Russia could seize Luhansk Oblast entirely in coming days, says ISW

3 July, 01:02 PM
Russian occupier (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

Russian occupier (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

Withdrawing from Siversk, Donestsk Oblast, would prevent Ukrainian troops from being encircled by advancing Russian forces, but could lead to Moscow capturing the last bits of Luhansk Oblast in near future, the U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War or ISW said in its latest war assessment on July 2.

Russia is close to wrestling control over the entire Luhansk Oblast, after Ukrainian forces “likely conducted a deliberate withdrawal from Lysychansk,” according to the assessment.

“Russian forces will likely establish control over the remaining territory of Luhansk Oblast in coming days and will likely then prioritize drives on Ukrainian positions in Siversk before turning to Slovyansk and Bakhmut,” said the report.

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“A Ukrainian withdrawal to Siversk would allow Ukrainian forces to reduce the risk of immediate encirclement, but Ukrainian forces may continue a fighting withdrawal to a line near the E40 highway from Slovyansk to Bakhmut.”

The report also noted the recent Russian claim that Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov inspected Moscow’s troops in Ukraine, in person. The Russian Defense Ministry, however, did not provide any video footage of the supposed inspection.

“… the Russian leadership is sensitive to rumors of a purge of senior Russian officers or possibly to the impression that the senior most officers are absent or uninvolved in the conflict,” ISW said.

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