Day 97 of war in Ukraine: Russia reaches centre of Severodonetsk, Zelenskyy reveals Ukraine’s daily troop death toll, US to send HIMARS artillery

On Wednesday, June 1, Russian forces continued their advance into Severodonetsk to take the last major Ukrainian-controlled city in the Luhansk Region. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy revealed the daily death toll of Ukrainian troops during fierce fighting in Donbas. US plans to send HIMARS artillery systems to Ukraine while another two captured Russian soldiers have been convicted in court Ukrinform, Institute for the Study of War, Nexta TV and CNN report.
The Donbas battle taking place in eastern Ukraine is seen as a decisive part of Russia’s invasion. The top officer of the US Armed Forces General Mark Miley has evaluated that the coming weeks may determine the further course of the situation in Ukraine as to whether there will be a clear winner in the war or it will move into a positional confrontation.
American Institute for the Study of War has concluded that Russian troops continue to move into the city of Severodonetsk. The Ukrainian Luhansk Region Military Administration has stated that the majority of buildings have been damaged in weeks of shelling and that many have been destroyed beyond the chance of repairing them. Also, the Luhansk Region Military Administration has stopped counting victims of the warfare in the area. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine confirmed on Wednesday morning that the invaders carried out assault operations in the northern, southern, and eastern districts of the town of Sievierodonetsk.
60 to 100 soldiers killed per day
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has revealed in a rare glimpse into the losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces that Ukraine has been losing 60 to 100 soldiers per day as killed in action and around 500 soldiers as wounded in action. In an interview with American TV channel Newsmax, Zelenskyy said: «The situation is very difficult. We’re losing 60-100 soldiers per day as killed in action and something around 500 people as wounded in action. So we are holding our defensive perimeters. The most difficult situation is in the east of Ukraine and southern Donetsk and Luhansk.»
Ukrainian counteroffensive continues in south
According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in the southern part of the frontline, which roughly is close to administrative border of the Kherson Region, the main efforts of the Russian forces are focused on holding the occupied positions and creating additional lines of defence. In the area of Mykolayivka, Novopavlivsk, and Shyroke, where Ukrainian troops have liberated a number of settlements, the invaders opened massive fire from multiple-rocket launch systems, artillery and mortars.
The Institute for the Study of War evaluated that the efforts of the Russian leadership to concentrate larger forces in eastern Ukraine to capture new territories creates conditions for intensified counterattacks by Ukrainian forces in Kherson region, where Russian troops are increasingly vulnerable.
«Moscow’s concentration on seizing Severodonetsk and Donbas generally continues to create vulnerabilities for Russia in Ukraine’s vital Kherson Oblast, where Ukrainian counter-offensives continue,» according to an assessment by the Institute for the Study of War as quoted by Ukrinform.
If Ukrainian forces regain Kherson, they will be in a much stronger position to defend itself against future Russian attack. «This strategic calculus should in principle lead Russia to allocate sufficient combat power to hold Kherson. But Russian President Vladimir Putin has chosen instead to concentrate all the forces and resources that can be scraped together in a desperate and bloody push to seize areas of eastern Ukraine that will give him largely symbolic gains,» the think tank evaluated.
HIMARS artillery systems to go to Ukraine
The US plans to ship high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) made in the US to Ukraine. CNN quoted senior US administration officials as saying that the systems will be equipped with munitions that will allow Ukraine to launch rockets about 80 kilometres.
«That is far less than the maximum range of the systems, which is around 300 kilometres, but far greater than anything Ukraine has been sent to date. The M777 Howitzers the US sent to Ukraine last month, for example, marked a significant increase in range and power over previous systems, but even those top out at around 25 kilometres in range,» CNN noted.
Ukrinform wrote that the new security assistance package, to be announced officially on Wednesday, would also include air surveillance radars, additional Javelin anti-tank weapons, anti-armour weapons, artillery munition, helicopters, tactical vehicles, and spare parts to help the Ukrainians continue maintenance of the equipment.
War crime investigations continue
While fighting continues in eastern and southern Ukraine, law enforcement moves on with investigating hundreds of reports of possible crimes committed in Ukraine since February 24.
Another two soldiers of Russia have been convicted. Nexta TV reports that a court in Ukraine sentenced Aleksandr Bobykin and Aleksandr Ivanov to 11 years and 6 months in prison each after finding them guilty of violating the laws and customs of war.
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) May 31, 2022

Finally, the BNN offers to watch the latest video address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.