29 June 2022: Here are the key takeaways from this evening’s Ukraine update by the Institute for the Study of War:
— The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported on June 28 that the Kremlin is setting conditions to annex areas of Kherson and Zaporizhia, in southern Ukraine, into the Russian Federation under the template of the pre-1917 “Tavriia Gubernia,” an historical province of the Russian Empire. Under the Tavriia Gubernia scenario, the left bank of Kherson Oblast and part of Zaporizhia Oblast would be directly annexed to the Russian Federation, likely as a single unit. The Ukrainian Resistance Center stated that Russian authorities are preparing for a pseudo-referendum to set conditions for the annexation of the Tavriia Gubernia (as opposed to proxy “people‘s republics“).
— Ukrainian sources warned on June 29 that Russian forces may be planning a false flag provocation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) to accuse Ukrainian authorities of mishandling nuclear facilities. Ukrainian nuclear operating enterprise Energoatom stated that Russian occupation authorities are planning to throw unsafe objects into the cooling system at the NPP in order to compromise the plant’s cooling mechanisms.
— Russian forces continued offensive operations in and around Lysychansk.
— Russian forces made marginal gains east of Bakhmut along the E40 highway and may seek to prepare for a direct offensive on Bakhmut.
— Russian forces continued offensive operations to advance on Slovyansk from the northwest near the Kharkiv-Donetsk Oblast border.
— Russian forces are continuing to engage in offensive operations north of Kharkiv City, indicating that the Kremlin has territorial ambitions beyond the Donbas that will continue to attrit manpower and equipment, potentially at the cost of offensive power on more critical axes of advance.
— Russian forces continued to reinforce their defensive presence along the Southern Axis.
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