Russian forces conducted another series of missile strikes on Ukraine overnight on May 31 to June 1 and during the day on June 1. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces launched 10 Iskander ballistic missiles targeting Kyiv City from Bryansk Oblast, which borders Ukraine, in the morning on June 1, and that Ukrainian air defense destroyed all 10 missiles. The Ukrainian General Staff also reported that Russian forces launched two S-300 missiles targeting critical infrastructure in Kharkiv City during the day on June 1. Ukrainian Air Force Spokesperson Colonel Yuriy Ihnat stated that Ukraine cannot strike launch points of Russian Iskander missiles in Russia as Ukraine is under obligations not to strike Russian territory with Western-provided weapons. ISW has previously assessed that Russian forces began a new limited air campaign in recent months to degrade Ukrainian counteroffensive capabilities, but that the Russian prioritization of Kyiv is likely further limiting the campaign’s ability to meaningfully constrain potential Ukrainian counteroffensive actions.
Elements of the all-Russian pro-Ukrainian Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) and Freedom of Russia Legion (LSR) reportedly conducted another raid into Belgorod Oblast on June 1. Geolocated footage published on June 1 shows alleged LSR personnel operating near Novaya Tavolzhanka (3.5km from the Russian-Ukrainian border) and LSR and RDK personnel striking Russian positions near the settlement as well as Shebekino, Belgorod Oblast (7km from the Russian-Ukrainian border). The RDK stated that the “second phase” of its operations has begun and published footage purporting to show RDK personnel engaging in combat on the outskirts of Shebekino. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that Russian Border Guard Service and Federal Security Service (FSB) officers thwarted two motorized infantry companies reinforced with tanks that attempted to “invade” Russian territory near Shebekino and Novaya Tavolzhanka. Belgorod Oblast Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov stated that ”there were no enemies on the territory of Belgorod Oblast” during the attempted raids, although geolocated footage shows alleged LSR personnel operating on Russian territory.
A prominent Russian milblogger claimed that 20 Russian border guards and 20 conscripts as well as Russian aviation and artillery units repelled the RDK and LRS personnel that attempted to conduct a raid near Shebekino. Other Russian milbloggers claimed that the formations that conducted the raids near Shebekino and Novaya Tavolzhanka were roughly the size of a company and had tanks as well as other armored fighting vehicles, although one prominent milblogger claimed that the group that tried to enter near the Shebekino checkpoint was only comprised of 10 people. The reported company size elements conducting these operations indicate that these operations in Belgorod Oblast are doctrinally raids. Raids, according to US Army doctrine, are small scale assault operations involving swift entry into hostile territory to secure information, disrupt hostile forces, or destroy installations. Raids end with a planned withdrawal from a narrowly defined target area and do not seek to establish long-term control over territory. The RDK and LRS have not seriously attempted to control territory in Belgorod Oblast, either on June 1 or during their May 22 raid, despite their avowed goal to capture Russian territory.
- Russian forces conducted another series of missile strikes on Ukraine overnight on May 31 to June 1 and during the day on June 1.
- Elements of the all-Russian pro-Ukrainian Russian Volunteer Corps (RDK) and Freedom of Russia Legion (LSR) reportedly conducted another raid into Belgorod Oblast on June 1.
- Russian officials and milbloggers’ responses to the limited raid in Belgorod Oblast are indicative of a continued heightened anxiety within the Russian information space regarding the war in Ukraine.
- Chechen commanders and officials launched a concerted attack on Wagner Group financier Yevgeny Prigozhin on June 1 in a likely attempt to undermine Prigozhin’s appeal.
- Prigozhin responded to the attacks claiming that he will continue to voice his opinions until Russian MoD officials are punished for their mistakes in planning the invasion of Ukraine
- Chechen attacks on Prigozhin’s character may be a part of the Kremlin’s efforts to discredit and undermine Prigozhin as his forces withdraw from the frontlines.
- Russian forces conducted offensive operations northeast of Kupyansk and northwest of Svatove.
- The tempo of Russian and Ukrainian offensive operations in the Bakhmut direction remains low as of June 1, and Russian forces conducted limited ground attacks along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line.
- Russian forces did not conduct any confirmed ground attacks along the southern axis.
- The Russian State Duma rejected a draft law that would have granted mobilization exemptions to candidates and doctors of the science.
- Russian occupation authorities announced that regional elections in occupied territories will take place on September 10.
- Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin announced on May 31 that Ukraine is investigating over 2,900 crimes against children committed by Russian forces.