Ukraine Has a Problem – Russia Closes In On Severodonetsk – Severodonetsk, a city in the separatist Luhansk Oblast of Ukraine, is now almost entirely controlled by Russian forces. After weeks of intense fighting in the region, which Russian President Vladimir Putin declared “independent” in a presidential decree in February, Russian troops are now preparing to encircle the city and take full control.
Fighting continued over the city in the eastern parts of the city, where Ukrainian troops are still defending their positions and fighting back against invaders.
“The situation remains difficult. Fighting continues, but unfortunately, most of the city is under Russian control. Some positional battles are taking place in the streets,” Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said over the weekend, adding that Russian troops were using “highly destructive thermobaric rocket artillery.”
The thermobaric rockets in use make it easy for Russian troops to clear larger sections of land, creating larger, hotter, and more destructive blasts with each strike. Thermobaric warheads create clouds of flammable gas, which are ignited during each strike.
“Unfortunately, enemy artillery is simply dismantling floor-to-floor buildings that are used as shelters. In this sense, it is difficult because the enemy will be knocked out of one street, and then they will start dismantling neighborhoods house by house with tanks, artillery and grads,” Haidai added.
Ukraine’s Zelenskyy Praises Remaining Fighters Surrounded By Russians
During his Saturday night address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised the Ukrainian troops still in the region defending against the Russians.
Zelenskyy said that he was proud of the defenders who “could stop the advance of these hostile people, these occupiers, for many weeks and keep our defense strong,” adding that Severodonetsk is the “epicenter of the confrontation in Donbas.”
The fight in Severodonetsk is significant. As Russian troops encircle Severodonetsk, the Kremlin inches closer to achieving its goal of “liberating” the self-styled People’s Republic of Luhansk, a separatist region in Ukraine fighting to gain independence from the country.
Russia Will Soon Control Luhansk Region in Ukraine
On Sunday, Russian forces struck a second bridge leading into the city, stopping Ukrainian forces from resupplying troops remaining in the city and making it extremely difficult for Ukraine to stop Russia’s progress in the region. After heavy artillery bombardment, Russia is on track to encircle and take control of Severodonetsk in the coming days or weeks.
In a Facebook post, the Ukrainian military’s commander-in-chief Valeriy Zaluzhny said that Russia’s artillery systems and capabilities in the region gave them a tenfold advantage.
“Despite everything, we continue to hold positions,” Zaluzhny said on social media. “Every meter of Ukrainian land there is covered in blood – but not only ours, but also the occupier’s.”
Not only does Russia have an advantage in Severodonetsk, but one U.S. official told The Washington Post last week that Russia will likely control the entire Luhansk region very soon.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the senior U.S. official said that the Luhansk Oblast will be controlled by Russia within a matter of weeks – finally giving the Kremlin a victory to announce to the world and the Russian people.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.