Most of the fighting is taking place in Severodonetsk, a key Ukrainian city and the largest urban center in the Luhansk province to remain in Ukrainian hands.
Back and Forth In Severodonetsk
In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense focused on the situation in and around Severodonetsk. Last week, reports indicated that the Ukrainian general staff had decided to abandon the city to the advancing Russians. However, now the Ukrainian forces are counterattacking, suggesting that the earlier withdrawal was a ploy to force the Russians to commit forces in the battle.
“Over the last 24 hours, Ukrainian forces have counterattacked in the contested city of Sieverodonetsk in eastern Ukraine, likely blunting the operational momentum Russian forces previously gained through concentrating combat units and firepower,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
The Russian military is further hamstrung by the use of proxy or inexperienced forces.
“Russian forces committed in this area include personnel mobilised from the reserve of Russian-led Separatist Forces of the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic. These troops are poorly equipped and trained, and lack heavy equipment in comparison to regular Russian units,” the British Ministry of Defense added.
“The use of proxy infantry forces for urban clearance operations is a Russian tactic previously observed in Syria, where Russia employed V Corps of the Syrian Army to assault urban areas. This approach likely indicates a desire to limit casualties suffered by regular Russian forces,” the British Military Intelligence added.
In its latest estimate of the war, the Institute for the Study of War assessed that the Ukrainian military is back in force in Severodonetsk and has recaptured up to 30 percent of the city.
“The Ukrainian government and military are furthermore discussing the battle of Severodonetsk in increasingly confident terms and are likely successfully blunting the Russian military’s major commitment of reserves to the grinding battle for the city. . .The Ukrainian government’s confidence in directly stating its forces can hold Severodonetsk for more than two weeks and willingness to conduct local counterattacks, rather than strictly remaining on the defensive, is a marked shift from Ukrainian statements as recently as May 28 that Ukrainian forces might withdraw from Severodonetsk to avoid encirclement,” the Institute for the Study of War stated.
Meanwhile, the Russian casualties continue to pile up.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 31,150 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 210 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 175 attack and transport helicopters, 1,381 tanks, 686 artillery pieces, 3,392 armored personnel carriers, 207 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 13 boats and cutters, 2,360 vehicles and fuel tanks, 95 anti-aircraft batteries, 548 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 53 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 122 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.