Russia reduces offensive operations in Kharkiv Oblast - Governor

Russia has scaled back its offensive operations in northeastern Kharkiv Oblast, despite continuing to regroup troops and planning further advances, Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov reported on June 8.

This development follows nearly a month of intense fighting since Russia opened a new front in Kharkiv Oblast’s border areas. The town of Vovchansk, occupied by Russian forces in 2022, has been heavily bombarded and largely reduced to ruins by continuous glide bomb attacks.

Speaking on television, Syniehubov noted that Russian forces are still conducting "constant assaults" in the villages of Synkivka and Andriivka, which lie on the border with the predominantly Russian-occupied Luhansk Oblast. "The shelling doesn’t stop either," he added, as reported by the Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform.

Since the onset of the new offensive on May 10, Russian troops have secured control of a few villages along two axes: one near Vovchansk and another towards the village of Lyptsi. Their advance has reached a maximum of just 10 kilometers from the state border.

Despite the Russian onslaught, Ukrainian forces maintain control over approximately 70% of Vovchansk as of May 31, according to Nazar Voloshyn, the spokesperson for the Khortytsia group of forces, in a statement to Hromadske Radio.

Russia reportedly hit 2 Ukrainian oil depots overnight

Russian troops targeted two oil depots during a large-scale drone and missile attack on Ukraine overnight on June 7, according to Serhii Kuyun, head of A95, a Kyiv-based consulting group.

Ukrainian forces successfully downed 48 of the 53 Shahed-type drones and all five Kh-101 cruise missiles, which led to a fire at an industrial facility in Kyiv Oblast. Fortunately, no casualties were reported.

"Minus two oil depots. Millions of dollars in the air," Kuyun wrote on Facebook, although he did not specify the locations of the impacted facilities. Ukrainian officials have not commented on his statement.

Kuyun noted that Russia has attacked 10 oil storage facilities in 2024 alone. However, he reassured that these attacks would not impact the availability of fuel in Ukraine.

Russia has intensified its assaults on Ukraine's critical infrastructure since the spring, targeting the country's energy grid and disabling several power plants. In response, Ukraine began implementing rolling power shutdowns in mid-May. These shutdowns have increased significantly following the latest Russian mass-missile attack on May 31, causing further damage nationwide.

Analysts: Putin Promotes "Theory of Victory" Focused on War of Attrition in Ukraine

Institute for the Study of War analyses Putins`s vision of victory in the war against Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is advancing a "theory of victory" in Ukraine centered on a protracted war of attrition.

On June 7, Putin outlined this strategy, which hinges on several key assumptions:

Sustained Gradual Advances: Russian forces can continue making incremental gains indefinitely.

Ukrainian Counteroffensive Inadequacy: Ukraine will be unable to execute successful, significant counteroffensive operations.

Victory in War of Attrition: Russia can ultimately prevail through sustained attrition against Ukrainian forces.

During his speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Putin emphasized that Russia does not need another large-scale call-up of reservists akin to the partial mobilization in September 2022. He explained that Russia is not seeking a rapid achievement of its military objectives in Ukraine. Instead, he acknowledged that the current Russian military contingent, reportedly the entire combat-capable ground force as of January 2024, is insufficient for a swift victory. Instead, Russian forces are pursuing a more gradual approach.

Putin claimed that Russia's ongoing recruitment efforts, referred to as "crypto-mobilization," are adequate for this strategy. He noted that Russia has recruited 160,000 new personnel so far in 2024, aligning with reports that the Russian military recruits between 20,000 and 30,000 new soldiers per month.

Putin's confidence in gradual Russian gains hinges on the belief that Ukrainian forces will be unable to reclaim significant territory seized by Russia. He also assumes that the Russian military can sustain offensive operations and achieve incremental tactical gains despite heavy losses.

This assessment is supported by recent months of delayed Western security assistance and constraints on Ukrainian materiel. These delays have allowed Russian forces to seize and maintain the initiative across the theatre, conducting consistent offensive operations throughout Ukraine’s east and achieving gradual tactical gains.