War in Ukraine: Lysychansk, last remaining eastern stronghold, may soon fall, Zelenskyy adviser predicts

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Major city and last remaining stronghold in eastern Ukraine could soon fall to Russian forces, senior adviser says President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said.

Lisichansk in eastern Luhansk Oblast could fall as Russian forces continue their advance on the city and seek to end the siege on Severodonetsk’s sister city, Zelensky’s adviser Oleksiy Arestovich said.

two Ukrainian cities separated by the Seversky Donets River, with Severodonetsk in the north and Lisichansk in the south. President Zelenskiy said last month that the two cities were on the path to full Russian control of the region.

LYSICHANSK, UKRAINE - JUN 13, 2022: View of Severodonetsk from Lysychansk, Ukraine, Monday, June 13, 2022 (Markus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

LYSICHANSK, UKRAINE – JUN 13, 2022: View of Severodonetsk from Lysychansk, Ukraine, Monday, June 13, 2022 (Markus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

While Russian forces have attacked both cities in recent weeks, the adviser said, their occupation of Severodonetsk gives them a new strategic advantage as the force has been seen crossing the river and entering Lysichansk from the north.

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“It’s really a threat [and] I am not ruling out any of a number of outcomes here,” Arestovich said, according to Reuters. “Within a day or two, things will become much clearer.”

A column of smoke rises over an industrial area outside Lysychansk, Ukraine on Monday, June 13, 2022.  (Markus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

A column of smoke rises over an industrial area outside Lysychansk, Ukraine on Monday, June 13, 2022. (Markus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
(Markus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The fall of the last position of Ukrainian troops in the region will change the picture of the war, the adviser warned.

“If Lisichansk is taken, then strategically for The Russians continue to advance. The front line will be flatter, and the attack will be carried out not from the flanks, but in the forehead, ”Arestovich predicted, the report says.

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According to him, on the contrary, weapons and ammunition from the West can lead to a successful defense of the city by Ukraine.

“The more Western weapons enter the front, the more the picture changes in favor of Ukraine,” the adviser added.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky visits the forward positions of the Ukrainian military in Donbass, Ukraine, December 06, 2021.  (Photo by Presidency of Ukraine/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky visits the forward positions of the Ukrainian military in Donbass, Ukraine, December 06, 2021. (Photo by Presidency of Ukraine/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
(Photo by President of Ukraine / Handout / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Russian separatist forces have already claimed control of the city, although they have not “liberated it”, while Ukrainian officials dispute that claim.

Zelensky said that Russian troops occupy 20% of the territory of Ukraine

Last month, President Zelensky confirmed that Russian troops had occupied 20 percent of Ukraine’s territory, including much of Donbas region, which includes Luhansk in the east and Donetsk in the south.

“The Russian army has already destroyed almost the entire Donbass. Once one of the most powerful industrial centers in Europe is simply devastated, Zelensky said on June 2. “The invaders are destroying city after city.”

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“We still don’t even know exactly how many of our people were killed by the invaders. At least tens of thousands – tens of thousands in a little less than 100 days,” he added.