Ukraine Daily Summary - Friday, 17 June 2022

Russia moves its citizens to occupied territories in Ukraine -- Children born after Feb. 24 in occupied Kherson Oblast will be forced to get Russian citizenship -- Ukrainian intelligence says it has detailed specs of Crimean Bridge linking peninsula with Russia -- Russian forces severely undermanned -- and more

Ukraine Daily

Friday, 17 June 2022

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Russia’s war against Ukraine


Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, left, and French President Emmanuel Macron, middle, observe debris left by hostilities in Irpin, a city northwest of Kyiv, on June 16, 2022. Macron, Draghi, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis visited Ukraine to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky on June 16. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP via Getty Images.)

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German, French, Italian, Romanian leaders visit Irpin in Kyiv Oblast. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis visited Irpin, which has been devastated by Russia’s war.

Defense Ministry: Russia moves its citizens to occupied territories in Ukraine. According to Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar, Russian soldiers are bringing their relatives to the occupied territories, including Kherson, and they settle in houses that belong to Ukrainians. The official said that Russia is also stepping up measures to distribute Russian passports in the occupied settlements and still plans to annex the territories.

Russian proxies: Children born after Feb. 24 in occupied Kherson Oblast will be forced to get Russian citizenship. Russian state news agency TASS also reported, citing Russian proxies in Kherson Oblast, that orphans have also been forced to take Russian passports.

Danilov: President Zelensky calls for readiness checks in case of invasion from Belarus. National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said that President Volodymyr Zelensky convened a meeting to assess the threat of further invasion from Belarus and asked for readiness checks in four areas. Danilov did not specify where exactly the checks would occur.

Ukrainian intelligence says it has detailed specs of Crimean Bridge linking peninsula with Russia. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Intelligence Directorate reported that the obtained documents contain detailed technical information about the bridge. Earlier, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov guaranteed the security of the bridge. The bridge has been identified as a key target for Ukrainian forces as it is key for Russian logistics.

UK intelligence: Russian forces severely undermanned. Russia’s combat forces are operating in severely undermanned groupings, with some battalion tactical groups as small as 30 soldiers compared to the typical number of 600-800 personnel, the U.K. Defense Ministry said. The Ministry also said that Ukraine has probably withdrawn a large portion of its combat troops who were originally holding Sievierodonetsk, Luhansk Oblast. All the main bridges over the Siversky Donets River, which link Sievierodonetsk and Ukrainian-held territory, have likely been destroyed, the ministry said. As a result, Russia may have to conduct a contested river crossing or advance on its stalled flanks, according to the ministry.

Russian proxies say Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to be under Russian control starting Sept. 1. Ukraine’s state nuclear company Energoatom said, however, that the power plant will “continue to operate in the Ukrainian energy system and in accordance with Ukrainian legislation.” The power plant in Enerhodar has been occupied by Russian troops since March 4.

Culture Ministry: 3D printers document, aim to preserve Ukraine’s cultural heritage sites. In collaboration with experts from Latvia’s Culture Ministry and Riga Technical University, Ukrainian specialists scanned two heritage sites in Chernihiv Oblast damaged by Russian shelling and two sacred monuments in Lviv and Kyiv oblasts this week. The intention is to work towards preserving and restoring damaged sites. Since Feb. 24, around 400 instances of damage towards Ukrainian cultural heritage sites have been recorded.

UN: Nearly 2.5 million people have returned to Ukraine since end of Feb. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has announced that over 2.5 million Ukrainians have returned to their home country since late February, while over 5 million of Ukrainians registered for temporary protection or similar national protection schemes in Europe as of June 14. At least 7.5 million people have left Ukraine due to Russia’s invasion, the agency said.

Reznikov says he sees ‘real progress’ in cooperation following meeting with his German, Dutch counterparts. Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on June 16 that he had a working breakfast with Defense Ministers of Germany and the Netherlands, Christine Lambrecht and Kajsa Ollongren, at the third Remstein summit that brought together nearly 50 countries to discuss support for Ukraine.

Belarus extends military exercise schedule. The Armed Forces of Belarus have expanded military exercises until at least June 25, monitoring project Belarusian Gayun reported on Telegram, citing a schedule of exercises at Belarusian military training grounds. The previous exercises were scheduled to stop at the end of May.

Ukrainian forces beat back two Russian assaults toward Sloviansk, Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast. Continuous artillery fire has been reported across much of the front line, along with airstrikes. The General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said that Russian losses are spoiling plans to push quickly into Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron denies Ukraine will be asked to concede anything. Macron made the comment during a joint press conference in Kyiv on June 16. Last month, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Macron asked him to make concessions concerning Ukraine’s sovereignty in an attempt to end the war. Macron has previously stated that Russia should not be “humiliated” and given “a way out.”

Ukraine’s military kills 26 Russian troops, destroys equipment in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s Operational Command “East” reported on June 16 that it also destroyed one unmanned aerial vehicle, one armored personnel carrier, and one fuel depot.

CNN: 2 Americans fighting for Ukraine might have been captured by Russia. Two U.S. nationals fighting alongside Ukrainian forces north of Kharkiv have been missing for nearly a week and there are fears that they may have been captured by Russian forces, according to their families and a fellow fighter, CNN reports. They are believed to be the first Americans to be taken prisoner by the Russians.

Read our exclusive, on the ground stories

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi made their first wartime visit to Kyiv on June 16. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis joined them in Ukraine’s capital. “All four of us support the status of immediate candidate for membership,” Macron said at a joint press conference after meeting President Volodymyr Zelensky. Read our story here.

Over the past several months Russia’s focus on capturing Sievierodonetsk has forced it to pull assets and attention from other positions of attack, giving Ukraine opportunities for tactical counterattacks. However, with just a tenth of western weapons delivered so far and artillery ammo a persistent problem, Ukrainians need to get military aid much faster if they are to fully capitalize on these opportunities. Read our story here.

The human cost of Russia’s war

UN: Civilian casualties due to Russia’s full-scale war exceed 10,000. According to the UN’s human rights agency, 4,481 civilians have been killed and 5,565 injured. However, the total figure is likely higher. The most civilian casualties are reported in Donbas, with 2,611 killed and 3,103 injured. Most casualties were reportedly the result of “explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes.”

Luhansk Oblast Governor: Russian airstrike kills at least 3, wounds 7 in Lysychansk. Russian troops hit a residential building where civilians were hiding, Serhiy Haidai reported on June 16. The rubble is now being cleared up at the site. According to the official, Russia already destroyed or damaged nearly 11,300 houses in Luhansk Oblast, including 3,188 high-rise buildings.

Prosecutor General’s Office: Russia’s war has killed at least 318 children, injured over 581 since Feb. 24. The figures are expected to be higher since they do not include casualties in areas where hostilities are ongoing and in Russian-occupied areas.

Governor: Russian missile attack on Sumy Oblast kills at least 4 people, injures 6. Dmytro Zhyvytsky said that a Russian missile hit the village of Sad overnight. Further information about the attack will be provided.

General Staff: Russia has lost 32,950 troops in Ukraine since Feb. 24. Ukraine’s General Staff reported on June 16 that Russia had also lost 1,449 tanks, 3,545 armored fighting vehicles, 729 artillery pieces, 233 multiple launch rocket systems, 97 surface-to-air missile systems, 179 helicopters, 213 airplanes, 591 drones, and 13 boats.

Official: Up to 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers killed, injured daily amid heavy fighting. Lawmaker David Arakhamia, Ukraine’s chief negotiator with Russia, told Axios that between 200 to 500 Ukrainian soldiers are killed and a significant number of troops are wounded every day. Earlier Ukrainian officials said that up to 200 Ukrainian troops are killed daily.

International response

Macron: France, Germany, Italy, Romania in favor of immediately granting EU candidate status to Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron made the statement during his June 16 visit to Kyiv with other European leaders. French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune earlier said that he considers it necessary that Ukraine be granted its long-sought status of candidacy for EU membership.

Deputy Energy Minister: Ukraine receives 300 generators from Europe. Farid Safarov reported that 33 Ukrainian energy companies have received equipment from European counterparts to restore electricity supply. Safarov also encouraged companies to assist Ukraine in rebuilding its power infrastructure.

Slovenia sends Ukraine 35 infantry fighting vehicles. This was announced by Slovenia’s Defense Minister Marjan Sarec on June 16 following a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, reports Slovenian media Sarec did not specify what types of vehicles were donated. He said that, while the supply of weapons to Ukraine is currently underway, Slovenia has exhausted its available arsenal.

German media: Scholz promises further help for Ukraine. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that his country will continue providing financial and humanitarian aid, as well as weapons, to Ukraine as long as it is necessary for defending Ukraine’s independence, reports German newspaper Bild. Scholz has been criticized for blocking and delaying arms supplies to Ukraine, and Germany has not yet supplied any heavy weapons.

Slovakia supplies 5 helicopters, ammunition for Grad multiple rocket launchers to Ukraine. Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad announced that the Mi-17 and Mi-2 helicopters supplied by Slovakia are already being used by Ukraine’s armed forces.

Macron: France to send 6 more Caesar self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron made the announcement during his June 16 visit to Kyiv. France has officially sent six 155 mm Caesar howitzers to Ukraine, which are already in use on the front line, but Macron said during his visit that 12 have been sent.

Coca-Cola to leave Russian market. The company said in a statement that it is depleting its stock in the country and will stop the production and sale of Coca-Cola or other brands of the company in Russia.

Sky News: UK to provide 20 155-millimeter M109 howitzers to Ukraine. British Defense Minister Ben Wallace said in an interview on June 16 that Ukraine’s artillery is outnumbered 20 to 1 by Russia’s.

In other news

Dutch secret service prevents Russian spy from working for ICC. According to the Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service, the alleged Russian spy, Sergey Cherkasov, who is linked to Russia’s military secret service, GRU, tried to become an intern for the International Criminal Court. Cherkasov was allegedly using the alias of Brazilian citizen Viktor Muller Ferreira.

Deutsche Welle: Russia’s Gazprom cuts gas supplies to Germany by 60% in 2 days. The Russian state-owned gas monopoly on June 16 reduced the volume of gas supplies to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline from a daily maximum of 100 million cubic meters to 67 million cubic meters, Deutsche Welle reported. On June 14, Gazprom cut the daily maximum from 167 million cubic meters to 100 million cubic meters. Previously Gazprom had been accused of using gas supply cuts as a method of blackmailing Europe and driving up prices.

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Today’s Ukraine Daily was brought to you by Igor Kossov, Asami Terajima, Alexander Query, Toma Istomina, Oleg Sukhov, Teah Pelechaty, Lili Bivings, and Sergiy Slipchenko.

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