Russian forces reached the borders of the city of Lysychansk, in the Lugansk region of eastern Ukraine, but they were pushed back by Ukrainian troops, the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Kyiv said yesterday (Thursday).
“Our soldiers stopped the (Russian) attack in the direction of the southern suburbs of Lyshychansk, inflicted losses on the enemy, and forced a retreat,” according to Ukrainian generals, who said Russian forces were recruiting reserves to continue the offensive.
A Russian attack near the village of Borivske, east of the Donets River, was also repelled, according to the Ukrainian Joint Chiefs of Staff. This is the river that separates Lysychansk from the twin city of Sievierodonetsk.
The loss of the two cities would be a heavy blow to the Ukrainian side during hostilities in the eastern part of the country. As of today, the war completes four months, and Moscow is slowly but steadily advancing in this region.
Earlier yesterday the Ukrainian Joint Chiefs of Staff acknowledged that its forces were surrounded in the villages of Zolote and Khirsk, south of Lysychansk.
In the direction of Sievierodonetsk, “the enemy occupied the communities of Loskutivka and Rai-Olexandrivka,” it said via Facebook.
Ukrainian units have a 4-kilometer-wide tunnel to withdraw from the camp of mine workers in Zolote. Some units withdrew ” probably to avoid encirclement”, the British Ministry of Defence said on Twitter.
According to pro-Russian autonomists, the village is already controlled by Russian troops.
According to Radion Miroshnik, a spokesman of the pro-Russian autonomists in Moscow, Russian forces have already cut off the last road from Lyshychansk to the west and at least 5,000 Ukrainian soldiers are now surrounded.
Fierce fighting is raging south of Sievierodonetsk, most of which has been taken over by the Russians.
It is “highly likely” that they advanced more than 5km towards the southern suburbs of Lyshychansk, it added.
Always according to London, despite the pressure from Russian troops in the area around Sievierodonetsk and Lyshchansk, efforts to encircle Ukrainian forces and take the western part of the Daniyetsk region “remain stalled”.