9 June 2022: Here are the key takeaways from this evening’s Ukraine update from the Institute for the Study of War:
— Russian officials are increasingly taking over governmental positions in occupied Ukrainian territory, advancing the Kremlin’s likely efforts to annex occupied areas of Ukraine into Russia as an okrug (federal district).
— Russian forces continued to fight for the Azot industrial zone in Severodonetsk under the cover of heavy artillery fire.
— Russian forces made marginal gains north of Slovyansk but are likely to face difficulties assaulting the city itself because of the tactical challenges posed by crossing the Siverskyi Donets River.
— Russian forces made incremental advances to the east of Bakhmut and will continue efforts to cut Ukrainian lines of communication to the northeast of Bakhmut.
— Russian forces are likely engaged in limited fighting along occupied frontiers in northern Kharkiv Oblast.
— Russian forces continue to focus on strengthening defensive lines along the Southern Axis and are intensifying ground attacks in northeastern Zaporizhia Oblast with the support of troop and equipment rotations.
— Russian forces are continuing to deploy outdated military equipment to Ukraine to replace losses. The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported on June 9 that Russian forces are emplacing mines in Kherson Oblast with mines from the 1950s to defend against recent Ukrainian counterattacks in northwestern Kherson Oblast. The GUR stated that Russian forces moved these mines from Russia’s Rostov Oblast to the Kherson area despite the fact the mines were meant to be destroyed.
— The GUR’s report is consistent with previous statements that Russian forces are moving old and obsolete equipment to Ukraine to make up for equipment losses, including deploying T-62 tanks to the Melitopol area and pulling MLRS and 152mm howitzers from storage in Irkutsk, Siberia.
— Russian military command continues to face pervasive issues with force generation. The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported that Russian officials in Luhansk Oblast have had to reduce their mobilization efforts due to widespread protests against aggressive mobilization efforts that have taken a toll on the labor market in Luhansk.
— Attacks on Russian military recruitment offices are additionally continuing. An unidentified assailant threw a Molotov cocktail at the military commissariat in Vladivostok, which is the eighteenth such reported attack on Russian territory since the beginning of the war.
— As Russian officials escalate mobilization efforts over the background of continued losses in Ukraine, they will continue to run the risk of instigating public dissent and pushback against such recruitment practices.