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Ukraine fears a “terrifying” situation in Donbass due to the advance of the Russian army

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The eastern front becomes a nightmare for Ukraine. As European leaders in Brussels hail it as a candidate country for EU accession, Russian troops are gradually but steadily advancing in the Donbass, the eastern region that has become the center of the war after the Ukrainians started it the conflict was successful in driving out the invader who was approaching Kyiv.

In the last few days, interest has focused on two sister cities located on both banks of the Donets River: Severodonetsk and Lisichansk, both in Luhansk province. After Kremlin troops strengthened the first a few days ago (although according to Ukrainian authorities they do not control it 100%), Kyiv now fears the same fate for the second. The battle is reaching a “terrifying climax,” said Oleksii Arestovich, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“The situation is serious,” admitted Deputy Secretary of Defense Hanna Maliar on Thursday. “Russia continues to develop its war of attrition. According to the analyzes of our intelligence services, the Moscow troops will try to take Severodonetsk and Lisichansk because they need them for their cause, to announce that they have completed their task of taking over the entire Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. [que conforman la región de Donbás]’ he continued number two of defense from Kyiv.

“What happened was predictable. The Russian armed forces increased our volume of weapons and artillery tenfold. I’m afraid that they will advance further and have the opportunity to take over Donbass,” later confided on a cafe terrace a former minister, who asked not to reveal his name. “We have entered a completely conventional phase of the war. In large or medium-sized cities, Ukraine may have an advantage, but in open spaces Russia has the upper hand,” added the retired politician, who has good contacts with various European capitals. The key in this war, concluded the former minister, will be what happens in the south, which will finally stick to such important cities as Kherson (currently in Russian hands), ignoring that it will be very difficult Wresting the Crimea peninsula and much of Donbass from Moscow.

Lugansk region governor Serhii Gaidai said Thursday that Ukrainian troops are defending the city of Severodonetsk, which had a population of about 100,000 before the war, and other smaller towns nearby. The Kiev forces had to retreat in order not to be surrounded by the enemy.

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Gaidai admitted that the Russians took two small towns. “The enemy has taken the settlements of Loskutivka and Ray-Oleksandrivka,” the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army said in a message on its Facebook account. “The enemy is concentrating its efforts on taking complete control of the city of Severodonetsk,” he added.

Friday marks four months of the war that Vladimir Putin launched against Ukraine, which he described as a “special military operation.” With casualties on both sides, President Zelenksi has urged his western allies to speed up shipments of heavy weapons to deal with Moscow’s troops. “We must liberate our country and achieve victory, but faster, much faster,” the president said in a video posted to his telegram on Thursday.

In their report this Thursday, British secret services warn that Russian troops have advanced more than five kilometers in the direction of Lisichansk since last Sunday. “The improvement in the results of the Russian army is probably due to the reinforcements received recently and the strong concentration of fire,” say the British, who, despite the testimony, add that Russia has not yet achieved its plans to encircle the entire western part the Donetsk region.

The Institute for War Research (ISW) considers it possible that the Russians will arrive in Lisichansk in the coming days. Russian air defense systems in the east limit the effectiveness of Ukrainian drones, undermining one of the keys that helped Kyiv in this war. think tank American. The agency cites anonymous Ukrainian sources assuring that their country’s armed forces have stopped using Turkey’s Bayraktar drones, which were very effective in the first phase of the war as Russia’s defense capacity improved.

The Kyiv Armed Forces have also reduced the number of daily flight operations to 20-30, and also face the problem of a lack of pilots for the available aircraft. “However, the Ukrainian Air Force and its drones are still active in other parts of the country, causing heavy damage to targets in the Kherson province. [al sur del país] last week,” adds the ISW.

The offensive is also intensifying in Kharkov, Ukraine’s second largest city in the north-east of the country, very close to the Russian border. According to the governor of this province, Oleh Siniehubov, five people, including two children, were injured in a Russian attack in the nearby town of Pechenihi on Wednesday night. The attack destroyed several houses, the governor assured.

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