The Day After Severodonetsk
The Russian military is now in control of Severodonetsk after weeks of fierce fighting between the two sides. Now, the Russian forces are pushing toward Lysychansk and have reached the outskirts of the city.
In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defence focused on the Russian capture of Severodonetsk and how it falls into the Kremlin’s larger plan for the war in Ukraine.
“Most Ukrainian forces have likely withdrawn from their remaining defensive positions in the Donbas city of Sieverodonetsk. In April 2022, Russia revised its immediate campaign plan from aiming to occupy the majority of Ukraine, to a more focused offensive in the Donbas,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.
Initially, Moscow went to war with two main objectives in mind: first, topple and replace the Ukrainian government with a puppet regime that would be amenable to the Kremlin’s bid; and second, capture large chunks of Ukraine, including the industrial areas that are located primarily in the southeast of the country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Kremlin advisers thought that their “special military operation” would last anywhere from 72 hours to a couple of weeks maximum. Evidently, things did not go according to plan. Ukrainian resistance and commitment to repel the invaders were far stronger than expected.
As a result, Moscow’s goals had to be narrowed to eastern and southern Ukraine, where most of the fighting is now taking place. The capture of Severodonetsk is an important step to the overall Russian plan in the region but the cost in men, hardware, and time was too high to be replicated repeatedly against other Ukrainian cities.
“Russia’s capture of the city is a significant achievement within this reduced objective. The settlement was a major industrial centre and it occupies a strategic position on the Siverskyi Donets River,” the British Ministry of Defense added.
“However, it is only one of several challenging objectives Russia will need to achieve to occupy the whole of the Donbas region. These include advancing on the major centre of Kramatorsk and securing the main supply routes to Donetsk city,” the British Military Intelligence stated.
The Russian military continues to suffer heavy casualties in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Sunday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 34,850 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 217 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 184 attack and transport helicopters, 1,532 tanks, 764 artillery pieces, 3,659 armored personnel carriers, 243 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 14 boats and cutters, 2,564 vehicles and fuel tanks, 99 anti-aircraft batteries, 630 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 60 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 139 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.