June 27, 2023
Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, June 27, 2023
June 27, 2023, 8:50 pm ET
Click here to see ISW’s interactive map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This map is updated daily alongside the static maps present in this report.
Click here to access ISW’s archive of interactive time-lapse maps of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These maps complement the static control-of-terrain map that ISW produces daily by showing a dynamic frontline. ISW will update this time-lapse map archive monthly.
Note: The data cutoff for this product was 1pm ET on June 27. ISW will cover subsequent reports in the June 28 Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to present Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin as corrupt and a liar to destroy his reputation among Wagner personnel and within Russian society. Putin implied on June 27 that “the owner of Concord company” (the Concord company is the parent company of Prigozhin’s catering company) lied about the Wagner Group private military company’s (PMC) independence from the Kremlin and the lack of state compensation for Wagner personnel. Putin publicly claimed for the first time since Wagner’s founding that the Kremlin “fully funds” and “fully supplies” the Wagner PMC and claimed that the Kremlin made various payments to Wagner personnel and their families from Russia’s federal budget. Putin added that “the owner of the Concord Company” received 80 billion rubles (about $936 million) between May 2022 and May 2023 for delivering and catering food to the Russian military, and that the Kremlin will investigate whether the company stole anything during its work for the Kremlin. Putin was clearly referring to Prigozhin, who is the owner of the Concord Company Group and previously worked as Putin’s personal caterer, but Putin continues to refuse to say Prigozhin’s name. Putin’s insinuation that the Kremlin will investigate the Concord Company may be preparation to justify the Kremlin’s confiscation of Prigozhin’s assets via corruption charges.
Putin is rhetorically separating Prigozhin from the Wagner PMC and is deliberately depriving Prigozhin of the title of Wagner financier to undermine his role in the Wagner PMC. The Kremlin launched an ongoing domestic information campaign in Russia to forgive Wagner fighters and commanders in an effort to lure Wagner personnel to sign contacts with the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD). The deliberate effort to separate Prigozhin from the Wagner Group is likely intended to set informational conditions so that the Kremlin can accuse Prigozhin of corruption or conspiring with Ukraine or the West and alienate Prigozhin from Wagner personnel whom the Kremlin seeks to retain to fight in Ukraine as part of the regular Russian military. Prigozhin had built his personal brand on criticizing the Russian military command and bureaucrats for corruption and ties to Western countries, and Putin is likely attempting to shatter Prigozhin’s populist appeal by accusing him of the same sins.
Putin has likely decided that he cannot directly eliminate Prigozhin without making him a martyr at this time. Prigozhin still retains some support within Russian society and the Russian regular forces, and the Kremlin will need to ensure that these groups become disillusioned with Prigozhin to effectively deprive him of his popular support in Russia. Prigozhin campaigned for military command changes by accusing the Russian MoD of mistreating regular Russian military personnel in combat – a message that likely appealed to many servicemen and their families disillusioned with mobilization, casualties, supply shortages, and great loss of life with little to show for it. The Kremlin needs to separate Prigozhin’s cause from his persona, lest an attack on Prigozhin be perceived as a Kremlin attack on his popular narrative and his stated objectives of punishing the criminally incompetent Russian MoD leadership. The Kremlin will likely continue to attack Prigozhin’s character to break Prigozhin’s popular support, discourage Wagner personnel from following him to Belarus, and destroy his financial power.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s account of his mediation between Putin and Prigozhin on June 24-25 in tandem with Putin’s June 26 speech indicates that Putin promised Lukashenko and Prigozhin that Prigozhin and the Wagner Group would have “security guarantees” in Belarus. Lukashenko indicated on June 27 that Putin “promised” both Lukashenko and Prigozhin that Prigozhin and the Wagner Group would enjoy unspecified “security guarantees” in Belarus. The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officially dropped charges against Prigozhin on June 27. Lukashenko has thus likely managed to secure a degree of safe haven for Prigozhin in Belarus at this time. This is a change in ISW’s June 26 assessment that the offer of safe haven in Belarus was likely a trap. ISW has altered its assessment based on the pattern created by Putin’s and Lukashenko’s speeches.
It is unclear whether Prigozhin’s safety will survive Putin’s effort to destroy Prigozhin’s reputation, however, especially since the threat of corruption investigations against Prigozhin opens the possibility of new charges against Prigozhin that Putin’s promise presumably does not cover. Putin thus likely decided to destroy Prigozhin’s reputation and possibly strip him of his financial resources for offenses technically independent of the armed rebellion while abstaining from punishing Prigozhin directly for the rebellion.
Lukashenko likely seeks to use the Wagner Group in Belarus to buy maneuvering space to balance against the Kremlin campaign to absorb Belarus via the Union State. Lukashenko described at length how he inserted himself into the Putin-Prigozhin conflict in a way that - if Lukashenko’s account is true - demonstrates that Lukashenko is a politically savvy actor capable of exercising influence within the upper echelons of Russian politics. Lukashenko described how he managed to broker the deal between Putin and a livid Prigozhin, who refused to answer Putin’s phone calls, by skillfully engaging both parties directly and through Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yunus-Bek Yevkurov and Russian FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov. Lukashenko’s elaborate account suggests that Lukashenko successfully mediated a crisis within Putin‘s own inner circle that Putin could not. Lukashenko intervened to mediate likely in part to signal to Putin and other senior Kremlin officials that Moscow should not trifle with Lukashenko and that Lukashenko has the ability to operate successfully and independently within Russian politics. Lukashenko’s boasting about his ability to manipulate power brokers within Putin’s innermost circle is humiliating for Putin, whether or not it is true. The fact that Putin has not challenged Lukashenko’s presentation of events and has in fact publicly thanked Lukashenko is even more humiliating.
Lukashenko likely seeks to closely control any Wagner Group forces that move into Belarus. Lukashenko stressed that the Wagner Group will not open recruitment centers in Belarus as it did in Russia but that Belarusians - and presumably other nationals- will be allowed to join the Wagner Group in Belarus. Lukashenko’s description suggests that the Wagner Group will primarily act as a training and advisory partner for the Belarusian military. Lukashenko stated that Wagner forces have more training than the Belarusian military and that the Belarusian military could benefit from the Wagner Group’s extensive combat experience. Lukashenko denied claims that Belarusian authorities have already begun establishing field camps for Wagner Group fighters but said Belarus would create camps if Wagner requested them.
Lukashenko may seek to use the Wagner Group in Belarus to reduce the Belarusian military’s accumulated structural dependency on the Russian military for higher operational functions. Lukashenko may seek to use the Wagner Group to help rebuild lost capability within the Belarusian military that the Belarusian military largely delegated to the Russian Western Military District. The Belarusian military’s dissolution of its unified ground command in 2011 effectively subordinated Belarus’ military to the Western Military District. Belarus has no recent experience in conducting large-scale operations or organizing exercises above the battalion level. Belarus’ main source of knowledge and experience for higher operational activity is from Russian-organized exercises, such as the recurring Zapad, Union Shield, and Unbreakable Brotherhood exercises. The Wagner Group has experience conducting combined arms operations with formations larger than the combat services of the Belarusian military. It is unclear how successful this assessed effort may be, however. The Belarusian military’s operational subordination to the Russian General Staff has been a de facto reality for many years, and reversing such deep institutional linkages will be difficult, if even possible. Russia’s new regime stability crisis may provide novel opportunities for Minsk, nonetheless.
Lukashenko also announced on June 27 that Belarus had received an unspecified number of Russian nuclear weapons on a previous date – a development that Lukashenko may also use to balance against the Kremlin’s campaign to absorb Belarus via the Union State. Belarusian opposition railway workers claimed on June 27 that Russian nuclear weapons will be delivered to the base of the 2631st Missile and Air Ammunition Storage Base in Prudok, Vitebsk Oblast. Lukashenko observed on June 27 that nobody has gone to war with a nuclear power and insinuated that Belarus will use nuclear weapons if a hostile state attacks Belarus. This development is more interesting for how Lukashenko may use the deployment of nuclear weapons in Belarus to posture against Russia than because of any threat nuclear weapons in Belarus pose to NATO or Ukraine. Lukashenko may use the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus in tandem with a new Wagner Group presence in Belarus to argue that Belarus has a new capacity to defend itself independent of Russia and that additional Russian basing in Belarus is therefore unnecessary. An indicator of this course of action will be whether Lukashenko allows more Russian military personnel to train at Belarusian training grounds. Ukrainian officials stated that there were approximately 1,000 Russian military personnel in Belarus as of early June 2023 – a sharp decrease from spring 2023 when Ukrainian officials reported that about 9,000-10,000 Russian troops were in Belarus as of March 30. Another indicator would be an explicit promise or rejection of permanent Russian ground forces bases in Belarus.
The ongoing Putin-Lukashenko-Prigozhin powerplay is not yet over and will continue to have short-term and long-term consequences that may benefit Ukraine. Director of the Russian National Guard (Rosgvardia) Viktor Zolotov announced on June 27 that Rosgvardia will receive heavy weapons and tanks. The announcement indicates that the Kremlin is attempting to address regime security issues that transpired during Prigozhin’s armed rebellion on June 24 – such as Russia’s security forces’ inability or unwillingness to repel a mechanized drive on Moscow. The transfer of heavy military equipment to Rosgvardia for internal security will tie up weapons that could otherwise be used in Ukraine. The Russian MoD also announced on June 27 preparations to transfer the Wagner Group’s heavy military equipment to unspecified elements of the Russian Armed Forces. This transfer will deprive Wagner forces of organic heavy mechanized equipment and suggests that the Russian MoD seeks to dissolve previously separate Wagner units, atomize Wagner Group fighters, and integrate them into regular Russian units to minimize the risk of any repeated Wagner-driven mutiny attempts. The announced transfer of Wagner’s equipment to MoD elements also suggests that Wagner forces are unlikely to imminently deploy to reinforce frontlines in Ukraine before undergoing reorganization.
It remains unclear whether the Russian MoD will dissolve Wagner detachments and reassign Wagner personnel to pre-existing regular units. Such a drastic reorganization would be tantamount to the dissolution of the Wagner Group in Ukraine as a distinct organizational entity and would eliminate the unique combat power that the Wagner Group developed for itself in Ukraine. A Russian MoD decision to maintain separate Wagner units within the MoD structure would pose stability risks when subordinating previously independent and overindulged Wagner forces under the MoD highly bureaucratic military command. Separate Wagner forces would likely continue to pose an internal threat to Russia due to their dissatisfaction with the Russian military command – the reason why Wagner forces followed Prigozhin into the armed rebellion in the first place.
The Kremlin campaign to destroy Prigozhin’s reputation and possibly dissolve the Wagner Group’s Ukraine force decreases the probability of Putin announcing a new round of reserve mobilization in the near term. The Russian MoD will be preoccupied with subordinating Wagner forces if many of them elect to sign contracts with the MoD. Putin, who is a cautious decisionmaker and has clearly signaled his concern for his regime, is also unlikely to aggravate Russian society with a highly unpopular mobilization announcement on the heels of the armed rebellion. The Kremlin’s response to the aftermath of Prigozhin’s armed rebellion points to more advantageous conditions for Ukraine compared with the pre-June 24 situation.
Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations on at least four sectors of the front and reportedly made gains on June 27. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reported that Ukrainian forces advanced in all active sectors of the front from Donetsk to Zaporizhia oblasts. Russian sources, including the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD), claimed that Ukrainian forces continued limited ground attacks near and south of Kreminna. Ukrainian and Russian sources reported that Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations on the northern and southern flanks of Bakhmut. Ukrainian General Staff Spokesperson Andriy Kovalev stated that Ukrainian forces conducted successful offensive operations south of Velyka Novosilka near the Donetsk-Zaporizhia oblasts administrative border and south of Orikhiv in western Zaporizhia Oblast. Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted ground attacks south and southeast of Velyka Novosilka, and one prominent milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces made further gains south of Rivnopil (10km southwest of Velyka Novosilka) after capturing the settlement on June 26. Zaporizhia Oblast occupation official Vladimir Rogov claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted counterattacks south of Orikhiv to regain lost positions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin identified the Ukrainian main counteroffensive effort on June 27, possibly signaling his own defensive priority. Putin claimed that Ukraine considers the Orikhiv direction in western Zaporizhia Oblast as “the main direction of attack.” ISW offers no assessment of the accuracy of Putin’s statement or of which sector Ukraine has prioritized or plans to prioritize as the main counteroffensive effort. Putin may have instead identified the sector of the front that he perceives as most critical to hold, however. ISW has observed the most extensive Russian defensive fortifications erected in the western Zaporizhia Oblast south of Orikhiv.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to present Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin as corrupt and a liar to destroy his reputation among Wagner personnel and within the Russian society.
- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s account of his mediation between Putin and Prigozhin on June 24-25 in tandem with Putin’s June 26 speech indicates that Putin promised Lukashenko and Prigozhin that Prigozhin and the Wagner Group would have “security guarantees” in Belarus.
- Lukashenko likely seeks to use the Wagner Group in Belarus to buy maneuvering space to balance against the Kremlin campaign to absorb Belarus via the Union State and likely seeks to closely control any Wagner Group forces that move into Belarus.
- Lukashenko also announced on June 27 that Belarus had received an unspecified number of Russian nuclear weapons on a previous date – a development that Lukashenko may also use to balance against the Kremlin’s campaign to absorb Belarus via the Union State.
- The ongoing Putin-Lukashenko-Prigozhin powerplay is not yet over and will continue to have short-term and long-term consequences that may benefit Ukraine.
- The Kremlin campaign to destroy Prigozhin’s reputation and possibly dissolve the Wagner Group’s Ukraine force decreases the probability of Putin announcing a new round of reserve mobilization in the near term.
- Ukrainian forces conducted counteroffensive operations on at least four sectors of the front and reportedly made gains on June 27.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin identified the Ukrainian main counteroffensive effort on June 27, possibly signaling his own defensive priority.
- Russian and Ukrainian forces continued limited ground attacks northwest of Svatove and south of Kreminna.
- Ukrainian officials are signaling that Ukrainian forces are capitalizing on the armed rebellion in Russia and intensifying counteroffensive operations in the Bakhmut area as of June 27.
- Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia oblasts’ administrative border area.
- Russian milbloggers expressed concern at Ukrainian attempts to advance south of Kherson City.
- Russian officials expressed varied opinions on the future of private military companies (PMCs) in response to the armed rebellion.
- The UN reported that Russia has detained hundreds of Ukrainian civilians since the start of the war in Ukraine.
We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because these activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We will continue to evaluate and report on the effects of these criminal activities on the Ukrainian military and the Ukrainian population and specifically on combat in Ukrainian urban areas. We utterly condemn these Russian violations of the laws of armed conflict, Geneva Conventions, and humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.
- Russian Main Effort – Eastern Ukraine (comprised of two subordinate main efforts)
- Russian Subordinate Main Effort #1 – Capture the remainder of Luhansk Oblast and push westward into eastern Kharkiv Oblast and encircle northern Donetsk Oblast
- Russian Subordinate Main Effort #2 – Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast
- Russian Supporting Effort – Southern Axis
- Russian Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts
- Activities in Russian-occupied areas
Russian Main Effort – Eastern Ukraine
Russian Subordinate Main Effort #1 – Luhansk Oblast (Russian objective: Capture the remainder of Luhansk Oblast and push westward into eastern Kharkiv Oblast and northern Donetsk Oblast)
Russian and Ukrainian forces continued limited ground attacks northwest of Svatove and south of Kreminna on June 27. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive actions near Stelmakhivka (15km northwest of Svatove). A Russian milblogger claimed that elements of the Russian 76th Air Assault (VDV) Division continue advancing in the Kreminna forest area. Another Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces conducted failed ground attacks near Vesele (30km south of Kreminna) and Rozdolivka (32km southwest of Kreminna). The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that Russian forces repelled two Ukrainian ground attacks in an unspecified area in the Lyman direction, and a Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully attacked near Bilohorivka (10km south of Kreminna) and Spirne (25km south of Kreminna).
Russian Subordinate Main Effort #2 – Donetsk Oblast (Russian Objective: Capture the entirety of Donetsk Oblast, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)
Ukrainian officials are signaling that Ukrainian forces are capitalizing on the armed rebellion in Russia and intensifying counteroffensive operations in the Bakhmut area as of June 27. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar stated that Ukrainian forces considered the Wagner Group-Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) conflict when planning operations in eastern Ukraine. Malyar stated that Ukrainian forces have conducted counteroffensive operations and made advances on the flanks of Bakhmut for the fourth consecutive day. Malyar stated that the Bakhmut situation is complex because Russian forces occupy extensive fortifications in the city, and that Ukrainian forces will advance more slowly. The Ukrainian Eastern Group of Forces Spokesperson Colonel Serhiy Cherevaty stated that Ukrainian forces have the battlefield initiative in the Bakhmut area. Ukrainian General Staff Spokesperson Andriy Kovalev stated that Ukrainian forces continue offensive operations in the Orikhovo-Vasylivka (11km northwest of Bakhmut), Ivanivske (6km west of Bakhmut), Kurdyumivka (14km southwest of Bakhmut), and Pivnichne (20km southwest of Bakhmut) areas on Bakhmut’s flanks. A prominent Russian milblogger characterized the Russian military situation north of Soledar as ”grave” and stated that Ukrainian forces are counterattacking towards Yakovlivka (14km northeast of Bakhmut).A Russian milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces conducted unsuccessful counterattacks southwest of Bakhmut near Klishchiivka (7km southwest of Bakhmut) and Kurdyumivka.
Russian forces continued limited ground attacks and advanced in the Bakhmut area as of June 27. Geolocated footage posted on June 27 indicates that Russian forces likely reduced Ukrainian tactical gains near Berkhivka (6km north of Bakhmut) as of June 27, though it is unclear when Russian forces made these gains. A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces launched unsuccessful ground attacks from their positions in Berkhivka and Dubovo-Vasylivka (6km northwest of Bakhmut), as well as in the direction of Mynkivka (13km northeast of Bakhmut). The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful ground attacks near Bohdanivka (5km northwest of Bakhmut) and Ivanivske.
Russian forces continued limited ground attacks on the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line on June 27. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful ground attacks near Pervomaiske (6km southwest of Avdiivka) and Marinka (immediately southwest of Donetsk City). Russian state media outlet RT claimed that Russian forces in Marinka are making gradual advances and that advancing Russian infantry occasionally order artillery strikes against Ukrainian positions 15 to 20 meters away from their own positions.
Ukrainian forces have reportedly made marginal advances in areas that Russian proxy forces have occupied since 2014. The UK MoD reported that Ukrainian forces have made marginal advances east of Krasnohorivka (immediately west of Donetsk City) as of June 27, the first reported instance of Ukrainian forces recapturing territory occupied before 2014. ISW has not observed independent confirmation of Ukrainian forces recapturing long-occupied territory, however. The UK MoD assessed that recent Ukrainian attacks have likely overstretched Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Chechen forces operating in Donetsk Oblast.
Russian Supporting Effort – Southern Axis (Russian objective: Maintain frontline positions and secure rear areas against Ukrainian strikes)
Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in the Donetsk-Zaporizhia oblasts’ administrative border area on June 27. Ukrainian General Staff Spokesperson Andrii Kovalev stated that Ukrainian forces conducted successful counteroffensive operations in the Novodarivka-Pryyutne (Velyka Novosilka) direction. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that the Eastern Group of Forces repelled three Ukrainian attacks in the Velyka Novosilka area. A Russian source reported that Ukrainian forces conducted unsuccessful attacks near Novodonetske (11km southeast of Velyka Novosilka) and Urozhaine (9km south of Velyka Novosilka). Zaporizhia Oblast occupation official Vladimir Rogov claimed that Russian forces repelled four Ukrainian attacks near Rivnopil (9km southwest of Velyka Novosilka). Russian sources claimed that heavy fighting is ongoing near the Vremivka salient and warned that if Ukrainian forces advanced further, they will likely be able to cut off the Vremivka salient. A Russian milblogger expressed concern that Ukrainian forces are preparing for further offensives in the south Donetsk direction despite bad weather. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations in the Rivnopil direction. Russian Eastern Group of Forces Spokesperson Oleg Chekhov claimed that Russian forces destroyed a Ukrainian unit near Storozheve (3km south of Velyka Novosilka). A Russian milblogger claimed that Russian forces unsuccessfully attacked near Novodarivka (14km southwest of Velyka Novosilka). A Kremlin-affiliated milblogger acknowledged Ukrainian liberation of Rivnopil and claimed that Ukrainian forces made additional gains in the Rivnopil area.
Russian and Ukrainian forces continued limited ground attacks in western Zaporizhia on June 27. Kovalev stated that Ukrainian forces conducted successful counteroffensive operations in the Novodanylivka-Robotyne (Orikhiv) direction. The Russian MoD claimed that Russian forces stopped a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group near Robotyne (12km south of Orikhiv). Rogov claimed that Russian forces stopped a Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group in the Myrne (17km southwest of Orikhiv) area. Rogov claimed that Ukrainian forces renewed attacks near Robotyne to regain control of the previously liberated Ukrainian positions north of the settlement that Russian forces recaptured on June 26. Russian milbloggers claimed that Pyatykhatky (25km southwest of Orikhiv) remains in the contested ”grey zone” and that positional fighting is ongoing near the settlement. Geolocated footage published on June 27, however, shows the Russian 429th Motorized Rifle Regiment (19th Motorized Rifle Division, 58th Combined Arms Army, Southern Military District) striking Ukrainian positions in Pyatykhakty. Rogov published footage on June 27 that purportedly shows elements of the Russian 291st Motorized Rifle Regiment (42nd Motorized Rifle Division, 58th Combined Arms Army, Southern Military District) operating near Robotyne.
Russian milbloggers expressed concern at Ukrainian attempts to advance south of Kherson City. A Kremlin-affiliated milblogger claimed that Ukrainian forces are trying to expand their "bridgehead” near the Antonivsky Bridge on east (left) bank Kherson Oblast. ISW currently makes no assessment on the extent to which Ukrainian forces have established a bridgehead in this area, noting only that we assess that Ukrainian forces have established and hold positions of some sort on the east (left) bank. Geolocated footage posted on June 26 showed Russian armored personnel carriers, reportedly from the 7th Guards Mountain Air Assault (VDV) Division, operating near the Antonivsky Bridge. Another milblogger noted that Russian VDV elements struck Ukrainian positions near the Antonivsky Bridge with missiles and used a Russian TOS-1 thermobaric artillery system on the night of June 26. The milblogger claimed that the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant (KHPP) dam is providing Ukrainian forces with freedom of movement but that Russian forces continue to repel Ukrainian advances. The Ukrainian General Staff acknowledged that Russian forces conducted airstrikes in the Oleshky area, which may suggest that Ukrainian forces are conducting some operations in the area.
A Russian source claimed that Ukrainian forces continue to target Crimea with drones. A Russian milblogger claimed Russian air defenses destroyed a Ukrainian drone carrying explosives near Dzhankoi.
Russian Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts (Russian objective: Expand combat power without conducting general mobilization)
Russian officials expressed varied opinions on the future of private military companies (PMCs) in response to the armed rebellion. Russian State Duma deputy and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Leonid Slutsky called for the creation of a contract army of “at least seven million military and civilian personnel” and claimed that Russia does not need “PMCs or their analogues.” Russian opposition news outlet SOTA reported that Russian authorities considered legalizing PMCs after the armed rebellion, likely in an effort to regulate them. PMCs remain illegal under Russian law despite Russian President Vladimir Putin announcing on June 27 that the Russian government fully funded and equipped the Wagner Group.
Russian occupation officials continue to forcibly recruit Ukrainians in occupied territories into the Russian military. Zaporizhia Oblast Occupation Administration Head Yevgeny Balitsky claimed that 1,500 Ukrainians have registered for military service at 44 military registration offices across occupied Zaporizhia Oblast as of June 27. Ukrainian Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov reported that Russian officials force civilians to register to serve in the Russian military or in “illegal” irregular formations.
Activities in Russian-occupied areas (Russian objective: Consolidate administrative control of annexed areas; forcibly integrate Ukrainian civilians into Russian sociocultural, economic, military, and governance systems)
Russia has detained hundreds of Ukrainian civilians since the start of the war in Ukraine. The UN found that Russian authorities arbitrarily detained 864 civilians and executed 77 civilians between February 2022 and May 2023 and that Russian law enforcement and forces subjected many detainees to torture and maltreatment. The UN found that Ukrainian authorities arbitrarily detained 75 individuals, and the UN did not report that Ukrainian authorities had executed civilians. The UN also expressed concern that Russian authorities are not conducting investigations into arbitrary detention or torture, while the Ukrainian government has conducted criminal investigations into and convicted perpetrators of arbitrary civilian detentions.
Russian authorities continue efforts to eradicate Ukrainian identity in youth and consolidate social control over occupied areas by coercing minors into helping the Russian military. Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets reported that Russian occupation authorities are attempting to militarize and indoctrinate minors through militarized education platforms, patriotic recreation camps, and military-patriotic youth movements such as the Russian Young Army Cadets National Movement (Yunarmiya), to participate in the war. Lubinets stated that Russian authorities are coercing the minors into informing on Ukrainian positions and spotting for artillery units. Ukrainian Deputy Prosecutor General Viktoria Lytvynova reported that Russian forces also recruited minors into setting up roadblocks.
Ukrainian partisans targeted a rear Russian logistics line in occupied Crimea. The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported that Ukrainian partisans damaged a railway track in Kirovskyi Raion in occupied Crimea on June 27. Russian occupation officials reported the damage to the railway but did not specify who caused the damage, and Russia’s Crimean Railway claimed that “unauthorized individuals” caused the damage.
Significant activity in Belarus (Russian efforts to increase its military presence in Belarus and further integrate Belarus into Russian-favorable frameworks).
ISW will continue to report daily observed Russian and Belarusian military activity in Belarus, as part of ongoing Kremlin efforts to increase their control over Belarus and other Russian actions in Belarus.
See topline text.
Note: ISW does not receive any classified material from any source, uses only publicly available information, and draws extensively on Russian, Ukrainian, and Western reporting and social media as well as commercially available satellite imagery and other geospatial data as the basis for these reports. References to all sources used are provided in the endnotes of each update.
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 https://twitter.com/bayraktar_1love/status/1673423887495753746?s=20 ; https://twitter.com/Arvelleg1/status/1673437354512510977?s=20 ; https://twitter.com/Arvelleg1/status/1673437674433118210?s=20 ; https://twitter.com/Arvelleg1/status/1673438592834719744?s=20 ; https://twitter.com/neonhandrail/status/1673472940170690560?s=20 ; https://t.me/m0sc0wcalling/26332
 http://kremlin dot ru/events/president/news/71535#sel=15:1:DkW,15:52:xTa; https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-april-26-2023
 https://zaxid dot net/rosiya_zaluchaye_ditey_do_uchasti_u_viyni_proti_ukrayini_n1566321; https://suspilne dot media/516473-rf-zalucae-nepovnolitnih-do-ucasti-u-vijni-proti-ukraini-ombudsman/
 https://sprotyv.mod.gov dot ua/v-krymu-partyzany-poshkodyly-shhe-odnu-dilyanku-zaliznychnoyi-koliyi/