Ukrainian civilians are reportedly stuck in the city of Lysychansk as Russian soldiers continue their slow and steady progress across Ukraine’s contested eastern regions. In a video shared on Telegram this week, regional Luhansk governor Sergiy Gaiday explained how the city has withstood shelling from many directions in recent weeks.
“There is a lot of shelling and from multiple directions,” the Ukrainian politician said. “The Russian army is approaching from different directions towards Lysychansk.”
According to reports, Russian forces are presently on the outskirts of the city, but are ready to make advances. If successful, it would be the last major city that the Russians need to conquer in order to take control of Luhansk. That means one of the self-styled people’s republics in Donbas, which Putin declared independent in his February 2022 decree, will be successfully “liberated” by the Russians.
In his Telegram post, regional Governor Gaiday said that the shelling on the city so far has been “very powerful” and that it is “no longer possible to evacuate.”
Before the war, the city had a population of roughly 100,000 people. Today, that number has dwindled to 15,000, and many of those people still want to leave.
The chances of those citizens leaving easily, however, are low. Russian forces have consistently sabotaged agreed humanitarian routes since the early days of the war, and Gaiday stressed just how many Russian military vehicles are now surrounding the city.
“We can simply say that the Russians are very numerous and are arriving from all sides,” he said. “There’s an incredible number of vehicles and artillery.”
Russia Redirects Efforts to Lysychansk
After taking full control of the city of Severodonetsk, Russian troops are now able to redirect all of their military focus on the city of Lysychansk. Russian forces conquered Severodonetsk after destroying all bridges to the city, effectively blocking Ukrainian troops from receiving aid, fuel, and additional weaponry to keep up the fight against the invaders.
Severodonetsk is Lysychansk’s twin city, sitting on the west bank of the Siverskyi Donets River that lies between the two cities. After easily taking control of Severodonetsk – although not without much destruction and death – analysts believe that Russia is perfectly capable of taking control of this city next.
Once Russia takes control of the city, Putin will finally have a victory he can take back to the Russian people to justify the catastrophic damage done to his nation’s economy and standing on the world stage. With the self-styled People’s Republic of Luhansk under Russian control, it may be the motivation the Russian military needs to do the same in the People’s Republic of Donetsk.
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.