April 18, 2024

Institute for the Study of War: Ukraine predicts Russian offensive in June

Institute for the Study of War

Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Head Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov specified that Russian offensive effort that Ukrainian officials have been forecasting will likely begin in June 2024. Budanov stated in an April 17 article in the Washington Post that Russia will launch a “big” offensive in June 2024 with the aim of seizing all of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. Budanov also stated that Russian forces will try to make battlefield gains throughout 2024 as part of efforts to influence Western decision-making. Budanov had previously forecasted that a future major Russian offensive would begin in late May or early June 2024, and it is notable that Budanov has now narrowed his forecast to June and identified the likely aim of the Russian offensive. Previous major Russian offensive efforts have similarly aimed to seize the remainder of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Ukrainian officials, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, have recently warned about the threat of a potential future Russian ground offensive operation targeting Kharkiv City. Ukrainian officials have repeatedly warned that US security assistance is vital to Ukraine’s ability to defend against possible future Russian offensive operations in summer 2024. ISW continues to assess that current Ukrainian artillery and air defense shortages resulting from the lack of US security assistance are allowing Russian forces to make marginal tactical advances and that future Russian assaults may be able to achieve more significant gains should the US continue to withhold assistance to Ukraine. Ukrainian forces have, however, previously demonstrated their ability to repel Russian assaults and inflict significant personnel and equipment losses on Russian forces when adequately provisioned.

Budanov also stated on April 17 that Ukraine plans to counter future Russian offensive operations by continuing strikes against Russian military targets within Russia. Budanov stated in his interview with the Washington Post that the GUR plans to strike Russian defense industrial base (DIB) and critical military targets, such as airfields and command and control posts, in response to Russia’s forecasted summer 2024 offensive. Budanov stated that these strikes are intended to show that Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot “protect the [Russian] population from the war.” ISW continues to assess that Ukrainian strikes against targets within Russia are an appropriate component of Ukraine’s campaign to degrade industries that support the Russian war effort and military capabilities deployed in the Russian rear. Recent Ukrainian strikes that have targeted Russian military infrastructure within Russia, threatened Russian oil refining and exports, and increased pressure on Russia’s air defense umbrella have demonstrated that Ukraine can achieve some asymmetrical impacts through strikes with limited numbers of mostly domestically produced weapons.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) Head Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov specified that Russian offensive effort that Ukrainian officials have been forecasting will likely begin in June 2024.
  • Budanov also stated on April 17 that Ukraine plans to counter future Russian offensive operations by continuing strikes against Russian military targets within Russia.
  • Russian forces reportedly continue to intensify crypto-mobilization efforts ahead of the expected Russian summer 2024 offensive operation but will likely struggle to establish effective operational- and strategic-level reserves rapidly.
  • Ukrainian officials clarified that the Ukrainian strike on a Russian military airfield in occupied Dzhankoi, Crimea overnight on April 16 to 17 caused significant damage to Russian air defense equipment.
  • Russian milbloggers seized on a violent crime committed by a migrant in Moscow on April 18 to reiterate calls for further restrictions in Russian migration policies.
  • German authorities detained two individuals suspected of aiding Russia in its ongoing efforts to sabotage NATO member states’ military infrastructure and logistics.
  • Russian forces recently made confirmed advances near Avdiivka and Donetsk City.
  • Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s (RFE/RL) “Schemes” investigative project, citing Ukrainian intelligence, reported on April 17 that Russia’s defense industry is using US- and Japanese-made components in the navigation and communication systems of Russian Sukhoi fixed wing aircraft.

For full report: https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-april-18-2024 

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