The situation as of 8:00 on June 20, 2022
The most intense hostilities are taking place in the Sievierodonetsk (Luhansk region) and Sloviansk (Donetsk region) directions, where Russian troops continue their offensive. The Ukrainian Armed Forces are trying to disrupt their plan, destroying ammunition depots in the temporarily occupied territories in the rear of the Russian troops with pinpoint strikes. The Ukrainian military is also trying to hit Russian troops’ communications concentrated near Izium. Additionally, the former are counterattacking in the south, in the direction of Kherson.
The Battle for Donbas
Russian troops are advancing in the Sloviansk direction in the north of the Donetsk region. The Ukrainian Armed Forces are trying to thwart these operations by carrying out counteroffensive operations in the direction of Izium in the Kharkiv region. Thus, they seek to threaten the communications of the Russian assault group. As a result of the counteroffensive, Ukrainian units managed to liberate the village of Dmytrivka in the Kharkiv region.
Fierce fighting is taking place in the Sievierodonetsk direction. Russian troops are trying to gain a foothold in settlements to the south and east of Sievierodonetsk. They continue to storm the city itself, where the Ukrainian Armed Forces hold positions at the Azot plant. At the same time, Russian troops are trying to cut the communication lines of group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, advancing in the Bakhmut direction.
The intensity of shelling in the combat zone is increasing. Russian troops are launching artillery and air strikes along the front lines in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The shelling is particularly intense near Donetsk, in the Avdiivka district. Vitalii Barabash, head of the civil-military administration of this town, was wounded. In total, at least 5 civilians were killed and 31 people were injured in the Ukrainian-controlled territories of the Donetsk region during June 16-19.
The Ukrainian military is trying to disrupt the offensive of Russian troops by striking at the rear infrastructure of the Russian forces in the temporarily occupied territories. On June 16, an ammunition depot in Khrustalnyi (Luhansk region) was destroyed. During June 17-18, several facilities in Donetsk that had been used by the Russian military were shelled. At the same time, according to local residents, some of the shells hitting civilian infrastructure were fired from the temporarily occupied territories. Thus, this may be provocations by the Russian forces. They are aimed at discrediting the Ukrainian military and military assistance to Ukraine from Western partners.
Russian troops are shelling Kharkiv and trying to resume their offensive on the city from the north. As a result, residential areas and infrastructure have been damaged. During June 16-19, at least 1 civilian was killed on the territory of the region; 10 people were wounded.
In the territory of Zaporizhzhia region, shelling continues on the front line. However, the Russian troops lack the capabilities to carry out active offensive operations in this direction. At the same time, the Ukrainian Armed Forces are trying to launch a counteroffensive in this direction.
In the Kherson direction, the Ukrainian army is increasing pressure on Russian troops, forcing them to defend themselves. The Russian military is trying to thwart a counterattack by the Armed Forces of Ukraine by reinforcing their positions and launching artillery, missile and air strikes on Ukrainian positions and civilian infrastructure. Kryvyi Rih and Mykolaiv, located close to the front, remain the target of shelling. The latter city is experiencing systematic rocket attacks, which killed 2 civilians and injured 20 others on June 17 alone. In addition, Russian aviation struck the town of Ochakiv in Mykolayiv region, which is home to a modern naval base built with the support of American partners.
The Ukrainian military launched retaliatory artillery strikes and carried out successful air counterattacks, thereby destroying radar stations, fuel tankers, and other enemy military equipment. They have also succeeded in countering the Russian Black Sea Fleet. On June 17, missiles struck the Russian Navy’s rescue tugboat Spasatel Vasily Bekh, which was carrying additional weaponry to the temporarily occupied Zmiinyi Island.
Shelling of Ukrainian territory
The target of the missile attacks remains fuel supplies and infrastructure for its storage on the territory of Ukraine. Russian troops struck an oil depot in the Novomoskovsk district of the Dnipropetrovsk region. As a result of the attack and the fire that broke out at the facility, 1 rescuer was killed; 13 people were wounded. In addition, there was another missile attack on the oil refinery and combined heat and power plant in Kremenchuk, Poltava region. These facilities have been repeatedly targeted by the Russian military.
To the north, Russian troops continue shelling the border areas of Chernihiv and Sumy regions. As a result of a rocket attack in Sumy region on the night of June 16, 4 people were killed and at least 6 were wounded.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was forced to postpone his speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The official reason for the postponement was massive DDoS-attacks on the forum’s systems.
The Russian Federation continues to spread false information by various means. A newspaper with falsified statements by representatives of the Ukrainian military command and political leadership began to be distributed in Zaporizhzhia region to further demoralize the population of the temporarily occupied territories.
According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as of June 17, the number of civilian casualties in Ukraine since the beginning of the large-scale Russian invasion is 10,094 (4,509 killed and 5,585 wounded).
As of the morning of June 19, more than 906 children (323 killed, 583 wounded) had been affected as a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine. Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska indicated that two children die every day because of the actions of Russian troops.
The return of Ukrainians from Russian captivity continues. As a result of a prisoner exchange on June 18, 5 civilians were released. After several months of captivity, a well-known Ukrainian paramedic and volunteer Yuliia Paievska (“Tyra”) was also released.
However, many more Ukrainian citizens remain in captivity. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that since the beginning of March, the Russian side had captured more than 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol. Murders of Ukrainian servicemen and cruel treatment of prisoners of war have been recorded in the city. It is also impossible to assess the conditions of their detention on the territory controlled by the Russian armed forces.
Russia is deporting Ukrainians to its territory. The Russian Defense Control Center reported that 1,936,911 people, 307,423 of whom are children, have been taken to Russia. Russia uses mass forced relocations of Ukrainians to vacate space and subsequently repopulate occupied territories with Russian citizens. The USSR did the same in the 1940s, deporting Crimean Tatars from their native lands.
Human Rights Watch published a report stating that Russian troops in Ukraine use anti-personnel mines prohibited by international conventions, which kill and maim people and disrupt agricultural work. In Ukraine, 16 demining teams from the National Guard are working to solve the problem. Since the beginning of the demining work, they have already examined 106 hectares of territories and deactivated about 13 thousand explosive devices.
The material damage caused to Ukraine by the large-scale Russian invasion is being assessed. Svitlana Startseva, a representative of the Ministry for Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine, informed that as of June 1, 3.5 million Ukrainians had damaged or destroyed housing. A total of 116,000 residential buildings in Ukraine have been destroyed or damaged. Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Serhii Shkarlet reported more than 1,800 damaged educational institutions (209 of them completely destroyed). About 1,174 more schools are under occupation. The occupation administration in these territories is trying to shift them to teaching according to the Russian educational program starting from September 1.
There is resistance to the occupation forces in the south of Ukraine. In particular, in Kherson a car belonging to a representative of the local penitentiary authorities, who had sided with the occupiers, was blown up.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has reported on progress in deepening relations with the EU. At a government meeting on June 17, he said that Ukraine has already become part of the European network and has agreed with the Union to liberalize road transportation. The government passed a bill to the Verkhovna Rada, which allows the final introduction of the so-called “customs visa-free regime” with the EU. In addition, the officials approved the delegation for negotiations of Ukraine and the EU on participation in the program “Digital Europe”.
Enerhoatom is trying to reduce pressure on the fuel market by promoting the purchase of electric cars. This will also help Ukraine fulfill its international obligations to decarbonize and reduce pollution. On June 17, Enerhoatom informed that together with Ukrgasbank it has signed a memorandum on the implementation of a project to deploy a national network of charging stations for electric cars.
POLITICAL AND DIPLOMATIC EVENTS
Ukraine has achieved an important success on the way to European integration. The European Commission has recommended that Ukraine be granted EU candidate status, which is a necessary formal step before the issue is considered at the European Council level on June 23-24. The European Commission’s opinion was formed on the basis of Ukraine’s application for EU membership and on the analysis of two questionnaires that assessed Ukraine’s readiness to meet the so-called Copenhagen criteria, its compliance with the provisions of EU law.
European leaders continue to show support for Ukraine in its European integration processes and in its fight against Russian aggression. On June 16, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi arrived in Kyiv together. This is the first visit of these politicians to Ukraine since the beginning of the large-scale invasion of Russia. They were also joined by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. After their visit to war-ravaged Irpin, the European leaders met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi. They discussed steps to help and strengthen Ukraine’s defense capabilities; issues of post-war reconstruction; opportunities for countering the food crisis that Russia has provoked; further sanctions pressure on Russia; and prospects for Ukraine’s European integration. It was stressed that France, Italy, Germany and Romania support the immediate granting of European Union candidate status to Ukraine. Emmanuel Macron announced the transfer of additional modern self-propelled Caesar artillery units from France to Ukraine. On June 17, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrived in Kyiv. This is his second visit to the Ukrainian capital since the beginning of the large-scale Russian invasion. At a meeting with the Ukrainian president, Johnson proposed a large-scale training program for Ukrainian servicemen on British territory. The British army could provide training for up to 10,000 Ukrainian servicemen every 120 days.
Partner countries continue to render defense assistance to Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression. Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Naď reported that Slovakia had transferred to Ukraine four Mi-17 helicopters, one Mi-2 helicopter, as well as ammunition for Grad multiple rocket launchers, which are already in service with the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Poland sent Ukraine a new batch of AHS Krab self-propelled howitzers. Australia delivered M113AS4 armored personnel carriers to Ukraine.
Sanctions pressure on Russia is intensifying. The United Kingdom has imposed sanctions on the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, and a number of individuals. In particular, Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian Federation Commissioner for Children’s Rights, was included in the sanctions in connection with the forced transfer by Russia of children from the temporarily occupied territories of Luhansk and Donbas and the creation of procedures to simplify their adoption in Russia.
On June 18, Lithuania banned the transit transport of sanctioned goods and technologies between Russia and its exclave — the Kaliningrad region, located between Lithuania and Poland. The ban will affect 40-50% of products transported from Russia through Lithuania — in particular, construction materials, cement and metal.
The Seimas of Lithuania adopted a resolution on June 16, recognizing the transfer of people from Ukraine by Russia as deportation of the Ukrainian people. The parliament called for legal means to stop the genocide of the Ukrainian people, and for deported people to create conditions for their return to Ukraine or departure to another safe country.
The international community keeps looking for ways to avoid a food crisis in the world, which could be caused by the Russian blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports. Important in solving this problem is the decision of the European Commission to launch a trade platform for grain called “GrainLane”, which will help to optimize grain exports from Ukraine to EU member states. The platform is intended for the sale and purchase of agricultural products and strengthening of contacts between representatives of European logistics and Ukrainian traders and farmers at the international level.
The Verkhovna Rada supported the draft law 7273-d restricting the public use of Russian music products and draft law 7459 banning the imports of publishing products from Russia and Belarus. These draft laws help to increase the share of the national product in radio and television broadcasts as well as publishing books in the Ukrainian language.
In order to counteract threats to the national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers decided to terminate the agreement with Russia on visa-free travel. This step will make it more difficult for Russia to conduct subversive and reconnaissance activities on the territory of Ukraine after the cessation of active hostilities.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi for the first time since the beginning of the large-scale Russian invasion visited the positions of Ukrainian troops in Mykolayiv and Odesa regions, listened to information about the operational situation on the front and held a meeting on the current situation in the south of the state.
The information in the digest is collected from official sources — reports of state authorities of Ukraine, Ukrainian and international news agencies. The accuracy of the data is carefully checked by the project team and corrected in case of fake news.