Putin issues new order after conquest; Experts: "Look what's happening in the south"
After Putin said Russian soldiers were winning a victory over Ukrainian forces in the Luhansk region, Russia turned to targets in the Donetsk region.Source: Jutarnji list
As Reuters reports, Russia captured the city of Lysychansk on Sunday, ending its offensive on one of the two areas that make up the bulk of Donbas, an industrially developed region in eastern Ukraine.
However, both Russia and Ukraine suffered heavy losses during the battle for the Luhansk region, especially during the clashes in Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, which are now reduced to ruins.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian forces took up defensive positions in the Donetsk region, where they still control major cities. Russian President Vladimir Putin told his soldiers on Monday to rest and restore their military strength and equipment.
On the other hand, the adviser to the Ukrainian President, Oleksiy Arestovych, says that the conquest of Lysychansk is "the last Russian victory on Ukrainian territory", recalling that it took the Russians three months to conquer it with huge casualties.
He also said that Ukrainian forces in the south of the country want to launch a counterattack. "Capturing the cities in the east meant that 60 percent of Russian soldiers were sent to the east, which means that it will be difficult for them to return to the south," Arestovych said.
"There are no more soldiers that can be sent from Russia. They paid a high price for controlling Severodonetsk and Lysychansk." Some military experts believe that Russia did not gain much by capturing Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, as well as that the outcome of the battle for Donbas was uncertain until the very end.
"I think it's a tactical victory for Russia, but it was very expensive," said Neil Melvin, a London-based military analyst, Director International Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). He compared the battle for Donbass to battles fought during the First World War that resulted in minor territorial gains.
"This has been going on, and progress has been very slow. I think the Russians will declare some sort of victory, but the key battles are yet to come," he added. According to his opinion, the key battles of the war in Ukraine will most likely not take place in the east of the country, but rather in the south of the country.
Namely, the Ukrainian soldiers started attacking the Russian forces there in order to regain the territories that the Russians occupied.
"That's why we see that the Ukrainians are making progress near Kherson. They are carrying out counterattacks there, and I think it is certain that they will take the initiative in that area. They will try to suppress the Russians thanks to large counteroffensives," Melvin added.