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Russia’s war on Ukraine. Daily Snapshot. 28.06.2023

Snapshot of the day:

General, humanitarian:

  • In 2022 the Russian authorities placed at least 1,148 abducted children from Ukraine under “preliminary guardianship,” which is three times more than the number publicly stated by the Russian government, according to the open-source investigation by “Vazhnye Istorii.”
  • According to the National Anti-Crisis Management, at least 2,100 Ukrainian children have been illegally transferred to Belarus from the Russia-occupied Ukrainian territories. The organization passed the evidence to the ICC, so Alexander Lukashenko may get an ICC warrant, similar to one issued to Vladimir Putin.
  • The Russian Federation has abducted at least 562 active Ukrainian civilians, including volunteers, educators, and journalists, according to the research of the Human Rights Center. According to the Office of the Prosecutor General 13,676 civilians have been or are currently unlawfully detained by the occupation administration of the Russian Federation.
  • During the past day, the Russian forces shelled 11 oblasts of Ukraine. There are injured and killed civilians. The number of casualties due to yesterday’s Russian attack on Kramatorsk has risen to 11, including three children. 61 people have been injured. SBU has detained a spotter for the Russian missile strike.


  • The Defense Forces continue their offensive operation on the Bakhmut, Melitopol, and Berdyansk directions.
  • The Defense Forces are attempting to expand their foothold near the Antonivskyi Bridge on the eastern bank of Kherson Oblast. Russian airborne units have launched fire attack on Ukrainian positions near the Bridge, employing the TOS-1 system. 
  • The Russian Federation has deployed the “Joint Task Force of the Federal Service of Troops of the National Guard” in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. 
  • Russian tactical nuclear weapons will be transported to the 2631st storage base for missile and aviation ammunition in Prudki, Vitebsk Oblast, Belarus.


  • More than two-thirds of Americans support the idea of providing weapons to Ukraine, and 67% would vote for a candidate who supports continuing aid to Ukraine.
  • A bipartisan group of U.S. senators will visit the Vilnius summit to show their support for Ukraine’s eventual membership. The Polish and Lithuanian presidents voiced their support for Ukraine’s NATO membership while in Kyiv.
  • The Croatian Parliament has recognized the Holodomor of 1932-1933 as genocide against the Ukrainian people.
  • The media wrongly interpreted the ambassador’s statement as if China has changed its position and “unexpectedly supports Ukraine’s desire to liberate Crimea,” the MFA spokeswoman clarified. 
  • Antony Blinken believes China’s position on the war in Ukraine is likely “getting more and more challenging” for Beijing to maintain.


An investigation by the Russian publication “Vazhnye Istorii (Important Stories)” revealed that in 2022 the Russian authorities placed at least 1,148 abducted children from Ukraine under “preliminary guardianship,” which is three times more than the number publicly stated in Russia.

Towards the end of 2022, Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s Children’s Rights Commissioner, stated that Russian families had taken in 380 children from Ukrainian territories. However, the report on the activities of the government of the Rostov region in 2022 contradicts this, indicating that 1,148 children who arrived “without legal representatives from the territories of Donbas and Ukraine” were placed under preliminary guardianship. The exact status of these children is unclear, including how many of them are under the guardianship of relatives and how many are orphans. It is also unknown whether all of them have remained with Russian families since a temporary guardian is appointed for a period of six to eight months.

The investigation acknowledges the difficulty in tracking the fate of each child among the thousand-plus cases. However, based on publicly available information, the whereabouts of 290 children from Ukraine have been established in 23 regions of Russia, including Novosibirsk, Moscow, Kaluga, Nizhny Novgorod, Leningrad regions, and Yamalo-Nenets Okrug.

According to the National Anti-Crisis Management, an opposition organization in Belarus, evidence suggests that at least 2,100 Ukrainian children have been illegally transferred from the Russia-occupied territories of Ukraine, including Mariupol and Volnovakha, completely destroyed by the Russians, to Belarus. The organization has submitted this evidence to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Alexander Lukashenko, a so-called president of Belarus, may get an ICC warrant similar to one issued to Vladimir Putin.

Abduction of Ukrainian civilians 

Since the beginning of the full-scale war, the Russian Federation has abducted 562 active Ukrainians, including volunteers, educators, and journalists, said Natalia Okhotnikova, an advisor at the ZMINA Human Rights Center, during the presentation of the report on the abduction and detention of activists at the Ukraine-Ukrinform Media Center. The research was conducted with the support of Freedom House and lasted from February 2022 to June 2023. 

According to her, by “active citizens,” the researchers mean activists, human rights defenders, volunteers, journalists, representatives of local self-government bodies, lawyers, educators, religious figures, and others who resisted the occupation and remained on the side of Ukraine.

“At the time of publishing this report, 311 active citizens are still not released, or their fate is unknown. We also know that 235 individuals have returned home, while unfortunately, 16 have been found dead,” said Okhotnikova. 

“We have learned that Russia most frequently abducts civic activists and volunteers (323 individuals). The second-largest group in terms of numbers is representatives of local self-government bodies (128 individuals). Russians also often abduct relatives of active citizens (32 individuals), educators, including school principals, and teachers of the Ukrainian language and literature, as well as Ukrainian history (30 individuals). Journalists come next in terms of numbers (18 individuals),” emphasized Okhotnikova.

Victims of abductions include both men and women, youth, children, the elderly, and chronically ill individuals. However, the majority of those abducted are men of various ages. One in five victims of forced disappearances is a woman (110 individuals). Most abductions and detentions occurred in the Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk Oblasts. 

The abductions of Ukrainians began from the very first day of the full-scale war and continued throughout the entire period of occupation. This tactic by Russia is planned to suppress Ukrainian resistance in the occupied territories. People were abducted mainly based on lists, and most abductions involved varying degrees of physical and psychological violence. According to Okhotnikova, another objective of the abductions is Russia’s attempt to increase its exchange fund. An analysis conducted by ZMINA revealed that the Russian military and representatives of the occupying authorities use advanced technologies for abductions, such as mobile phone tracking, surveillance camera footage, and facial recognition software.

Maria Kwicinska, an expert on Europe and Central Asia from the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), stated that the forced disappearances of civilians could be considered crimes against humanity. 

According to Alexander Zyuz, an Office of the Prosecutor General representative, pre-trial investigations have been initiated in over 3,300 criminal cases in Ukraine related to the abduction and illegal deprivation of liberty of civilians. As a result of these investigations, it has been determined that 13,676 civilians have been or are currently unlawfully detained by the occupation administration of the Russian Federation. 1,655 individuals have been recognized as victims in these criminal proceedings. However, it is important to note that these figures do not fully represent the actual number of unlawfully deprived civilians because investigative actions cannot currently be conducted in the temporarily occupied territories, said Zyuz.

Russian attacks

The number of casualties due to the Russian attack on Kramatorsk has risen to 11, including three children. 61 people have been injured. According to updated information, the strike was carried out with “Iskander” missiles.  

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has detained a spotter for the Russian missile strike on Kramatorsk. Yesterday, the man checked whether the café was open and if any visitors were there. He recorded a video and passed the information to the Russian military.  

The Ukrainian Air Defense Forces shot down 6 Iranian drones overnight.

During the past day, the Russian forces shelled eleven oblasts of Ukraine. 

  • In Poltava Oblast, on the “anniversary” of the missile strike on the “Amstor” shopping center in Kremenchuk, the enemy attacked the Kremenchuk district again. X-22 missiles hit a dacha cooperative. No impact on critical infrastructure were recorded. A child was injured.
  • Cherkasy Oblast experienced an enemy aerial attack during the night. Two combat drones were destroyed. However, two more targeted an empty warehouse. 
  • Russian forces shelled border areas of Chernihiv and Sumy Oblasts.
  • In Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Russian forces carried out 77 attacks on 16 towns and villages. There were 40 reports of damage to civilian infrastructure. At least 9 people were injured, and one person died from the injuries sustained.
  • Enemy Shahed drones were shot down over the night in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast
  • The Russian army carried out mortar and artillery shelling of at least 8 towns and villages in Kharkiv Oblast. Today, June 28, Russian forces shelled the Vovchansk community, resulting in the deaths of three civilians.
  • In Luhansk Oblast, the enemy conducted 115 shelling attacks and fired 526 shells within a day.
  • The Russians targeted areas in 31 towns and villages of Kherson Oblast within a day. Three people were injured.

Occupied territories

In the occupied territories of Kherson Oblast, the Russian invaders have engaged employees of municipal services in clearing debris and collecting bodies resulting from the flood. As a result of search and recovery operations on June 24-25 alone, over 60 bodies were found. According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, “Due to the outbreak of viral diseases, the occupiers were forced to take measures to stabilize the sanitary and epidemiological situation in a number of settlements of the temporarily occupied territory of the Kherson region, which were affected by the explosion of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station.” To conceal the actual number of casualties, the Russian military command made the decision to bury the deceased in mass graves without collecting DNA samples or placing any markings at the burial sites.

Operational situation (as of morning 28.06)

General conclusion: 

  • The Defense Forces continue their offensive operation on the Bakhmut, Melitopol, and Berdyansk directions.

Change in the line of contact (LoC):  

  • There have been more than 30 combat clashes on various fronts.
  • On the Lyman direction, the enemy unsuccessfully attempted to advance towards Bilohorivka, Vesele, Rozdolivka, and Stelmakhivka.
  • The military units of the 76th Separate Airborne Assault Division of the Russian Airborne Forces continue their offensive in the area of Serebryansk Forest. 
  • The Defense Forces unsuccessfully attacked near Bilohorivka and Spirne. 
  • On the Bakhmut direction, the Defense Forces launched offensive operations in the areas of Rozdolivka, north of Soledar, south of Paraskoviivka, in the Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Ivanivske, Zaliznyanske, Berkhivka, Klishchiivka, Kurdyumivka, Pivnichne areas. They successfully counterattacked towards Yakovlivka and are consolidating their positions on the achieved lines. Intense fighting is ongoing.
  • The enemy attacked in the area of Orikhovo-Vasylivka, Berkhivka, and Dubovo-Vasylivka, as well as in the direction of Mynkivka, near Bohdanivka and Ivanivske, but without success. 
  • On the Avdiivka direction, the enemy conducted offensive operations in the areas of Pervomaiske, Maryinka, and Pobieda, but failed. Russian forces are gradually advancing in Maryinka. 
  • On the Shakhtarsk direction, the enemy carried out unsuccessful offensive actions towards Rivnopil.
  • On the Zaporizhzhia direction, the Defense Forces successfully attacked in the directions of Novodarivka-Pryiutne and Novodanylivka-Robotyne. 
  • The enemy repelled three Ukrainian attacks in the area of Velyka Novosilka, Novodonetsk, and Urozhaine, and four attacks near Rivnopil. They also repelled an attack near Storozheve. 
  • Russian forces conducted unsuccessful offensive operations in the Rivnopil direction and unsuccessfully attacked near Novodarivka.
  • The Defense Forces are attempting to expand their foothold near the Antonivskyi Bridge on the eastern bank of Kherson Oblast.

Change in enemy disposition: 

  • In the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, the military-political leadership of the Russian Federation has deployed the “Joint Task Force of the Federal Service of Troops of the National Guard.” The composition of the forces and assets of the Joint Task Force includes consolidated units of the police formed on the basis of OMON and SOBR. The total strength of the Joint Task Force is up to 24,500 personnel, organized into 5 battalion tactical groups (BTG) and 40 tactical groups (TG).
  • During June 24-25, the enemy conducted a rotation of the unit of the 277th Bomber Aviation Regiment (the 303rd Mixed Aviation Division of the 11th Army of the Aerospace Forces and Air Defense): 6 Su-34 bombers from the Machulishchi airbase were relocated to the Khotilovo airbase (Tver Oblast, Russian Federation). 
  • The aviation group of the Russian Aerospace Forces on the territory of the Republic of Belarus consists of the Machulishchi airbase with 2 Su-34 and 2 Su-24MR aircraft, and the Lida airbase with 3 Su-30SM and 1 Il-20 aircraft. An army aviation squadron (7 Mi-24/35 helicopters and 3 Mi-8/17 helicopters) is deployed at operational airfields.

Escalation Indicators:

  • Russian airborne units have launched fire attacks on the positions of the Defense Forces near the Antonivskyi Bridge and have employed the TOS-1 system. 
  • Russian tactical nuclear weapons will be transported to the 2631st storage base for missile and aviation ammunition in Prudki, Vitebsk Oblast, Belarus.

Possible operation situation developments: 

  • The Defense Forces will continue the offensive in the directions of Polohy-Berdyansk, Velyka Novosilka-Berdyansk, Orikhiv-Melitopol, and part of the forces will focus on Tokmak.
  • The Defense Forces will maintain active offensive and defensive operations for the next 2-3 months.
  • The enemy command will attempt to encircle the Defense Forces in Avdiivka by intensifying attacks in the directions of Krasnohorivka-Stepove and Vodyane-Tonenke, aiming to break through to the area of Berdychi-Lastochkyne-Orlyivka-Semenivka and encircle the entire Defense Forces’ grouping in the Avdiivka area. The likely operational frontier for their offensive deployment is Vodyane-Opytne.
  • The enemy, with the aim of launching an attack towards Zolota Nyva village, has begun concentrating assault units in the area of Kermenchik-Novodonetske. It is expected that units from the 40th separate marines brigade will be involved in this counterattack, deployed from their positions northwest of Novomayorske. 
  • In the northern part of Luhansk Oblast, around the Siversky ledge and on the Svatove direction, the enemy will continue active offensive actions in certain areas and directions, seeking to improve their tactical position.
  • The Russian “Center” and “South” operational groupings are planning to stabilize their northern flank in the Bakhmut area by launching active attacks from the southeast direction towards Bilohorivka. Their objective is to displace the units of the Defense Forces from the area that poses a threat to the western outskirts of Lysychansk. They will also rearrange their tactical reserves from the Lyman and Kupyansk directions to the southern part of the Siversky Ledge to ensure their defense’s resilience. This reinforcement will involve a battalion from the 31st separate airborne assault brigade from the Lyman direction and the 1428th motorized rifle regiment of the Territorial Defense Forces from the Kupyansk direction.

Azov-Black Sea Maritime Operational Area: 

  • As of June 28, 7 enemy ships were at sea. They patrolled areas near the Crimean Bridge and the coast of the Taman Peninsula. None of them were carrying “Kalibr” missiles. One ship is located in the Azov Sea, approaching the Crimean Bridge.
  • The city of Kerch (Crimea) has about 20 air defense systems and radar systems, including 2 “Pantsir” complexes and 11 launcher units of the S-300/400 surface-to-air missile systems. Additionally, there are 4 BM-21 “Grad” multiple rocket launchers and over 100 military vehicles in this area. On the territory of the “Zaliv” shipyard, there are 2 small missile ships (Project 22800) that are completing their trials before joining the Azov Naval Forces of the Russian Federation (based in Mariupol). In the port of Kerch, there are 2 border patrol ships (Project 10410), 1 artillery boat (Project 1204), 3 patrol boats (Project 12200), 3 patrol boats (Project 1496M1), 5 patrol boats (Project 12150), 1 border patrol boat (Project 21600), and 4 light motor patrol boats belonging to the Russian FSB.
  • The enemy’s aviation continues to conduct flights over the sea from the Crimean airfields of Belbek, Saky, Dzhankoy, and Hvardiyske. To control the surface and air situation in the northwestern part of the Black Sea waters, seven fighter aircraft were deployed from the Saky and Belbek airfields: four Su-27/30 (Belbek), two Su-24MR, and one MiG-29 UK (Saky). Air situation control and operational-tactical aviation management over the Azov Sea area were carried out by A-50U Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft.
  • 35 aircraft based at the Saky airfield (Crimea) are involved in combat operations against Ukraine, including 4 MiG-29, 1 Tu-134UBL, 16 Su-24, 11 Su-30SM, and 3 Be-12. 
  • The International Naval and Maritime Exhibition (INME-2023) opened in St. Petersburg. It showcased a new compact universal torpedo, the UMT, which supposedly has the capability to destroy submarines and drones. In terms of concept, the torpedo resembles the Soviet UMGТ-1 compact torpedo developed in 1974.
  • “The experience of conducting military operations in modern conditions indicates a significant increase in the role of drones in armed conflicts. The main purpose of the UMT is to combat unmanned underwater vehicles. Despite its small size and weight, the torpedo possesses considerable power, optimal range, and speed. It is equipped with multi-processor analog-to-digital equipment for target detection and command issuance for its destruction,” said manufacturer representatives. They noted that the UMT provides self-guidance to the target and non-contact warhead detonation in autonomous mode. The torpedo was developed by AT “Concern “Marine Underwater Weapons – Hydropribor” and is designed to engage surface ships and submarines. It can be deployed from helicopters, aircraft, and drones. It has a caliber of 220 mm, weighs approximately 100 kg, and has a length of 2 m. The range is up to 7 km, with a speed of up to 27 knots, and an explosive payload of up to 35 kg. The manufacturer did not address the question of how they will detect underwater drones at depth.

Russian operational losses from 24.02.22 to 28.06.23 

Personnel – almost 227,100 people (+930);

Tanks – 4,036 (0);

Armored combat vehicles – 7,847 (+13);

Artillery systems – 4,089 (+6);

Multiple rocket launchers (MLRS) – 627 (+1);

Anti-aircraft warfare systems – 387 (+1);

Vehicles and fuel tanks – 6,774 (+2);

Aircraft – 314 (0);

Helicopters – 308(0);

UAV operational and tactical level – 3,499 (+7);

Intercepted cruise missiles – 1,261 (0);

Boats/ships – 18 (0).


According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, over two-thirds of Americans believe the United States should supply weapons to Ukraine. Additionally, seventy-six percent of respondents stated that providing aid to Ukraine demonstrates to other nations that the U.S. possesses the determination and ability to safeguard its interests. The poll also revealed that a majority of Americans are inclined to vote for political candidates who support the NATO alliance (73%) and endorse ongoing assistance to Ukraine (67%).

Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Thom Tillis are set to lead a Congressional delegation to the NATO summit in Vilnius, expressing their backing for Ukraine’s eventual membership in the alliance. During their visit to Kyiv, the presidents of Poland and Lithuania also expressed their support for Ukraine’s NATO accession ahead of the Vilnius summit. In addition to political support, Lithuania has committed to providing ten M113 armored vehicles and has already procured two NASAMS air defense systems, which will be delivered to Ukraine within three months. Meanwhile, Switzerland has blocked the transfer of ninety-six dysfunctional Leopard 1 MBTs from Italy to Germany, where they were intended to be modernized before being delivered to Ukraine.

The Croatian Parliament has recognized the Holodomor of 1932-1933 as genocide against the Ukrainian people.

“China’s position on the Ukraine crisis is consistent and clear-cut. We believe that all sides need to work towards creating enabling conditions for a political settlement of the crisis through dialogue and negotiation… On the question of Crimea, we hope this issue can be resolved through political means,” Mao Ning said. The MFA spokeswoman reacted to a question related to the Chinese Ambassador to the E.U. that he saw no problems in supporting Ukraine in returning its territory. “We respect the territorial integrity of all countries. So, when China established relations with the former Soviet Union, that’s what we agreed on. But as I said, these are historical issues that need to be negotiated and resolved by Russia and Ukraine, and that is what we stand for,” Fu Cong said. The media wrongly interpreted the ambassador’s statement as if China has changed its position and “unexpectedly supports Ukraine’s desire to liberate Crimea.” 

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken believes China’s position on the war in Ukraine is likely “getting more and more challenging” for Beijing to maintain. “Beijing has had to walk a very challenging line on this [the Wagner mutiny] from day one. On the one hand, finding ways to support Russia — including diplomatically advancing its arguments, its false arguments, around the world — (and) at the same time, trying to seem neutral and trying to present itself somehow as a peacemaker.”

Russia, relevant news

The alcohol producer Bacardi has tripled its profit in Russia, from 1.5 to nearly 4.7 billion rubles, despite initially promising to leave the country during the full-scale war. According to the Russian publication Bell, Bacardi continues to import various alcoholic beverages into Russia, including vermouth Martini, Bacardi and Banks rum, Grey Goose vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin, and a selection of Scottish whisky brands such as Aberfeldy, Dewars, Craigellachie, Royal Brackla, and Aultmore.

The company’s press release no longer mentions the cessation of deliveries and the discontinuation of marketing promotion in Russia.

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