War in Ukraine | “To conquer, the Russians destroy”

Lyssytchansk fell, Sloviansk and Kramatorsk are in the crosshairs of Russian forces.

Posted at 5:00 am

Janie Gosselin

Janie Gosselin
The press

Debris on the ground, crumpled sheet metal, broken glass: the pictures taken on Monday in Sloviansk in the east of the country show residents busy cleaning up the damage caused by Russian rocket attacks. The front line is approaching this city of Donetsk after Lysytchansk, some sixty kilometers away, fell on Sunday.

What there is to know

  • Vladimir Putin ordered the continuation of the offensive in Donetsk.
  • The Russian army now appears to be concentrating its efforts on the towns of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, which are constantly being shelled.
  • The Prime Minister of Ukraine has put the cost of Ukraine’s future reconstruction at $750 billion.

“I believe that what awaits us will get worse, I’ve already thought about leaving Sloviansk,” said Andriï Gerassimenko, a 30-year-old who was met at the scene by the Agence France press.

The cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk have been heavily shelled in the past few days. Regional governor Pavlo Kirilenko on Monday reported 10 dead, including 2 children, the day before in Sloviansk and the surrounding area.

The two Donetsk communities, each with over 100,000 inhabitants before the war, appear to be the next leg of the Battle of Donbass.

The fall of the city of Lysyhansk to the Russians on Sunday would have marked their complete takeover of Luhansk – the administrative unit that forms Donbass with Donetsk.

In order to achieve victory in Donbass, which has been partially controlled by pro-Russian forces since 2014, Donetsk remains for the Russians to conquer.


Situation in Ukraine on July 4, 2022

And this progress goes through the cities.

protect cities

The Ukrainian General Staff announced the withdrawal of its forces towards the Siwersk-Fedorivka-Bahmout border to protect Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.


Residents of Lysychansk, which was captured by Russian forces on Sunday, stand near a badly damaged building.

The struggle for these two agglomerations could be decisive for the Donbass, believes Dominique Arel, professor and chair of Ukrainian studies at the University of Ottawa.

“From the beginning of the war, the Ukrainians made the tactical decision to protect the cities because it is much more difficult to protect very large areas with few metropolitan areas,” he explains. So the Russians, who already controlled 40-50% of Luhansk since 2014, increased to 80-85% from the beginning of the war because they sent the army to capture the small towns. »

Restoring a large community captured by the Russian army is very difficult for Ukrainians.

“To conquer the cities, the Russians destroy them,” he notes.

At least 750 billion dollars are needed for the reconstruction of Ukraine, demanded the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyj – via video conference – and his Prime Minister Denys Khmyhal on Monday. The two men spoke about reconstruction at the conference in Lugano, Switzerland. The event had been planned before the conflict began and was then supposed to focus on the reforms to be implemented.

“Symbolic” victory

Although Monday’s capture of Luhansk was hailed as a victory in Russia, it is “more symbolic than anything else,” said Pierre Jolicoeur, a full professor in the department of political science at the Royal Military College of Canada. He recalls that Russia now controls about a fifth of Ukraine, a number that has changed little since the first February 24 offensives.

“They’ve taken a long time to conquer areas that aren’t particularly important or difficult to conquer,” comments Maria Popova, associate professor of political science at McGill University.

Donbass is the industrial region of eastern Ukraine, strategically less important than the capital Kyiv, which the Russians failed to capture, she stresses. Or Cherson, an agricultural area in the south of the country, whose provincial capital came under Russian control shortly after the start of the invasion.

Rumors are circulating these days about a Ukrainian counter-offensive in this area. Zelenskyj welcomed positive signs in the region on Monday.

The fight could be important. Kherson is Crimea’s neighboring division, illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.


The Donbass, which borders Russia, also serves as a gateway for the occupation in southern Ukraine.

The region was already divided. In 2014, pro-Russian separatists declared the independence of the “republics” Luhansk and Donetsk unrecognized internationally.

Yes, these are locals who are now separatists, but you have to remember that Russia created this group and this problem through its intervention in 2014.

Maria Popova, associate professor of political science at McGill University

From the very beginning of the war, speculation about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s true intentions fueled discussions – could he agree to peace in exchange for Donbass?

That is obviously not the goal, says Mme Popova. “It’s pretty clear that the goal isn’t Donbass and it won’t stop there,” she said.

The Russian president on Monday ordered his troops to go ahead and “carry out their mission”.

With Agence France-Presse

Learn more

  • 15,000 to 20,000
    Total number of Russian soldiers killed, according to Western security sources

    Source: Agence France-Presse

    Kyiv estimates that it loses about 100 soldiers every day.

    Source: Agence France-Presse

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