Russia’s defense minister said Russian forces took control Sunday of the last major Ukrainian-held city in Ukraine’s Luhansk province, bringing Moscow closer to its stated goal of seizing all of Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region.
Taking Lysychansk in Ukraine’s Luhansk region constitutes “the liberation of the Luhansk People’s Republic,” one of two separatist regions in Ukraine that Russia recognizes as sovereign, a ministry statement said.
Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, said during an online interview late Saturday that Russian forces had managed for the first time to cross the river from the north, creating a “threatening” situation. that the city’s fate could be determined within days.
Arestovych said the course of the fighting indicated the battle for Lysychansk would be decided by Monday.
Luhansk and neighboring Donetsk are the two provinces that make up the industrial Donbas, where Russia has focused its offensive since pulling back from northern Ukraine and the capital, Kyiv, in the spring. (AP Report)
Wall Street Journal reports: The shifting nature of the war in Ukraine has prompted a split among analysts and U.S. lawmakers, with some questioning whether American officials have portrayed the crisis in overly rosy terms while others say the government in Kyiv can win with more help from the West.
The growing conjecture comes more than four months after Russia’s invasion and its failure to seize the capital. Russian President Vladimir Putin has since narrowed its objectives, focusing on capturing eastern Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region while launching thousands of artillery rounds per day at outgunned Ukrainian forces.
President Biden, speaking Thursday at a summit of NATO leaders, said the United States is “rallying the world to stand with Ukraine” and pledged to support the cause “as long as it takes.”
“I don’t know … how it’s going to end,” the president said, “but it will not end with a Russian defeat of Ukraine in Ukraine.” More here >
An analyst based in Asia Pacific adds: With large tranches of NATO armaments coming Ukraine’s way, a war of attrition by artillery/missiles slugfest could drag on for months. In Madrid last week, NATO leaders pledged aid as long as is needed. Ukraine will be ruined if only partly defeated. But the post-Soviet US-led world order seems to be dead – with a new bipolarity in its place.