Putin orders Russian offensive to continue

Putin orders the continuation of Russian Offensive

A woman talks on the phone as a plume of smoke rises into the sky in the village of Sviato-Pokrovske, south of Siversk, in the Ukrainian Donbass, on June 23, 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday congratulated Russian troops on their conquest of the Luhansk region and ordered them to continue their offensive in eastern Ukraine, where the province of Donetsk remains partly in the hands of Ukrainian forces.

Russian forces must carry out their missions according to already approved plans, the Kremlin ruler said in a television interview with his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. I hope that in their sectors everything will go as it happened in Luhansk.

After Mr. Shoigu reconfirmed that the Russian operation in Lysychansk ended on Sunday, Mr. Putin said that military units that took part in active hostilities and achieved success, victory [in Luhansk] should rest, increase their combat capabilities.

The Ukrainian general staff confirmed on Sunday that its fighters withdrew from Lyssytchansk, the twin city of Sievierodonestk, itself fallen into the hands of the Russian army a week earlier after intense fighting. The two towns formed the last bastion of Ukrainian resistance in the province.

Mr. Putin also announced that two of his generals responsible for the offensive in Luhansk, Alexander Lapin and Essedoulla Abatchev, will be made Heroes of Russia for the role they played there. The two men reported to him on the course taken by the execution of their missions and their proposals for the continuation of the offensive operations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stares at his defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, during an interview broadcast Monday on television.

The Russian president obviously did not divulge the details of his plans, but the Ukrainian general staff indicated that the Russian forces were now concentrating their efforts towards a line connecting Siversk with Bakhmut in the Donetsk region. The Russian army has also intensified its shelling of the main Ukrainian strongholds of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

In an interview with the BBC, the governor of Luhansk, Sergey Gaidai, claimed that fighting is still ongoing in two tiny villages in his province, Bilohorivka and Novokostiantynivka, but acknowledged that Russia's next goal is to take over the Donetsk region.

The governor told the Associated Press that the last defenders of Lysychansk could have held out for a few more weeks, but that it was important to avoid having them surrounded. We succeeded in carrying out a centralized withdrawal and evacuating all the wounded. We took over all the material, so from then on the withdrawal went smoothly, he argued.

Residents of Siversk line up to buy food, July 3.

A senior official in the pro-Russian republic of Luhansk, Vitali Kiseliev, confirmed that forces from Moscow were now advancing from two directions towards Siversk, on the way to Sloviansk and Kramatorsk. It is a very small municipality with just over 10,000 inhabitants before Moscow declared war on February 24.

The Battle of Donbass has entered a new phase. The Ukrainian army has installed a new line of defense [the Siversk-Bakhmut barrier] and continues to hold key fortresses in the Donetsk region, a Kyiv Independent correspondent also commented on Twitter. specializing in defense issues, Illia Ponomarenko.

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In his nightly video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky promised that Ukrainian forces would fight to recover lost ground in the Luhansk region.

“If the command of our army withdraws people from certain points of the front where the enemy has the greatest fire superiority, in particular this applies to Lysychansk, this does not mean that one thing: we will come back thanks to our tactics, thanks to the increased supply of modern weapons.

— Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine

Russian forces will likely advance towards Siversk next, although they may launch more significant attacks on Bakhmut or Sloviansk instead or at the same time, argues the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War. Ukrainian forces will likely continue to fight back towards the E40 highway which runs from Sloviansk to Debaltseve via Bakhmout.

With information from Agence France-Presse, and La Presse canadienne

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