Timeline: Week 15 of Russia’s war in Ukraine | Russia-Ukraine war news


The 15th week of Russia’s war on Ukraine saw Ukrainian forces recapture 20 villages in the Kherson region and part of Severodonetsk city.

Ukraine says its southern defenses shot down four missiles fired from across the Black Sea.

Russian military sources say Ukraine has launched a new counteroffensive in the northern Kharkiv region.

Moscow continues to shore up its defenses in Crimea with S-300 anti-air missile batteries, while Britain announces it will send M270 multiple launch missile systems with an 80km range to Ukraine.

Here, Al Jazeera looks at the major events that marked the 15th week of the war in Ukraine:

June 2

Kherson oblast military administration head Hennadiy Lahuta reports that Ukrainian forces liberated 20 unnamed villages. This seemingly confirms the reports of earlier days that a Ukrainian counteroffensive has pushed Russian occupying forces east of the Inhulets river.

Ukraine’s southern operational command says heavy fighting is raging near Mykolaiv as Russian forces attempt to break through defenses there. Ukraine is reportedly preparing a counteroffensive from this direction.

Elsewhere in the region, Russia is increase shelling and helicopter-launched missile attacks. The Russian military Telegram channel Rybar says Ukrainian forces are trying to reach the Russian-held towns of Snihurivka and Kryvyi Rih.

Ukraine’s defense ministry says Russian forces in the Donbas unsuccessfully attempted to cross the Siversky Donets riversurrounding the twin cities of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, where the fiercest fighting rages.

Elsewhere in the Donbas, the ministry says Russia has concentrated 20 battalion tactical groups (of about 300-500 men each) to attack Sloviansk, which seems to be the focal point of several Russian lines of attack.

June 3

In Severodonetsk, Ukraine reports that Russians are making incremental advances through the city. However, Luhansk region governor Serhiy Haidai says Ukrainian defenders also took back several blocks of the city that had been overrun.

Ukrainian and Russian sources later confirm that Ukrainian troops recaptured 20 percent of the city in a counterattack that inflicted heavy losses on Chechen units. Russian forces continue to fail to surround Severodonetsk from the south.

Russian forces appear to be attempting an assault on Sviatohirsk in eastern Ukraine from Izyum and Lyman, without success. Sviatohirsk is a waystation on the road to Sloviansk, in the heart of Donetsk region, of which Russia has conquered half. Russian forces also fire missiles and conduct strikes against Slovyansk.

Russian forces also fail to take new territory north of their bridgehead in Popasna.

Russian forces unsuccessfully attempt to roll back a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the Kherson region.

June 4

Ukrainians defend Severodonetsk fiercely, belying predictions that the city will be in Russian hands in a matter of days. Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai believes the Ukrainian forces there are supplied well enough to hold their positions and rebuff Russian offensives. This is a change from the tactical withdrawal the Ukrainian forces were until just days earlier.

Russian sources report that foreign volunteers from Georgia, France and Moldova are also involved in the defense of the city. The Russian defense ministry also says these fighters are on the decline.

“The total number of foreign mercenaries in Ukraine has now been almost halved from 6,600 to 3,500 … Most of the mercenaries are destroyed in the war zone due to their low level of training and lack of real combat experience,” said a spokesman for the ministry on June 2.

Ukraine says M109A3 howitzers provided by Norway are in use at the front, without specifying where.

Ukraine says its southern defenses shot down four missiles fired from across the Black Sea.

June 5

Ukrainian defenders of Severodonetsk have managed to confine Russian invaders to the eastern half of the city, down from the 70 percent they occupied two days earlier, say Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haidai and Severodonetsk mayor Alexander Stryuk.

The defense mounted by Ukraine is a remarkable achievement considering the small size of the city, which is only about 25 streets deep from east to west.

Haidai and Stryuk say the Russians are focusing all their front-line troops and reserves on the city, and if they conquer it are planning to march on neighbor Lysychansk, their conquest of the Luhansk oblast. It is thought that they would then take control of the highway to Bakhmut in Donetsk oblast.

Russian forces continue to make unsuccessful sorties from Izyum towards Bakhmut. They are a little more successful launching attacks from Lyman towards Sviatohirsk.

Russian military sources say Ukraine has launched a new counteroffensive in the northern Kharkiv region. This is where Ukraine successfully pushed Russian forces back to within a few kilometers of the Russian border in May, and secured the city of Kharkiv.

Russian forces are reported to have mined the east bank of the Inhulets river in the Kherson region, where Ukrainian counterattacks continue.

June 6

Ukraine says Russian forces shell 20 settlements along the entire line of contact in east Ukraine, using tanks, mortars, barrel bombs, missiles and air strikes. Ukrainian officials produce conflicting accounts of the battle for Severodonetsk. It is unclear if Russian forces are retreating or advancing through the city. Luhansk governor Serhiy Haidai issues a late report saying Ukrainian forces were retreating and fighting is concentrated at the industrial zone of the Azot chemical plant.

Russia continues to shore up its defenses in Crimea with S-300 anti-air missile batteries.

Britain announces it will send M270 multiple launch missile systems with an 80km range to Ukraine. It does not specify how many, or when they will get there, but says the move is in co-ordination with US President Joe Biden’s decision to send High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers. Ukrainian personnel are to receive training on the systems in the UK.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov is prevented from visiting Serbia when its neighbors Bulgaria, Montenegro and North Macedonia close their airspace to his aircraft. Bulgaria and Hungary, to the north of Serbia, are implementing an EU ban on Russian air traffic. North Macedonia and Montenegro are NATO members.

June 7

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu claims his forces have captured the entire residential part of Severodonetsk, and continue to fight for the industrial sector.

Russian forces attempt to advance from Izyum to Sloviansk.

Ukraine Estimates 31,360 Russian soldiers have been killed since February 24 when Russia launched its invasion of the country.



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