UA-69458566-1

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, June 15, 2024

 Nicole Wolkov, Angelica Evans, Kateryna Stepanenko, Grace Mappes, and George Barros

June 15, 2024, 9pm ET

Click here to see ISW’s interactive map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This map is updated daily alongside the static maps present in this report.

Click here to see ISW’s 3D control of terrain topographic map of Ukraine. Use of a computer (not a mobile device) is strongly recommended for using this data-heavy tool.

Click here to access ISW’s archive of interactive time-lapse maps of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These maps complement the static control-of-terrain map that ISW produces daily by showing a dynamic frontline. ISW will update this time-lapse map archive monthly.

Note: The data cut-off for this product was 2pm ET on June 15. ISW will cover subsequent reports in the June 16 Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s June 14 information operation about Russia's supposed “willingness to negotiate” on extreme terms tantamount to Ukraine's capitulation is succeeding in confusing the purpose of the Ukrainian-initiated Global Peace Summit in Switzerland on June 15.[1] The purpose of the summit, according to the Ukrainian President's Office, was to facilitate a multilateral dialogue to achieve "fair peace ... based on the United Nations (UN) Charter and international law."[2] Putin‘s information operation on June 14 sought to and partially succeeded in sabotaging the summit by refocusing the international conversation to Russia's absence at the summit, instead of allowing the summit's participants to proceed with the intended purpose of garnering international support for Ukraine and Ukraine‘s efforts to involve the broader international community in ending the war. Ukrainian Presidential Office Head Andriy Yermak stated before the summit opened on June 15 that Ukraine and its international partners can give a joint peace plan to a Russian representative at a second peace summit if a Russian representative attends.[3]

Putin specifically outlined his demands for "peace" negotiations in Ukraine a day before the start of the Global Peace Summit to undermine Western support for legitimate Ukrainian demands from Russia and divert attention away from the task of building an international consensus around how to ensure that Russia’s illegal war of aggression does not result in an unjust Russian victory. Putin's restated prerequisites for "peace" negotiations included the recognition of Russia's illegal annexation of occupied and Ukrainian-controlled territory and Ukraine's agreement to demilitarization, "denazification" (the toppling of the current Ukrainian government and its replacement with pro-Russian proxies), and Ukraine's agreement to abandon efforts to join any external security blocs — the same demands he made prior to the start of the full-scale invasion in 2022 and has consistently reiterated throughout the war.[4] Putin‘s overture that he is open to any kind of “negotiations“ not predicated on what is effectively Ukraine’s unconditional surrender is therefore inherently misleading. Putin’s duplicitous statements about his supposed “willingness to negotiate” thus reoriented international discourse to highlight how Putin — who is not interested in upholding the principles of the UN Charter in his war of conquest in Ukraine — was not invited to the conference, and how Putin’s absence at the summit presented some kind of intrinsic paradox. It did not.

Several Western officials recognized that Russia attempted to derail the purpose of the summit and focus its conversations on Russia's absence. US Vice President Kamala Harris stated that Putin's June 14 “peace” proposal was not a call for negotiations but a call "for [Ukraine's] surrender."[5] Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated that Russia should be involved in the peace process at "some stage," although acknowledged that Putin is not interested in negotiations "at the moment" and likely released a "ridiculous peace proposal" on June 14.[6] German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated that "peace in Ukraine cannot be achieved without involving Russia" but noted that Russia has refused all collective calls for peace[7] US Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs in the United Nations (UN) Robert Wood stated during a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting on June 14 that Russia's decision to convene the UNSC a day before the summit was an effort to divert the international community's attention away from the summit and distract the world from Russia's war in Ukraine.[8]

Kremlin mouthpieces amplified ongoing Russian information operations intended to further discredit and disrupt the Global Peace Summit on June 15. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov criticized the West's "unconstructive" responses to Putin's June 14 ultimatums and claimed that the Kremlin hopes someone will hold a "more constructive" peace summit at a later, unspecified date.[9] Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Spokesperson Maria Zakharova claimed that the West must discuss Putin's June 14 ultimatums if they want peace in Ukraine and to "save the world."[10] Russian State Duma Chairperson Vyacheslav Volodin claimed that the peace summit is meaningless following Putin's ultimatums and reiterated ongoing Russian narratives intended to discredit Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as the legitimate president of Ukraine and legitimate participant in the negotiations process.[11] ISW continues to assess and observe that Russian officials typically feign interest in negotiations during critical moments of the war in order to influence Western decision-making and as part of their efforts to extract pre-emptive concessions on Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity from the West.[12] Any Western efforts to force Ukraine into negotiations with Russia before Russia abandons its genocidal and imperialist ambitions in Ukraine will almost certainly not result in a lasting solution to the conflict and only provide Putin with additional time to further optimize and prepare the Russian war machine for a future invasion.

Ukrainian First Deputy Defense Minister Lieutenant General Ivan Havrylyuk reported that Western military assistance has begun to arrive in Ukraine, but that Western military assistance will likely not arrive at scale and significantly impact the frontline situation for several more weeks to months. Havrylyuk told the Associated Press (AP) in an article published on June 15 that Ukrainian forces are still waiting on most of the US military assistance announced in late April 2024 to arrive in Ukraine, but that the limited amount of aid that has arrived is already reducing Ukraine's artillery shortages.[13] Havrylyuk stated that Russian forces' artillery advantage has recently decreased from seven-to-one to five-to-one as a result of US aid arrivals. Havrylyuk expressed hope that Ukraine will be able to better defend its airspace in the future following the arrival of F-16 fighter jets and other Western-provided air defense assets. AP also interviewed several frontline Ukrainian commanders and servicemen who confirmed that Ukrainian forces began receiving limited amounts of Western-provided shells but noted that the shells have not arrived at the scale that Ukrainian forces need to fully defend against Russian attacks. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský announced on June 14 that the first round of ammunition from the Czech artillery initiative has begun to arrive in Ukraine and that the Czech initiative will continue to purchase and supply ammunition for Ukraine throughout 2024.[14] Lipavský noted that five countries have already contributed funds to the initiative and that 15 additional countries have pledged to support the initiative.

Chairperson of the ruling United Russia Party Dmitry Medvedev officially replaced United Russia Secretary Andrey Turchak with acting Russian Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Ural Federal District Vladimir Yakushev on June 15.[15] Medvedev also announced that Turchak formally resigned on June 15.[16] Russian President Vladimir Putin named Turchak as the acting governor of the Altai Republic on June 4 in an apparent demotion likely tied to Turchak’s prior affiliation with the Wagner Group, efforts to increase his political power, and failure to execute Putin‘s vision for involving veterans in the Russian government.[17] Yakushev received a degree in Law, Finance, and Credit and Economic Sciences; and served as the head of Tyumen City and Tyumen Oblast and Minister of Construction, Housing, and Communal Services before becoming the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Ural Federal District.[18] The Russian Plenipotentiary Office announced that Yakushev will retain his position as the Russian presidential plenipotentiary envoy to the Ural Federal District in addition to his new role as the Secretary of the United Russia Party.[19] Russian political commentators observed that Yakushev’s two roles are contradictory since they require him to both engage with Ural regional affairs while also playing an important federal United Russia party role in Moscow.[20] One Russian political commentator presented multiple hypotheses for Yakushev’s dual appointment, including that the Kremlin lacks an administrative strategy so is making "chaotic" government appointments or that Yanushev is a “non-negotiable candidate” for these roles.[21]

Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing a group of trusted and Kremlin-affiliated “veterans” to assume government roles likely in an attempt to appease Russian servicemen and domestic supporters of the war in Ukraine. Putin had a likely staged interaction with Russian military volunteer and former Krasnodar City Mayor Yevgeny Pervyshov during a meeting with the participants of the Russian presidential initiative “Time of Heroes” on June 14.[22] Pervyshov told Putin that he joined the war effort as a volunteer despite previously holding a government position and argued that participants of the “Time of Heroes” initiative would make great government officials. Putin then asked Pervyshov about his government role before mobilization, to which Pervyshov responded that he is a Russian State Duma Deputy and former mayor of Krasnodar. Putin expressed (likely fake) surprise at Pervyshov’s political career and concluded the engagement by telling Pervyshov that he has an unspecified “proposal” for Pervyshov.[23] A Kremlin-affiliated milblogger claimed that Pervyshov fought in the “Grom-Kaskad” Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Brigade, formerly known as the BARS “Kaskad” Battalion originally formed in 2017 as part of the Donetsk People‘s Republic‘s (DNR) Internal Affairs Ministry.[24] Russian political commentators also recalled that Pervyshov was a defendant in a major fraud case and implied that his decision to fight in Ukraine is not coincidental.[25]

The “Time of Heroes” initiative reportedly began training veterans of the Russian war in Ukraine in April 2024 to assume roles in the Russian government, and Pervyshov’s cameo is likely part of the ongoing Kremlin effort to appease the ever-growing Russian veteran population by appointing and prominently featuring government officials who served in Ukraine.[26] The Kremlin may attempt to incentivize Russians to fight in Ukraine by portraying military service in Ukraine as a pathway for launching a public service career in the Russian government. Former United Russia Party Secretary Andrey Turchak and Russia State Duma Deputy Dmitry Sablin reportedly created and directly curated that BARS “Kaskad” Battalion in 2017 and recruited Russian officials and United Russia party members in Fall 2022 to fight as part of the battalion in occupied Luhansk Oblast.[27] (Turchak reportedly only managed to recruit seven Russian officials to fight with Kaskad).[28] Russian insider sources previously claimed that Putin entrusted Turchak with having veterans run in the Russian presidential primaries and assume positions in the Russian State Duma, but Turchak reportedly failed to accomplish this goal because local businessmen reportedly did not give up their positions in local government that Turchak needed to give to the Russian veterans.[29] Putin is likely continuing to pursue this objective through the “Time of Heroes” initiative and following his demotion of Turchak.

The Swedish military announced on June 15 that a Russian Su-24 tactical fighter-bomber plane temporarily violated Swedish airspace east of the southern tip of Gotland on June 14, likely as part of an effort to discourage European states from participating in NATO and other international institutions supporting Ukraine. The Swedish Armed Forces stated that a Russian Su-24 fighter-bomber failed to heed a verbal warning from the Swedish air combat command before Swedish JAS-39 Gripen aircraft forced the Russian Su-24 out of Swedish airspace.[30] This is the first Russian violation of Swedish airspace since 2022.[31] Russian aircraft also violated Finnish airspace on June 10 for the first time since 2022, and the Finnish Ministry of Defense (MoD) stated on June 14 that it believes that four Russian military aircraft violated Finnish airspace instead of the one aircraft the MoD previously reported.[32] Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson and Finnish Defense Minister Antti Häkkänen participated in a NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels on June 13 and 14 in preparation for the July 2024 Washington Summit, an annual summit which will cover NATO defense, deterrence, and coordinating assistance for Ukraine.[33] The Washington 2024 summit will be the first NATO summit at the level of heads of state for Sweden since its accession in March 2024.[34] Finland is the second newest NATO member, having only joined the alliance in April 2023.[35] The Kremlin likely seeks to punish Sweden for its accession to NATO and to deter NATO states, particularly its newer members, from supporting Ukraine.

Key Takeaways:

  • Several senior Western officials made statements at the Ukraine-initiated Global Peace Summit in Switzerland that inadvertently play into ongoing Russian information operations falsely portraying Russia as interested in legitimate and good faith negotiations, likely in part due to Russian President Vladimir Putin's efforts to undermine the summit through his carefully planned restatement of his uncompromising demands for Ukraine's capitulation on June 14.
  • Kremlin mouthpieces amplified ongoing Russian information operations intended to discredit and disrupt the Global Peace Summit.
  • Ukrainian First Deputy Defense Minister Lieutenant General Ivan Havrylyuk reported that Western military assistance has begun to arrive in Ukraine, but that Western military assistance will likely not arrive at scale and significantly impact the frontline situation for several more weeks to months.
  • Chairperson of the ruling United Russia Party Dmitry Medvedev officially replaced United Russia Secretary Andrey Turchak with acting Russian Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Ural Federal District Vladimir Yakushev.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing a group of trusted and Kremlin-affiliated “veterans” to assume government roles likely in an attempt to appease Russian servicemen and domestic supporters of the war in Ukraine.
  • The Swedish military announced on June 15 that a Russian Su-24 tactical fighter-bomber plane temporarily violated Swedish airspace east of the southern tip of Gotland on June 14, likely as part of an effort to discourage European states from participating in NATO and other international institutions supporting Ukraine.
  • Russian forces recently marginally advanced near Kupyansk and Avdiivka.
  • Elements of the Russian Baltic and Pacific fleets are participating separate naval exercises.
  • A Financial Times (FT) investigation published on June 12 found that Russian officials have put Ukrainian children up for adoption whom Russia had forcibly deported from occupied Ukraine to Russia in 2022.

We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because these activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We will continue to evaluate and report on the effects of these criminal activities on the Ukrainian military and the Ukrainian population and specifically on combat in Ukrainian urban areas. We utterly condemn Russian violations of the laws of armed conflict and the Geneva Conventions and crimes against humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.

  • Russian Main Effort – Eastern Ukraine (comprised of three subordinate main efforts)
  • Russian Subordinate Main Effort #1 – Push Ukrainian forces back from the international border with Belgorod Oblast and approach to within tube artillery range of Kharkiv City
  • Russian Subordinate Main Effort #2 – Capture the remainder of Luhansk Oblast and push westward into eastern Kharkiv Oblast and encircle northern Donetsk Oblast
  • Russian Subordinate Main Effort #3 – Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast
  • Russian Supporting Effort – Southern Axis
  • Russian Air, Missile, and Drone Campaign
  • Russian Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts
  • Russian Technological Adaptations
  • Activities in Russian-occupied areas
  • Ukrainian Defense Industrial Base Efforts
  • Russian Information Operations and Narratives
  • Significant Activity in Belarus

Russian Main Effort – Eastern Ukraine

Russian Subordinate Main Effort #1 – Kharkiv Oblast (Russian objective: Push Ukrainian forces back from the international border with Belgorod Oblast and approach to within tube artillery range of Kharkiv City)

Ukrainian sources and Western outlets widely circulated unverified claims on June 15 that Ukrainian forces encircled a group of up to 400 Russian servicemen and captured dozens of Russian soldiers as prisoners of war (POWs) in Vovchansk, Kharkiv Oblast, but ISW cannot confirm these claims. Ukrainian sources amplified a since-deleted Telegram post from a Russian milblogger on June 14 claiming that an unspecified number of Russian servicemen were isolated in the Vovchansk Aggregate Plant and insinuated that Ukrainian forces encircled the Russian forces in the plant.[36] The Telegraph amplified footage showing Ukrainian forces capturing roughly 30 Russian POWs in an unspecified area of the Kharkiv and Donetsk area of operations and suggested that Ukrainian forces captured these POWs near the Vovchansk Aggregate Plant.[37] The milblogger later claimed on July 15 that Ukrainian sources exaggerated his June 14 post and clarified that it referenced frontline reports that Ukrainian forces temporarily blocked Russian logistics in Vovchansk, not that Ukrainian forces threatened to encircle Russian forces.[38] The milblogger claimed that he waited to post about these logistics issues for several days after receiving the information but claimed that the situation in Vovchansk is still difficult for Russian forces.[39] A Telegram channel claiming to represent the Russian Northern Grouping of Forces publicly denied the claims that Ukrainian forces surrounded the Aggregate Plant and captured Russian forces.[40] The Telegram channel claimed that Russian forces completely control the outskirts of the Aggregate Plant, although ISW has observed no visual confirmation of this claim or the claim that Ukrainian forces have surrounded the plant.

Russian forces continued offensive operations north of Kharkiv City near Lyptsi and Hlyboke and northeast of Kharkiv City near Vovchansk and Tykhe on June 15, but there were no confirmed changes to the frontline.[41]


Russian Subordinate Main Effort #2 – Luhansk Oblast (Russian objective: Capture the remainder of Luhansk Oblast and push westward into eastern Kharkiv Oblast and northern Donetsk Oblast)

Russian forces recently advanced southeast of Kupyansk amid continued Russian ground attacks along the Kupyansk-Svatove-Kreminna line on June 15. Geolocated footage published on June 15 indicates that Russian forces recently advanced northwest of Berestove (southeast of Kupyansk).[42] A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces advanced up to 500 meters along a windbreak east of Synkivka (northeast of Kupyansk), although ISW has not observed visual evidence of this claim.[43] A Ukrainian brigade's deputy commander stated on June 15 that Ukrainian forces captured several unspecified Russian positions in the Serebryanske forest area (south of Kreminna).[44] Fighting continued east of Kupyansk near Petropavlivka; northeast of Kupyansk near Synkivka; southeast of Kupyansk near Pishchane, Stelmakhivka, and Berestove; west of Svatove near Andriivka; northwest of Kreminna near Makiivka, Hrekivka, and Nevske; and west of Kreminna near Torske on June 14 and 15.[45] Elements of the Russian 27th Motorized Rifle Brigade (1st Guards Tank Army [GTA], Moscow Military District [MMD]) reportedly continue operating in the Kupyansk direction.[46]


Russian Subordinate Main Effort #3 – Donetsk Oblast (Russian objective: Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)

Russian forces continued offensive operations near Siversk on June 15 but did not make any confirmed advances. Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian forces advanced two kilometers in depth near Rozdolivka and advanced west of Vesele (both south of Siversk).[47] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces continued ground attacks near Rozdolivka on June 14 and 15.[48]