The eastern front is turning into a nightmare for Ukraine. While European leaders in Brussels welcome it as a candidate country to join the EU, Russian troops are advancing little by little, but continuously, in Donbas, the eastern region that has become the center of the war after that the Ukrainians succeeded at the beginning of the conflict in expelling the invader who was approaching kyiv.
In recent days, interest has focused on two twin cities located on both banks of the Donets River: Severodonetsk and Lisichansk, both in the Luhansk province. After the Kremlin forces became strong in the first a few days ago (although according to the Ukrainian authorities they do not control it 100%), kyiv now fears the same fate for the second. The battle is entering a “terrifying climax,” Oleksii Arestovich, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, has said.
“The situation is serious,” Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar admitted on Thursday. “Russia continues to develop its war of attrition. According to the analyzes of our intelligence services, the Moscow troops will try to capture Severodonetsk and Lisichansk, because they need them for their cause to announce that they have achieved their task of taking over the entire Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. [que conforman la región de Donbás]”, continued the number two of Defense from kyiv.
“What is happening was predictable. The Russian forces multiplied by 10 our volume of weapons and artillery. I am afraid that they are going to continue advancing and that they have the possibility of taking over Donbas ”, confided later on the terrace of a cafe, a former minister who asked not to reveal his name. “We have entered a completely conventional war phase. Ukraine may have an advantage in cities or medium-sized towns, but in open spaces Russia has the upper hand”, added the retired politician, who maintains good contacts with various European capitals. The key in this war, concluded the former minister, will be what happens in the south, who will finally stay with cities as important as Kherson (currently in Russian hands), discounting that it will be very difficult to wrest the Crimean peninsula from Moscow and much of Donbas.
The governor of the Lugansk region, Serhii Gaidai, said Thursday that Ukrainian troops are defending the city of Severodonetsk, which before the war had about 100,000 inhabitants, and other smaller nearby towns. The kyiv forces have been forced to fall back to avoid being surrounded by the enemy.
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Gaidai has admitted that the Russians have taken over two small towns. “The enemy has captured the Loskutivka and Ray-Oleksandrivka settlements,” the Ukrainian Army General Staff said in a message on its Facebook account. “The enemy is concentrating its efforts on gaining full control of the city of Severodonetsk,” he added.
Friday will mark four months of the war that Vladimir Putin launched against Ukraine, which he called a “special military operation.” As casualties on both sides fall, President Zelenksi has called on his Western allies to speed up the shipment of heavy weapons to deal with Moscow’s troops. “We have to liberate our country and achieve victory, but faster, much faster,” the president said in a video posted on Telegram of him on Thursday.
In its report this Thursday, British intelligence services have warned that Russian troops have advanced more than five kilometers towards Lisichansk since last Sunday. “The improvement in the results of the Russian army is probably due to the reinforcements it has recently received and the intense concentration of fire,” say the British, who despite everything add that Russia has not yet achieved its plans to surround the entire western part from the Donetsk region.
The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) sees it as possible that the Russians will arrive in Lisichansk in the coming days. Russian air defense systems in the east limit the effectiveness of Ukrainian drones, undermining one of the keys that has helped kyiv in this war. thinktank American. The agency quotes anonymous Ukrainian sources assuring that their country’s forces have stopped using the Turkish Bayraktar drones, highly effective in the first phase of the war, due to improvements in Russia’s defense capacity.
The kyiv forces have also reduced the number of daily air operations to a range of 20 to 30 and are also facing a problem of lack of pilots for the available planes. “However, the Ukrainian air force and its drones are still active in other parts of the country, causing severe damage to targets in Kherson province. [al sur del país] last week,” adds the ISW.
The offensive is also intensifying in Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city, in the northeast of the country, very close to the Russian border. According to the governor of this province, Oleh Siniehubov, a Russian attack on Wednesday night has injured five people, including two children, in the nearby town of Pechenihi. The attack has destroyed several houses, as assured by the governor.
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