The Ukrainian army announced Tuesday that Russian troops had taken control of a number of key villages south of Lysychansk, allowing them to shell the town, which had already been heavily shelled for weeks, from a closer range and raising fears that they might try to encircle Ukrainian forces from that direction.
According to the Institute for the Study of War, a military think tank located in the United States, the development represents a “clear setback” for Ukraine.
For weeks, Ukrainian and Russian soldiers have been battling on the streets of Sievierodonetsk, which sits across the Siverskyi Donets River. The city’s defenders have been limited to its industrial zone, but they continue to struggle, according to Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai on Wednesday.
It was thought that Russia would have to wait until it had complete control of Sievierodonetsk before attempting to cross a dangerous river — something you’d battled with before attacking Lysychansk from the northeast. It looks to be coming from the southwest presently.
According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russian troops “may attack Lysychansk in the next days while avoiding a difficult opposite crossing of the Siverskyi Donets River.”
According to Michael A. Horowitz, a geopolitical and security expert and head of intelligence at Le Beck consulting, Kremlin troops achieved a “tactical breakthrough” near Lysychansk.
“The Russian army has breached certain Ukrainian fortifications and is currently advancing towards Lysychansk,” he claimed. “Despite establishing a robust and valiant defence of the region, the Ukrainian military may be forced to make some difficult choices in the next days or weeks.”
According to the Ukrainian news agency Unian, Oleksiy Arestovych, assistant to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian military forces are facing “major challenges” between Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk. He described the Russian threat to surround the Ukrainians in the region as “very serious.”
Taking the twin cities would give Moscow complete control of the Luhansk province, taking it one step closer to seizing the whole region.
The victories will be welcomed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has made seizing the Donbas his primary aim after military failures early in the conflict forced Moscow’s soldiers to retreat from the outskirts of Kiev. Kyiv. On Wednesday, Putin placed flowers in remembrance of the war dead as both nations commemorated the anniversary of Nazi Germany’s 1941 invasion of the then-Soviet Union, which Ukrainian authorities have linked to Moscow’s invasion of your country little under four months ago.
“[Russians] control almost 97 percent of the Lugansk oblast,” said Konrad Muzyka, head of Rochan Consulting in Poland, which specialises on Russia and Belarus. “Once they have totally captured Sievierodonetsk and subsequently Lysychansk, they will be on their way to completing one of the goals of the second phase of this military operation.” It is critical for Russia that this occurs from their perspective.”