Russia today took the city of Lisichansk and with it the entire eastern region of Lugansk, although kyiv assures that its last bastion in this province has not fallen “totally” and that in any case the fight for Donbas has not ended.
After 130 days of war, the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, informed the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, “of the liberation of the Lugansk People’s Republic”, recognized as independent by the Kremlin three days before launching his war against Ukraine, on February 24, reported that department.
Shoigu made this announcement after assuring that Lisichansk had fallen after Russian troops entered the city and closed the siege around the city.RELATED
The Russian Minister of Defense affirmed that the troops have established control over 182 square kilometers in the last day.
Shoigu told Putin that “as a result of successful military operations, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, together with units of the People’s Militia of the Lugansk People’s Republic, have established full control over the city of Lisichansk and a number of nearby towns (…)”.
Lisichansk is the twin city of Severodonetsk, from which Ukrainian forces withdrew a week ago and which took more than a month for Russian troops to capture.
The head of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic, Leonid Paséchnik, wrote on Telegram that this day will be marked in red on the calendar “of our homeland” after having “fought for this for eight years” – since the conflict between the Army Ukrainian and separatist forces in Donbas.
“This party, as in the distant 1945 (with the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany), also makes us cry with happiness (…),” he said.
Capture or fight within the city?
Shoigu’s announcement came an hour after his spokesman assured in his war report that Russian troops and pro-Russian units were “fighting inside Lisichansk and finishing off the defeat of the surrounded enemy.”
On Saturday, the forces of the pro-Russian Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, other Russian and separatist military units from Lugansk entered the city, from which they recorded and broadcast several videos, one of which with the flags waving in front of the Lisichansk administrative building.
The US Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said today that geolocated images showed Russian forces “walking through the northern and southeastern neighborhoods of Lisichansk in a manner that suggests there are few or no Ukrainian forces left.” in the city since yesterday.
Only early this Sunday, the governor of Lugansk, Serhiy Gaidai, admitted that the Russians had established positions in the Lisichansk district and were “gaining ground in the city.”
Ukraine denies the total fall of the city
The spokesman for the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, Yuri Sak, denied in the afternoon that Russia had achieved “total control” of Lisichansk, although he hinted that the soldiers could have withdrawn from the town to other positions.
“For Ukrainians, the value of human life is a top priority, so sometimes we can withdraw from certain areas in order to retake them in the future,” he said.
He admitted that the situation has been “very intense for a long time” in Lisichansk, as Russian forces have attacked it “without stopping”.
And the battle for the entire Donbas region, also made up of the neighboring Donetsk region, “is not over yet,” he said.
As the governor of the province, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said at the end of June, kyiv still controls 45% of the territory.
Large Ukrainian-controlled cities have been “the target of several missile attacks and artillery shelling in recent days,” Sak said.
Objectives: Siversk, Slovyank and Kramatorsk
This same Sunday in a Russian attack in Sloviansk -along with Kramatorsk the main Ukrainian stronghold in the Donetsk region-, at least six people died and another 15 were injured, according to Tetyana Ignatchenko, spokesman for the regional administration.
The city’s mayor, Vadym Lyakh, wrote on his Facebook account that it was the “biggest mass bombing in recent times” against Sloviansk.
In Kramatorsk, kyiv’s military center in the province, Kyrylenko today denounced three Smerch missile attacks on the city.
As indicated on his Telegram channel, one of the missiles destroyed a hotel and a residential complex and the other two fell on the street in a residential area.
According to data provided by the governor today, since the Russian invasion began, shelling in the Donetsk region has killed 554 civilians and injured 1,442 others, although the number of casualties in Mariupol is unknown. where the mayor has calculated the number of deaths at about 20,000.
Russia would now be on the administrative border with Donetsk after allegedly taking control of towns in neighboring Lugansk close to the border, such as Verkhniokamyanka, Zolotarivka and Bilhorivka.
The General Staff of Ukraine acknowledged today in its evening report only the loss of Zolotarivka.
Russia’s goal now is to push into Donetsk province from the west.
The ISW believes that Russian forces will now push towards Siversk, across the border and some 44 kilometers from Sloviansk.
kyiv, meanwhile, is waiting for more long-range weapons from the West to arrive at the front, in order to accumulate enough firepower to launch counterattacks that allow the liberation of the occupied territories, the Ukrainian defense spokesman reiterated today. EFE
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