Battle in Severodonetsk opens up imbalance between Russian and Ukrainian forces

Ukrainian forces reported this Monday () that they were expelled from the center of Severodonetsk, a key city in eastern Ukraine, in Luhansk, in the disputed Donbas. With munitions in short supply on the Ukrainian side of the fighting, the next few weeks could be decisive for the course of the war.

Ukrainian units in Severodonetsk were surrounded. As the leader of the pro-Russian separatists, Edouard Bassourine, published, “the Ukrainians have two options: surrender or die.”

“The enemy struck Severodonetsk, achieved partial success and expelled our forces from the downtown. Hostilities continue,” posted the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Facebook. “The Russians continue to destroy the city”, confirmed the governor of Luhansk, Serguiï Gaïdaï.

According to the Ukrainian army commander, Valeri Zaloujny, the Russians have a “ten against one” advantage in the region.

Severodonetsk chemical industries

The leader of the breakaway Luhansk region, Leoni Passetchnik, commented on social media last weekend, on the risks of accidents in Severodonetsk industries. “Our main objective is to clean up (Ukrainian fighters) without causing environmental disasters.”

In late May, the Russian attack hit a reservoir of nitric acid at the chemical plant in City. At the time, the Luhansk government warned the population not to leave the shelters and wear masks, due to the risk of intoxication.

The Ukrainian authorities are seeking to negotiate a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians. At the Azot plant, around 500 people would still be refugees, including 40 children. In the nearby city of Lyssytchansk, an exit route for the Ukrainians, three civilians died in the last 24 hours, including a six-year-old boy, according to the Luhansk government.

Constant attack on the strategic city

If you conquer the city, Russia advances more easily through the neighboring region of Donetsk, indispensable for the conquest of the Donbas Basin .

Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in 40 February this year, Severodonetsk had about 100 thousand inhabitants. Today, it is largely destroyed and deserted. For the past two weeks, the city has been heavily bombed by Russian forces and pro-Russian separatists.

Together with Lyssychank, Severodonetsk has become the administrative center of the Ukrainian Donbas since Moscow-backed separatists settled. in the eastern part of the region, in 2014.

Severodonetsk was the largest part of Luhansk still under Ukrainian rule. Since Russian troops left areas closer to the capital, Kyiv, and headed for the Donbas, the city has been Russia’s main target, “with bombings from all sides, 24 hours a day”, as announced by the Luhansk government last week.

Insufficient help

According to the researcher from the French Institute of Relations International Jean-Chritophe Noël, in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde, Ukraine has a fixation point in Severodonetsk today “to buy time, waiting for support so that the forces between the countries are in balance”.

The Ukrainian authorities admitted this Monday the shortage of ammunition and weapons. Earlier this month, the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, revealed that, every day, between 60 and 100 fighters join the defense of Ukraine, while 500 are wounded daily.

The adviser to the Ukrainian government Mykhaïlo Podoliak announced that the “carnage” takes place due to the “asymmetry between Ukrainian and Russian military capabilities”. Another adviser to the country, Oleksy Arestovych, said that without foreign aid, the country would already be defeated. “The West saves us financially,” he said.

However, Ukraine’s intelligence chief Vadim Skibitsky scored on Friday (10) told that “international aid is not enough to slow down the offensive pace of Russian forces.”

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