Dozens Of Critical Russian Military Equipment Units Destroyed In 24 Hours

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“General Staff: At least 30 units of Russian equipment destroyed in last 24 hours,” The Kyiv Independent reported early Saturday amid Ukraine’s ongoing war with Russia. “Ukraine’s General Staff also said on the morning of June 18 that desertion is increasing among Russian troops,” according to the outlet.

In a Sunday update, the U.K. defense ministry backed up reports of troubles in Russia’s ranks. “Ukrainian forces have likely suffered desertions in recent weeks, however, Russian morale highly likely remains especially troubled,” U.K. authorities said. “Cases of whole Russian units refusing orders and armed stand-offs between officers and their troops continue to occur… Morale problems in the Russian force are likely so significant that they are limiting Russia’s ability to achieve operational objectives.” Those Russian objectives include obtaining total control of Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Large cities in these regions include Mariupol, which is under Russian control, and Severodonetsk, which was designated by national authorities in Ukraine as the administrative capital of the Luhansk region.

“The Russian army is preparing a large-scale offensive to capture #Luhansk region,” Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region, said on Sunday. “Occupants have thrown all their reserves into the #Severodonetsk and #Bakhmut directions, trying to establish full control over the regional center and to “cut off” the #Lysychansk-Bakhmut highway.”

“Since June 14, Russia has declared humanitarian corridors in Severodonetsk,” Samuel Ramani, an author and associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, a think tank, said Saturday. “These humanitarian corridors are following the path that Russia used in Ilovaisk, Idlib and Mariupol, and look more like death traps than agents of humanitarian relief.” In other words, it’s unclear that the so-called humanitarian corridors will actually provide opportunities for the kind of humanitarian work supposed to be allowed by them. Such corridors could provide for the transport of aid or the evacuation of refugees. Bridges around Severodonetsk have been destroyed, so those still trapped in the city seem especially reliant on assistance to escape. The city has been a site of intense recent fighting, but as of this weekend it didn’t appear fully under the control of Russian invaders.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, Russian forces are once again working on targeting Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. “Russia is trying to make Kharkiv a front-line city,” Vadym Denysenko, an adviser at the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, remarked Sunday. “Over the border in the Belgorod region, Russia has massed between five and seven battalion tactical groups, as well as attack aircraft and helicopters, according to Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky,” The Washington Post reported. “He said these forces are intended for an attack on Kharkiv.” Ukrainian forces had earlier success in pushing Russian forces back from near Kharkiv, as they did in the area of the country’s capital, Kyiv. Across the world, there remains consistent support for the efforts of the Ukrainian people to stop the widespread Russian violence. That’s one of the fronts on which President Joe Biden continues to work while Trump (among other things) spirals only further into rage on social media and in public remarks over the election he lost.