fierce fighting in Sieverodonetsk, the epicenter of the struggle for control of Donbas

fierce fighting in Sieverodonetsk, the epicenter of the struggle for control of Donbas

FOCUS- The small town in the Lugano region became a symbol of the defense – or conquest – of Donbas for two weeks and is plagued by artillery fire and street fighting.

After Mariupol, Kyiv, Irpin and Kharkov, is Sierodonetsk, a village with 100,000 inhabitants before the war, in the far east of Ukraine, which is to be flooded by a bomb and handed over to street fighting. After Russia has changed its strategy concentrate its forces on the Donbas in order to “liberate separatist republics“Conquering the city would mean a turnaround in the conflict. This would pave the way for Kremlin troops to control the rest of the mining region, which has been the subject of disputes between pro-Russian separatists and loyal forces since 2014.

After 100 days of war, Russia claimed to have met some of its goals “special military operationbut he does not yet have full control of the Donbas. Sierodonetsk, the administrative capital of the Lugansk region, is a key step in verifying Vladimir Putin’s goals.

According to the regional governor, the Russian generals aimed to “either take Sieverodonetsk completely, or take control of the Lysychansk-Bachmut roadwhich would open the way to Kramatorsk, the capital of another, larger area of ​​Donbas, Donetsk. With regard to the date: June 10. Where are the days of fighting in the city a few days before this date?

The Russians put the defenders under pressure

While Russia had 70% of the city, Ukraine said on Sunday that its forces controlled “halffrom Sieverodonetsk. However, Lugano region governor Sergei Gaidai said he expected a large counterattack by Russian troops in the coming days. “Our armed forces have cleared halffrom Sierodonetsk local Russian troops, said in an interview broadcast on social networks. “Half the city is under the control of our defenders“, he added.

The industrial center is still the largest settlement in Ukrainian hands in the Lugansk region, where Russian troops have stepped in recent weeks after withdrawing or expelling from other parts of Ukraine, including near the capital Kiev. On Saturday evening, the Ukrainian authorities talked about “very difficult situation“with some”street fightsUkrainians pay a high price, losing up to 90% of their forces in several units, which forces them to fall back to the nearby city of Lisichansk. The Russians take advantage of this.blow up bridgesto prevent the deployment of Ukrainian reinforcements.

The bridge that connects the two cities of Sieverodonetsk and Lisichansk. ARIS MESSINIS / AFP

Victims and damage multiply. “At least six apartment towers in Sierodonetsk and Lisichansk were damaged“a”four were dead and one wounded“, The Ukrainian presidency said. Moscow added that in the last 24 hours it had hit numerous concentrations of Ukrainian troops and technology with its air force and artillery.

Ukrainians are taking revenge

However, the mission is proving to be more difficult for the Russians than expected. As for Mariupol or Kyiv, the Ukrainian army is determined to defend every bit of its besieged country. The city is therefore divided into two parts, one part under Russian control, the other in the hands of Ukrainians. “Our forces have been reflecting them for two daysArguii Gaidai, governor of the Lugano region, argued. The presence of fighters from the unit of foreign volunteers was recorded on June 2, especially by the Reuters agency.

Foreign volunteers deployed to defend the city of Sieverodonetsk on June 2. SERHII NUZHNENKO / REUTERS

This Sunday, June 5, Serguiï Gaïdaï confirmed that eight Russians had been captured. “We expect them to throw away in the near future all the reserves – in men and material – to which they now have access to fulfill these two tasks.The governor continued. “In the next five days, there will be a sharp increase in the number of heavy artillery shellingfrom the Russians, concluded Serguiï Gaïdaï.

After more than three months of fighting, the Russian army has conquered 20% of Ukrainian territory. Now exists “wear war“, Said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

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