News from the battlefield: Ukraine may soon lose another major city

Note: The following overview does not claim to be complete. It is undoubtedly lagging behind the actual development of events and will certainly be inaccurate in some respects. A number of claims by the warring parties can only be confirmed with a delay, if at all. Sources are linked by clicking in the text.

Really significant events on the Ukrainian front in recent days have been concentrated in a small part of the Donbas front southeast of the city of Lysychansk. The concentrated pressure of the invasion units “squeezed” the Ukrainian front to such an extent that after leaving North Donetsk, they will probably force the Ukrainian units to unexpectedly retreat from another large city.

In today’s overview of the development at the front, with one exception at the end, we will basically focus only on this section of the front. We do not have reliable information about major changes even in the northern part of the front near Kharkiv, or in the more southern sections around Zaporizhia and Kherson.

Shelling continued along the entire front, but major actions by ground troops took place only in a few sections of the roughly 1,300-kilometer-long line of contact between the two armies. The most important part of the front was the section southeast of the city of Lysyčansk.

As we wrote in the previous one text, in this area last week the Ukrainian units were able to retreat in a relatively orderly manner so that the detachments in the salient around the village of Zolote were not surrounded. It was certainly not without losses (mainly in terms of equipment), but even the Russian side was unable to come up with clear evidence that it captured a large number of Ukrainian soldiers or captured a large amount of equipment.

Apparently it fell into Russian hands Vovčajarivka located a few kilometers southwest of Lysyčansk. And on June 27, the invasion units reached the big one refineries, which stands northwest of Vovchayarivka, and which was important for the Ukrainian defense. It is not clear whether the Russians have full control of the refinery, but they seem to be holding a firm position there. On place there was also a Russian intelligence staff.

All this means that the occupation troops have a very good view of the last road, which is used to supply the defenders in Lysyčansk. Transporting ammunition, reinforcements and evacuating the wounded are extremely difficult. This is evidenced, among other things, by tweet the governor of the Luhansk region Serhiy Hajday: even if the city is not completely surrounded, the evacuation of the remaining civilians is not possible because it would be too dangerous.

In practice, various field roads around Lysyčansk will undoubtedly be used for supply, but the fact remains that the terrain is quite clear for Russian observers and the remaining corridor is relatively narrow. It is not even 15 kilometers wide.

In the very northeastern corner of the spur of the Ukrainian front around Lysychansk, an unknown number of Russian troops also apparently managed to cross the River Siversky Donets. Fighting is taking place in the area around the village Privyllja on the Ukrainian shore.

When will it be?

Lysyčany is therefore very soon threatened with a similar fate as Severodonetsk after the destruction of all the bridges connecting it to the Ukrainian shore. The remaining units will have to withdraw before they run out of ammunition and fuel to avoid being destroyed.

It is not clear when this may have happened. In the past few days, it seemed that the retreat would come very soon. Video recordings of several columns of T-64 tanks and mechanized infantry driving towards the city of Bakhmut, i.e. into the Ukrainian hinterland, appeared. (Several of these columns were also hit by Russian artillery fire and there was loss of life, which is almost inevitable in such situations.)

See also  EU under pressure to close borders to Russian tourists - NRK Urix - Foreign news and documentaries

Even considering that the Ukrainian troops launched a small counterattack from Lysyčansk towards the southeast, it does not seem that the command is thinking of an immediate retreat at the moment. On the other hand, if the invasion units advance some more, the eventual withdrawal of the units from Lysyčansk would be very complicated, slow, and thus probably associated with greater losses. So the Ukrainian retreat is likely to happen soon.

Where can it be? That is still an open question. At a glance, a logical retreat towards the line roughly between the towns of Siversk and Bachmut would be. It has been heavily fortified in recent months, so there are good footholds there. On the contrary, the great disadvantage is that this line lies in the valley that connects the two cities, so that Russian observers would have an unobstructed view of the defenders’ positions.

Away from Snake Island

As you probably know, Russian forces on June 30 downloaded from Snake (or Viper) Island. The Russian ministry called it a “gesture of goodwill”. Basically, according to the official statement, it is supposed to support a safe corridor for the export of agricultural crops from Ukraine.

The Russian command did not admit that the Ukrainian attacks on the island in recent weeks had any part in its decision, but that is to be expected. The island was attacked by both manned and unmanned machines of the Ukrainian Air Force, but cannons apparently played a crucial role in this part of the battlefield.

The island was within range of Ukrainian artillery, and French Caesar howitzers, which have been very successful in Ukraine so far, were apparently deployed for the attack. Even according to Russian military bloggers (Rybar, Kotenok), who obviously have good resources in the local army, the deployment of these weapons from around Odessa was crucial. In addition, their artillery was evidently managed to be effectively coordinated and controlled with the help of drones, which the Russian air force and air defense could not eliminate.

See also  U.S. stock market key news digest July 22, 2022 | Anue - U.S. stock market

The island is small, there is nowhere to hide from drones and cannons. If Moscow were to send additional troops and equipment to the island under the current balance of forces in the area, it would basically only provide Ukrainian artillery with new targets.

According to some observers in the case of Snake Island, the roles were practically completely reversed, as we know them mainly from the Donbas front: the Ukrainian side had an overwhelming artillery superiority, which was able to disrupt the Russian defense and force it to retreat.

Russia is said to be primarily focused on preventing Ukraine from directly occupying the island. It is not clear whether Ukraine will try to do this at all, the necessary forces could of course be deployed elsewhere. For example, the mentioned Caesars could be useful in the Donbass, or during a possible offensive in the Kherson region, which is very often speculated about.

However, the departure of the occupiers from Hádí ostrov will not fundamentally change the situation in the Black Sea. For example, the American think tank ISW in its analysis of the situation on the battlefield statesthat the retreat from the island itself will not end the naval blockade.

Russian forces have access to land-based anti-ship systems in Crimea and the western Kherson region that reach as far as Ukrainian ports. And of course, Russia can use the remaining ships of the Black Sea Fleet, which have withdrawn far from Ukrainian shores due to fears of attacks, but they can still control shipping routes to Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine

Photo: Nadiiiya, Shutterstock.com

.

We summarize the most important events in Ukraine every weekday in the newsletter Dot. Sign up for a subscription.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.