Ukrainian servicemen experience a bus to their positions within the Luhansk space, Ukraine, on June 19. (Oleksander Ratushniak/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
As Russian forces shut in on town of Lysychansk, Ukrainian army commanders have an unenviable alternative. They will defend town, block by block, in opposition to vastly superior firepower — or they’ll withdraw to take up new defensive positions additional west.
Defending town would inevitably imply heavy casualties amongst each troopers and the hundreds of civilians who’re nonetheless sheltering there. The Russian bombardment of town — like that of neighboring Severodonetsk — has been largely indiscriminate.
Moreover, the resupply hall alongside the T1302 freeway to Bakhmut could be minimize off, leaving Ukrainian troops surrounded.
In some locations, Russian models advancing from the south are inside 5 kilometers (three miles) of the freeway. Whereas different resupply routes can be found, they might be tough and weak. The Institute for the Examine of Conflict, in its newest evaluation, says; “Russian forces will doubtless proceed to regroup and intensify operations within the space between Bakhmut and Lysychansk to advance towards Lysychansk from a further axis, sever Ukrainian provide traces, and try and consolidate management of your entire Severodonetsk-Lysychansk space within the coming days.”
Then again, one benefit of staying and combating in Lysychansk is that it’s on greater floor than surrounding areas, and Ukrainian forces would doubtless to have the ability to maintain again and inflict harm on Russian models for a while — maybe weeks. Lysychansk would doubtlessly change into one other Mariupol. By sucking in Russian models, town’s defenders would in all probability relieve the stress on different fronts, akin to round Sloviansk.
The dilemma for the Ukrainian army is an pressing one. Because the pocket in Luhansk and Donetsk areas that they defend shrinks, the choice of a tactical withdrawal to new traces of protection could not final lengthy.