Russian troops threaten the city of Lysychansk in the Lugansk region from the south after capturing Toshkivka. Lysychansk and Severodonetsk are the last two major cities still controlled by Ukraine in the province which, together with Donetsk, constitutes the Donbas industrial region. Separated by a river, they have become the stronghold of the Ukrainian army in recent months as Russia seeks claim a political victory by finally capturing the province.
In Severodonetsk, fighting continues in the industrial zone, where more than 500 civilians and an unknown number of Ukrainian soldiers are based in the great chemical plant “Azov”. After Russia destroyed all the bridges over the river, only a limited connection to Lysychansk remains. The risk of a fence in the area is quite high, according to analysts. It seems, however, that the Ukrainian military hopes make Russia pay a heavy price for conquering the province and buy time while Ukraine hopes to receive more Western weapons and train its soldiers to use them. It is also trying to prevent Russia from directing more resources to Kharkiv and Kherson, where Ukraine has been slowly gaining ground in recent weeks.
The losses of the Russian side are really high. More than 11,000 people, 55% of the original fighting force of the Russian-controlled so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, were killed or wounded. LA RAZÓN previously reported that men in Donetsk are being taken off the streets, from their workplaces and universities and sent to the front lines with little or no training and with outdated weapons.
The Institute for the Study of War reports that Russia is reshuffling its military leadership once again, which may point to dissatisfaction with Russia’s high losses in Donbas. While avoiding the announcement of a general mobilization to replenish its battered troops, Russia is trying to recruit mercenaries and military reserves. According to the Ukrainian military, a 15,000-strong unit is being prepared in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, which could be used to attack Kyiv.
Before Vladimir Putin’s visit to Belarus, Ukraine’s smaller neighbor announced military exercises near the Ukrainian border. Until now, Belarus has not sent its soldiers to Ukraine. Polls show that their general population opposes military involvement. Its dictator, Alexander Lukashenko, who is counting on Putin’s support to stay in power after barely surviving last year’s mass protests, appears intent on avoiding engagement in the war. However, the country’s infrastructure has been widely used by Russian ground and air forces to launch attacks on Ukrainian soil.
Meanwhile, the organization “Doctors Without Borders”, which runs a hospital train that transports wounded civilians to hospitals in safer areas of Ukraine, said it saw signs of a “scandalous level” of “indiscriminate violence” being exerted on civilians in Ukraine. More than 40% of the 650 people evacuated were the elderly and children. Most of them, 73%, suffered blast injuries, while more than 10% lost at least one limb. Many patients speak of the indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and evacuation convoys by Russian troops.
In one of the main examples of bombing this week, at least 15 people were killed in the eastern Kharkiv region. Thousands of people have returned to their homes in the area since Ukraine managed to drive the Russian army out of the city, but their hope of returning to normal life is continually dashed by Russian missile and artillery attacks.
Nine rockets hit Mikholaiv throughout the morning against different targets near the port, such as this fuel depot. The front is 40 km away but the city suffers daily attacks. pic.twitter.com/CaaaShrRnA
— Maria Eulate (@mariaeulate) June 22, 2022
The city of Mikolayiv, in the south of the country, suffered a massive missile attack on Wednesday. Russia tries to destroy the infrastructure of the city, located about 40 kilometers from the front line. Ukrainian troops are trying to get closer to Kherson, the only regional center captured by Russia since the beginning of the invasion. There are indications of a possible partisan war in the zone occupied by Russia. The car of a Russian-appointed official was blown up in Chornobaivka on Wednesday.