In a move that would represent a major victory for Russia, which has escalated its attacks in eastern Ukraine for weeks, Ukrainian forces have begun to withdraw from the city of Severodonetsk, which was nearly destroyed after weeks of bombing and street fighting. .
Meanwhile, pro-Moscow separatists announced that thousands of Ukrainian fighters were trapped. “We managed to encircle more than 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers near Lyschansk, the last city under Ukrainian control in Luhansk,” said the loyalist forces in Luhansk.
South of Lysekhansk, Herceg Mayor Oleksiy Babchenko said that Russian forces entered the city and occupied the entire area Friday.
Lysichansk … the focus of the next battle
This would bring the Russian forces apparently close to full control of Lugansk, if in later they also captured Lyschansk, facing Severodonetsk, on the other side of the river, to be the focus of the next battle.
Ukrainian forces had resisted the Russian attack on Severodonetsk for weeks in an attempt to drain Russian forces and buy time until heavy weapons supplies arrived, but announced their withdrawal on Friday.
While the Ukrainian Defense Ministry has claimed that the Russians are trying to surround Lyschansk and has launched attacks on Severodonetsk to ensure full control.
In context, Kiev-based military analyst Oleksandr Mosienko told Reuters that Ukrainian fighters had to retreat and retreat tactically because there was nothing left to defend, referring to the complete destruction of the city.
He also added that they withdrew to prevent their encirclement.
It is noteworthy that since last March Moscow has started the second phase of the military operation on the territory of its western neighbor, concentrating its battles along the first line to the south and in the Donbass region. in particular, an eastern region consisting of Lugansk and its neighbor Donetsk.
Russia is trying to control the entire Donbass basin, after separatists took control of parts of it in 2014, with the aim of opening a land corridor connecting the east with Crimea, which in the same year has annexed to its territory.
Read More About: World News