Defence Forces conducted counteroffensive actions on at least three areas of the front

Specialists from the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) note that the Defence Forces of Ukraine conducted counteroffensive actions in at least three areas of the front over the past day.

Source: ISW

Details: The review notes that Ukraine has conducted counteroffensive actions with varying results on at least three areas of the front as part of the counteroffensive, which has been unfolding since Sunday, 4 June.

Ukrainian officials reported that Ukrainian troops switched from defensive to offensive actions on the Bakhmut front and advanced on the city's flanks over a distance of between 200 metres to almost two kilometres.

The analysts say that the defence forces carried out a limited, but still significant offensive in the west of Zaporizhzhia Oblast on the night of 7-8 June.

Russian forces apparently defended themselves against this attack on a sound doctrinal basis and were reported to have resumed their positions as of 8 June.

It is also reported that on 8 June, Ukrainian troops lost vehicles provided by the West.

The Russian Ministry of Defence reacted to the Ukrainian attack with an uncharacteristic degree of coherence and praised the units of the Southern Military District for repelling the attack and recovering lost ground.

The report notes that the Ukrainian attacks in western Zaporizhzhia on 8 June do not reflect the full extent of Ukrainian capabilities in this counteroffensive.

They also suggest that Ukraine's counteroffensive is likely to consist of many activities of varying scale, including more localised attacks, as was seen in this sector on 8 June, and that smaller efforts do not reflect the maximum potential of Ukrainian numbers or effectiveness.

According to reports, Ukraine has formed 12 special counteroffensive brigades. Experts write that Ukraine appears to have deployed only a fraction of the large pool of forces available for counteroffensive operations, and observers should avoid counting reports that Ukrainian brigades have destroyed or damaged Western weapons as a measure of the remaining effective combat capability of Ukrainian forces.

In addition, it should be noted that the forces of Russia's Southern Military District deployed in this particular area are likely to be a higher quality group than Russian groups in other areas of hostilities, and their defensive capabilities are unlikely to reflect the defensive capabilities of Russian groups elsewhere in the front.

It is also indicated that the Russian troops and the occupation authorities continue to aggravate the humanitarian consequences of the flood caused by the blowing up of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant dam.

Experts note that Russian President Vladimir Putin has moved his annual press conference from June 2023 to November or December 2023.

According to the ISW, Putin would most likely conduct a "Direct Line" in early June 2023 after Russian forces capture Bakhmut, and the postponement of the event indicates that the Kremlin may perceive the capture of Bakhmut as not enough of a victory to compensate for the overall unstable Russian military situation in Ukraine.

Experts conclude that delaying the "Direct Line" forum further illustrates Putin’s decline from being seen as a strong leader and is more often portrayed as being minutely involved in small infrastructure projects.

To quote the key takeaways from ISW report for 8 June:

  • Ukraine has conducted counteroffensive operations with differential outcomes in at least three sectors of the front as part of wider counteroffensive efforts that have been unfolding since Sunday, June 4.

  • Ukrainian forces conducted a limited but still significant attack in western Zaporizhia Oblast on the night of June 7 to 8. Russian forces apparently defended against this attack in a doctrinally sound manner and had reportedly regained their initial positions as of June 8.

  • The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) responded to the Ukrainian attack with an uncharacteristic degree of coherency and praised Southern Military District elements for repelling the attack and regaining lost positions.

  • Russian sources provided explanations for claimed Russian successes during the June 8 attacks, praising Russian forces’ effective use of electronic warfare (EW) systems, air support, and landmines against Ukrainian forces.

  • Russian forces appear to have executed their formal tactical defensive doctrine in response to the Ukrainian attacks southwest of Orikhiv.

  • Ukrainian attacks in western Zaporizhia on June 8 do not represent the full extent of Ukrainian capabilities in the current counteroffensive.

  • It is additionally noteworthy that the Russian Southern Military District Forces deployed in this particular area are likely to be a higher quality force grouping than Russia has elsewhere in theatre, and their defensive performance is unlikely to be reflective of defensive capabilities of Russian groupings elsewhere on the front.

  • Russian forces and occupation authorities continue to exacerbate the humanitarian ramifications of the flooding resulting from the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (KHPP) dam break.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly postponed his annual press conference from June 2023 until November or December 2023.

  • Russian forces continued to conduct limited ground attacks on the Kupyansk-Svatove line and around Kreminna.

  • Ukrainian forces made limited gains around Bakhmut, and Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line.

  • Ukrainian forces continued to conduct limited ground attacks on the administrative border between Donetsk and Zaporizhia oblasts.

  • The Russian MoD continues to posture itself as a firm authority over the defence industrial base (DIB) through emphasising its ability to transport new equipment to the front.

  • Russian occupation authorities are reportedly resorting to punitive measures against civilian populations in occupied Ukraine due to Russian occupation authorities’ decreasing influence over civilians.

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