While waiting for Western weapons in Ukraine the war is at a standstill

Russian troops attacked the city of Vilnius in the Zaporizhzhia region yesterday, killing seven people and wounding 10, according to Ivan Fedorov, head of the regional military administration of Ukraine. Fedorov said that two children were among the victims. Critical infrastructure, a store and residential buildings in the city were damaged in the attack. The attack on Vilnius came after explosions had already occurred in the district on the afternoon of June 29. At that time, Fedorov had warned of the threat of ballistic missile attacks in the region, and explosions were subsequently heard in several areas of Zaporizhzhia.

Meanwhile, the civilian death toll from Russian strikes in the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions on June 29 has risen to 11. In Vilniansk, located 29 kilometers from Zaporizhzhia, seven people, including two children, were killed and 11 others were injured. Yesterday, Russian strikes on villages along the frontline in Donetsk resulted in four civilian deaths: three in Zarichne and one in the village of Niu-York, which has been under intense attack by Russian troops since June. The Russians are targeting the town of Toretsk. In addition, 13 more people were injured in these strikes while the Defense Ministry in Moscow announced that Russian troops have captured two more villages in Ukraine: Stepovaya Novosyolovka in the Kharkiv region and Novopokrovskoye in the Donetsk region.

According to Kiev media, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said that Russia suffered significant losses in June, including at least 33,700 soldiers, three military aircraft, 352 tanks, 1,758 vehicles and 58 anti-aircraft defense systems. Russian strikes in the Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions prompted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to urge Western allies to speed up the delivery of weapons. Zelensky stressed that “any delay in decisions in this war means the loss of human lives,” referring in particular to the attack on the city of Vilnius, where seven people, including two children, lost their lives. The Ukrainian president also said that Russia used more than 800 guided aerial bombs against Ukraine last week, hitting cities, communities and civilians. Zelensky stressed the importance of providing Ukraine with the necessary means to neutralize the carriers of these bombs, including Russian fighter jets, wherever they are located. He described this step as essential and called for clear decisions to protect the Ukrainian people, stressing that long-range and modern defense systems are essential to stop the daily terror inflicted by Russia. Zelensky thanked all international partners who understand this need.

On the ground, the situation appears to have crystallized; Russian troops recently managed to advance into the center of Vovchansk, where Ukrainian forces appear to have surrounded an unspecified Russian contingent at an industrial facility. On June 30, geo-localized imagery confirmed that Russian troops had moved along Soborna Street in the center of Vovchansk. Ukrainian journalist Lieutenant Yevhen Nazarenko reported from the scene on June 29 that Ukrainian forces controlled all access to the aggregate facility in the center of Vovchansk and had surrounded elements of the Russian 83rd Airborne Brigade (VDV) inside the installation. Nazarenko added that Ukrainian forces did not directly attack the facility to avoid unnecessary losses. Ukrainian and Western sources recently released unconfirmed claims from a since-deleted Telegram post by a Russian milblogger on June 14 that an unknown number of Russian servicemen were isolated at the assembly facility, suggesting that Ukrainian forces had surrounded them. While there is no confirmation that Russian forces have encircled the assembly facility, Ukrainian forces may be just 200 meters away from completing the encirclement. The situation in Vovchansk is fluid, and it is unclear whether Ukrainian forces are able to consistently maintain control of Russian forces’ positions at the assembly facility. The encirclement of the assembly facility by Ukrainian forces appears to be of limited tactical significance, and it is not yet clear how many Russian troops are present at the facility. Fighting continued both in and around Vovchansk on June 29 and 30. Additionally, there are reports that elements of the Russian 2nd Spetsnaz Brigade (GRU) are operating north of Vovchansk.

Additional Russian forces advanced north of the city of Kharkiv, in the vicinity of Lypsti, during ongoing fighting in the area on June 30. Geotagged imagery released on the same day indicates that Russian troops have recently moved into the southwestern part of Hlyboke, north of Lypsti. On June 29, Yevhen Nazarenko reported that Ukrainian forces had entered Hlyboke and that fighting was taking place in the settlement. In an interview published on June 30, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russian forces were suffering a six-to-one loss ratio against Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv direction.

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Vladimir Putin’s recent statements indicate that he is unwilling to accept anything less than a complete surrender of Ukraine. Experts say Putin will view any ceasefire agreement as a simple means to obtain a pause in the war, reorganize and expand the Russian armed forces, and prepare for future offensive operations. According to the researchers, “Putin is not interested in a ceasefire because he believes he can achieve his goals only through force.” Their analysis suggests that the Russian president assumes that the longer the conflict lasts, the greater the chances of achieving his territorial goals. According to his “victory theory,” Russia is capable of continuing its slow and steady advance into Ukraine for as long as necessary. The ISW argues that Western military assistance in liberating much of occupied Ukraine “is the only likely strategy to weaken Putin’s determination to destroy Ukrainian sovereignty and identity.” Finally, as we write, we learn that Russian forces shot down 36 Ukrainian drones during the night in regions near the border. This was reported by the Ministry of Defense in Moscow. “Air defense systems on duty destroyed and suppressed 18 UAVs in the Bryansk region, nine in the Kursk region and nine in the Belgorod region,” the ministry said in a post on Telegram.