Russia admits it does not care about Crimea, preparations before Ukrainian counteroffensive: military results of the week
To answer the question of whether Ukraine’s counteroffensive has begun, the Ukrainian Defense Forces are taking measures related to the counteroffensive, but they are preparatory in nature
Is the counteroffensive underway? The situation in the Zaporizhzhia direction
Ukrainians receive 90% of their information about the counteroffensive from Russian public media and 10% from the foreign press. The Ukrainian military has been instructed to limit phone usage and information sharing, implementing a "regime of silence" on the front line. According to reports from the American press, an offensive in the Zaporizhzhia direction began between June 6 and 8. To answer the question of whether Ukraine’s counteroffensive has begun, in my opinion, the Ukrainian Defense Forces are taking measures related to the counteroffensive, but they are preparatory in nature.
On June 6, intense hostilities took place in the Zaporizhzhia direction near Velyka Novosilka. Ukrainian troops conducted successful assault operations towards Neskuchne, Levadne, and Novodonetske, advancing a little. A few days later, there were battles near Nova Tokmachka, where Ukrainian Armed Forces carried out probing actions towards Robotyn. Later battles took place near Lobkove and Ukrainian troops now control the settlement. This forced Russian troops to take two or three steps. First, they began to move their reserves to areas that were new every time. Then they were forced to employ artillery, thereby revealing their positions, and this artillery was struck. Such a dynamic will continue for some time. In a couple of days, certain dynamics will be shaped in those areas that can be considered the main directions of the offensive. These are Melitopol, Berdiansk and Mariupol. Russia cannot determine which of these areas is the main one.
I feel optimistic regarding the entire Zaporizhzhia frontline. Although the current situation is shrouded in the "fog of war" and it is difficult to determine what exactly is happening, the directions of action suggest that Ukrainian forces are identifying vulnerabilities in the Russian defense. I think the developments on this front will be quite positive.
The momentum in Bakhmut remains strong
The Ukrainian General Staff highlights the usual battle areas, including Lyman, Bakhmut, Marinka, and Avdiivka. In terms of positive dynamics, I would first of all single out Bakhmut. Ukrainian forces have made progress, expanding their control by 1.8 km in width and 1.2 km in depth. Particularly in the area of Klishchiivka, the crossing of the Siversky Donets-Donbas canal. Despite the challenges and enemy reinforcements, Ukrainian troops are pushing forward on both flanks.
The momentum in Bakhmut remains strong. I believe the Ukrainian Armed Forces will continue to create tension and exert pressure in all these areas, denying the Russian army any chance to mobilize reserves. Russian troops are clearly tied to each section of the frontline, and each section is under pressure from the Ukrainian Armed Forces. This makes it impossible to maneuver the reserves. The only reserves that could potentially be redeployed are from the area affected by the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant.
Despite the destruction inflicted by Russian troops on Avdiivka and Marinka, these cities continue to stand as outposts. They have been unable to establish a firm foothold or make significant advances. In their attempts to reinforce their position, they deployed Kadyrov's Akhmat battalion near Marinka, which came under fire from Ukrainian artillery yesterday. As a result, there have been 60 soldiers killed and a considerable number of wounded. It seems that Kadyrov's initial enthusiasm to assist in Marinka quickly diminished.
Actions of Russian volunteers are being coordinated with Ukrainian counteroffensive actions
The Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) is currently conducting raids in Russia's Valuiki and Urazovo, which are important supply routes for Russian troops along the Svatove-Kreminna-Starobilsk line. These raids are benefiting the Ukrainian Armed Forces significantly. The actions of the Russian volunteers are clearly coordinated with our larger-scale counteroffensive plan.
Ukraine’s Main Department of Intelligence said it cooperated with the RDK. This means that our intelligence shares data with them to prepare for these operations. The actions of Russian volunteers have gained significant attention, and the FSB is attempting to hinder their work. Additionally, the RDK is discussing other areas of action. I think that intelligence information, effective skills and interaction with various structures allow us to fulfill our tasks efficiently.
Destruction of the Kakhovka HPP: Russia recognizes it does not care about Crimea
Russian forces have benefited in some way from the destruction of the Kakhovka HPP - the zone between the troops along the Dnipro River has expanded significantly. The possibility of conducting assault operations with a river crossing has been greatly limited. However, I believe that the Ukrainian Armed Forces did not plan to cross the Dnipro. It was motivated by Russian generals being scared and wanting to protect themselves. This also applies to the relocation of equipment along the dam itself. I think that there is some benefit in the fact that Russian forces have relocated some troops from there to the Zaporizhzhia direction. There is evidence that they are trying to strengthen their defense line by digging numerous trenches. However, they are facing a shortage of soldiers, and the erosion of minefields by water poses a threat to Russians themselves. The risk of mine explosions is significant and unpredictable.
By causing the explosion at the Kakhovka HPP, Russia has acknowledged that it no longer needs Crimea. It will have no water supply now, and this is another step by Russia to safeguard itself against anticipated actions by the Ukrainian Armed Forces to regain control of Crimea.
A new US aid package
The US' systematic approach to supporting our defense is evident through the new aid package. It includes funds for Patriot missiles and other air defense systems. With these systems we will be able to effectively defend ourselves against Russian Iskanders, Kinzhals and Shahed drones for a long time to come.