Asia Times is publishing a near-daily Ukraine war situation report based on multiple military and think tank sources. It’s our unvarnished bid to cut through the propaganda and misinformation of all sides that contribute to the fog of war.
Summary and overview
Scholz, Macron and Draghi arrived by special train in Kiev and made the rounds.
Germany’s major daily Die Welt asked, “Are they going to pressure Zelensky into negotiations?”
On Friday, the EU Commission will recommend that Ukraine be given EU candidate member status. (Note that Turkey has been a candidate member of the EU since April 1987).
The White House announced another $1 billion in military assistance for Kiev.
Mainly included are 18 155mm howitzers plus 36k rounds of ammo for those and 18 tactical vehicles to tow them.
Germany was to deliver 4 MRLS (Mars 2), but only has ammo for three. That leaves 10 altogether: four US Himars, three UK 207mm and three German Mars 2.
Ukrainian forces in Severodonetsk are isolated and holed up in the Azot fertilizer plant as all three bridges across the Donets River are down.
Russian forces out of Izyum and Lyman continue to grind in a southeasterly direction toward Sloviansk and Siversk. Forces out of Popasna are pushing north to connect up.
US President Biden told senior defense and state department officials to tone down the rhetoric of victory over Russia, according to NBC News.
Ukraine Major General Dmitry Marchenko told a Radio Free Europe affiliate that Ukraine will target Europe’s longest bridge connecting the Russian mainland to Crimea across the Kerch Strait when weapons to do so become available.
Little or no activity is reported n Kharkiv and southern regions.
This remains the active theater.
Russian forces have surrounded the last remaining Ukrainian forces and some civilians in the Azot chemical fertilizer plant in Severodonetsk. Surrender offers made on June 15 have been turned down – on Mariupol precedent.
Russian reinforcements are continuing to flow into staging ground areas northwest and northeast of the transportation hub of Sloviansk.
A reporter’s blog recorded seven 40-rocket Russian artillery barrages in one minute south of the town of Sviatokirsk.
The Ukraine General Staff (UGS) attacks on Raihorodok and then Sloviansk are imminent.
Russian attacks on small towns northeast of Popasna and in a westerly direction toward Bakhmut continue. The main road between Bakhmut and Lysychansk in the east is under constant Russian artillery fire and now largely unusable.
US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl said on June 14, “We are not going to tell the Ukrainians how to negotiate, what to negotiate and when to negotiat.e… They are going to set the terms for themselves.”
As one of our US sources noted, this says that
The US will not attempt to provide direction to Ukraine, even as we continue to provide them more and more weaponry … weapons from our own stockpiles….. Said differently, Ukraine is giving orders and we are responding; … they are the lead in the relationship and we are the subordinates. The US should not be working first and foremost to forward Ukrainian interests. The US should be pursuing US interests.
This is a key issue. US goals lack precise definition as on so many occasions over the past 50 years.
If, indeed, Biden said to Blinken and Austin that the aim is not to defeat the Russians and get Putin out, where then does the campaign stop?
Right now, Ukraine is losing and by at least some accounts is close to a breaking point. More heavy weapons from the West can prolong but not reverse the likely outcome.
Russia is content with conducting slow attrition warfare. Prior to the war, Russia’s GDP was ten times that of Ukraine. Russia now occupies 25% of Ukraine, but crucially that 25% that produces close to 75% of Ukrainian industrial output. It is simple math who wins a war of attrition.
Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chair of the Russian Security Council, commented on Twitter on the Scholz, Macron, Draghi Kiev trip:
“They will promise Ukraine EU membership and old howitzers, get lushed up on horilka [Ukrainian vodka] and go home by train, like 100 years ago.… All is well.”