Why Lysychansk City is a Grand Prize in Putin’s War Strategy

Russia’s complete control of the Ukrainian city of Lysychansk seems to be a foregone conclusion: the Soviet flag was flying in the center and the Ukrainian army had withdrawn.

Moscow is boasting of victory, in statements clarifying that the battle took place in more than one city. Its capture gave Russia an important victory in its attempt to capture the entire Donbas region, in eastern Ukraine.

The Donbas, which includes the territories of Luhansk and Donetsk, is an award for Russian President Putin. After failing to topple the Ukrainian government in Kyiv, Mr Putin has refocused his military campaign on the Donbas, which occupies about 9% of Ukraine’s land but is important to industry. its intelligence and potential as a bargaining chip for Moscow.

Donbas borders Russia and runs from outside Mariupol in the south to the northern border near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city. Home to coal and steel mines, an estimated 6.2 million people lived in the area before the Russian invasion, according to the most recent figures. census data.

Kremlin-backed separatists have held territory in the Donbas since 2014, after Russia annexed Crimea, a move that Ukraine and its Western allies consider illegal. The proxies occupied more than a third of the Donbas at that time and declared two breakaway republics; they have been waging a civil war against the Ukrainian government ever since.

More than 14,000 people died in fighting in the Donbas between 2014 and last year. But the battle actually came to a standstill – despite the battle with sporadic and deadly shelling along the roughly 250-mile line known as the line of communication – until Russia invaded Ukraine on the 24th. February.

Show Russian forces and their separatist allies control about 80 arrive 90 percent of Donbas, according to Ukrainian officials.

To fully control Luhansk, Russia first concentrated all of its forces in the city of Sievierodonetsk, just across the river from Lysychansk. After capturing that city and finally gaining control on June 24, Russian forces kept an eye on neighboring Lysychansk.

These two cities are the last major population centers in the Luhansk province under Ukrainian control. Now with both in hand, Russia effectively controls all the resource-rich and regroupable regions – with Donetsk in hand.

Control of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk meant that Russia could deploy its forces to attack cities in the southwest, especially Sloviansk, Kramatorsk and Bakhmut.

Kramatorsk is one of the last major cities still under Ukrainian control in Donetsk. If Kramatorsk falls, Putin’s forces will control the entire Donbas region.

That is important from a provisioning point of view as well as a symbolic one. Putin can claim a tangible military victory and use the territory like leverage in any future peace talks with Ukraine. Holding Donbas would also expand Moscow’s “land bridge” linking Russian territory to Crimea.

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