Lisichansk: Ukraine may have experienced the worst week since the fall of Mariupol

For weeks Russian forces tried to destroy the Ukrainian defensive positions south and east of the city in order to surround and cut off the Ukrainian troops tasked with holding it.

Over the past couple of days, the Russians have advanced into several villages south of Lysychansk, though not without casualties from Ukrainian artillery fire. Indeed, the Ukrainian military claims that some Russian battalion tactical groups are being enlarged or withdrawn to restore their combat capability.

Institute for the Study of War in its latest daily analysis battlefield, says the Russian breakthrough from the south, means they “may be able to threaten Lisichansk in the coming days, while avoiding the difficult opposition of forcing the Seversky Donets River.”

All settlements lost by the Ukrainian authorities on Wednesday are located on the western bank of the Seversky Donets River, within 10 kilometers from the southern outskirts of the city.

“The Russians are approaching Lisichansk, entrenched in nearby settlements. The city is being bombarded by aircraft,” said Sergei Gaidai, head of the Luhansk regional military administration.

Ukrainian soldiers move in armored vehicles on a road in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass on June 21, 2022.

Haydey acknowledged that the area south of Lysychansk was “difficult”. “The enemy entered Toshkovka, which made it possible to intensify the fire on other settlements.”

According to him, Russian troops have entrenched themselves in several villages immediately south of Lisichansk, including Ustinovka, Podlesnoye and Mirnaya Dolina, and are advancing towards Belaya Gora. “It’s not easy for our soldiers to keep the defense,” he admitted.

Throughout its campaign, Russia used heavy bombardment tactics before attempting to capture territory. Hayday’s comments suggest that the Ukrainian defenses around Lysychansk began to succumb to much more Russian firepower after weeks of bombing.

Ukrainian forces continue to fight on the outskirts of the neighboring city of Severodonetsk and in the surrounding communities, and they are benefiting from the high ground in Lysichansk.

But their already compromised supply lines are getting weaker, and the sheer power of Russian firepower is destroying defensive positions.

The setbacks over the past few days, after weeks of stubborn resistance, probably mark the toughest week for the Ukrainian military since the surrender. the last defenders of Mariupol.
A Ukrainian tank in position during heavy fighting on the front lines in Severodonetsk on June 8.
Russian servicemen patrol the area of ​​the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, June 13, 2022.

The Lysichansk attacks are taking place in tandem with renewed Russian efforts to cut off the highway leading west to Bakhmut, a vital communications route for Ukrainians. In some places, Russian forces are within a few kilometers of the highway.

The Ukrainian defense of Severodonetsk and Lysichansk absorbed the firepower of many Russian units and weakened their advance efforts in the neighboring Donetsk region. However, the Russians are still able to draw on reserves located in nearby areas in southwestern Russia, while some of Ukraine’s best units are severely depleted by months of rocket, missile, artillery and air attacks.

But if the Ukrainians decide to dig in around Lysichansk, taking it will likely require a significant Russian effort, perhaps within a few weeks. By then, it may resemble the partially flattened cities of Severodonetsk, nearby Popasna and Mariupol.