Russian troops have broken through south of Lysychansk. Now the last city in the Donbass under Kiev control is threatened with encirclement. Russia’s strategy of attrition seems to be working.

On Thursday, one message dominated the news. Ukraine was granted candidate status for the EU. A great success for the government and intended as an encouraging signal. And that is also very necessary. For almost at the same time, entire sections of the front in the Donbass began to slide. The resistance of the Ukrainian armed forces is entering its final phase after being pushed back very slowly but inexorably for over 100 days.

hope on the river

What did the picture look like? The eastern part of the twin cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk was conquered by the Russians weeks ago. A final attempt to push them out of the city with a major counterattack failed with casualties. Only in the industrial area by the river did Kiev’s soldiers hold out and are holding out. The complex is equipped with Soviet-era bunkers and the defenders can be supported by artillery fire from the neighboring town. Conquest is difficult and pointless because Severodonetsk is not a ski jump for conquering the neighboring city. So, in Severodonetsk, Ukraine suffered a defeat, but there was hope that the river and the hills would stop the Russians.

encirclement from the south

But Moscow’s troops broke through a little further south. There they had continuously worked their way forward. In the end, the Ukrainian defenders still held a corner that protruded like a stocking between the Russian zones. This corner has been cut off. Fighting is still going on in the zone. But it is unlikely that the troops can break out en masse, let alone be relieved. Namely, Russia was able to widen the breach point and from here advance to the rear of Lysychansk. The breakthrough turned into a “blossom” – the Russian term for exploiting the gap with movements in several directions. This means that not only are the troops in the mini-pot in acute danger, there is also the danger that all troops in Lysychansk will be cut off.

Is a cauldron forming?

Ukraine’s announcement to withdraw remaining troops from Severodonetsk is only symbolic. With no bridges and under enemy fire, only individual groups can attempt to cross the river. To find yourself there in the next “pocket”, because even if the city is not completely enclosed, all roads are lost. Kyiv will run out of ammunition and troops out. If no large mechanized reserves are brought up for a relief attack, the majority of the troops are permanently lost, even if they remain in the city and individual groups can fight their way through.

The losses decide this war

After the losses in the war, the disaster in Mariupol, the next disaster is just around the corner. As it looks now, Donbass is lost. Another defense is getting harder and harder. Gradually, Kyiv has lost the zone that has been fortified with bunkers and positions since 2015. It’s getting harder for the retreating troops to grab hold of anything. Fortifications are extremely important in this form of war. Real bunkers dug deep into the ground also offer protection from heavy artillery. Only special ammo and a direct hit can break them open. Improvised field positions of trenches and boarded shelters protect against light weapons but not rockets and heavy artillery.

Another shock: So far Russia has apparently been able to replace losses and constantly bring in new soldiers and material. The loss of a large ammunition dump did not stop this offensive. It is reported in the West that the forces of the separatist republics have lost 50 percent of their fighters. It doesn’t show up on the ground. But Kyiv will lack the soldiers. They are human tragedies and they are the best troops in Kiev. In the Donbass are professional soldiers and the motivated volunteers who joined the armed forces after the invasion. These troops cannot be replaced with freshly drafted conscript units. The strategy of Putin’s General Dwornikov seems to work (Alexander Dwornikov – the butcher of Syria). Under the incessant pounding of Russian artillery, Kiev’s troops and bastions are slowly being crushed.

Where is the stop line

The big question now is: how can Kyiv stop the further prosperity of the Russian armed forces? In the region itself, hardly any troops can be pulled from the front. In particular, the axis between Sloviansk and Bakhmut is under massive pressure. Here the Russians want to start another section further west through Ukrainian territory. The last few days in Donbass have been a disaster, and now the only question is how far the catastrophe will spread or whether the Russian advance can be stopped again.

Also read:

Alexander Dvornikov – the butcher of Syria will turn eastern Ukraine into a gigantic Aleppo

A rude awakening – suddenly the West is delivering long-range weapons, what is behind the change of heart?

Fight for Sieverodonetsk – how to stop the Russian meat grinder