Ukraine war

Russia takes full control of Severodonetsk after one of the war's bloodiest battles

Both Ukraine and Russia say the city of Severodonetsk, which has been under bombardment for weeks, has now been seized by Russia. (File Photo/RNZ)

Saturday, Russian forces seized complete control of the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk, according to both sides, confirming Kyiv's most significant combat setback in more than a month after weeks of some of the fiercest fighting of the conflict.

Ukraine termed its withdrawal from the city a "tactical withdrawal" to fight from higher ground in Lysychansk, located on the opposite side of the Siverskyi Donets River. According to pro-Russian rebels, Moscow's military is currently attacking Lysychansk.

The fall of Severodonetsk, once home to more than 100,000 people, but now a wasteland was Russia's greatest win since last month's capture of the port of Mariupol. It changed the eastern battlefield after weeks, in which Moscow's enormous superiority in weaponry produced only gradual gains.

Russia will now attempt to advance and conquer more territory on the opposite side. At the same time, Ukraine will hope that the price Moscow paid to capture the rubble of the little city will leave its forces exposed to counterattack.

In a video message, President Volodymyr Zelensky declared that Ukraine would retake the cities it had lost, including Severodonetsk. However, recognizing the emotional toll of the battle, he stated, "We don't have a sense of how long it will last, how many more blows, losses, and efforts will be needed before we see victory is on the horizon."

"The city is now under the full occupation of Russia," Severodonetsk Mayor Oleksandr Stryuk declared on Russian national television. They are attempting to build their order and, as far as I am aware, have nominated a commandant.

Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine's military intelligence, told Reuters that Ukraine was "a tactical regrouping" by withdrawing its forces from Severodonetsk.

"Russia is using the tactic ... it used in Mariupol: wiping the city from the face of the earth," he claimed.

"Given the circumstances, it is no longer possible to hold the defense in the ruins and open fields. Therefore, the Ukrainian soldiers are moving to higher terrain in order to conduct defense operations."

As a result of successful offensive operations, Russian forces have complete control of Severodonetsk and the adjacent town of Borivske, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Interfax, a Russian news agency, claimed a pro-Russian separatist fighter stated that Russian and pro-Russian forces had crossed the river and were battling in urban areas in Lysychansk.

Saturday also saw Russia launch missiles throughout Ukraine. At least three persons were killed, and others may be buried in the wreckage when missiles struck a carwash and a car repair facility in the town of Sarny, around 300 kilometers west of Kyiv, according to the director of the regional military administration.

Russia denies civilian targeting. According to Kyiv and the West, Russian forces perpetrated war crimes against civilians.

A source familiar with the situation told Reuters that US Vice President Joe Biden and other Group of Seven leaders attending a summit in Germany beginning today would agree to a restriction on importing additional gold from Russia.


Elena, an older woman in a wheelchair from Lysychansk, was among scores of evacuees arriving by bus at the Ukrainian-held Donbas town of Pokrovsk.

"Lysychansk, the previous week was a nightmare. Yesterday, we had reached our breaking point "She stated, "I already told my husband if I die, please bury me behind the house."

Russian missiles poured down on the country's western, northern, and southern regions as the most significant land combat in Europe since World War II entered its fifth month.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin deployed tens of thousands of troops across the border, igniting a battle that has left thousands dead and millions displaced. In addition, it has exacerbated the energy and food crises that are roiling the global economy.

Since Russia's soldiers were defeated in their March attack on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, it has moved its attention to the Donbas, an eastern region comprised of the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces. Severodonetsk and Lysychansk were the final significant Ukrainian strongholds in Luhansk.

In recent days, Russian forces have crossed the river and marched towards Lysychansk, threatening to encircle Ukrainians in the region.

Russia is likely to view the seizure of Severodonetsk as vindication for its decision to pivot from an early, unsuccessful attempt at "lightning warfare" to a relentless, grinding attack with huge artillery in the east.

Moscow asserts that Luhansk and Donetsk, where it has supported uprisings since 2014, are sovereign nations. It requires Ukraine to turn over the entirety of the two provinces to separatist authorities.

Ukrainian leaders never had high hopes for retaining Severodonetsk, but they have aimed to exact a price high enough to exhaust the Russian troops.

Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, the top general of Ukraine, posted on the Telegram app that newly-deployed, US-supplied HIMARS rocket launchers were now targeting targets in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine.

When asked about the possibility of a counterattack in the south, Budanov, the head of Ukrainian military intelligence, told Reuters that Ukraine will begin to see results "from August."

Overnight, Russian missiles also struck other locations. "48 cruise missiles. At night. In the entirety of Ukraine, "Mykhailo Podolyak, a presidential adviser in Ukraine, stated on Twitter. "Russia is still trying to intimidate Ukraine, cause panic."

The governor of the western Ukrainian region of Lviv stated that six missiles were launched from the Black Sea near the Polish border. Two of the four that impacted the target were destroyed.

The war has significantly influenced the global economy and European security, driving up the price of gas, oil, and food, compelling the European Union to lessen its dependency on Russian energy, and causing Finland and Sweden to seek NATO membership.

Publish : 2022-06-26 08:55:00

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