Is Ukraine losing the Donbas? | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack

IS THE DONBAS LOST? The latest battleground map of Ukraine produced by British intelligence shows Russia in control of a solid chunk of Ukraine’s eastern and southeastern region, a swath of border area that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky puts at 20% of his country. The pivotal battle is for Severodonetsk, once a thriving city of 100,000 people, where maybe 15,000 remain living among the rubble left by Russia’s relentless shelling of the city.

“Russian forces continued efforts to gain control over the eastern outskirts of Severodonetsk,” says the latest update from the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War, but “Ukrainian forces are continuing to conduct a flexible defense of Severodonetsk and are likely focusing on inflicting high casualties on Russian personnel rather than seeking to hold the entire city.”

“Ukrainian defenses are holding,” according to the British Defense Ministry, “It is unlikely that either side has gained significant ground in the last 24 hours.”

“While Russia is concentrating its offensive on the central Donbas sector, it has remained on the defensive on its flanks,” the ministry said in a Twitter thread. “With the frontage of the occupied zone stretching for over 500km, both Russia and Ukraine face similar challenges in maintaining a defensive line while freeing up capable combat units for offensive operations.”


ZELENSKY: ‘SEVERODONETSK REMAINS THE EPICENTER’: Severodonetsk, like Mariupol in the south, is now sort of a last stand against the Russian onslaught, one of the last cities that has not fallen in Luhansk, one of the two provinces that make up the Donbas.

In his nightly video address, recorded on a Kyiv street, Zelensky called Severodonetsk “the epicenter of the confrontation in Donbas.”

“We defend our positions, inflict significant losses on the enemy. This is a very fierce battle, very difficult. Probably one of the most difficult throughout this war,” he said. “I am grateful to everyone who defends this direction. In many ways, the fate of our Donbas is being decided there.”

“Maybe we will have to retreat, but right now battles are ongoing in the city,” says the Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai, according to the Associated Press. “Everything the Russian army has — artillery, mortars, tanks, aviation — all of that, they’re using in Severodonetsk in order to wipe the city off the face of the Earth and capture it completely,” he said.


RUSSIA USING PSY-OPS TO DEMORALIZE UKRAINIAN TROOPS: “The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported on June 8 that Russian forces are sending threatening messages to the personal devices of Ukrainian servicemen calling on them to betray their service oaths, lay down their arms, surrender, or defect to Russia,” the Institute for the Study of War reports.

“Russian forces are sending messages on a variety of platforms including SMS, Telegram, Viber, Signal, and WhatsApp and that the messages use location information to threaten to harm Ukrainian soldiers or their family members.” Among the messages are warnings that the battle for Severodonetsk will become the “next Mariupol.”

“These information and psychological attacks likely seek to lower the morale of Ukrainian servicemen as operations on multiple axes of advance continue to generate high casualties on both the Ukrainian and Russian sides,” the ISW concludes.


Good Thursday morning and welcome to Jamie McIntyre’s Daily on Defense, written and compiled by Washington Examiner National Security Senior Writer Jamie McIntyre (@jamiejmcintyre) and edited by Victor I. Nava. Email here with tips, suggestions, calendar items, and anything else. Sign up or read current and back issues at If signing up doesn’t work, shoot us an email and we’ll add you to our list. And be sure to follow us on Twitter: @dailyondefense.


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HAPPENING TODAY: Tonight, the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol will hold its first televised public hearing in prime time to lay out its case that former President Donald Trump was part of a deliberate effort to block the certification of Joe Biden as the duly elected president of the United States.

“The committee will present previously unseen material documenting January 6th, receive witness testimony, and provide the American people an initial summary of its findings about the coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and prevent the transfer of power,” the committee said on its website.

The 8 p.m. hearing will be a highly produced television event that mixes live testimony with recorded interviews with some of the 1,000 witnesses who provided testimony during the course of the committee’s work.

Among the witnesses appearing tonight are U.S. Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, who was the first law enforcement officer injured that day, and Nick Quested, a British filmmaker whose crew documented the movements around the Capitol that morning, including when members of the far-right Proud Boys breached security and entered the building.

The select committee, which was formed last summer, has seven Democrats and two Republicans, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, both sharp critics of Trump.


NEW STRATCOM COMMANDER: President Joe Biden has nominated Air Force Gen. Anthony J. Cotton to succeed Adm. Charles “Chas” Richard as the next U.S. Strategic Commander, the four-star officer in charge of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Cotton is currently serving as commander, Air Force Global Strike Command, Barksdale AFB, Louisiana.

OTHER NOMINATIONS: The Pentagon also announced three other nominations for senior assignments:

Air Force Lt. Gen. James B. Hecker for promotion to general and to become commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa. Hecker is currently commander and president, Air University, Air Education and Training Command, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

Navy Vice Adm. Stuart B. Munsch for promotion to admiral and to be commander, U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and Africa. Munsch is currently director for Joint Force Development on the Joint Staff.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Tony D. Bauernfeind to be commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Florida. Bauernfeind is currently vice commander, U.S. Special Operations Command.

IAEA REBUKES IRAN: The International Atomic Agency’s Board of Governors has passed a resolution drafted by the U.S., U.K., France, and Germany that censures Iran for “insufficient cooperation,” regarding operations at three undeclared nuclear sites.

The IAEA’s Director General Rafael Grossi says Iran has “not provided explanations that are technically credible” for the presence of uranium particles.

Iran denounced the resolution calling it “political, unconstructive and incorrect.” The vote came after Iran turned off two surveillance devices used by U.N. inspectors to monitor uranium enrichment, according to Iranian state TV.

In a joint statement, the U.S, U.K., France, and Germany welcomed the IAEA resolution.

“The overwhelming majority vote at the IAEA Board of Governors today sends an unambiguous message to Iran that it must meet its safeguards obligations and provide technically credible clarifications on outstanding safeguards issues,” the statement said. “Today’s resolution affirms the Board’s support for the independent, professional and impartial efforts of the IAEA to uphold the international safeguards system, which is essential to all of our security.”

V-22 CRASH: A Marine Corps V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft with five Marines on board crashed near Glamis, California, yesterday afternoon.

The 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing confirmed the crash but released no information on the fate of the crew. Local media reports say at least four Marines are feared dead.

“The MV-22B Osprey was based at Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton with Marine Aircraft Group 39,” according to a press release.

In March, four Marines were killed in a crash of the same model V-22 in Norway during a NATO training exercise.


INDUSTRY WATCH: More than half of the Department of Defense’s major acquisition programs have been delayed, reports Washington Examiner defense reporter Mike Brest, citing a just-released report from the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO’s latest assessment included a review of 63 of the department’s costliest weapon systems acquisition programs and 29 that have yet to deliver capabilities.

Eight of the 29 major defense acquisition programs had reported a delay within the past year, and nine more had reported a delay during that time and in the GAO’s prior assessment, while the remaining 12 reported no such problems.


The Rundown

Washington Examiner: Fate of Donbas being decided in ‘fierce battle’ in Severodonetsk, Zelensky says

Washington Examiner: Russia claims Ukrainian military suffering ‘significant losses’ in Donbas

Washington Examiner: Lawmakers look to keep companies from doing business with both Kremlin and US

Washington Examiner: Power grid at risk from Russian cyberattacks and energy blackouts: Texas Republican

Washington Examiner: Fire engulfs factory in Russia with ties to Russian military: Report

Washington Examiner: Iran shuts down UN surveillance cameras at nuclear site amid stalled talks

Washington Examiner: More than half of Pentagon’s major defense acquisition programs are delayed: GAO

Washington Examiner: Retired general subject of investigation into undisclosed Qatari lobbying

Washington Examiner: Trump allies launch countermessaging efforts ahead of Jan. 6 hearings

Washington Examiner: Military confirms aircraft crash in California but denies nuclear materials onboard

New York Times: Russia Extends Grip on Areas It Has Overrun

Washington Post: Top U.S. General Details Plan To Train Ukrainian Soldiers On Rocket Artillery

Defense News: Ukraine To Buy Polish Howitzers As Long War Looms With Russia

AP: Russia, Turkey back plan to export grains; Ukraine doubtful

AP: N Korean ruling party meets amid expectation of nuclear test

Bloomberg: New US Nuclear-Missile Submarines Hobbled by Billions in Growing Costs and Delays

Defense One: Boeing Can’t Find Enough Workers to Build the New Air Force One

Defense News: The U.S. Is Heavily Reliant On China And Russia For Its Ammo Supply Chain. Congress Wants To Fix That.

Air Force Magazine: New F-35 Sustainability Review Ordered by HASC Readiness Panel

Air Force Magazine: USAF’s Plan to Cut Most of Its JSTARS Fleet Gets Support in Congress

Air Force Magazine: Cotton Nominated to Lead US Strategic Command, Two New Leaders Tapped for MAJCOMS

AP: New Vaccine May Be Option For Troops With Religious Concerns

Military Times: Lawmakers Eye 4.6 Percent Pay Raise for Troops in 2023

Stars and Stripes: House Subpanel Votes For Pay Raise For Troops, Smaller Military And More Suicide Prevention Efforts As Congress Weighs Pentagon Funding

Military Times: New Policy Keeps HIV-Positive Troops Deployable, Bars Involuntary Separation in Some Cases Winter Is Coming: Ukraine Will Stop Sales of Coal and Gas Overseas Can Upgrades to Russia’s Old T-62 Tanks Make Them Useful in Ukraine? The U.S. Army’s Powerful M1A2 SEPv4 Abrams Tank: What We Know Why the U.S. Air Force Pushed the F-35 to Its Limits in Alaska



8 a.m. 2118 Rayburn — House Armed Services Subcommittee markups of H.R.7900, the FY2023 NDAA

  • 8 a.m. — Readiness Subcommittee 
  • 9 a.m. — Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee
  • 10 a.m. — Intelligence and Special Operations Subcommittee

10 a.m. 419 Dirksen — House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation hearing: “European Energy Security: America’s Role in Supporting Europe’s Energy Diversification Agenda,” with testimony from Amos Hochstein, U.S. senior adviser for energy security, U.S. Department of State

10:15 a.m. 342 Dirksen — Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on “Domestic Extremism in America: Examining White Supremacist Violence in the Wake of Recent Attacks,” with Elizabeth Yates, senior researcher on antisemitism at Human Rights First; Eric K. Ward, executive director of the Western States Center; Michael German, fellow in the New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice; Nathan Sales, nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and former ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counterterrorism in the State Department

12 p.m. — Washington Institute for Near East Policy virtual discussion: :”Al-Qaeda, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, and the Future of Jihadism,” with Anastasia Smith, deputy national intelligence officer for terrorism and transnational crime at the National Intelligence Council; Aaron Zelin, WINEP fellow and author of The Age of Political Islam: A Study of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham; and Matthew Levitt, director of the WINEP Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence

7 p.m. — Henry Stimson Center virtual discussion: “Arms Racing in Northeast Asia and Implications for the Korean Peninsula”


11 a.m. — Atlantic Council virtual discussion: “Are Sanctions on Russia Working?” with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Molly Montgomery; and Svitlana Zalischuk, adviser to the Naftogaz CEO


TBA — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin deliver a “major speech” on US defense policy in the Indo-Pacific at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore


12:00 p.m. — Hudson Institute virtual event: “The Ambassadors Series: A Conversation with Swedish Ambassador,” with Karin Olofsdotter, Ambassador of Sweden to the United States; and Michael Doran, senior fellow and director, Center for Peace and Security in the Middle East, Hudson Institute


10 a.m. 2118 Rayburn — House Armed Services Committee full committee markup of H.R.7900, the FY2023 NDAA


Aspen Meadows Resort, Colorado — Aspen Strategy Group three-day (19-22) Aspen Security Forum with Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Q. Brown; former Defense Secretary Robert Gates; Army Gen. Richard Clarke, commander U.S. Special Operations Command; Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.; former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; Kay Bailey Hutchison, former U.S. ambassador to NATO; and others.


“Severodonetsk remains the epicenter of the confrontation in Donbas. We defend our positions, inflict significant losses on the enemy. This is a very fierce battle, very difficult … In many ways, the fate of our Donbas is being decided there.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his nighty video address Wednesday.

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