Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies.
Date: 24 May 2022 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński
Russian Troops Want To Cut Off Ukrainians By Donets River
With their attacks on the town of Popasna, Russian forces possibly seek to cut off the Severodonetsk-based Ukrainian battalion on the Donets River from the rest of the country. Perhaps the Russians would cut Ukrainian forces off between the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. But what is advantageous to Ukrainian is the geographical location of the northern wing, where the swampy valley of the Donets River is a major obstacle for Russian battalions.
Russia is advancing in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region to capture at least the whole Luhansk region. Ukrainian forces now control just 10 percent of the region, with some areas stretching south of the town of Popasna and north of it, running from Zoloty to Pryvillia. Many of these villages and towns––of which Lysychank is the biggest––lie on the western bank of the Donets River contrary to the eastern part that includes Severodonetsk, among others. Russian forces are now targeting areas west and northwest of Popasna to cut off routes linking Bakhmut, Lysychansk, and Severodonetsk. But it is unlikely for Ukrainians to be cut off as from the north they are covered in a woody and swampy shore of the Seversky Donets River. Russian troops on May 8 suffered heavy losses in a fatal river crossing. Despite that, while advancing towards Sloviansk and Lyman, Russian forces are seeking to cross the river as they have already massed equipment, according to the Ukrainian military. The Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk is under near-constant shelling by Russia as was Mariupol weeks ago. As the Ukrainian stronghold is fighting fiercely on the eastern bank of the Donets River, Russia is making slowed territorial gains while Ukraine has more time to stage a counteroffensive campaign. The right flank also stretching towards Izium has been under Russian attack. The Ukrainian army said Russia was preparing to resume an offensive on Sloviansk that had been halted several days before. But Russia is now unlikely to consider cutting Ukrainian forces off along a route linking Izium, Sloviansk, and Debaltseve and seize the whole Donetsk region.
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