On Monday, July 4 Russian Federation (RF) forces completed occupation of the battleground town of Lysychansk, giving the Kremlin full control of Ukraine’s Luhansk Region.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu declared in a formal statement to President Vladimir Putin on July 3 that the territory was fully under Moscow’s control. In mid-April the Kremlin launched an offensive aimed at gaining control of Ukraine’s Luhansk and Donetsk Regions.
Lysychansk had been the only settlement in Luhansk Region still left under Ukraine Armed Forces (UAF) control. RF state-controlled news agencies said that the capture of Lysychansk was a major victory, and showed images of persons from the city declaring gratitude for “liberation” from Kyiv control.
According to a Sunday, July 3 statement from the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the Kremlin had made occupation of Lysychansk a top national military priority, and deployed two senior generals – Colonel General Oleksandr Lanin and General of Armies Sergei Suvorikin – directly to the Lysychansk sector to press for advance.
Reportedly, fighters drawn into RF forces from occupied Ukrainian territories, and security troops recruited in the RF’s Chechen territory, led Russian ground attacks into the town. Images made public by the RF-supported Luhansk regional television showed two badly-damaged UAF HUMMV automobiles captured by RF troops, and a flag-raising in front of Lysychansk city hall.
A July 3 evening statement by Ukraine’s Army General Staff (AGS) said UAF forces withdrew from Lysychansk due to superior RF firepower, limited UAF heavy weapons and the need to preserve UAF soldier lives.
“We will continue the fight. Unfortunately, for success iron will and patriotism are insufficient. We need material resources. The defenders of Luhansk and other regions of our country are heroically fulfilling their civil and military responsibilities.”
President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a July 3 evening statement the lives of soldiers were a top national priority and that Ukraine will recapture Lysychansk and other towns and cities occupied by RF forces.
The AGS statement said that RF forces south of Lysychansk were making assaults – thus far unsuccessful – to capture the village Bilohordivka and cut off UAF troops.
A situation estimate made public by the pro-Russia news platform Readovka on July 4 named the towns of Slovyansk, Bakhmut, Kramatorsk and Siversk as the next medium-term RF objectives.
UAF troops repelled RF attacks on both Saturday, July 2 and Sunday, July 3 against Bakhmut and Slovyansk, the ISW reported.
In mid-May the RF abandoned tactics of massed armored attacks across open ground, in favor of systematic heavy artillery bombardments designed to overwhelm narrow UAF defensive sectors, and followed by infantry to mop up.
The UAF, lacking sufficient guns and ammunition and aircraft to attack Russian artillery, has managed to slow down RF advances but struggled to stop them.
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