Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

The situation of the Ukrainian battlefield after the fall of Severodonetsk

The situation of the Ukrainian battlefield after the fall of Severodonetsk 3
The situation of the Ukrainian battlefield after the fall of Severodonetsk 3

`The city is now completely controlled by Russian forces,` Severodonetsk Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk announced on June 25 on Ukrainian national television, adding that the Russian army had appointed a military officer to establish order.

Severodonetsk fell after most Ukrainian forces withdrew from the city on June 24.

Ihor Romanenko, former deputy chief of staff of the Ukrainian armed forces, said that withdrawing troops was the right decision after almost all defensive positions of the Ukrainian army were destroyed.

A Ukrainian tank in Severodonetsk on June 8.

`It’s just a small loss, we still have Lysychansk (nearby town now controlled by Ukraine) and Severodonetsk has completed its mission,` he added.

The Kremlin is focused on controlling Severodonetsk because it is one of the few cities that still belongs to the Ukrainian government in the country’s eastern Lugansk province.

Lugansk is one of Ukraine’s smallest and poorest regions, which has seen fighting between government troops and pro-Russian separatists since 2014.

`The city has geopolitical significance for Russia, located in the center of an area that pro-Moscow separatists cannot yet control. But we will accept that, we are more interested in the military aspect.`

A victory in Lugansk is so symbolically important to Russia that Moscow has ordered the mobilization of troops from controlled or partially controlled areas in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to increase pressure, he said.

Severodonetsk is located on the Siversky Donets River, which the Russian army has repeatedly tried to cross without success.

Some Western experts also share the same opinion as Romanenko.

`The loss of Severodonetsk was a loss for Ukraine in the sense that any territory lost was a loss, but gaining Severodonetsk was not a decisive victory for Russia,` Institute for the Study of War

`Ukraine also caused significant damage to Russian forces before withdrawing,` commented Pavel Luzin, a Russia expert at the Jamestown Research Institute, based in Washington, USA.

On the other hand, the immediate economic consequences of losing all of Lugansk are negligible for Ukraine.

Lugansk’s industrial core with dozens of factories, power stations and coal mines has been controlled by separatists since 2014, while the area controlled by Kiev is mainly agricultural land.

`The economic implications are minimal,` said Kiev-based analyst Aleksey Kushch.

According to him, the loss of Mariupol, once the administrative capital of the Ukrainian-controlled Donetsk region, has much greater consequences because the city has an important seaport and owns two giant steel plants, occupying one

According to CNN, fighting will now focus on Lysychansk, the last city in Lugansk that Ukrainian forces still control.

Ukrainian forces defending Lysychansk have recently encountered many difficulties.

The US Institute for the Study of War believes that Russia’s ability to break through from the south means they `can threaten Lysychansk in the coming days and avoid a challenging operation across the Siversky Donets River`.

If Russian forces control Lysychansk, and with it Lugansk province, they could create an important springboard to concentrate more troops to attack Donetsk.

In the early stages of the campaign, the Russian army failed in its attempt to control Kiev and northern Ukraine.

But at least two-fifths of Donetsk, a province larger and more populous than Lugansk, remains controlled by Ukrainian forces.

It is unclear whether losses to Russian forces in recent weeks have diminished their ability and desire to control more territory.

The situation of the Ukrainian battlefield after the fall of Severodonetsk

Ukraine’s battlefield situation.

Now, Ukrainian commanders will have to decide whether continuing to defend Lysychansk is strategically worthwhile, as Kiev could abandon the city and redirect resources to building a defense system.

Ukrainian officials continue to call for more military support from Western allies.

`No matter how professional our military is, without the support of Western partners, Ukraine will not be able to win this conflict,` he said.

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