Russian forces attacked especially in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk to prepare for an armored thrust that will attempt to seize more territory. This was the new phase of the five-month-old war.
According to the Russian military and the local governor, the strikes were in response to Moscow’s capture on Sunday of Lysychansk, Ukraine’s city. This gave Moscow complete control over the Luhansk region. It was one of its main war goals.
Moscow’s “special military operation” also aims to take Donetsk under its control, which is the other Donbas region. This industrialized eastern part of Ukraine has been the scene of the largest battle in Europe for generations.
According to Serhiy Gadai, the Ukrainian governor in Luhansk, Ukrainian forces that retreated from Lysychansk over the weekend, took up new defensive lines at Donetsk on Tuesday.
The Russian defense ministry, which claims it doesn’t target residential areas, replied that it used high-precision weapons against command centers and artillery in Donetsk where Ukraine still controls large cities. Also states that President Vladimir Putin instructed troops in Luhansk to rest and recover military readiness, while other units continue fighting.
On Monday, a Reuters reporter visited Lysychansk to find widespread destruction and few people in a city once home to almost 100,000 people. Oleksiy Arestovych (an adviser to President Volodymyr Zeleskiy) said that “This is Russia’s last victory on Ukrainian territory.” He made these remarks in an online video. He also stated that, in addition to the battle for Donetsk and the launch of counter-offensives by Ukraine.
Military experts believed that the Russian forces had not gained any strategic advantages from the hard-fought victory, which was why the outcome of what is being called the “battle for the Donbas” was still in doubt.
Neil Melvin, RUSI think-tank in London, said that “I believe it’s a tactical victory for Russia but with an enormous cost.” He compared the battle with the massive territorial gains and the fights for them that marked World War One.
He said that while the Russians might declare victory, the crucial war battle was still to come.
Melvin stated that the decisive battle against Ukraine would not be in the east, where Russia is mounting its main attack, but in the south, where Ukraine has launched a counter-offensive to retake territory around Kherson.
He stated that “counter-attacks are starting there” and that it was most likely that the momentum would swing to Ukraine as it attempts to mount a large-scale counter-offensive in reply to Russia’s attack.
Zelenskyy stated Monday that, despite Ukraine withdrawing from Lysychansk’s territory, its troops continued fighting. He also stated in a video message that “The Armed Forces of Ukraine Respond and push back opposition forces with period of time.” We must break them. It’s a hard task. It takes time and requires superhuman effort. We have no other choice.