Ukrainian troops may need to retreat from Lysychansk to avoid siege
Ukrainian troops may need to withdraw from the front-line city of Lysychansk to avoid siege after Russian forces captured two southern settlements, regional governor Serhiy Gaidai said on Thursday.
Lysychansk and neighboring Sievierodonetsk have become the focus of Russia’s offensive in the eastern region of Donbass, and the battle there is approaching a “fierce climax”, a Ukrainian presidential adviser said on Wednesday. see More information
Ukraine’s armed forces staff confirmed on Thursday the loss of Rai-Oleksandrivka and Loskutivka, which are about 5 km from Lysychansk, and said Russian troops were trying to encircle Ukrainian forces there.
He did not say how he would respond, but Governor Gaidai said Ukrainian troops may have to retreat.
“To avoid encirclement, our command may order troops to retreat to new positions,” he said on national television.
“All of Lysychansk is within range of their fire. It is very dangerous in the city.”
He said Lysychansk could still be reached by road, allowing civilian evacuations to continue. Russian news agency TASS previously quoted Russian-backed separatists as saying the city was besieged and out of supplies.
The war has entered a phase of brutal attrition in recent weeks, with Russian forces focusing their crushing artillery firepower on this pocket of the Donbas, which Moscow claims on behalf of the separatists.
The UK Defense Ministry said on Thursday that recent Russian advances were putting Ukrainian forces in Lysychansk-Sieverodonetsk under increasing pressure.
“However, its (Russia’s) efforts to achieve a deeper siege to take the western Donetsk Oblast (region) remain stalled,” the ministry said in a daily update on Twitter.