched thousands of them, harrying defenders seeking to recapture re-occupied parts of Kharkiv. See, for instance, this thread:

Nevertheless, heavy reliance on this munition has come at an under-publicized cost for Moscow. /END
 

The US government is set to halt all open orders for Patriot air defence systems and interceptor missiles until Ukraine has enough to defend itself from Russia’s air attacks.
Three people with knowledge of the decision said the move would be announced on Thursday, after President Joe Biden said last week in Italy that he had secured commitments for the delivery of additional air defence systems to Ukraine. These would include Patriot missile batteries for which Kyiv has been clamouring after Russia escalated missile and drone attacks on its power plants.
Biden said five countries had agreed to send Patriot and other air defence systems to Ukraine, and that other countries expecting the delivery of the US systems would have to wait because “everything we have is going to go to Ukraine until their needs are met”.
Standing beside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after the two signed a 10-year defence pact on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Puglia, Biden added that Kyiv would begin receiving more systems “relatively quickly”.
The US announcement on Thursday will codify Biden’s commitment to Kyiv and ensure that Ukraine gets the Patriot systems it needs to protect its cities and critical infrastructure, two of the people with knowledge of the decision told the Financial Times.
Poland, Romania and Germany are among the European nations with open orders for Patriot systems still to be delivered. Spain also has an open order for Patriot launchers, while a coalition of Nato states in January placed an order for 1,000 Patriot missiles.

How Putin Rebuilt Russia’s War Machine With Help From U.S. Adversaries

Russia’s military cooperation with Iran, North Korea and China has expanded into the sharing of sensitive technologies that could threaten the U.S. and its allies long after the Ukraine war ends, according to U.S. defense and intelligence officials.

The speed and depth of the expanding security ties involving the U.S. adversaries has at times surprised American intelligence analysts. Russia and the other nations have set aside historic frictions to collectively counter what they regard as a U.S.-dominated global system, they said.

Iran helped build a factory for lethal armed drones in Russia’s Tatarstan region that U.S. officials believe is now operational and capable of churning out thousands of Iranian-designed Shahed-136 drones annually. U.S. officials predict it will expand to other types of drones as well.

“This is something that Russia is now going to have after the war,” a U.S. defense official said. What began as a transactional relationship is now a “knowledge transfer,” he said.

For its part, Iran can observe how its drones, which Russia is launching by the dozens at Ukraine, perform in wartime conditions, the official said. The danger is “that all of those lessons come back to the Middle East,” he added.

China and Russia are also working together to jointly produce nonlethal drones inside Russia, according to a senior Biden administration official.

“They think it is deniable because it just looks like sharing technology and production on what are commercially available UAVs globally,” a second defense official said, referring to unmanned aerial vehicles.

China has done everything short of providing weapons to Russia, which Washington has warned would trigger American economic sanctions, current and former U.S. officials said.

Assistance from Beijing helped Russia’s defense production rebound more quickly than American intelligence agencies expected following Moscow’s initial setbacks in Ukraine and the imposition of Western sanctions meant to hinder its access to weapons, U.S. officials said.

China has shipped massive quantities of dual-use equipment, including machine tools, microelectronics for Russia’s defense industry, optics for tanks and armored vehicles, and turbo engines for cruise missiles, they said. It also is helping Russia improve its satellite and other space-based capabilities for use in Ukraine, officials said.

“They are very careful, but they are darn close to the line,” a defense official said. “They have been doing everything they can to support the Russians without having to pay any costs themselves.”
 
Russian air strike causes more damage to Ukraine's power grid

Russia launched a new barrage of missiles and drones at Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday, causing "significant" damage to a thermal power plant and maintaining pressure on the electricity grid, Ukrainian officials said.
The attack on energy infrastructure in four regions damaged equipment, wounded seven workers and cut off electricity to more than 218,000 consumers, the energy ministry said.
The attacks, Kyiv says, have knocked out half of Ukraine's energy generating capacity since March and forced rolling blackouts. Moscow has said energy facilities are a legitimate military target and that some of the strikes were retaliation for Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory.
Officials in Kyiv have for months been appealing to Ukraine's allies to supply more air defences against the air strikes carried out by Russia throughout the nearly 28-month-old full-scale invasion.
The Ukrainian air force said it shot down five out of nine missiles and all 27 drones launched by Russia over 10 Ukrainian regions during Thursday's attack.
Private power company DTEK said one of its thermal power plants suffered significant damage during what it said was the seventh large-scale attack on its infrastructure since March 22.
"Enemy missiles hit a DTEK power station already damaged in previous attacks... We urgently need to close our skies or Ukraine faces a serious crisis this winter. My plea to allies is to help us defend our energy system and rebuild in time," said the company's CEO, Maxim Timchenko.
National grid operator Ukrenergo said the attack would lead to an increase in scheduled blackouts on Thursday.
The military said the attack mostly targeted eastern Ukraine and in particular the Dnipropetrovsk region.

Good summary of the list of attacks on Ukraine's power facilities since late March:


Video: The birth of Ukraine's life-saving robots

UK Defence Ministry comments on consequences of Ukrainian strikes on Crimea and Russian airbases

The UK Defence Ministry has analysed the latest success of Ukrainian strikes on military targets in Crimea and airbases on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Source: UK Defence Ministry review dated 20 June on Twitter, as reported by European Pravda

During June 2024, the Russian Air Force maintained pressure on the line of contact in Ukraine with tactical aircraft while kamikaze drones continued to strike infrastructure and military targets far beyond the line of contact.

However, between 12 and 18 June, Russian long-range aircraft switched their cruise missile strikes to Ukrainian air bases, which was almost certainly Russia's response to the success of the Ukrainian airstrikes, and it also probably underscores Russia's concerns about the future use of F-16 aircraft by Ukraine's Air Force.

A series of coordinated Ukrainian attacks on targets in Crimea led to the destruction of critical elements of Russian S-300 and S-400 surface-to-air missile systems.

While Russia can likely quickly replace the systems, further depletion is likely to force Russia to attract equipment from other regions, as it has done before, if the Kremlin wants to maintain the coverage density of its air defence network.
Alternatively, Russia may be forced to accept the decline in its capabilities, putting its forces in Crimea at increased risk.

Further successful Ukrainian attacks on Russian airbases from which attack operations are conducted, such as Mozdok, Akhtubinsk and most recently Morozovsk, are very likely to force Russia to continue its policy of dispersing aircraft further away from the line of contact.

This will almost certainly lead to increased fatigue of aircraft and crews as the departure time increases. It is possible that the loss of a Su-34 fighter-bomber in North Ossetia, Russia's souty, on 12 June was connected with this.
 

South Korea to reconsider arms supplies to Ukraine after Putin's pact with Kim Jong Un​


South Korea will consider supplying weapons to Ukraine after North Korea and Russia signed a pact on mutual defense in case of war, reports Yonhap News.

In an official statement, Seoul also condemned the agreement signed by Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un, saying it violates United Nations sanctions.

"The government clearly emphasizes that any cooperation that directly or indirectly helps North Korea increase its military power is a violation of UN Security Council resolutions and is subject to monitoring and sanctions by the international community," the Presidential Office said in a statement.

The statement also added that such a violation would worsen Seoul's relations with Moscow.

North Korea and Russia renewed a Cold War-era agreement after Putin and Kim Jong Un met in Pyongyang this week and agreed to provide military assistance if they were attacked.

South Korea is one of the countries that does not supply arms to Ukraine directly due to legal restrictions.

However, in 2023, Seoul allowed for increased aid to Kyiv if Ukraine suffered a large-scale attack on civilians.

This is interesting development. South Korea has become a major exporter of military equipment. They have been exporting and signing many more deals with other countries from their K2 Black Panther, K9 Thunder, K21 IFV and submarines and ships as big as corvettes and frigates as well as T-50 light fighter and development of the fifth gen fighter KF-21. If South Korea turns to supplying Ukraine, it could be a very momentous event in the war depending on the level of supply of course.
 

Romania to send Patriot missile system to Ukraine


NATO member Romania announced on Thursday, June 20, that it would send a Patriot missile system to Ukraine, which Kyiv has requested to help its fight against Russia's invasion.

"Considering the significant deterioration of the security situation in Ukraine... council members decided to donate a Patriot system to Ukraine in close coordination with allies," the Supreme Council of National Defence said in a statement. The donation was made "on the condition that our country continues negotiations with allies, in particular the US, with a view to obtaining a similar or equivalent system" to protect its own air space, it added.
 

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