“Russia to focus on Donetsk after capture of Luhansk”: Governor of Ukraine

“Russia to focus on Donetsk after capture of Luhansk”: Governor of Ukraine

Russia launched its “special military operation” in Ukraine on 24 February.


The governor of the Luhansk region said on Monday that Russia would focus its war in Ukraine on trying to capture the entire Donetsk region after capturing neighboring Luhansk.

Governor Serhi Gaidai told Reuters in an interview that he expects the Slovak city and the city of Bakhmut to be particularly vulnerable to heavy onslaught as Russia tries to take full control of what is now known as the Donbass in eastern Ukraine.

Russia says it has regained full control of the Luhansk region as the Ukrainian military withdraws from the bombed-out city of Lisichansk, although Gaidai said fighting continues in two small villages.

“The loss of the Luhansk region is painful because it is the territory of Ukraine. For me personally, it is special. It is the homeland where I was born and I am also the head of the region,” Gaidai said.

“In terms of the army, leaving positions is bad, but nothing important. We need to win the war, not the battle for Lischansk,” he said. “It hurts a lot, but it’s not losing the war.”

He said the withdrawal from Lysychansk was “centralised” and systematic, and was necessary to save the lives of Ukrainian soldiers who were in danger of being surrounded.

Gaidai said, “They (Russian army) will not move 100 percent of their troops to a front because they need to stay on the line. If they leave their positions, our forces can launch some sort of counter-attack. “

“Nevertheless, goal number 1 for them is the Donetsk region. Sloviansk and Bakhmut will come under attack – Bakhmut has already launched a very hard shelling.”

Since abandoning the attack on the capital Kyiv, Russia has focused its military campaign on the industrial Donbass heartland that includes Luhansk and Donetsk, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukraine behind proxies since 2014.

appeal to arms

Bakhmut, Sloviansk and nearby Kramatorsk are located southwest of Lisichansk, and are the main urban areas against Russian forces in Donetsk.

Gaidai said the week-long battle for Lisichansk had drawn in Russian troops who could fight on other fronts, and had given Ukraine’s military time to build fortifications in the Donetsk region “to make it harder for the Russians there”. .

“The (Russian) strategy will be the same. They will hit everything with their artillery, but it will be difficult for them to advance,” he said.

Reiterating Ukrainian calls for more weapons from Western allies who “understood too late” what was happening in Ukraine, Gaidai said his country’s forces could launch retaliatory strikes when they had sufficiently long ranges. Have weapons.

“They just shoot our positions around the clock from afar,” he said.

Russia says its “special military operation” launched in Ukraine on February 24 is aimed at protecting Russian-speaking nationalists from nationalists. Ukraine and its allies say it is an unfounded excuse for a war of aggression aimed at capturing the region.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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