Ukraine Situation Report: Attack Inside Russia Continues With Strikes On Government Buildings
Attacks inside Russia’s Belgorod Oblast continued into the night, with claims that the FSB and Interior Ministry buildings were struck.
As a cross-border attack into Russia's Belgorod Oblast continues into the night, video is emerging of what a pro-Russian Telegram channel claims to be an attack on the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs buildings there.
“According to our sources, in Belgorod, the targets of the attack were the departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the FSB,” the Kremlin-affiliated Rybar Telegram reported Monday. “The impact of the strikes is unknown.”
The War Zone could not independently verify that claim.
In addition to the reported attacks on the Russian government buildings, Belgorod Oblast Gov. Vachyslav Gladkov said there were additional drone attacks in the border town that the Freedom For Russia Legion and Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) Russian partisan groups attacked earlier Monday.
“In Grayvoron, two private residential buildings were attacked by drones,” Gladkov said on his Telegram channel. “As a result of the release of explosive devices from the UAV, they ignited. There were no casualties. All emergency services were dispatched to the scene.”
And in the village of Borisovka, “an explosive device was repeatedly dropped from an UAV onto an administrative building. There were no casualties. All services are in place.”
There were also unconfirmed reports that in addition to Russia supposedly evacuating tactical nuclear weapons from a town near the incursion, Russian authorities ordered bridges blown up in Belgorod Oblast. The War Zone could not independently verify these claims either.
The Freedom For Russia Legion says it was invited into Belgorod by the region's residents.
As has been the case throughout the Ukrainian battlefields throughout this full-on invasion, today’s incursion also involved the capture of equipment by both sides, according to the Oryx open-source investigations group.
Russian defenders and fighters with the two Russian partisan groups each captured an armored vehicle, according to Oryx, which only publishes information about equipment it can verify with photographic evidence.
The Russians captured a U.S.-made M1224 MaxxPro Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected (MRAP) armored vehicle while the Russian partisans captured an eight-wheeled Russian BTR-82A infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), said Oryx.
That IFV was apparently in poor condition, according to the Russian Volunteer Corps’ Telegram channel.
“It turned out that our new eight-legged horse is in the same condition as the Russian border,” RDK reported on its Telegram channel Monday. “In general, we open a collection for repairs. And not the fact that this amount is enough.”
The group said it is trying to raise 1 million hryvnias (about $27,000) to repair the IFV. It's unclear, however, how they plan to get it out of Belgorod.
While the Pentagon did not return a message from The War Zone seeking comment about the situation in Belgorod, a State Department spokesman said it is up to Ukraine to decide how to prosecute the war.
“With respect to the broader policy question, we have made very clear to the Ukrainians that we don’t enable or encourage attacks outside Ukrainians’ borders, but I do think it’s important to take a step back and remind everyone, and remind the world, that, of course, it is Russia that launched this war,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters Monday. “It’s Russia that continues to launch attacks on civilians in Ukraine. It’s Russia that’s targeted schools and hospitals and civilian infrastructure. So, it is up to Ukraine to decide how they want to conduct their military operations, but it is Russia that has been the aggressor in this war.”
Judging by the traffic reminiscent of what Kyiv residents experienced at the outbreak of this all-out conflict, Russians seem to be in a hurry to get out of Belgorod.
And some of those who stayed behind seemed none-too-pleased with Gladkov.
Given that this attack has lasted far longer and has been carried out over far more territory than a RDK's claimed incursion into Bryansk Oblast in March, we will keep an eye on this developing situation and provide updates when warranted.
Before we head into the latest news from Ukraine, The War Zone readers can catch up on our previous rolling coverage here.
Miller, the State Department spokesman, said that the U.S. believes the Wagner mercenary group is trying to smuggle arms for Russia through Mali, where Wagner troops are fighting alongside government forces against a jihadi insurgency.
“We do believe that Wagner is trying to obscure its efforts to acquire military equipment for use in Ukraine, including by working through third-party countries where it has a foothold,” Miller told reporters Monday at a media briefing. “We have been informed that Wagner is seeking to transit material acquisitions to aid Russia’s war through Mali and is willing to use false paperwork for these transactions. In fact, there are indications that Wagner has been attempting to purchase military systems from foreign suppliers, and route these weapons through Mali as a third party.”
But so far, the U.S. has “not seen, as of yet, any indications that these acquisitions have been finalized or executed, but we are monitoring the situation closely,” Miller added. “We have sanctioned a number of entities and individuals across multiple continents that support Wagner’s military operations, and we will have more to share on this question soon.”
Miller could not offer an assessment of the fighting in Bakhmut, which Wagner claims to have captured completely while Ukraine's military claims the fight is ongoing.
But echoing estimates by other U.S. officials, he said that Russia has taken tremendous casualties there.
"I would just note that whatever the exact situation in Bakhmut, as the President noted over the weekend, the Russian military and private military corporation, the Wagner Group, collectively suffered around 100,000 casualties in its assault," he said. "And in their attack on Bakhmut – we’ve all seen the pictures – destroyed the city. And so of course we lament the loss of life there, but I don’t have any specific comment on the situation on the ground."
You can get a sense of the destruction in Bakhmut from this visual deep dive captured by The New York Times last week via drone photography.
Air defense teams from Operational Command East shot down 15 drones and four cruise missiles Monday over Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, its governor said on his Telegram channel.
“However, unfortunately, we also have arrivals,” Governor Serhiy Lysak said on Telegram, adding that there were injuries and damage to residential buildings and vehicles.
"A 27-year-old man was injured in the Dnipro district due to a rocket attack," Lysol wrote. "He is in the hospital in a moderate condition."
In addition, Lysak reported:
- Several buildings of the rescue unit were damaged. Two fires broke out, which have already been extinguished. More than 10 trucks and cars were destroyed, as many units of special equipment were damaged. Twenty five private cars and two buses were also damaged.
- A private enterprise in Dnipro was also hit. There, three buildings were destroyed.
- A UAV fell in the Hilarionivska community of the Synelniky district. Debris of the rocket was also found there.
- Seven people were injured. Women aged 52 and 70 are in the hospital.
- Three private houses and nine apartment buildings were affected. And also - a kindergarten, shops and administrative buildings. Six cars were gutted.
Multiple Launch Rocket Systems are fearsome weapons. The man observed in this video below got a close-up look at just how fearsome as he watched, then scrambled away from, a Ukrainian BM-27 Uragan 220mm MLRS. But note the smile on his face as he scoots away.
Ukraine is littered with mines planted by both sides during the course of not just this all-out war, but really since the Russians invaded in 2014. To help mitigate that problem, Canada donated GCS-200 unmanned multipurpose demining vehicles, one of which is seen in this image below.
Speaking of donations, the Biden administration on Sunday announced another tranche of security aid to Ukraine.
After U.S. President Joe Biden met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Japan, the Defense Department (DoD) announced the 38th drawdown of equipment from DoD inventories for Ukraine since August 2021.
The package, valued at up to $375 million, includes additional Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) munitions for U.S.-provided M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS as well as more artillery rounds and anti-armor capabilities.
With this package, the U.S. has provided and promised more than two million 155mm artillery rounds, the Pentagon noted Sunday.
The capabilities in this package include:
• Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);
• 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds;
• Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles;
• Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor systems;
• Laser-guided rocket system munitions;
• Demolition munitions;
• Armored bridging systems;
• Armored medical treatment vehicles;
• Trucks and trailers to transport heavy equipment;
• Logistics support equipment;
• Thermal imagery systems;
• Spare parts and other field equipment.
Scratch another Russian tank off Moscow's list of operable armor. A damaged Russian T-80BVM tank was destroyed when a Ukrainian drone dropped an improvised munition through the tank's open hatch. You can watch that and the ensuing explosive coup de grace in the video below.
Ukrainian Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, head of the Defense Intelligence Directorate (GUR), issued a message to Russian troops. Surrender or die.
Army Ranger and Green Beret veteran and current journalist Jack Murphy described efforts to recover the body of former Green Beret Nicholas Maimer, who was killed in Bakhmut.
"Knowing that the Wagner Group has possession of Nicholas' remains," Green Beret veteran Perry "Blackburn is determined to have his fellow Green Beret repatriated to the United States for his family, and he has a message for their leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin," Murphy wrote.
“We have a profession at arms and we know that all of us take a risk in what we do in our profession and part of our responsibility as a profession at arms, as soldiers and warriors, is to treat people who had died in the combat zone with dignity and respect and transfer those back to the responsible party so they can be brought back to their family and final resting place," Blackburn told Murphy. "I would stress that is what is expected of us and the world expects us to act that way.”
With the weather heating up, Ukraine's Defense Ministry (MoD) is in the midst of providing troops with summer uniforms.
"The Ministry of Defense takes all necessary measures to provide servicemen with summer military uniforms," Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Monday on her Telegram channel. "The process takes place in a planned manner, in accordance with the norms of provision of material property to servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine."
As of now, "the supply of summer uniforms is arriving at receptions in a planned manner at an appropriate pace that meets the need," Maliar reported. "The uniforms purchased in 2023 and the rest of the previous periods are enough to ensure the required number of servicemen and create reserves."
Of course, Ukraine is keeping a wary eye toward this conflict lasting into the next stretch of cold weather as well.
"The Ministry of Defense is already concluding new contracts for the purchase of tangible property of the winter nomenclature," said Maliar.
And finally, firing an RPG indoors is never a good idea outside of Call of Duty video games, as you can see in this video below.
That's it for now. We'll update this story when there's more news to report about Ukraine.
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