6.26.22 Update, day 123 of Russian invasion.
Belarusian armed forces continue to maneuver along the border region with Ukraine. The current exercises are in Gomel region, and are projected to last until July 1. The Ukrainian government reiterated Belarus will almost certainly not participate in the war with their own military forces.
Russia is increasing its military presence in Belarus, explicitly discussing the possibility of the return of units of the RF Armed Forces. 10 RU planes are planned to deploy to Baranovichi airbase in Belarus, where RU aircraft operated before.
Kyiv/ West Ukraine (1):
RU conducted numerous air-launched cruise missile strikes onto downtown Kyiv via RU heavy bombers over the Caspian sea, fired from maximum range. The target was apparently generally an UA company who manufactures precision guided missiles. There are reports from the ground that GPS was jammed or spoofed in Kyiv shortly before and during the missile strike, by unknown parties.
5 people were wounded, and one killed. Thankfully, the 7 year old pictured as evacuated from the blast survived.
Cherkasy, a relatively peaceful region S of Kyiv, was struck by two missiles near the bridge across the Dnipro river, with 6 casualties reported.
RU forces continue to consolidate themselves along the border, and fired across the border with longer range artillery, striking grain silos and agricultural equipment. Specifically, RU fired mortars and artillery on the border of the Novgorod-Siverskaya, Semenovskaya and Snovskaya communities in the Chernihiv region and in Seredino-Budskaya, Glukhovskaya and Yunakiyevskaya communities in the Sumy region.
Today the volume of shelling was much higher, where reportedly 150 rockets and shells were fired into Ukraine. This appears to be mortars and possibly automatic grenade launchers, rather then exclusively heavy artillery.
N Kharkiv (3):
RU forces attempted an assault towards Dementiivka, but were repelled. There was heavy shelling along the front lines otherwise, and it appears that RU forces are attempting to target an area with artillery and air strikes before launching recon-by-fire, in an attempt to find and exploit breakthroughs. There appears to be a similar operation forming near Rubizhne, where airstrikes and heavy artillery fire came from the important RU positions serving to block UA advance towards Vovchansk, and subsequent menacing of supply lines to Izyum.
RU forces fired sporadically into Kharkiv and Chuhuiv, but the strikes appear to be designed to terrorize civilians and menace roadways, rather then specifically affect military targets. Other strikes were predominantly along the roads and villages out of Kharkiv that supply the front lines.
RU continues to reinforce its supply lines from Russia through Vovchansk>Kupyansk in order to maintain logistics to the Izyum/Lyman axis.
Russian forces again attacked towards Slovyansk, and were again repelled. RU forces are increasing their shelling of the highway from Slovyansk-Lysychansk, and spotting with UAVs.
HIMARS systems successfully hit two command posts around Izyum, heavily damaging the 20th Combined Arms Army's base in Izyum school, and also the command post for naval infantry troops nearby.
Russian forces continued ground assaults towards Slovyansk from the southeast of Izyum but did not make any confirmed advances, instead shelling and menacing villages of Bohorodychne and Krasnopillya NW along the M03 highway.
RU forces in Lyman shelled across the river, and may be planning attempts on joining their forces for further assaults on Slovyansk.
UA forces to the W of Izyum may have been intercepted at a bridge crossing attempt and taken heavy losses due to RU artillery fire.
RU continues to attack into the southern outskirts of Lysychansk, especially around the oil plant to the SW and Bila Hora to the SE. RU forces have consolidated their gains in Severodonetsk to some extent, and are reportedly moving up their artillery so as to better shell Lysychansk and its western supply routes.
RU forces targeted and destroyed communications infrastructure in Lysychansk, including the local TV tower. Ru also examined the destroyed bridges across the Donets river into Lysychansk, and fired into several villages on the W side of the river.
Transportation of six "Tochka-U" ballistic missile launchers towards Lysychansk region was seen.
Heavy shelling continues along the southern axis of Lysychansk, where RU forces continue to heavily target the main W road leading into Lysychansk via Siversk, from Slovyansk. RU forces may have lost the town of Vovchoyarivka, where UA forces and RU forces were engaged in very bloody battle over the past 48 hours with alternating offensives throughout the day and night.
Additionally, RU forces have pushed back across the NW section of the line, closer to the Lysychansk-Bakhmut highway, advancing into Mykolaivka which RU forces had captured only a few days prior. In general, with UA gains along the NW axis of the line, it will be increasingly difficult for RU forces to surround Lysychansk on the ground and cut it off, instead relying more on long range artillery fire to menace the supply lines.
RU forces continue to heavily shell into Bakhmut, but the general thrust remains to menace/take the highway leading into Lysychansk, rather then attacking further west into Bakhmut itself. Ru offensives towards Pokrovske, one of the suburbs to the NE of Bakhmut have apparently been rebuffed, and RU forces are again resuming heavy shelling of the suburban area.
British intelligence believes that Russia is using mercenary pilots from the "Wagner" private military company, because it does not have enough of its own properly trained pilots in the Russian army. A number of these fighters are in the Popasna region.
RU forces continued to shell the front lines in Donetsk, including with MLRS and mortars. RU offensives towards Niu York and Marinka along the W and NW edge of Donetsk city were repelled.
UA forces downed an RU KA-52 modern helicopter gunship, again with a MANPADS. This is the most modern RU helicopter gunship, and the fact its been so readily destroyed by much cheaper MANPADS (16 million vs 80k), and that between 15-30 have been destroyed out of a production run of 120, means that yet another RU "weapon of note" is proving to not live up to hype.
There is a story going around of a morbidly obese RU general "Pavel" taking over Russian forces, accompanied with a picture. This is a recycled picture from several weeks ago, and there appears to be no credence to these claims which are parroted by tabloids.
The situation in Mariupol remains grim.
International rallies in support of Azovstal defenders have been organized in a number of countries around the world. June 26 was the first day of events: they took place in Sweden, the Czech Republic, Norway, Romania, Denmark, Poland, Latvia, Israel, Great Britain and more.
Zaporizhia/Southern Axis (8):
RU forces continue to leverage artillery and rocket fire across the front, but attempted no offensive actions otherwise. It appears that RU may have a lack of experienced forces and inadequate replacement equipment. RU forces are attempting to focus artillery against UA logistics and supply hubs. The goal appears to prevent reinforcement to other more active fronts to the east.
A RU cruise missile flew nearby the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power plant, raising concerns about damage to the nuclear infrastructure.
RU forces continue to fight via counter-battery fire along the front line, and fighting predominantly is in air raids and artillery duels. An RU Mi-28 gunship attacked UA positions to reportedly no effect, and 3 RU UAV's were shot down.
RU forces fired from Huracan MLRS systems, damaging civilian infrastructure and causing causalities. Ru forces have also heavily mined the E bank of the Inhulets river, and destroyed a number of settlements near the previous UA crossing point in Davidy Brid.
UA launched 3 air strikes, eliminating 39 RU soldiers, 1x T72 tank, and 3 ammo dumps.
In Kherson region, reportedly RU forces are inflicting wounds on themselves in order to be medically evacuated from the frontline.
RU forces continued to fire munitions towards Mykolaiv, and the drone used to spot for them was shot down.
Another RU collaborator was targeted by a car bomb, but managed to evade the blast when it went off too early.
Odessa/Black Sea/Transnistria (10):
Reportedly in the black sea, there are 2 missile ships equipped with up to 16 Kaliber cruise missiles as the heavy storms have generally passed through the area. The threats of the sea mines drifting after recent storms continues, and in general the rough seas have hampered RU naval movements.
RU forces in Crimea fired 2 Onyx anti-ship missiles towards Odesa, but both were successfully intercepted. Overnight, a TU-22M bomber fired an air launched missile into a residential area, injuring 6 people including a child.
Russian forces are continuing to fortify their military presence on Snake Island.
It will take 3-4 weeks to agree and launch a "grain corridor" in the Black Sea to export Ukrainian grain from Odesa, said the speaker of the President of Turkey, and negotiations are ongoing.
Yesterday, Ukrainian forces eliminated:
150x soldiers (Total 34,850)
5x Artillery (2x MLRS)
The majority of losses were in the Bakhmut and W Donetsk direction.
due to significant losses, the Russians are trying to avoid hostilities where possible. Due to the refusal to fight by many RU soldiers who were redeployed back into Russia for consolidation and regrouping, the command of certain RU units banned any leave of personnel who are due to deploy back into Ukraine, in order to avoid desertion.
RU is reportedly amending its laws to allow for 18 year old's and new high school graduates to sign up as a contract soldier, rather than a conscript. This appears to be part of Russia's "covert mobilization", as it is likely a number of these individuals will be coerced into signing contracts, and then deployed in relatively short order. Per the UA government, RU has committed 330,000 soldiers in varying capacities (both frontline, support, logistical, and otherwise) to the war effort, effectively 1/3 of the entire Russian military.
RU Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the newly-appointed RU Commander for the war, Genady Zhiko, were seen on a press tour in Ukraine. This further confirms the removal of Dvornikov for the 3-star general from the Military-Political directorate, which is responsible for essentially political commissars and ensuring that RU forces maintain allegiance to RU political goals.
Reportedly since 2014, approximately 30,000 Crimean Tatars have been forced to flee the Russian-occupied peninsula,
A summit of G7 leaders has begun in Germany. In a final statement, the leaders announced that they were committed to providing indefinite support to Ukraine to defend against the Russian invasion. Before the summit, President Joe Biden announced an embargo on Russian gold imports to G7 nations and Japan, and Boris Johnson promised another $525 million USD in aid to Ukraine.
Since the beginning of the invasion, Russia has exported at least 400,000 tons of grain, approximately 25% of all grain in the occupied territories.
In Poland, from July 1, free rail travel for refugees from Ukraine will end.
In Russia, for the first time since 1918, there was a default on foreign currency debt. the grace period for the payment of interest payments to the tune of 100 million US dollars, which had to be paid by May 27, expired.
The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations supported the resolution to include Russia in the list of countries supporting terrorism. Currently, this list includes Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria.
Since the beginning of the war, Russian hackers have attacked 128 organizations in 42 countries. Most of them were aimed at the United States and other NATO countries, according to a Microsoft report. Attacks were successful in 29% of cases.
The pushing back of RU positions to the SW of Lysychansk have cast doubts on the ability for RU forces to encircle the city to the W.
The reported UA offensives along the southern front appear to be making slow but sure progress.
The presence of HIMARS has been clearly recorded in the destruction of rear-line RU command positions, and more is likely to come.