The situation in the Severodonetsk Cauldron and along the northern side of the Popasna Bulge is ‘critical’, once again, thus time for an ‘unplanned’ update.
When the dust settles…. The situation is clearing in regards of what did the Russians do on 18–19 June in regards of air strikes on refineries and POL-dumps in eastern Ukraine. They have run near-simultaneous air- and missile strikes on the oil depot in Andrviika (Kharkiv), Novomoskovsk Oil Terminal (Dnipro), Kremenchuk oil refinery (non-operational), and the oil refinery of Lysychansk. Most likely by combining Tu-22M-3s armed with Kh-22s (range 600km, max) and 9K728 Iskandar quasi-ballistic missiles (range 400km+, depending on warhead). Iskandar-Ms continue deploying decoys that are confusing Ukrainian air defence systems (especially S-300s).
Early on 20 June, the Russians hit Ukrainian positions north of Kharkiv with a total of six Iskanders. No casualties were reported.
During the day, the VKS directed dozens of air strikes on suspected positions of Ukrainian artillery that shelled Donetsk, especially from the Avdiivka area, the last few days: Separatists claim that this resulted in a lower intensity of the shelling. ‘For the records’: here an older video from a Russian ‘spray & pray’ attack on an Ukrainian position on the southern frontline. it’s useful to gauge the ‘precision’ of the ‘spray & pray tactics’ — and I would like to make sure nobody is going to complain I ‘didn’t tell you’. Mind, the facility that can be seen in the centre is some 500 metres long…
As the photo below is nicely shown: there’s intensive counter-battery action along much of the 1,000km+ long frontlines…
BATTLE OF DONBASS
Kharkiv…it’s ironic: the Russians first claimed to have recovered Rubizhne, three days ago, then yesterday they claimed the Ukrainians have withdrawn from it… hm… In similar fashion, the Russians then claimed to have attacked Rtyshchiva, which they already claimed for taken…
Izium… meanwhile, both sides seem to be in agreement that it wasn’t the forest west of Izium through which Ukrainians approached to about five kilometres to this town, but via Chepil and Rudneve. Indeed, latest reports are indicating Ukrainians directing their direct fire at Russian supply convoys along the M03 highway.
Slovyansk….Ukrainian positions in Dolyne and Bohorodichne are holding out, despite multiple Russian assaults and almost constant shelling. The last Russian attack on the southern side of Bohodorichne was repulsed with a particularly heavy loss for the RFA.
Severodonetsk… despite the loss of Metolkine, Ukrainian lines held out in the town of Severodonetsk, in Voronove and in Borivske, as of yesterday. The compound of the Azot Factory is heavily shelled and bombed.
Further south…In their effort to surround Zolote and Hirske (which are still in Ukrainian control, despite four weeks of Russian assaults), the LPR claims to have secured Toshkivka, and pushed for Mirnaya Dolina, south of Lysychansk, and defended by the 17th Tank Brigade, as of yesterday (and this was confirmed by a video shown one of their T-64, followed by two BMP-1s, advancing into the western-most part of the village). They also claimed to have the stretch of the P66 highway from Zolote to Lysychansk under ‘fire control’, and to be pushing on Novoivanivka (15km south of Lysychansk): that with P66 is likely to be truth, since this is just 1,5km west of Toshkivka. Ukrainians are counterattacking from Ustynivka, north of Toshkivka, but their problem is that the Separatists are attacking this place too (from the east). Bottom line, as of this morning, the Russians were advancing even on Bila Hora, on the southern edge of Lysychansk, and held by the Donbass Battalion.
As of this morning, the Russians were pushing like mad on Berestove on the T1302 road, too: apparently attacked at a connection of two major Ukrainian positions south and south-west of the village. That battle is still raging.
At least a part of the problem is the fact that the last few days Ukrainians have lost dozens of UAVs over this area — due to the Russian electronic warfare. Ironically, the Russians claim to have ‘shot down 100+ Bayraktars’: something like 6 times more than Ukrainians have ever got. Actually, they’re meanwhile highly effective in countering lighter, commercial UAVs, and disrupting satellite communications used by Ukrainians.
BTW, gauging by outright ‘celebrations’ in the Russian social media about the capture of Toshkovka, guess, should they really manage to reach the P66 they’re going to fete like if they’ve taken Berlin…The reason is obvious: if they cut the P66 and retain positions there, maintaining positions in Zolote and Hirske is going to be very hard for Ukrainians.
BTW, all of Slovenian M80s infantry fighting vehicles are now underway to Ukraine (they were manufactured in former Yugoslavia, back in the 1980s):
The Russians claim that Ukrainians have completely withdrawn from their bridgehead between Bilohirka and Davydiv Brid: indeed, that they have crossed the XX River and captured two villages: Velike Artakove and Bila Krinitsa. As far as I can say, at least Andriivka and Davydiv Brid are still under Ukrainian control.
The area of Odesa was targeted by at least two Oniks missiles of the Bastion-P coastal-defence system the last evening.
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