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A slow crawl Russia is pressing forward with its offensive, but at the current pace, it could take over a year to reach any of its goals

Source: Meduza

Like our earlier reports on the combat situation in Ukraine, this article takes stock of the recent developments on the battlefield based on open-source information. Meduza has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from the very start, and our detailed military analyses are part of our commitment to objective reporting on a war we firmly oppose.

Our map is based exclusively on open-source photos and videos, most of them posted by eyewitnesses on social media. We collect available evidence and determine its geolocation markers, adding only the photos and videos that clear this process. Meduza doesn’t try to track the conflict in real time; the data reflected on the map are typically at least 48 hours old.

Key updates as of June 12, 2024

Russia is continuing the offensive it began in the Donbas region back in October 2023, attacking on several fronts simultaneously. Near the city of Avdiivka, where the Russian command launched its main assault and deployed the most troops, Russian forces have advanced 15–20 kilometers (9–12.5 miles) in the past eight months. About 7-10 kilometers (4-6 miles) of that progress has been made since February, when Avdiivka was captured. In May, Russia opened a new front near Kharkiv and managed to move seven to eight kilometers (a little under five miles) into Ukrainian territory in just a few days. But Russia’s advance has been even slower and more modest in other sectors.

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On June 7, President Vladimir Putin described the Russian army’s offensive tactics as “squeezing out” the Ukrainian Armed Forces from territories that Russia must “bring under control.”

Putin didn’t specify which territories Russia aims to “bring under control,” but it’s safe to assume that he’s referring to Ukraine’s Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions at the very least. To reach the Donetsk region’s main logistical and industrial hubs (the cities of Kramatorsk, Slovyansk, Pokrovsk, Kurakhove and Lyman), the Russian army would need to advance more than 30 kilometers (over 18.5 miles). And to reach the region’s administrative borders, troops would need to advance 40-50 kilometers (25-31 miles) in multiple directions.

This means that if the offensive were to keep its current pace (which isn’t guaranteed), capturing the Donetsk region alone could take Russia a year or more. Accelerating the pace of operations would require significantly increasing the Russian army’s numerical advantage over Ukraine — but another round of mobilization and a rise in casualty rates aren’t appealing options for Putin.

Meanwhile, the Russian command is dispersing its reserves in other directions. In particular, it’s attempting to reinforce the stalled grouping north of Kharkiv, originally composed of troops from the Leningrad Military District.

Kharkiv and Vovchansk

Russian troops still haven’t been able to push Ukrainian troops across the Vovcha River, neither in nor around the city of Vovchansk. The Ukrainian command has redeployed reserves to the area, including units from at least one of the marine brigades that had previously been trying to establish a bridgehead on the eastern bank of the Dnipro River in Krynky (Kherson region). The Russian command seems to have responded in kind: units from the 47th Tank Division (previously stationed near Kupyansk) and the 155th Guards Naval Infantry Brigade (which spent the last year near Vuhledar) are now in the Vovchansk area, judging by videos posted on the formations’ Telegram channels. However, it’s not yet clear whether there are plans to fully transfer these units to the Kharkiv front. It’s also possible that the videos were published as a military ruse.

Russian troops attempting to advance toward the northern outskirts of Kharkiv, 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Vovchansk, are also stalled. Newly arrived Ukrainian reserves are counterattacking this group on the western flank, near the village of Hlyboke. This has brought the Russian advance toward the village of Lyptsi, located further south, to a complete halt.

It appears that diverting Ukrainian reserves wasn’t the main goal of the Kharkiv operation, as the Russian command now seems ready to divert its own reserves to continue the offensive in this sector.

The Kupyansk sector

It seems the Russian command’s primary objective in opening a new front near Kharkiv was (and remains) supporting Russian troops who have been trying to breach the city of Kupyansk and AFU-controlled crossings over the Oskil River for more than a year. Russia’s new offensive here, launched simultaneously with the one near Kharkiv, is proving successful for the Russian command: its units have captured several villages and fortified positions along a wide front.

The slow advance has continued over the past week. After capturing the village of Ivanivka, Russian troops attacked in the direction of the village of Stepova Novoselivka and reached its outskirts. The Russian Defense Ministry reported that the village of Miasozharivka was also captured, although there hasn’t been any visual confirmation of this.

At the current pace of the offensive, reaching the Oskil River along a broad front in the coming months seems like an unrealistic goal. It’s equally doubtful that the troops advancing on Vovchansk will be able to break through to the rear of the AFU’s Oskil grouping.

Chasiv Yar and Avdiivka

Yet another ambitious offensive with a complex approach — a simultaneous strike from Avdiivka and Bakhmut in the general direction of the city of Kostiantynivka — is also far from achieving decisive success.

For several months, Russian airborne and motorized rifle units have been advancing on the eastern outskirts of Chasiv Yar, 10 kilometers (about six miles) from Bakhmut. Russian troops have captured most of the Kanal microdistrict and have reached the Siverskyi Donets–Donbas Canal, which separates it from the city center, in several places. Once the AFU is pushed completely across the canal, the Russian army will face a new difficult task — attacking a city with high-rise buildings located on elevated ground and across a water barrier (the canal runs underground in several places, but it’s precisely in these narrow sections that the Ukrainian defenses are likely to be the strongest).

Forty kilometers (about 25 miles) southeast of Chasiv Yar, another Russian grouping, which captured the village of Ocheretyne near Avdiivka a month ago, is also advancing. Its northward progress has slowed in recent weeks, after the Ukrainian command transferred reserves to the area. However, Russian troops have managed to advance several kilometers westward. Here, the Ukrainian forces seem prepared to fall back across the river (coincidently, also called the Vovcha) and the reservoir, with the hope that the water barriers will stop the enemy’s advance.

Vuhledar and Krasnohorivka

Russian troops advancing in the southern part of the Donetsk region — from Vuhledar to the city of Krasnohorivka near the completely destroyed town of Marinka — are likely facing an equally ambitious task. They’ll need to push forward on a wide front towards the Vuhledar–Kurakhove line, which is 10-20 kilometers (6-12.5 miles) from the front.

Russian units are still attacking the center of Krasnohorivka, but their progress has slowed. To fully capture the city, they’ll need to take the entire high-rise district in the north.

After capturing Novomykhailivka to the east of Vuhledar, the Russian army continued its advance westward. Russian troops captured the neighboring village of Paraskoviivka and reached the outskirts of Kostiantynivka (not to be confused with the city of Kostiantynivka to the west of Bakhmut). If they take this village, Russian forces will threaten Vuhledar’s supply lines. However, they’re still far from achieving this. And if the 155th Guards Naval Infantry Brigade, which took Novomykhailivka, is indeed redeployed to the Kharkiv front, the advance on Vuhledar could come to a halt.

Meduza is careful in working with data, but mistakes are still possible, and perhaps even inevitable. If you spot one, please let us know by sending an email to reports@meduza.io. Thank you!
Our previous combat map

Holding out for reinforcements Ukraine has shored up defenses near Kharkiv, but Russia is launching attacks along the entire front line

Our previous combat map

Holding out for reinforcements Ukraine has shored up defenses near Kharkiv, but Russia is launching attacks along the entire front line