Saturday, June 11, 2022

Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, June 11

Kateryna Stepanenko, Mason Clark, and George Barros

June 11, 6:00 pm 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.

Ukrainian intelligence assesses that the Russian military is extending its planning to fight a longer war, though Russian force generation and reserves likely remain poor. Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Vadym Skibitsky stated the GUR received confirmed information that Russian forces have extended their war planning for the next 120 days, extending to October 2022.[1] Skibitsky said that Russian forces will adjust the plan depending on their successes in Donbas and noted that the Russian General Staff is modifying their invasion plans almost every month.[2] Skibitsky’s statement likely indicates the Kremlin has, at a minimum, acknowledged it cannot achieve its objectives in Ukraine quickly and is further adjusting its military objectives in an attempt to correct the initial deficiencies in the invasion of Ukraine. Skibitsky also claimed that Russian forces have an additional 40 battalion tactical groups (BTGs) in reserve, after having already deployed 103 BTGs to Ukraine. This report is highly unlikely to mean Russian forces retain 40 full-strength and effective BTGs in Russia. At most, these “BTGs” are likely small collections of personnel cobbled together from other units. The Russian military is additionally unlikely to be holding such a significant portion of its force in reserve due to continuing manpower shortages in existing frontline units.

Ukrainian officials continued to increase their requests for Western offensive and defensive equipment, particularly regarding capabilities necessary to combat Russian artillery superiority. Head of the Ukrainian Northern Operational Command Dmytro Krasilnikov reported that Ukrainian forces are experiencing a shortage in long-range artillery systems, while Russian artillery continues to overpower Ukrainian infantry. Ukrainian Advisor to Cabinet of Ministers Oleksandr Danylyuk stated that Russian forces adopted a new unspecified strategy that allows them to make more careful maneuvers.[3] Danylyuk added that Russian forces have more resources than Ukraine, which would prove advantageous in a protracted conflict. Severodonetsk Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk said that Ukrainian defenders need long-range artillery and air defense systems to strike against advancing Russian troops in Luhansk Oblast.[4] Ukrainian forces will need consistent Western support, particularly regarding artillery systems, as Russian numbers and resources take their toll on Ukrainian forces in increasingly positional warfare. 

Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces continued to conduct ground offensives within the Severodonetsk area, but Ukrainian defenders retain control of the industrial area of the city as of June 11.
  • Russian forces likely resumed efforts to cut the T1303 Hirske-Lysyschansk highway and launched failed assaults on settlements along the T1302 Bakhmut-Lysychank highway.
  • Russian forces continued assaults on settlements southwest and southeast of Izyum in an effort to resume drives on Slovyansk.
  • Ukrainian forces likely resumed counteroffensives northwest of Kherson City on June 11, south of their previous operations.
  • Russian occupation officials distributed the first batch of Russian passports in Kherson City and Melitopol.

We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because those 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 population and specifically on combat in Ukrainian urban areas. We utterly condemn these Russian violations of the laws of armed conflict, Geneva Conventions, and humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.

  • Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine (comprised of one subordinate and three supporting efforts);
  • Subordinate Main Effort—Encirclement of Ukrainian troops in the cauldron between Izyum and Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts
  • Supporting Effort 1—Kharkiv City;
  • Supporting Effort 2—Southern Axis;
  • Activities in Russian-occupied Areas

Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine

Subordinate Main Effort—Southern Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk Oblasts (Russian objective: Encircle Ukrainian forces in Eastern Ukraine and capture the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)

Russian forces launched ground assaults on Severodonetsk and several surrounding settlements on June 11. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces are resisting Russian assaults on Severodonetsk and repelled a Russian attack on Metolkine, just southeast of Severodonetsk.[5] The Luhansk People’s Republic Ambassador to Russia, Rodion Miroshnik, claimed that Russian forces encircled 300 to 400 Ukrainian servicemen at the Azot Chemical Plant in Severodonetsk, but Ukrainian officials maintained that Ukrainian forces control a third of the city, including the industrial zone.[6] Russian forces continued to launch offensive operations against Toshkivka, likely in an effort to secure the western Siverskyi Donets riverbank.[7]

Russian forces conducted offensive operations east and west of Popasna likely to interdict Ukrainian ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Lysychansk and Severodonetsk. Russian forces withdrew to their previously occupied position after launching failed attacks against Mykolaivka and Berestove, both located in the vicinity of the Bakhmut-Lysychansk T1302 highway.[8] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces are also attempting to seize Nyrokove (approximately 5 km east of T1302) and fighting is ongoing in the area.[9] Ukrainian forces reportedly foiled Russian reconnaissance operations in Volodymyrivka, approximately 16 km east of Bakhmut. Russian forces are additionally resuming their operations to control the Hirske-Lysychansk T1303 highway, east of Popasna. Luhansk Oblast Head Serhiy Haidai stated that Russian forces entered Orihove (approximately 4 km east of T1303) and are strengthening positions at the northern outskirts of the settlement.[10] Geolocated footage showed that Russian and Chechen units also took control over a train station in Komyshuvakha (approximately 7 km west of T1303) and will likely attempt to link up with units advancing from Orihove.[11]

Russian forced resumed attacks southwest of Izyum and towards Slovyansk on June 11. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces launched a series of unsuccessful assaults on Brazhkivka and Virnopillia to reach Barvinkove, approximately 35km southwest of Izyum.[12] Ukrainian forces also repelled Russian assaults on Dolyna, a settlement located on the E40 highway to Slovyansk.[13] Geolocated footage showed that Russian forces entered the northern outskirts of Bohorodychne (approximately 25 km southeast of Izyum) on June 11.[14] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces replenished fuel and ammunition in the Lyman area in preparation for offensive operations toward Slovyansk and Siversk.[15] ISW previously assessed that Russian forces may attempt to cut off Ukrainian GLOCs in Siversk and conduct a shallower encirclement in lieu of an advance on Slovyansk.[16] Geolocated imagery also showed that Russian forces constructed a new bridge along the Russian GLOCs to Izyum in southeastern Kharkiv Oblast, which may also indicate that Russian forces will continue to reinforce the Slovyansk and Siversk offensive operations.[17]

Supporting Effort #1—Kharkiv City (Russian objective: Withdraw forces to the north and defend ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Izyum)

There were no significant developments in northern Kharkiv Oblast on June 11. Russian forces fired on Kharkiv City and Ukrainian positions northeast of the city.[18] Ukrainian forces continued to target Russian ammunition depots in occupied settlements south of Kharkiv City.[19]

Supporting Effort #2—Southern Axis (Objective: Defend Kherson and Zaporizhia Oblasts against Ukrainian counterattacks)

Ukrainian forces likely resumed counteroffensives in northwestern Kherson Oblast on June 11, threatening Russian positions north of Kherson City. The Kherson City Council reported that Ukrainian forces are conducting counteroffensives in Kyselivka, Soldatske, and Oleksandrivka, all within 40 km of Kherson City.[20] The Kherson City Council added that Ukrainian forces liberated Tavriyske, approximately 39km northwest of Kherson City, but the Ukrainian General Staff did not confirm the reports of Ukrainian counteroffensives in the area. Ukrainian military journalist Roman Bochkala previously reported that Ukrainian forces liberated Blahodatne (just north of Kyselivka) on June 8, and Ukrainian forces may have continued counteroffensive operations in the area.[21] A successful counteroffensive on Kyselivka would place Ukrainian forces just 15 km north of the northern boundary of Kherson City. The Ukrainian Southern Operational Command stated that Russian forces continued to fortify positions and erect concrete structures around the North Crimean Canal.[22]

Russian forces did not resume offensive operations in Zaporizhia Oblast on June 11. Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov noted that Ukrainian forces moved the Zaporizhia frontline 5 to 7 km south in the past two weeks, likely due to Russian prioritization of offensives around Luhansk Oblast or personnel rotations, though ISW cannot confirm the exact locations of these claimed Ukrainian gains.[23]

Activity in Russian-occupied Areas (Russian objective: consolidate administrative control of occupied areas; set conditions for potential annexation into the Russian Federation or some other future political arrangement of Moscow’s choosing)

Russian occupation authorities distributed Russian passports in Kherson City and Melitopol for the first time on June 11. Ukrainian sources reported that 25 Ukrainian citizens received Russian passports in Kherson City, as did 30 residents in Melitopol.[24] Self-appointed Kherson Oblast occupation head Vladimir Rogov received the first Russian passport.[25] Ukrainian officials claimed that only Russian collaborators and local occupation authorities received Russian passports, but ISW is unable to verify these claims.[26] Pro-Russian Telegram channel Redovka reported that Kherson Oblast occupation authorities will begin distributing pensions in rubles in the coming days.[27] The Kremlin is likely attempting to institutionalize the ruble in occupied territories by targeting pensioners.

The Kremlin continued to export Ukrainian produce and grain to Crimea and Russia from occupied Ukrainian territories. The Luhansk Oblast Department of Agroindustrial Development reported that Russian forces transported 15,000 tons of sunflower seeds and 10,000 of grain from Luhansk Oblast.[28] Geolocated footage also showed Russian forces transporting grain from Starobilsk, approximately 45km east of Severodonetsk to Russia on June 11.[29] Russian TV outlets also celebrated that Russian occupation authorities transported the Ukrainian cherry harvest from Melitopol to Crimea.[30]
























[24] https://www.interfax dot ru/world/845919;;