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Ukraine war latest: Ukrainian forces slowly advance east, south as counteroffensive ongoing

by Alexander Khrebet June 15, 2023 11:07 PM 7 min read
Ukrainian servicemen of the 10th Mountain Assault Brigade fire a rocket from a BM-21 Grad multiple rocket launcher towards Russian positions near Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast on June 13, 2023. (Photo: Anatolii Stepanov / AFP via Getty Images)
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Key developments on June 15:

  • Ukrainian forces advance east, south
  • Death toll of June 13 missile attack on Kryvyi Rih rises to 13
  • EU Parliament calls on NATO to invite Ukraine to join alliance
  • More weapons pledged for Ukraine after Ramstein Summit

Ukrainian forces made gains up to one kilometer in the eastern and southern directions, while the summer counteroffensive is ongoing on June 15.

Brigadier General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi said on June 15 the military is making progress near Vuhledar in eastern Donetsk Oblast.

"Our troops are advancing near Vuhledar. The destruction of enemy forces continues," Tarnavskyi said.

Ukrainian forces have had limited success so far.

"Our troops and units are moving forward in the face of fierce fighting, air, and artillery superiority of the enemy, which is holding on to its positions," the Southern Command spokesperson said, adding that the military improved its tactical positions.

Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said that in the east, Russia continues to concentrate forces and resources, redeploying reserves from other areas, including airborne assault troops.

The Russian troops are trying to prevent the Ukrainian advance, Maliar said in a Telegram post on June 15.

The fighting is ongoing in the directions of Bakhmut, Berdiansk, and Mariupol, according to the report.

"Advance is about a kilometer in each direction," Maliar said.

According to the Institute for the Study of War, a U.S.-based think tank, Ukraine continues counteroffensive operations in at least three directions.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces advanced up to three kilometers in the area of Mala Tokmachka in Zaporizhzhia Oblast and up to seven kilometers to the south of Velyka Novosilka in Donetsk Oblast over the past week, according to the military.

"The defense forces in the Zaporizhzhia direction continue to clear Ukrainian towns and settlements from the invaders," Deputy Chief of the General Staff Brigadier General Oleksiy Hromov said on June 15.

Ukrainian forces liberated a total of seven settlements in Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts over the past week, reclaiming more than 100 square kilometers, according to the report.

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Tanks, air defense for Ukraine

Canada, Norway, Germany, Denmark, and Italy announced new military packages for Ukraine, while the Netherlands, the U.K., and the U.S. pledged to deliver air defense missiles.

Canada committed a $500 million package, including over 200 air defense missiles, the U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, speaking after the 13th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) in Brussels, Belgium.

The UDCG, also known as the Ramstein Summit, comprises over 50 nations to coordinate support for Ukraine against Russian aggression.

"The U.S. with the U.K., Denmark, and the Netherlands all contributed funding for additional critical air defense missiles for Ukraine," Austin said at the press conference on June 15.

Italy also announced its funding of the assistance, which includes "highly critical capabilities" to meet Ukraine's urgent need for defense, Austin said.

Ukraine's Air Defense forces have downed 74% of Russian cruise missiles and 60% of loitering drones since the beginning of June, Brigadier General Oleksiy Hromov reported on June 15.

Also, Norway and Germany pledged multiyear packages, and Denmark announced its own "nearly $2.6 billion package for military assistance through 2024," Austin said.

Denmark and Norway will supply Ukraine with 10,500 more artillery rounds, the Danish Defense Ministry announced on June 15. These include 9,000 shells from both countries, and Denmark alone will provide 1,500 complete artillery shells and 500 grenades.

The U.K. will contribute to the rapid delivery of a significant package of air defense equipment for Ukraine, working alongside international partners, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced on June 15.

"The initiative will deliver hundreds of short and medium-range air defense missiles and associated systems required to protect Ukraine's critical national infrastructure and further ensure the success of counteroffensive operations in coming months," the joint statement by Denmark, the Netherlands, the UK, and the USA reads.

"Delivery of the equipment has already begun and should be complete within several weeks," according to the statement.

In addition, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the German manufacturer Rheinmetall made a deal to deliver 14 more Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine, the German newspaper Handelsblatt reported on June 15, citing sources.

The first tanks are to be expected in Ukraine in January 2024, while the others will be delivered during the year.

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European Parliament calls on NATO to invite Ukraine

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on June 15, with 425 votes in favor, calling on NATO to accept Ukraine into the alliance after Russia's war is over.

Only 38 EU parliament members voted against the resolution, with 42 abstentions.

The parliament expects that Ukraine's NATO "accession process will start after the war is over and will be finalized as soon as possible."

Ukraine has long sought NATO membership and officially applied for it in 2022 after Russia launched its all-out war.

The parliament also emphasized that "until full membership is achieved, the EU together with NATO allies must work closely with Ukraine to develop a temporary framework for security guarantees, which is to be implemented immediately after the war."

"The European Parliament calls on the NATO allies to honor their commitment regarding Ukraine's NATO membership and expects that the upcoming summits in Vilnius and Washington will pave the way for extending an invitation to Ukraine to join NATO and that the accession process will start after the war is over and be finalized as soon as possible," the resolution read.

The resolution also called for the EU, its member states, NATO allies, and other partners to work closely with Ukraine to develop a temporary framework for security guarantees to be implemented immediately after Russia's war until full NATO membership is achieved.

The European Parliament said Ukraine's integration into NATO and the EU would enhance regional and global security.

In addition, the resolution reaffirmed the EU's determination to continue supporting Kyiv throughout the process of Ukraine's sustainable recovery and reconstruction.

Also, the European Parliament condemned Russia's destruction of the Kakhovka Dam, emphasizing that all responsible for war crimes will be held accountable in line with international law.

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Overnight Russian air attacks

Air Defense downed all 20 Iranian-made Shahed loitering munitions and one cruise missile launched by Russian forces against Ukrainian cities overnight on June 15, the Air Force said in its morning update.

Two Kh-101/Kh-555 cruise missiles hit two industrial buildings in Kryvyi Rih, Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, injuring one civilian.

Explosions were reported in numerous Ukrainian cities overnight, including Kharkiv and Odesa.

On June 15, the death toll of Russia's previous overnight attack on Kryvyi Rih rose to 13 people.

A 38-year-old factory worker died from burns sustained in the June 13 attack, Mayor Oleksandr Vilkul reported.

The deadliest attack on the region so far occurred on Jan. 14 when a Russian Kh-47 Kinzhal missile struck an apartment building in Dnipro, the regional capital, on a Saturday afternoon.

The local authorities said 46 people, including six children, were killed in the attack.

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