According to Serhiy Haidai, head of the Luhansk military administration, more than 350,000 people still remain in territories occupied by Russian forces in Luhansk Region.
In 2014, Luhansk Region had 2.25 million people before the partial occupation of the territory by Russia. After 2014, 30% of Luhansk Region was occupied. This occupied 30% included the largest cities, such as Alchevsk, Stakhanov, Luhansk, and 650,000 people still lived on the territory controlled by Ukraine, plus 200,000 were registered as internally displaced persons.
After February 24, when the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine began, the Ukrainian military had to leave some of the territory because the Russian army was attacking from all sides with a lot of equipment, and the Ukrainian army would not be able to hold such a huge, stretched defense line.
Haidai says that the fact that Ukrainian troops retreated to Kreminna and Rubizhne was a good thing, because it enabled the Ukrainian army to hold the defense line for five months. The majority of people living on those territories where the active phase of hostilities took place, cities like Kreminna, Rubizhne, Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Zolote, and Popasna, left.
The lives of people in those areas where the active phase of hostilities took place became extremely difficult because everything was destroyed – infrastructure, water and gas supply, the sewage system. The situation is a little easier in the areas which the Ukrainian military left, as there were no hostilities, so the infrastructure survived. But in big cities like Rubizhne, Lysychansk and Severodonetsk there is no way of guaranteeing heating for the coming winter.
At the start of July, the Ukrainian military was forced to leave Severodonetsk. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that this decision was made due to an unequal balance of power with Russia and the desire to save people and resources.
Russian troops had multiple superiority in artillery, aviation, multiple launch rocket systems and manpower.
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