War in Ukraine, Day 130 | The Ukrainian army withdraws from Lysychansk

(Siversk) The Ukrainian army announced on Sunday that its soldiers have withdrawn from Lysytchansk, a key city in eastern Ukraine that has faced a heavy attack by Russian troops for weeks.

Posted at 7:27
Updated at 1:36 p.m

Benoît FINCK
Media Agency France

“In order to save the lives of the Ukrainian defenders, the decision was made to withdraw from the city,” employees of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said in a statement, citing the Russian army’s “multiple superiority” over material aircraft.

“In conditions of multiple superiority of Russian troops in artillery, air force, missile launch systems, ammunition and personnel, continued defense of the city would have had fatal consequences,” the statement added.

It was “impossible to say that Lysychansk is under Russian control,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said earlier, assuring that fighting continued on the outskirts of that city.

Russia claimed on Sunday morning it had captured Lysychansk and controlled the entire Luhansk region, a potentially important advance in the Battle of Donbass, while strikes in Sloviansk, another city in eastern Ukraine, left six dead.

“There is fighting in the suburbs of this city,” under pressure from Russian troops for several weeks, he added during a press conference with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Kyiv.

The capture of Lysytchansk would allow Moscow to advance its plan to seize all of Donbass, an industrial region in eastern Ukraine that has been mostly Russian-speaking since 2014 and partially controlled by pro-Russian separatists, and advance toward the cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, further west .

“There is a risk that the Lugansk region will be completely occupied. There are risks and we understand that,” added Zelenskyy, saying that Lysyhansk represents “the most difficult and dangerous situation” for Ukraine.

“We don’t have an advantage there, that’s true. That’s our weak point, but we’re making progress on other points,” he said.

Russian forces and their Separatist allies said in an official statement quoted by Russian news outlets that they had “taken complete control of Lysytchansk and other nearby towns.”


PHOTO SUPPLIED BY THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE LUGANSK REGION VIA RELATED PRESS

A burnt-out car was left in Lysychansk

According to the press release, Russian Defense Minister “Sergei Shoigu said [le président Vladimir] Putin on the liberation of the “Luhansk People’s Republic”, one of the two separatist entities which, together with Donetsk, has been fighting for secession from Ukraine since 2014.

AFP could not verify this information on the spot on Sunday.


PHOTO SUPPLIED BY THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE LUGANSK REGION VIA RELATED PRESS

A residential building in Lysychansk destroyed by Russian strikes

Russian strikes hit several districts of Sloviansk, said the mayor of the city of around 100,000 before the war, Vadym Liakh, who on Sunday reported “six dead and 15 wounded”.


PHOTO GENIA SAVILOV, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Vendors collect some goods from destroyed shops at a local market after a rocket attack in the Ukrainian city of Sloviansk.

“Several rocket launcher fires on Sloviansk, the largest in a long time. There are fifteen fires,” Vadim Liakh said in a video posted to Facebook.

Tetiana Ignatchenko, a spokeswoman for the Donetsk region, to which Sloviansk belongs, reiterated the authorities’ appeal for residents to leave the area as the front line is only a few kilometers away.

“The City is Burning”

On Sunday morning, the governor of the Luhansk region, Sergiï Gaidaï, indicated that Ukrainian forces were rapidly losing ground to the invaders in Lysychansk, which had a population of 100,000 before the war began.

“The city is on fire […] The occupiers have probably thrown all their forces at “Lysytchansk”, which they are attacking with “a method of incredible brutality”, explained Mr. Gaidaï, conjuring up a much more violent attack than at the sister city of Sievierodonetsk on the east bank of the Donets. which fell at the end of June.

In a report released on Sunday, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a research and analysis group, believes that Ukrainian forces “probably carried out a deliberate withdrawal from Lysychansk, leading to the city’s capture from Russia on March 2.” . July”.

On Saturday, the representative of the Luhansk separatist army, Andrei Marotchko, released a video via Telegram messages that was supposed to show Lysytchansk city hall being captured by Russian forces.

The Russian army also claimed to have shot down three Ukrainian rockets at dawn on Sunday, which had been fired against the town of Belgorod, near the border with Ukraine, where a local official earlier announced the deaths of at least four people after explosions.

“Russian air defense shot down the three Tochka-U cluster missiles launched by Ukrainian nationalists against Belgorod. After the destruction of the Ukrainian missiles, the debris of one of them fell on a house,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

Since Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has repeatedly accused Kyiv of trespassing on Russian soil, particularly in the Belgorod region.

Siwersk, some twenty kilometers west of Lyssytchansk, could be the next battle, and Ukrainian forces appear to want to rely on a defensive line between that town and Bakhmout to protect Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, two highly symbolic towns.


PHOTO SUPPLIED BY THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE LUGANSK REGION VIA RELATED PRESS

Russian forces and their Separatist allies have “taken complete control of Lysychansk (our photo) and other nearby towns, the most notable of which are Belogorovka, Novodrujesk, Maloriazantsevo and Belaya Gora,” adds this press release, quoted by Russian news outlets.

Heavier bombardments

Siversk was shelled overnight, residents and a local official told AFP on Sunday. “It was intense and it was pulling from all sides,” a woman who was hiding in a building’s basement told AFP.

“For a week, the bombing of the city has been gradually increasing, especially in the last few days with heavy artillery,” First Deputy Mayor Ruslan Bondarevskiï told AFP, while boxes of Red Cross humanitarian aid were found in the City Hall premises on Sunday distributed to residents.


PHOTO BELPRESSA VIA REUTERS

Firefighters inspect a house destroyed by Ukrainian strikes in Belgorod.

In Kramatorsk, the administrative center of the Donbass under Ukrainian control, a Smerch missile fell into a residential area on Sunday without injuring, according to Mayor Oleksandr Gontcharenko.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city in northeastern Ukraine, residents were again woken up at 4 a.m. “by Russian rocket attacks,” according to the region’s governor, Oleg Sinegoubov, who also reported “shootings” in several districts in the morning.

On the southern front, Ukraine’s regional operations command said the Russian army had carried out “nine airstrikes using K-52 attack helicopters and two bombing raids on Snake Island” in a 24-hour period, which were picked up by Kiev forces on Wednesday in the northwestern Black Sea.

In Melitopol, a city occupied by Moscow, the Ukrainian army “shut down” a Russian military base overnight from Saturday to Sunday, according to the city’s exile mayor, Ivan Fedorov.

Evgueni Balitski, head of the region’s pro-Russian administration, stated that houses near the base were damaged and that shells “fell on the territory of the airfield”, but assured that there were no injuries.

“Absurd Idea”

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview with ARD on Sunday, an “unconditional surrender [de l’Ukraine, comme l’exige M. Poutine] or an imposed peace [à l’Ukraine n’était] unacceptable.

When I talk to Putin, I always say to him: remember that the sanctions we [l’Union européenne, NDLR] Imposing on Russia will stand for now,” he added, “the idea of ​​an enforced peace is absurd, you should instead focus your efforts on reaching a just settlement with Ukraine.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy counted “2,610 “towns and villages” under Russian occupation in a video message on Saturday evening. “But since the beginning of the war, the Ukrainian army managed to liberate 1027,” he said.

“Hundreds have been completely destroyed by the Russian military and need to be fully rebuilt,” he added. The question of the country’s reconstruction must be the focus of an international conference in Lugano, Switzerland, on Monday and Tuesday.

“It is necessary not only to rebuild everything that the occupiers destroyed, but also to lay new foundations for our life, for a Ukraine, safe, modern,” said the Ukrainian President, for whom this is “a colossal investment” and necessary are “reforms”.

Leave a Comment