Ukraine: the Russian noose tightens on Severodonetsk and Lysechhansk in the Donbass – 05/29/2022 at 11:17


Two Ukrainian soldiers walk on a road near a destroyed military vehicle in the village of Ruska Lozova, near Kharkiv in Ukraine, May 28, 2022 (AFP/Genya SAVILOV)

The battle for control of Donbass rages in eastern Ukraine, as Russian forces close in on the relentlessly bombed major cities of Severodonetsk, and its twin city, Lyschansk.

The governor of the Lugansk region, Sergoic Gaidich, confirmed on Sunday on Telegram that the situation in Lysichansk had “significantly deteriorated”. “A Russian shell fell on an apartment building, and a girl died instantly, and four people were taken to hospital,” he added. The previous day had been “difficult” in the city according to Mr. Gidayi, who recalls the destroyed cinema and 22 damaged buildings.

In Severodonetsk, “the enemy carried out offensive operations,” according to a report of the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army published on Sunday. According to Governor Gaïdaï, the Russian offensive in the city continues with street fighting.

More than three months after the start of Moscow’s war on February 24, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Schulz asked Russian President Vladimir Putin – during a phone interview – to start “serious direct negotiations” with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr. Zelensky.

Putin assured his side that Russia remains “open to resuming dialogue” with Kyiv to settle the armed conflict, while peace negotiations with Ukraine have been stalled since March, according to the Kremlin.

– ‘Continuous bombing’ –

“Next week will be very difficult,” Governor Gaidi admitted on Saturday, considering however that the Russian forces “will not be able to achieve everything they plan in the near future.”

“The Russians have brought a lot of means to take the city by storm, but they can’t do it yet,” said the mayor of Severodonetsk, Oleksandr Stryuk, for his part. “We believe the city will resist,” he insisted. He warned of the deteriorating health situation in this city, which had a population of 100,000 people before the war.

He wrote on his Telegram account on Saturday evening that the “continuous bombing” significantly complicates the supply – especially drinking water – to the city, which has been without electricity for more than two weeks. He pointed to the suspension of the activity of the “Humanitarian Aid Center” in the city.

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed, in a press release published on Sunday morning, that the Russian army destroyed “with high-precision long-range missiles an important arsenal of the Ukrainian Armed Forces”, in the Dnipropetrovsk region (southeast).

These missiles have also in the past 24 hours targeted a Ukrainian air defense system near Mykolaivka in the Donetsk region, a radar station in the Kharkiv region and five ammunition depots including near Severodonetsk, according to the same press release.

Lyssychansk and Severodonetsk, the main cities in eastern Ukraine located on both sides of the Siversky Donets, are threatened with encirclement by Russian forces and pro-Russian separatists, who seek to establish complete control of the Donbass mining basin.

A man walks past a factory destroyed by bombing in Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, on May 27, 2022 (AFP/Aris Messinis)

A man walks past a factory destroyed by bombing in Bakhmut, eastern Ukraine, on May 27, 2022 (AFP/Aris Messinis)

The leader of the Russian Republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, for his part, claimed Saturday evening in Telegram that “Severodonetsk is under our complete control (…) and the city has been liberated.”

A little further west, the Russian Defense Ministry on Saturday confirmed the capture of a key locality of Lyman – opening the way to the major cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, in the Donbass.

The territorial defense of this “self-proclaimed” republic by pro-Russian separatists on Friday indicated on Telegram the “full control” of the Lyman, “with the support” of the Russian army.

Map of eastern Ukraine and zoom in on the Severodonetsk and Lesichansk sites (AFP/)

Map of eastern Ukraine and zoom in on the Severodonetsk and Lesichansk sites (AFP/)

The Commander of the Armed Forces of the Central Military District of Russia, General Alexander Lapin, on Sunday praised the “courage and heroism” of the Russian soldiers who participated in the capture of Lyman, quoted by the Russian Defense Ministry in a press release.

On Sunday, the Ukrainian military noted that the regrouping of Russian forces was “getting stronger” in this sector.

A man walks past a school destroyed by bombs in Bakhmout, Donbass (eastern Ukraine), on May 28, 2022 (AFP/ARIS MESSINIS)

A man walks past a school destroyed by bombs in Bakhmout, Donbass (eastern Ukraine), on May 28, 2022 (AFP/ARIS MESSINIS)

President Zelensky admitted that “the situation in this Donbas region (was) very difficult”, with intense artillery and missile bombardment. But he estimated that “if the occupiers thought that Lyman and Severodonetsk would be theirs, they were mistaken. And Donbass would be Ukrainian.”

After the failed attacks on Kyiv and Kharkiv (northeast) at the beginning of the war, Russian forces were concentrated in eastern Ukraine, with the declared aim of capturing all of Donbass, partly controlled since 2014 by pro-Russian separatists with the support of Moscow.

– Facing the Flood –

While Ukraine, a major agricultural power, is no longer able to export its grain due to the closure of its ports, Vladimir Putin, during his conversation with his French and German counterparts, stressed that his country is “ready” to help export “without hindrances”. Grain from Ukraine.

“Russia is ready to help find options for the unhindered export of grain, including Ukrainian grain, from the Black Sea ports,” the Kremlin statement stated.

For Mr. Putin, the difficulties with food delivery were caused by the “wrong economic and financial policy of Western countries, as well as by the sanctions against Russia” that these countries imposed.

An elderly woman rests on a bench in a stadium, in front of bomb-damaged buildings in Mochon, near Kyiv in Ukraine, on May 27, 2022 (AFP/Sergei CHUZAVKOV)

An elderly woman rests on a bench in a stadium, in front of bomb-damaged buildings in Mochon, near Kyiv in Ukraine, on May 27, 2022 (AFP/Sergei CHUZAVKOV)

He also considered “it is dangerous to continue dumping Ukraine with Western weapons,” warning of the dangers of “further destabilization,” according to the Kremlin.

US media have claimed that Washington is preparing to deliver Long-Range Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) to Kyiv, which it is desperately demanding to counter the deluge of Russian fire.

But Pentagon spokesman John Kirby did not confirm the dispatch of MLRS M270s – modern high-mobility vehicles with a launch range of 300 km – the press reported.

Leave a Comment